The hip thrust is an exercise for your glutes that are designed to increase your strength, speed, and power. It helps you to extend the hip by pulling the glutes behind your body. When your glutes are underdeveloped, your overall power, speed, and strength are not going to be as formidable as they should.
Even though you can do other exercises to strengthen your legs, your glutes are the main source of power, and you need to do hip thrusts to reach your personal optimum condition. There are different ways that you can do a hip thrust, ranging from using weights to machines to your legs on their own. Any of these exercises will help you exercise your glutes and develop more power, speed, and strength.
There are four major reasons to do your hip thrusts:
- It will improve the size and strength of your glutes.
- It will increase your acceleration and sprint speed.
- It will increase your power for squats.
- It will improve the overall function of your body.
How to Set up for a Hip Thrust
To perform this exercise, you will need a bench. You want the bench to be tall enough to hit the middle of your back. If the bench is somewhere between 13 and 19 inches, it should accommodate most people. Ideally, you will sit with your back to the bench, and the bench should hit you at the bottom of your shoulder blades.
You will not move your back around. This is going to be where your back will pivot over the bench as you do the hip thrust. There is an American variation of the hip thrust where the bench is positioned lower down on the back, and some people find that this loads the glutes more and places less strain on the back.
Whichever style you prefer, your goal is to have your back pivot around the bench as you perform the exercise. Do not move your back around; simply hold it against the bench and pivot.
1. Barbell Hip Thrust
You will need a barbell with standard Olympic plates. They weigh 135 pounds, and they leave enough room to get into position. If you cannot use the Olympic plates, you need to find plates of a similar diameter so that you can roll the barbell into position. If your plates aren’t large enough, you may need to ask a partner to lift the barbell and place it in a position for you.
You will roll the bar onto the crease of your hip. You can place your hands on the bar, even though you will not use your hands to lift the barbell. Keep your body aligned, and do not use your shoulders to help lift the barbell. You want to use your hips exclusively.
Once you are in position, you will bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor in front of you. You can roll your back around the bench and allow your hips to thrust upward, keeping the barbell on them. Steady the barbell with your hands, and take a deep breath through your nose, breathe out through your mouth, brace your core, and squeeze your glutes. You can lift and return to the ready position.
You should do sets of a certain number of reps when you do this exercise. You can start with 2 sets of 10 or fewer if necessary. Just increase and add to your sets as you build strength.
2. Machine Hip Thrust
When you do the machine hip thrust, you will use a machine that is built specifically for this exercise. You can sit in position and lean your back against the back piece. You will have a padded roller bar at your hips, and you can sit in the same ready position with your back straight and your feet planted firmly on the ground in front of you, knees raised.
When you are ready, squeeze your glutes and lift. You can again do sets of reps, and keep building up until you get your sets where you want them to be. The hip thrust machineis a great way to do this exercise.
3. Smith Machine Hip Thrust
This machine makes it easier to do hip thrusts. You will have a box on the floor of the machine. You need to set up by making sure that your back is right on the box. The box should be just below your shoulder blades.
You can choose how far apart to space your legs, and you should choose the position that is most comfortable for you. The bar is over the crease of your hips. You can then pivot your back over the box and raise your hips up and down. Go up until you feel your glutes squeeze, and then lower down again.
The Smith Machine makes it easier to perform this exercise because you simply need to get into position and start thrusting. The padded bar is more comfortable on your hips as you thrust. You can actually place a band around your legs for increased resistance. This is a great exercise for strengthening your glutes.
4. Single Leg Hip Thrust
The single leg hip thrust is a variation of this exercise. It will allow you to target each side of your body to make sure that you are building each side as you want to.
You can set up the same way. You can do this exercise with or without weight. Bend one knee with your foot flat on the floor, and raise your other leg. Hold it straight out. Make sure that your elbows are against the bench, and roll your back around the bench and thrust.
You should raise your hips until you feel the squeeze. They should be aligned with your torso. Lower your hips back down again, and you have completed the first rep. Just as with the other exercises, you can do sets of reps and build until you reach the desired level of fitness.
5. Dumbbell Hip Thrust
Sometimes people are not comfortable with a barbell, and you can actually use a dumbbell instead. You will set up the same way, making sure that your knees are at 90 degrees. Take the dumbbell, and choose a weight that is heavier because your glutes are much stronger than any other part of your body.
Once you are in position, simply thrust your hips up until you can squeeze your glutes, and then you will drop back down. You can do however many reps are comfortable for you, and build on it as you go.
This variation is good when you are starting out if you plan to use weights and you are not comfortable with the Olympic discs. It works just as well, and you will be able to improve the strength of your glutes.
6. Band Hip Thrust
The band hip thrust is another choice in place of weights. You will set up the same way, but you wrap the band around your hips and have the band affixed to the floor. You can start off with a light band, but you want to work your way to a thicker band that creates greater resistance.
Once you are in position, engage your core, and raise your hips. Squeeze your glutes and then lower your hips down again. You can repeat this exercise between 10 and 20 reps, and do two sets if you are up for it.
People often think that doing squats and other exercises is enough to become strong, but they are not tapping into the extraordinary power in the glutes. Your glutes give you strength, power, and speed, and you should never neglect this muscle group.
The glutes are designed to take the pressure off of other parts of your body when you exercise, and doing hip thrusts in any form will allow you to develop them. Whether you want to use a particular hip thrust machine, weights, or a band, you can improve our overall strength with these exercises.
It is important to set up correctly and have your back lined up against the bench. You should not move around or strain using your back to perform this exercise. You will simply allow your back to pivot around the bench.
Take a breath in through your nose before you begin, and exhale through your mouth. Decide beforehand how many reps you will do, and you just raise and lower your hips as you go through them.
If you want to add resistance between your legs, you can place a band around your thighs. This will keep them about hip-distance apart and allow you to work more muscles. The hip thrust is the best way to develop your glutes, which are essential for building strength. You can try any of these variations to get started.
The hip thrust is becoming more and more popular because people realize that the power, strength, and speed that comes from the glutes is essential to making your body strong.