Category Archives: Glute Training

The Jane Fonda Experiment

Being The Glute Guy‘s girlfriend has its drawbacks. My fiancee Diana constantly finds herself serving as a guinea pig when I want to test out a new hypothesis. In September of 2013, I shared with you The Hip Thrust Only Experiment, where I altered Diana’s training from a routine focused on squats and deadlifts to a routine focused on hip thrusts. The results? No weight change (which was to be expected since her diet didn’t change), no change in hip or thigh measurements (I predicted greater hip size and lesser thigh size, but it was only a 6-week experiment and she had been doing hip thrusts during her powerlifting training), and a reduction in waist circumference (presumably due to less erector spinae activation). This was a cool experiment, since it showed that it is indeed possible to maintain glute size if one drops out squats and deadlifts and keeps hammering hip thrusts.

Diana Hip Thrust

Diana Thrusting

Recently, I decided to conduct another informal n=1 experiment. For the past five months, Diana has been away – her clinical rotations for nurse anesthesia school are scattered across the United States. Due to her travels, she hasn’t been able to train with me. She also doesn’t have a gym membership, so she hadn’t been doing any weight training, just jogging, hiking, and some bodyweight squats and single leg hip thrusts twice per week when she jogged. Six weeks ago, we were reunited for our friends’ wedding, and to my dismay I saw that her butt had shrunken significantly. Diana was the one to point this out, and she asked me what she could do to maintain her glute size since she hates losing her booty. I wish I’d taken measurements at this time, but I didn’t have access to a tape measure.

High Frequency Glute Training Does Nathalia's Glutes Good

High Frequency Glute Training Does Nathalia’s Glutes Good

I advised her to just start doing Jane Fonda style exercise everyday. Some of you will recall that my friend Nathalia Melo trains her glutes almost daily, so I was eager to see how this strategy would pan out. Keep in mind that Diana doesn’t have any access to weights, so I told her to simply alternate between a bunch of floor glute exercises, spending around 20 minutes per day targeting the glutes. She decided to superset her training, performing one set of each of the following around exercises 5 days per week (it takes her around 20 total minutes to complete):

1A. side lying clam – 30 reps
1B. side lying hip abduction – 30 reps

2A. single leg glute bridge – 30 reps
2B. quadruped hip extension from elbows – 30 reps

3. side lying clam raise – 20 reps

4A. quadruped leg swing – 25 reps
4B. fire hydrant – 25 reps

Note that the “A” and “B” denote supersets. Say you’re supersetting single leg glute bridges with quadruped hip extensions. You’d perform 30 reps of single leg glute bridges with the right leg, then 30 reps of quadruped hip extensions with the right leg without resting, then repeat with the left leg. Around 2-3 minutes of rest is taken between each set or superset.

I’m currently visiting her in Montana, and I’m astonished at the rapid results. In just six weeks, her butt is markedly bigger and rounder. If I had to guess, I’d say that she’s easily put on 1-1.5 inches in this short time-frame (keep in mind that she has a muscle memory effect going on due to her prior training). In fact, her butt is almost back to full size just from doing high rep Jane Fonda exercise. The largest her hips have ever been is 37.5″, and this is when she was squatting 135 x 20 reps, deadlifting 135 x 20 reps, and glute bridging 135 x 20 reps (she could also squat 225 lbs for 1 rep, deadlift 265 lbs for 1 rep, and hip thrust 275 x 12 reps). As you can see, her glutes have reclaimed their size from high rep basic bodyweight exercises performed in the supine, side-lying, and quadruped positions. Not only that, her waist is down an inch (presumably due to the lack of erector and abdominal activation). Here is how her measurements have changed over the past year and a half.


HERE is a video of Diana’s first and only powerlifting meet, HERE is a video of Diana’s low volume squat/deadlift focus training, HERE is a video of Diana’s hip thrust focus training, and HERE is a video from 4 years ago where Diana showcased a bunch of bodyweight glute exercises.

After my PhD is completed, I would love to conduct a study comparing the effects of 1) powerlifting style training (primarily squats and deadlifts twice per week), 2) Jane Fonda style training (high rep floor work five times per week), and 3) Bret Contreras style glute training (heavy, medium, and light variations of hip thrusts, squats, deads, back extensions, lunges, and lateral band work four times per week) on glute hypertrophy in women. My prediction is that powerlifting style training and Jane Fonda style training would lead to similar results in glute growth, but my methods would lead to even greater results. But of course, I could be wrong. One thing that’s great about conducting research is that you always end up learning something in the process. It’s important to realize that there are multiple ways to effectively train the glutes. Don’t knock Jane Fonda, in situations where no weights are available, her methods are surprisingly effective.

Buns of Steel Works!

Hip Thruster Update

Hi fitness friends!

It’s been just over a year since I launched the Hip Thruster unit, so I felt that an update was in order. Originally, I assumed that Hip Thrusters would mostly be purchased by women seeking better butts from their own homes, but there are now Hip Thruster units around the world in gyms ranging from dingy garages to pro sports team training facilities. Don’t get me wrong, I still think that Hip Thruster’s greatest application is in helping women build their backsides due to the possibility of daily band hip thrusts, but I also believe that every pro sports team should have several Hip Thrusters for ease of hip thrusting with the athletes (assuming space permits).

Hip Thruster

Thrusting like a maniac!

Strong glutes are imperative in sports due to their contribution to jumping, cutting, sprinting, and twisting/turning/throwing/swinging/striking. However, the glutes don’t just contribute to performance, they also help prevent injuries from occurring since they protect the spine, the anterior hips, the knees, and the hamstrings. Personally, I believe that stronger glutes will allow the hamstrings to better express themselves during sprinting, thus creating some synergy for speed. Several USA-based professional teams have already purchased units in sports ranging from baseball, to basketball, to football, to hockey, and pro teams in other countries have purchased the Hip Thruster as well.

We now have a USA-based company and a UK-based Hip Thruster company. Recently, there has been a lot happening at Hip Thruster, including great testimonials from pro rugby teams in Europe, new shipping arrangements to Alaska and Hawaii, slashed shipping prices outside the USA, and new team members!

Hip Thruster

Winning Rugby Players use Hip Thrusters

Most strength coaches would agree that stronger glutes mean faster sprinting speeds, which is important in professional team sports such as rugby. I’m delighted to see the Northampton Saints using the Hip Thruster. They were the winners of the rugby 2013-14 Aviva Premiership in the UK. Their lead strength coach, Marc Finney (@Marc_Finney) definitely knows how to build fast, strong and capable rugby players!

Northampton Saints training on a Hip Thruster

Northampton Saints rugby team in pre-season training making the Hip Thruster look small!

Here’s what Marc had to say about the units:

“The hip thrust is an important exercise we use for developing hip extension strength, and the Hip Thruster units have made the exercise safer and easier to perform. We especially like the additional band attachments, which allow for accommodated resistance throughout the full range of movement.

The quality of the units is impressive. They are sturdy, easily transportable and large enough to fit even our biggest team members. Everyone finds them more comfortable than our previous set up.

As S&C Coaches we need to have a large repertoire of exercises that can be modified and manipulated to meet the needs of our athletes. For our load compromised athletes that have a history of knee, joint or back issues the Hip Thrust has been a key exercise for our lower body strength development.

Many traditional lower body strength exercises place significant axial loading throughout the body. With the Hip Thruster units we have been able to make significant lower body strength gains without the joint stress and loads usually associated with traditional heavy compound movements.

Our bigger athletes, particularly our props, have been able to load the Hip Thruster up, including the additional bands, to great effect. Ultimately, the units enable us to maximise our glute training and make substantial strength gains without compromising our athletes’ backs and joints.” – Marc Finney, Lead Strength Coach, Northampton Saints

As well as the Northampton Saints, Hip Thruster units are also being used by Ulster Rugby in Northern Ireland and the Genoa CFC football team in Italy.

“Our team really enjoy training on our new Hip Thruster units … It’s made a big difference to our hip thrusts in training. They give us the support we need to build stronger glutes for faster sprinting!” – Genoa CFC

Your team can get the same benefits as these pro teams by ordering a unit today. For delivery to the USA click HERE. For any other location around the world, click HERE.

Genoa CFC training on a Hip Thruster unit

Genoa CFC benefitting from band resisted hip thrusts

Easier Shipping to Alaska and Hawaii!

I’m excited to announce that we can now ship to Alaska and Hawaii from the USA. If you live in Alaska or Hawaii, you can get your unit HERE.

Hip Thruster

New CEO for Hip Thruster Rest of World!

Now that the Hip Thruster business has grown outside the USA, I’ve brought someone else in to run it. From September 1st of this year, Anna-Maria has taken over as the CEO of Hip Thruster Rest of World.

It’s not a big change. Anna-Maria was already managing the customer service, stock management, and finance functions for the whole Hip Thruster business. As of now, though, I’m letting her call the shots on how we put Hip Thrusters in gyms outside the USA.

You can follow Anna-Maria on Twitter (@HipThrusterCEO).

Up to 55% off Shipping Prices!

Anna-Maria has hit the ground running.

Shipping costs were a real problem for our customers living outside the USA. So from today she has slashed the cost of shipping outside the UK. For some countries, by as much as 55%!

If the previously steep cost of shipping was stopping you from investing in your Hip Thruster, check out our new shipping prices HERE.

Shipping costs for new countries are being added as we receive enquiries. If you want a unit and your country is not listed, please tell us.

Please Share Photos and Videos with the Hip Thruster Team

People often tag me when they post up their hip thrust videos. Unfortunately, the team doesn’t have access to my Facebook page and sometimes I’m too busy to relay the message to them.

Since we all like to see the Hip Thruster units being used, please also tweet @HipThrusterCEO or message the Hip Thruster Facebook page. Thanks!

Hip Thruster Facebook


Always Be Thrusting

Hi Bret, I’m so discouraged. I just checked the dimensions of the hip thruster and I just don’t have enough space in my tiny San Francisco apartment. I belong to a small gym that only has a smith machine (no barbells). Can I still get awesome results with a smith machine for hip thrusts? Thanks, Maria

Hi Maria,

First off, the Hip Thruster can be rolled underneath a bed (with just the back pad sticking out) stacked in a closet, or stacked against a wall on the balcony, so you might be okay in that regard.

But please don’t sweat this. Just make sure you’re doing some sort of hip thrusting. Please click on:

The Evolution of the Hip Thrust (updated)

…to see all of the different hip thrust variations. There are so many possibilities now (the link includes over 100 videos of hip thrust variations). With all the different options, you can always be thrusting.

We could argue about what type of hip thrust is best, but I suspect that the differences in EMG activation wouldn’t be that significant between all of them. The important thing is that you’re regularly performing hip thrusts.

If you have a Hip Thruster, you can do band, barbell, or single leg hip thrusts from home.

Hip Thruster

If you’re at a gym that has a power rack, you can do band hip thrusts out of the rack.

band hip thrust

If you’re at a gym that has sturdy benches or aerobic steps, you can do barbell hip thrusts.

hip thrust

If you’re at a gym that just has a smith machine, you can do smith machine hip thrusts.


If you’re at a gym that only has leg machines and no free weights, you can do hip thrusts off of the leg extension or lying leg curl machine.

leg ext

If you’re at home or on vacation, you can do single leg hip thrusts or partner hip thrusts off the couch (I’ve had my girlfriend straddle me while I hip thrusted her for 3 sets of 20 reps while on vacation, and I recently told a client to glute bridge her husband for 3 sets of 10 reps when she was on vacation).

Partner hip thrust

Partner hip thrust

Band hip thrusts can be performed daily. Barbell hip thrusts can be performed 3 times per week to hit low, medium, and high rep ranges. Single leg hip thrusts can be tossed into the mix once per week for variety. In summary, just make sure that you’re hip thrusting frequently for maximal results.


The Band Kneeling Hip Thrust

A few months ago I showed the band standing hip thrust, and I’ve also showed the kneeling barbell squat in a prior article. I first learned about the kneeling hip thrust from physical therapist Mike Reinold, but I assumed it was a wimpy rehabilitation exercise so I never tried it. Another reason that contributed to me not trying it was that I felt that it would be suboptimal compared to a supine hip thrust. I still believe this, but variety and versatility are always a good thing, so it’s a useful exercise to have in your arsenal.

Band Kneeling Hip Thrusts

I recently decided to give it a whirl and I was surprised to find that I love it. You can get some really good levels of glute activation at end range hip extension with this variation, and I think it’s more effective in terms of activating the glutes than both kneeling squats and band standing hip thrusts. Watch the video below, give them a try, and see what you think!