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How to Do Hip Thrust Workouts: Variations and Video Sample

7 mins read
Taisiia Dobrozorova
Written by Taisiia Dobrozorova on May 10, 2022
Davi Santana, M.Sc.
Fact checked by Davi Santana, M.Sc.
The Unimeal team works to give you the most accurate and up-to-date information. All texts are reviewed by a panel of experts and editors and updated according to the latest research. Only evidenced-based and verified sources of leading medical publications and universities get into the article materials.

A hip thrust is a multifunctional movement that that powerfully activates buttocks muscles. It is suitable for both men and women. Its simplicity and the possibility of doing it at home make it very attractive!

Table of content

Are you not a fan of squats to tone priests and thigh muscles? Perhaps you just want to diversify the exercises below the waist? Whatever your answer is, hip thrusts can handle the problem!

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What does a hip thrust do?

The hip thrust is one of the best exercises to promote the strengthening and growth of the gluteal muscles. There are several options for doing it. You can also make it more difficult by adding weight over the hips using barbells, plates, or dumbbells.

Hip thrusts are not hard to do. However, you must adhere to the correct technique to achieve the desired results. It will also prevent injury and nasty lower back pain.

Proper hip thrust technique

  • Sit on the floor with your shoulder blades touching the bench. Place the weight on your hips and support it with your hands. 
  • The feet should be on the floor and shoulder-width apart.
  • When lifting the pelvis, the knees should form a right angle. Never tilt your head forward or backward. Don't strain your neck.
  • When you're ready, plant your heels on the floor and, using your glutes, lift your pelvis so that your head, neck, torso, buttocks, and legs form a right angle.
  • When lifting, do not use your back muscles. Otherwise, there is a risk of injury.
  • In the upper phase of the exercise, tighten the gluteal muscles to lift the hips and breathe out - stay in this position for at least 3 seconds.
  • Breathe in as you return to the starting position and repeat the exercise.

Benefits

Hip thrusts help strengthen and build gluteal muscles

Pumped-up buttocks are essential for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, both from an aesthetic and functional point of view. Strong glutes help with other workouts. 

One classic study demonstrated that a hip thrust activated more fibers in the gluteal muscles than squatting.

Increases strength in squats and deadlifts

If you are a beginner, pumping the gluteal muscles with squats or deadlifts will be more difficult for you than for professionals. The weaker gluteal muscles do not put enough pressure on the hips, so the psoas is activated.

Therefore, weak buttocks can reduce the depth of the squat, causing subsequent pain, muscle damage, and more severe muscle soreness the day after training.

Improves posture

The primary function of the gluteus maximus muscle is the extension of the hip joint4, helping, consequently, in keeping a right posture.. If you do not train your buttocks regularly, the muscles will weaken. As a result, for example, when you sit for a long time, you will have pain when lifting and maintaining the body in an upright position.

Hip thrust variations

There are many variations of hip thrusts. We'll look at some of them.

Classic hip thrust

This is the most basic type of hip thrust. It does not require any weighting or hip thrust machine. 

The only thing you have to remember is the correct angle and posture.

Hip thrust with a resistance band

  • Lie on the floor on your back, and place the mini expander on your hips just above your knees. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor, spread your knees to the sides, stretching the elastic band - this is the starting position.
  • While tensing your buttocks, raise your pelvis as high as possible, lower it back down and repeat. Keep your knees apart while doing this.
  • Move slowly and under control. At the top of the exercise, squeeze the buttocks to load them better. Don't plop back down to the floor, but lower yourself while maintaining tension.

If you have a long expander, you can tie it in a knot in the middle and perform the movement with a mini rubber band.

Hip thrust machine

You can use either a leg curl machine or a Smith machine for this exercise.

With a leg curl machine

  • Lie down with shoulder blades on the edge of the bench. Spread your legs shoulder-width apart, and press your feet to the floor. The roller is located on the line of the hip bone. 
  • Breathe out with the effort of the buttocks, lift the pelvis to parallel with the body. Hold for 2 seconds at the top and squeeze your buttocks tightly. Feel the tension in your muscles. 
  • Lower the pelvis slowly and under control, and make sure that the tension not go away! Do not thump like a cut willow, and do not sit down on the floor!

With a Smith's simulator 

Put a bench next to the simulator and lie down on it so that the fulcrum falls on the shoulder blades and the bar falls on the line of the hip bone. We recommend that you keep your hands on the bench - this will make it easier to lift the weight. 

Starting position:

  • Legs are bent and stand shoulder-width apart.
  • Socks are deployed.
  • The pelvis is an overhang.

With the tension of the gluteal muscles, raise the hips to a straight line with the body. 

At the final point, we linger for a few seconds, stretching the muscles, then slowly lower ourselves without relaxing.

Barbell hip thrusts

A girl doing a hip thrust with a barbell
A girl doing a hip thrust with a barbell

As a weight, you can use a barbell, dumbbells, a canister of water or sand, and any other object with which it will be convenient to work out.

The execution technique coincides with the classic version of the hip thrusts. Barbell hip thrusts favor greater activation of glutes.

Note: for beginners, it's best to perform the classic hip thrust workouts with less weight. Over time, you can add weight and spice up your workout with variations on this workout.

How to do the hip thrust at home

The exercise is not very difficult and does not require a lot of equipment. But for some, even a perfectly flat bench is not the most common apartment equipment.

So let's look at how to perform a hip thrust at home if you have nothing but a rug and diligence. Adopt the following technique.

  • Squeezing your buttocks, lift your pelvis off the floor, and fully straighten at the hip joint. 
  • First, the pelvis goes up, then the back comes off, maintaining a neutral position - without deflection. 
  • Hold at the top for 1-2 seconds while squeezing your buttocks. Then slowly lower back down and repeat.
Performing a hip thrust at home
Performing a hip thrust at home

You can diversify the classic variation with two of its modifications:

  • in the initial position, hold the feet together. As a result, when lifting the pelvis, the knees will also be brought together;
  • at the top point, bring and spread our knees.

FAQ

How many hip thrusts a day?

We recommend doing hip thrusts in 3 sets of 10 reps each. Of course, before the exercise, you need a warm-up. You can lift the pelvis without a load. If the body has already adapted, you can vary the sets and repetitions.

Here are some good combinations:

  • 3 sets, 10 reps;
  • 3 sets, 12, then 10 and 8 repetitions and increase in weights;
  • 3 sets, 5 reps; 3 sets, 5, 3 and 1 rep;
  • 3 sets, 8, 5 and 3 repetitions;
  • 3 sets, 8 reps;
  • 4 sets, 10, 8, 6 and 15 repetitions;
  • 4 sets, 10 reps; 2 sets of 20 repetitions;
  • 1 set, 50 reps;
  • any number of approaches, only 50 repetitions;
  • 3 sets, in each possible number of repetitions and the same weight.

You can perform hip thrust workouts once a week or more often. If you use light weights, this is a proper glute exercise before squats or deadlifts. It is also good to select a day when you'll perform a hip thrust at full strength with maximum weights.

How long should you do hip thrusts?

The clock shows the time
The clock shows the time

Work out according to the above scheme to notice the effect of hip thrusts. You'll see progress in a few weeks.

The hip thrust isn't a core exercise, so it's wise to combine it with other workouts so that it is only part of the workout. That's when you'll obtain the maximum effect.

Does the hip thrust exercise work?

Briefly, yes, this is a very effective exercise. Of course, it all depends on your goals. But if you want to pump up the butt or balance the weight below the belt, then any variations of the hip thrust workout will be a great solution.

A hip thrust on two legs engages the gluteus maximus muscles by 23-31% and on one leg - by 51-55%. This is more than in squats (up to 14%) and lunges (23–26%), which are constantly used to pump priests.

The bottom line

The hip thrust is a simple, but unique exercise to include in your training plan. If you are a beginner, you'd better start with a lighter weight and gradually increase it. 

It is also important to fully master the execution technique, which can take a lot of time. Choose the option of exercise and equipment that is convenient for you, and enjoy your tightened buttocks!

How do you feel about my article?

Unimeal does not diagnose or suggest treatments. Any description of the diet, training plan or supplement should be discussed with your current physician or nutritionist. This article does not address specific conditions and is simply meant to provide general information on healthcare topics. Following any advice is at your own initiative and does not impose any responsibility on the blog authors for your health and safety.

Sources:

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1.
W. K. Neto, E. G. Soares, T. L. Vieira, et al. (2020, 24 February). Gluteus Maximus Activation during Common Strength and Hypertrophy Exercises: A Systematic Review. Journal of Sports, Science & Medicine. PMID:32132843
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B. Contreras, A. D. Vigotsky, B. J. Schoenfeld, et al. (2015, December). A Comparison of Gluteus Maximus, Biceps Femoris, and Vastus Lateralis Electromyographic Activity in the Back Squat and Barbell Hip Thrust Exercises. Journal of Applied Biomechanics. DOI:10.1123/jab.2014-0301
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K. C. G. Ng, J. R. T. Jeffers, P. E. Beaulé. (2019, December). Hip Joint Capsular Anatomy, Mechanics, and Surgical Management. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American Volume. DOI:10.2106/jbjs.19.00346
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W. K. Neto, T. L. Vieira, E. F. Gama. (2019, June). Barbell Hip Thrust, Muscular Activation and Performance: A Systematic Review. Journal of Sports, Science & Medicine. PMID:31191088
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A. D. Iacono, J. Padulo, T. Bešlija, et al. (2021, March). Barbell Hip-Thrust Exercise: Test-Retest Reliability and Correlation With Isokinetic Performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. DOI:10.1519/jsc.0000000000002779