WHY WE USE PEP BANDS / HIP CIRCLES
PEP Bands and Hip Circles are two pieces of equipment that get some heavy use here at AW and for good reason! The PEP Bands were invented and sold by Shea Pierre of Pierre’s Elite Performance in Canada and according to Shea were designed to activate and challenge athletes to use their lower body to help increase their fast twitch muscle fibers through speed and strength. The Hip Circle was invented by Mark Bell [a professional powerlifter] and according to Mark, the Hip Circle can be used to for hip and glute activation/strength as well as a dynamic warm-up. Both of these pieces of equipment have become vital to Team AW’s approach towards training pretty much any athlete that walks in our building.
The PEP Bands are an interesting tool that connects very securely to some portion of the upper thigh of the athlete. The resistance for the PEP Bands is just that an elastic band, which means that the tension with this equipment is going to be varied based on the intensity and range of motion [ROM] with which the athlete applies force. What is interesting about this equipment is that it can provide both a resisted concentrically and assisted eccentric load on the hip and leg complexes if utilized during any gate pattern. Due to this not only do we value the potential for strength development through a deeper ROM but we also are very cognizant of the eccentric power development and transversely the injury preventative aid this can also provide the athlete. Due to the dual serving nature of this device we are often utilizing it with many of our ACL patients trying to return to play at a faster and safer place. The PEP Bands have become an integral part of our Pre-hab/ warm-up routine for several of our athletes and essential in the teaching proper running mechanics to several of our younger athletes.
The Hip Circle has quite possibly been the greatest minimum effective dose in our facility [thanks Tim Ferris for that one]. Why do I say this? The Hip Circle literally cost $25 and is about the easiest thing to put on an off an athlete, yet, has one of the largest ROI’s in the facility. We use the Hip Circle both in a Pre-hab/ Warm-up capacity and from a strength development perspective. The primary role for the hip circle is to provide a resisted concentric load to lateral abduction at the hip [meaning it makes it difficult to do lateral side shuffles…especially when done slow]. This resisted load causes an elevated activation in the musculature of the hip that is responsible for the lateral abduction. Why is this important? Well, it just so happens that same musculature is also involved in stabilizing the hip, knee, and ankle during almost any sagittal, frontal or transverse plane movement [they’re really important]. Again, another tool that we heavily utilize with our athletes coming off a hip/leg injury [i.e. ACL surgery] and with several of our athletes to help strengthen these immensely important muscular zones.
To close these two pieces of equipment we view as vital to our approaches for working with youth and elite athletes and next to a sled, barbell, and kettlebell are probably the most influential pieces of hardware any coach or person interested in getting stronger should invest in.