No Bullsh*t: The Banded Hip Series

TAGS: training foundation, david allen, hip mobility, deadlift, squat

One of my more popular articles was an article I wrote about a year ago that showed a band pull-apart series that I had come up with for shoulder health. One of the reasons I think the article was so successful is that it was a simple series for someone to do to keep the shoulders mobile, stabile, balanced, and healthy. It added in movements that we often leave out of our normal training sessions and daily movements. It also targeted smaller muscle groups that get overlooked and create motor patterns that could be carried over to the bench press and other barbell exercises to create a stable shoulder to press off of. Lately, I’ve had many lifters and clients who have been having trouble with their hips. Mobility and balance as well as the ability to properly activate the glutes are pretty common issues among the people I work with. The banded hip series is designed to help with these issues.

When you hear about people having weak hips or weak glutes, most people think about the function of the glutes to extend the hips. However, the glutes also function in external rotation and abduction at the hip joint. While hip extension is important, I feel as though hip external rotation and abduction may be even more important, at least starting off.

In order to extend the hips properly, the femur must be properly situated in the hip socket. To demonstrate this, stand up and try to internally rotate your knees toward each other. Then try flexing your glutes and extending your hips. This is extremely difficult to do. If you have strong glutes, you will probably end up externally rotating your knees outward from the contraction. Another purpose of external rotation and abduction is to create “space” in the acetabulofemoral joint so that the femoral head can rotate freely. To demonstrate this, return to a standing position, point your toes toward each other, and let your knee travel inward while trying to squat as low as possible. You won't be able to get very low.

This is why I try to teach hip external rotation and abduction first. Once this movement has been established, the hip will more easily extend. In other words, hip external rotation and abduction set you up to better extend your hips when you finish a squat or deadlift. While I will use glute bridges and their different variations to train the glutes, I prefer using this banded hip series to teach people proper muscle activation and develop their hip strength.

The banded hip series is a very simple, four exercise series that can be used as a hip warm-up, activation series, and/or accessory work to mobilize and strengthen the muscles of the hip joint. Use the following guidelines for each of the following purposes:

The series consists of four exercises:

  1. Laying external rotation with band around feet: This exercise is great at teaching someone to twist his feet into the ground as he establishes his positioning for the squat or deadlift.
  2. Glute bridge abduction with band around knees: This exercise teaches a lifter to continually abduct the hip while extending them at the same time. This helps when finishing a squat or a deadlift and will actually cause a greater glute contraction during lock out.
  3. Seated band abductions with band below knee: This exercise teaches a lifter to maintain the external rotation and abduction that was established at the beginning of the lift at the bottom position of a squat or at the beginning position for a sumo deadlift.
  4. X-band walks: This exercise is designed to teach a lifter to abduct and push outward from his hips. This will help a lifter initiate the upward motion of a squat or a sumo deadlift by pushing out instead of down.

Here is a link to a video showing the banded hip series:

The hips are the foundation for both the squat and the deadlift. If you want to lift big weights, you had better make sure that your hips are functional and strong. For beginners, this hip series is great at teaching you how to properly activate these muscles and coordinate these movements. It will help set a good foundation for your technique and training. For intermediates, this hip series can help provide you with continued activation of the proper muscles as well as give you a good series to build strength within those muscles. Finally, for more advanced lifters, this series can be used as a great warm-up or for recovery movements or use it just as a good way to continually strengthen the proper motor patterns. Try this hip series and I promise that you won’t be disappointed. Keep training hard and smart.

Elitefts™ Bands

Loading Comments... Loading Comments...