BlogPhysical ActivityHow to Do Hip Thrust Workouts: Variations and Video Sample

How to Do Hip Thrust Workouts: Variations and Video Sample

7 mins read
Taisiia Dobrozorova
Written by Taisiia Dobrozorova on May 10, 2022
Pavel Balezin
Fact checked by Pavel Balezin

A hip thrust is a multifunctional movement that can locally work the muscles of the buttocks. It is suitable for both males and females. The simplicity of the exercise and the possibility of doing it at home makes it very attractive!

Table of contents

Are you not a fan of squats to tone the muscles of the priests and thighs? 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 workout do?

The hip thrust is one of the best exercises that is specifically aimed at strengthening and growing the gluteal muscles1. There are several options for doing it, and you can also make it more difficult by adding weight over the hips using barbells, plates, or dumbbells.

Hip thrust workouts 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. The position of the legs is shoulder-width apart, and turn the socks slightly.
  • 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 exhale - stay in this position for at least 3 seconds.
  • Inhale 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, not only from an aesthetic but also from a functional point of view. Strong glutes help with other workouts. 

One authoritative study2 even proved that a hip thrust activated more muscle fibers in the gluteal muscles than squatting.

Increases strength in squats and deadlifts

If you are a beginner, then pumping the gluteal muscles with squats3 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, which is also for posture. If you do not train your buttocks regularly, the muscles will weaken and contract. 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 indeed many variations of hip thrusts. We'll look at some of them.

Classic hip thrust

This is the most basic type of hip thrust that we've described above. 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, then 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

A hip thrust machine is a free weight machine. You can usually 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 simulator 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. 
  • With the effort of the buttocks on the exhale, 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 from the muscles does not go away! Do not thump like a cut willow, and do not sit down at the bottom of the exercise on the floor! Repeat as many times as needed.

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 lifting 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

Exercise with weight on the hips more loads the glutes and pumps the butt faster5

As a weight, you can use a barbell6, 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.

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 make a hip thrust at home if you have nothing but a rug and diligence. To perform it, use 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 to the loads, 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 set aside 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

To notice the effect of hip thrusts, do a workout according to the above scheme. 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 workout 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!

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Sources:

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By choosing high-quality sources, we make sure that all articles on the Unimeal blog are reliable and trustworthy

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:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc7039033/
2.
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:https://doi.org/10.1123/jab.2014-0301
3.
M. Barbalho, V. Coswig, D. Souza, et al. (2020, May). Back Squat vs. Hip Thrust Resistance-training Programs in Well-trained Women. International Journal of Sports Medicine. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1055/a-1082-1126
4.
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:https://doi.org/10.2106/jbjs.19.00346
5.
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:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc6544005/
6.
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:https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0000000000002779