I am trained as a women's health physical therapist, but you won't find me in the clinic taking clients through sets of traditional rehabilitative exercises; rather, you'll find me shouting from the rooftops about the glories of hip circles, the one (fun!) move that can help you achieve a more flexible body that's free from pain.
Hip circles (and other forms of multi-planar movement) build core strength and flexibility in a quick, enjoyable way. They get you out of the rut of straight-plane, linear movement and activate muscles that are rarely used in modern life. Hip circles can relieve back pain, tone the core, loosen up tight hips, and spice up your fitness routine if it's feeling a little flat. They're safe, effective, and anyone can do them—no coordination, no special equipment, and no significant amount of space is required.
Got sacroiliac joint (SIJ) problems? Hip circles might help! Pelvic floor concerns? Add hip circles to your core-strengthening program. Pregnant? Read on!
Belly dance—which uses circular and undulating motions such as hip circles—was invented by women for women. Belly dance is thought to have been a form of movement intended to improve fertility, ignite feminine prowess, and strengthen the muscles in preparation for (and recovery from) childbirth. Hip circles are safe for pregnant and postpartum women and are a safe core-strengthening exercise for women with diastasis recti, a common condition after pregnancy.
Let's revive this beautiful form of movement and make hip circles a standard exercise that's not just for belly dancers but for all women everywhere. My goal is to have 1 million women circling their hips every day. Let's start with you!
To do a hip circle, keep your feet planted and your head and shoulders stable as you move your pelvis to the left, then back, then to the right, and then forward. When you move your hips back, don't stick your rear out too far. When you move your hips forward, feel a gentle tucking of the pelvis, a slight lift in your pelvic floor, and a gentle contraction in your deep abdominal muscles. Complete 10 (or more) hip circles in each direction.
Prefer video instruction? Watch my morning hip circle challenge below. If you’re new to this type of multi-planar movement, you’ll find that it really “wakes things up” in the core. Take your time, start small, go slow, and enjoy the sensation.
Once you're hooked on circling, help me spread the word! Take a quick video of yourself doing circles and post it on social media with the hashtag #circlerevolution. Loosen up your hips, limber up your back, reconnect with your core, and have fun!
Brianne Grogan, DPT, is a women's health physical therapist, fitness expert, and the author of FemFusion Fitness for Intimacy and her newest book, Lady Bits. She received a B.S. in Health Sciences from Linfield College, and earned her DPT in Physical Therapy from Pacific University. Groga is also the proud founder of FemFusion Fitness, helping women shine brighter through the power of clean eating and core-focused fitness. Visit her on social media and keep up with her on YouTube.