Hip thrusts are one of my favorite exercises for shaping the glutes. The glutes are our powerhouse so it’s important to incorporate exercises to keep it strong and functional. It’s not done often enough but should be included in a well-rounded (pun intended) glute workout. It’s important for building strength, speed and power and is considered a hip extension exercise. Hip thrusts target the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and lower back muscles.
The hip thrust is sometimes confused with a hip bridge. The difference is that a hip thrust is done in an elevated position (on a bench or a step) with a barbell or weights. A glute bridge for the most part is done on the floor mostly with no weights. To do a hip thrust, start in a seated position with your feet flat on the floor and hip width apart. Come up into a bridge placing your shoulder blades onto the bench, not your neck. Place a barbell onto your hip crease (you can use a pad if needed).
Squeeze your glutes and core and lift your hips up until your back is parallel to the floor. Hold at the top for a couple of seconds and then lower back down without touching the floor.
What are the benefits of hip thrusts?
First, let me reiterate, the glutes are our powerhouse. Hip thrusts improve glute strength, shape and size. It also improves glute muscle power. It is a great way to strengthen the lower back and leg muscles. It improves posture and is a great way to activate more muscle fiber in the glutes than a lot of other glute exercises. It’s great for improving stability to the lower spine as well.
There are several variations of hip thrusts you can do to get the maximal amount of work. You can do up to two variations within the same workout. Some variations include single leg hip thrusts. This is done by lifting one leg up and keeping the other foot firmly planted on the floor while squeezing and lifting the glutes up and down. Another variation is to add a thick band above the knees and abduct (or push the thighs out) when you lift the hips. Hip thrusts can be done with or without weight (although it is more effective when using weight). You can use a barbell or dumbbells.