A Strong Booty is a Healthy Booty

By April 10, 2012 Glute Training

Men are stronger than women. This is especially true for the upper body. However, when calculating relative strength on lower body lifts, the differences between men and women aren’t as drastic. And when it comes to glutes, I’m not sure if men are stronger.

I’ve noticed that women’s glutes can get VERY strong – stronger than those of most men when you factor in bodyweight. I’ve trained a handful of women who could bust out double-bodyweight hip thrusts for multiple reps. And a strong booty is a healthy booty!

The Sexy 225lb Hip Thrust Club

Want some proof as to the strength of women’s glutes? Here are 9 of my female friends performing sets of 225-pound hip thrusts.

Rachel Guy – 225 x 4

Michelle Drielsma – 225 x 6

Marianne Kane – 225 x 6, 225 x 5

Jen Sinkler – 225 x 6

Karli Stander – 225 x 3, 225 x 3

Jen Comas Keck – 225 x 8, 225 x 6

Molly Galbraith – 225 x 12

Christine Beauchamp – 225 x 11, 225 x 15

Kellie Davis – 225 x 8

When I had my training studio, my female clients’ glutes could out-work the glutes of most male commercial gym-goers. Here’s a funny story:

Kellie Davis was recently training in her gym and a popular bodybuilder (he’s competed in the Mr. Olympia 6 times) saw her performing barbell glute bridges with 285 lbs. He wasn’t familiar with the exercise so he asked if he could give it a whirl. He got underneath the bar and remained stapled to the floor. His glutes couldn’t budge the weight, even though he weighs twice that of Kellie. His workout partners were cracking up and making fun of him. For the next hour he approached her several times telling her he’d figured out her “secret.” He assumed that she was using some secret technique since her glutes couldn’t possibly be stronger than his, right?

Wrong. Kellie’s “secret” is that she’s been bridging and thrusting heavy for a couple of years now and her glutes are incredibly strong. Apparently this bodybuilder is going to stick with them each week and try to build his strength up, and within six months he’ll undoubtedly be hoisting up 4-500 pounds. The “secret” is hard work and consistency.

If you’re a woman and you want strong glutes and incredible curves, then work your way into The Sexy 225lb Hip Thrust Club. Start out with bodyweight. When that gets easy, move up to the bar. Then add a couple of tens so you’re using 65 lbs. Eventually you’ll be using 135 lbs. Don’t get complacent. Move up to 155, then 185, then 205, and finally 225. It takes time, but if you’re consistent you will join Rachel, Michelle, Marianne, Jen, Karli, Jen, Molly, Christine, and Kellie in this exclusive club. Good luck!

62 Comments

  • tempest sharp says:

    this is very inspiring, however i’m still on the floor with my bb. how do you knowwhen you are ready to rest your shoulders on a bench……..

    • Bret says:

      Tempest, do both. Keep doing bb glute bridges from the floor, and start doing bodyweight hip thrusts from a bench. Gradually add weight. Just make sure you feel it in your glutes!

      • tempest sharp says:

        and if i’m not feeling in in the glutes, what am i doing wrong. usually i feel something the day of. i am squeezing glutes on the way up.
        i’m up to 70 pounds on the floor. I have been on the bench a couple of times, but i don’t feel like i’m doing it right, or maybe it just feels awkward, since it’s a move i’m not used to.

        • Derrick Blanton says:

          Hi, Tempest, not Bret, but a couple of suggestions:

          Try to establish a mind-muscle connection with the glutes BEFORE the bar moves. Get the MMC with each glute separately, then together. Put a hand on each glute that you are activating and feel for contraction.

          Here are a few cues:

          1. “Pack the hip”. Try to suck the upper leg into the pelvis. You will feel your abs co-contracting to stabilize.

          2. “Spin the hip”. While pressing your heel into the ground visualize the rotating the upper leg to the outside. Don’t think about pushing the knee out, rather think about pushing the upper thigh out, like your are screwing the hip into the socket.

          3. “Crack the walnut”. Figure this one out, ha ha..

          If these fail, try doing a bird dog with 90-degree bent knee, or lay prone and do reverse leg lifts, holding them until your glutes burn with lactic acid. With them still burning, return to hip thrust position.

          The idea is to establish your MMC, and then make sure to pre-tense the glutes before every rep.

          So, it’s pack first, and only then raise the bar, hips. I sincerely hope this helps, and good luck!

  • Satya says:

    I have been following your advice for a while, Bret. My glutes got so much better than ever before and what is really great is that it helps tremendously with my back pain ( as in get rid of my back pain ).
    I am still a beginner ( I do bridges with 65lb or so ), because my posterior chain was incredibly weak after years of being ignored and way too many hours of sitting. I am really happy I could find so much info on your website, that I already applied and I can see the results.
    I am looking forward to get your book that’s due in August this year. Keep up the good work !

    • Bret says:

      Thank you Satya! Keep up the great work and the kind words are much appreciated. 🙂

      • Satya says:

        If I’ll ever be brave enough, I will send you a before-after set of pictures. I thought I was just genetically designed with an invisible butt. Following your plan, I just proved myself wrong and I am quite amazed by this. I didn’t think it was possible to have round glutes when my whole life they looked pretty flat. Now I look in the mirror and I am impressed. Mind that was not the reason I got into exercising my glutes. A couple of years ago, when I got fed up of my aches and pains, I had a moment of “enlightenment” and realized that no matter how advanced intellectually and technologically the human race would ever be, the human bodies were NOT designed to sit on their behinds for hours, but be active and in motion.
        I became very aware of the fact that my muscles were way weak, some weaker than others, I definitely had dominant quads and my whole posture was out of balance, which led to all the subsequent pains and problems.
        I am glad I woke up. Better late, than never. I realized I had to re-learn how to walk, how to stand, how to bend, how to squat etc. I am on my way of getting better and I am getting better, accepting the fact that I can’t undo in one year the damage I’ve done in tens of years. So, slow and steady is my speed.
        I got rid of my back pain as I said above and got some nice ” side effects” ( hee hee ).
        So yes, I’ve got my eyes on you, young man :), I have learned so much from your articles and your website and hip thrusts rule :). Wish you all the bests and keep sharing your knowledge and your ideas. They might change some people’s lives just as they changed mine :).

  • Shanna says:

    These chicks all rock. I need to get a video of me next time I do these. I got 300lbs for 10 last week and yes I am a girl and a mom!! This is by far my favorite glute exercise. I started last year with 100 lbs and now can do 300. My next goal is 315 for 10.

    • Bret says:

      Shanna, would definitely like to see a vid. Would want to make sure you use a full ROM. Assuming your form is spot on then I am impressed! Perhaps the strongest booty of the bunch!

      • Shanna says:

        I am a stickler for good form and I use full range of motion. I had to order my own pad for the bar – the ones at my gym suck. My hip bones were bruised from my last hip thrust session. So as soon as it comes in I will video and send to you!! I told Jen Comas Keck about my lift and she’s now challenged to lift 300. I love it. She’s one of my inspirations to lift heavier. I was actually surprised when I did it. I kept adding weight and after every set of 10 I would think “I think I could go even heavier” and I did. I promise to get the video as soon as I get my new pad!!

      • Shanna says:

        I am sending you an email with my videos. I did sets of 225, 275, 300 and I PR’d with a set of 315 for 4. I am putting the videos on youtube as well.

  • Deb says:

    I have been a booty-bandwagoner ever since I was introduced to your blogs late last year and now I preach glute-bridges and hip thrusts to anyone who’ll listen (even when they give me funny looks). I am very close to joining the Sexy 225lb Hip Thrust Club (90kg x 10) and would be very chuffed to be in the company of these awesome women:)

  • Taleen says:

    Awesome collection of BB hip thrusts from some amazing ladies. Definitely throwing these into my next 4 week periodization and I WILL earn my Sexy 225 Hip Thrust Club badge of honor. Great feature as always Bret!

    • Bret says:

      Somebody’s a little over-confident…4 weeks is all you need?

      Haha jk I’m sure you can do it. Thanks Taleen!

      • Taleen says:

        Will power can work wonders… and I failed to mention reps. One day I will work up to the rep range of the above great glutes ladies

  • Aaron says:

    Bret- you mention this with your ladies. Have you seen good results with guys training this?

    • Bret says:

      Hell yeah I have. The glutes can’t get too strong, and end-range hip extension strength is lacking in most people. Backs stay healthy, quad dominance is avoided, glutes look great, etc. Guys love them too they just don’t want to admit it 🙂

  • mike says:

    Brett,
    I’ve been doing bw hip thrust for several weeks and want to start adding power/strength. Sprinting and jumping is more important to me then aesthetics. I want to know what type of progression I should try. Mix in bridges? Reps?sets? How much can the glutes take?
    Cheers

    • Bret says:

      Mike, I’m a fan of Kellie Baggett’s programs for average folks. 2-3 full body workouts per week. An example would be vertical jumps, short sprints, squats, RDL’s, incline press, chins. Another would be vertical jumps, medium sprints, front squats, hip thrusts, close grip bench, rows. Basically, throw in some power/speed work and then some heavy strength work. And the glutes can take a lot more than people think.

  • Krista says:

    Oh my god, all these athletes are incredibly strong and inspiring. I am in awe of their grit and power.

  • Alexandra says:

    Very impressive and inspiring ladies! My glutes are strong (thank you Bret for introducing me to barbell glute bridges)but I’m nowhere near or 125 for that matter. Working my way up though.

    I too want to know, when do you move from the floor to elevated shoulders on bench?

  • rebecca says:

    I’ve been trying the Glute bridges with about 40kg and although the weight is no problem from a strength side, the bar really hurts my hip bones. Is there any way of avoiding this?

    • Bret says:

      Rebecca – 3 options:

      1. Get a Hampton thick bar pad
      2. Get an Airex Balance pad
      3. Make sure you’re using proper placement (low abdomen just above pubic bone) and deal with it, knowing that the pain will eventually subside

      Hope that helps!

      • Nicole says:

        Bret,
        Speaking about proper placement–at my gym we wrap the bar in a yoga mat for padding, so there’s quite a bit of bulk there. When I moved from a 90 lb DB to a 135 lb BB, I rolled the bar right over my pubic bone–talk about pain! Since then I have kept the bar a lot lower– it rests closer to the top of my quad. Should I be avoiding this and trying to keep the bar higher up on the hips/low ab area?

  • Andrea says:

    Thanks for this! I’ve been following the GGS site for awhile and these ladies kick ass. I am not anywhere near them but hope to be someday!

    This looks awesome and I plan on working it in this week.

  • Ted says:

    Hi Bret!

    I have a client who has a banged up right knee. I know you are no medical doctor, but maybe you have experience with such a type of condition. Two physical therapists he has seen couldn’t help (for whatever reason).

    His left knee is fine, his right knee hurts on step-ups for example but only during the eccentric. When he lowers down and is slightly above parallel, there is a click and it hurts him a little (on the inside). Most squat variations are fine, most of the time.

    Leg curls with any serious weight kill him, not right away but some hours after training.

    Sometimes, not always, deadlifts and their variations hurt him. The Hip Thrust doesn’t hurt him at all as far as we have experimented with it. Do you, in your experience, believe that the hip thrust could be enough for his hamstrings and glutes or will imbalances occur with this approach?

    I would be very grateful for any piece of advice. Thank you so much!

    Ted

    • Bret says:

      Ted, if it hurts, don’t do it. Focus on what he can do pain-free, and there are always plenty of good exercises that you can find that he can do. Yes, hip thrusts and squats could provide balanced development. Ideally he’d improve upon his situation and be able to do more exercises over time, but if all he could ever do was squats and thrusts, he’d be just fine.

  • Bridgette says:

    This is perfect. I recently added bb glute bridges to my work out. Just last week bb hip thrusters. Now I have a new goal…225!

  • Glenda says:

    Fantastic!

    I have yet to find a way to successfully perform this exercise without pain across my hips (like Rebecca) and/or pelvis. I have even gone so far as to wrap an entire length of yoga mat around the bar to no avail.

    However, because of this blog, I will thrust today!

    • Bret says:

      Glenda, I’ve said this time and time again – get a Hampton thick bar pad. You’ll feel no pain whatsoever. An Airex balance pad works well too but many women don’t like it and prefer the Hampton thick bar pad. This is a small fee to pay if you’re going to be thrusting for years to come!

    • Christine says:

      As a follow up to this post, if you cannot get a hold of one of those Hampton pads in time, you could do what I did in the video by folding up a thin yoga mat to sandwich between your hips and the bar. It will still hurt and may leave some bruising with heavier weights, HOWEVER, it is still much more effective than a towel or a regular gym pad by far.

  • icandi says:

    when you graduate from bodyweight do you use any weights in between before using the bar? like dumbells or something? and also how much does/should the bar weigh? thanks and I’m so grateful for your site!

    • Bret says:

      Icandi – When you can do 3 x 20 bodyweight then you can probably move up to the bar. Every once in a while I’ll use a 25lb dumbbell for a female client before moving up to the bar. The bar weighs 45 lbs. Best of luck!

  • Steve says:

    Hey Brett, I am still amazed that I am the only one doing hip thrust at LA Fitness in Boca Raton. However, I did see a professional ice skater doing them. I watch these trainers killing these women with every glute exercise know to man or woman. I am trying to get the word out as this is the most effective exercise!! I am finally up to 205LBS and 20 reps. I also utilize the 5 and 20 sec count between reps when I am really feeling strong. Thanks for the continued updates. By the way women have always been stronger than us guys. They are just tactful in letting us think we are.

    Steve

  • Maria says:

    I’m truly inspired. Just joined your blog site & I’m looking forward to your articles. Thanks you,

    Maria

  • Linda says:

    Hey Bret!
    Wow! I had no idea that I was part of an ‘Exclusive Club’! Darn, wish I got in on this tribute! Thank you Bret for Hip Thrusts! 😉 Hope all is well with you back in good ‘ol USA. 🙂
    On holiday back home too, back to NZ winter next week & hip thrusts to keep me warm. lol 🙂
    Linda

  • Phil says:

    Steve what are you after? Seriously though Brett, if you can do hip thrusters what are your thoughts/reasons why you do glute bridges. Isn’ it just a progression thing?

    • Bret says:

      Phil, good question. I think of it as a variation, not a progression (for advanced). When you hip thrust regularly, you still like to bb glute bridge every once in a while as it gives a different feel. Sort of like how it’s fun to rack pull every once in a while…it’s a partial that lets you use more weight.

  • Magda 'Kowalski' says:

    Great read and watch!!! Nice to see all these super strong and fit girls brake the boundaries! I’m at the 100lbs stage and progressing :-)) so I’m hoping to join them pretty soon! Thanx Brett!

  • Derrick Blanton says:

    BC, these ladies are unbelievable! You have unleashed an army of hip-thrusting female warriors!!

    Dammit, guys we have to fight back. Who’s with me??!! Ha ha..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8ABtAVcFsk

  • Maria says:

    Hi Bret! How many sets and repetitions do you recommend?

    • Bret says:

      Hi Maria, this is a separate blogpost…depends on training status and goals. Beginners can do 3 x 10-20, advanced can do 5 x 3 and anything else. I have my girls do low reps, medium reps, high reps, constant tension method, rest-pause method, pause method, and isohold method. They do bb glute bridges, hip thrusts, and single leg hip thrusts.

  • Bret says:

    Wow folks! Just checked Google Analytics – this was my most popular blogpost ever written. Thanks so much to the beautiful ladies who obliged my requests and sent me vids. So glad it was so well-received.

  • Andy says:

    BC-

    I love me some hip thrusts but I want to make sure i’m using my glutes for these as well as squats, deads instead of overactivating the hamstrings. Do you have any tips/tricks/exercises for glute activation? Eric Cressy has written about this but you are the glute guy so I wanted your take.

    Keep up the great work.

  • Alex says:

    Wow, just read the article and realized that I am part of this club!! I guess I need to do a video 🙂

  • Julie Wilcoxson says:

    Hey Bret,
    I follow your blog and have learned quite a bit from you. I am proud to announce I hip thrusted 225lbs 10x for 2 sets today. YAH!!! I am a strong believer in strong glutes and your hip thrust club got me motivated. Thanks Bret!!!

  • Melody says:

    This is great inspiration. About 8 montgs ago I started a very aggressive self defense class. I’m 28, a 5’3″ mother of 2 and only weigh 100 lbs. Ground fighting was a sad spectacle of me getting thrown around and pinned. I’ve been small all my life but I was done letting that mean I have to be weak.
    I started lifting and bought the strong curves book on a recommendation of a friend. Before I even saw this post I made my goal 250 lbs.
    I figured if I could bridge 250 I could bridge any average opponent off of me.
    I’m doing 3 sets of 30 reps with 45 lbs and that feels great. I’m eager to move up and this gives me a good guide for that progression.
    The people in fighting are already seeing a difference.
    I will be strong!

  • Alyssa Recny says:

    Bret–
    Hoping to ask you some quick advice based off these videos and also your Glute Max Strength e-book I’ve been working out of.
    I’m 5’2” and started hip thrusting @135lbs with no experience this past August after having 3 hip surgeries back in 2011-2013. I started using a 12” box at my gym as my hip flexors felt too tight to handle a standard bench. I’ve been playing around with form and technique at the gym.
    This past month I graduated to bench which set me back in weight and reps by a few pounds but I’ve worked my way up to a PR of 175lbs for 2X6 and am currently 125lbs but feel much stronger.
    My questions for you are:
    1. Is it feasible to work towards 225+ at my weight?
    2. At 5’2”, I sometimes feel like the bench is still a bit too much height for me. Am I lacking confidence or might that be the case and could I injure myself?
    3. I am curious if it makes a big difference to have a very short rest pause between each rep and reset the PPT at the bottom versus some of the women’s techniques in your videos where they are not quite tapping the weights back to the ground before they attack another rep again. What do you recommend in general?

    Thank you so much for your time I am truly loving your e-book!!

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