Actual Hip Thrust Loading Progressions Spanning Multiple Months

I feel that this post is one of the most important blogs I’ve posted. I’ve gone to great lengths on this blog to showcase videos of hip thrusts, instructional videos explaining proper form, and reasons why the hip thrust is beneficial to glute hypertrophy and athletic performance. However, I’ve never posted a blog showing typical progressions with my clients and training partners.

Perhaps my favorite strength & conditioning book of all time was Charlie Francis’s The Charlie Francis Training System (not an affiliate link). I especially loved how Charlie provided actual training journal excerpts from his sprinters and showed loads, sets, and reps performed by Ben Johnson, Angela Issajenko, etc. He loved power cleans, half squats, bench press, and the reverse leg press (an end-range hip extension exercise sort of like the pendulum quadruped donkey kick but performed from a standing position) for strengthening exercises. This information is invaluable for strength coaches because it provides real-life, meaningful data that the coach can take into consideration when training his or her athletes.

Below I’m going to give you 3 scenarios – an advanced male lifter with no prior hip thrust experience, an experienced female with no prior hip thrust experience, and a beginner female with no  prior hip thrust experience.

1. Charles Staley

The first is Charles Staley. Most of you will know who Charles is as he’s been writing about strength training for many years now. He and I have been training together for the past 4 months, and I convinced Charles to start thrusting. Charles is a lot like me in lifting mechanics – he’s all hips. He squats and pulls with his hips and doesn’t get his knees into the equation much. So I knew he’d progress fast at these. What I didn’t know is that within 13 sessions he’d outperform me in the hip thrust! His progression is definitely out of the ordinary, but this is characteristic of somebody who (like Charles) has a ton of powerlifting and weightlifting experience (so they have strong hips) but just isn’t familiar or coordinated with the hip thrust motion and mechanics. Only listed are his top sets. He usually did 2-3 sets each session.

June 29: 65×10

July 6: 95×10

July 9: 135×10

July 23: 155×10

July 31: 175×10

August 6: 195×10

August 13: 225×10

August 18: 285×10

August 27: 335×8

September 19: 400×3

September 26: 425×3

October 3: 505×3, 285×5

October 10: 515×3, 555×1

2. Sammie

Sammie is my strongest female client. But she started off just like the rest of my girls – using 105 lbs. She had been training and had a pretty good foundation. Within 4 months she was doing 335 x 5. There were various sessions where I placed hip thrusts on the backburner for a while and focused more on other lifts such as kettlebell deadlifts or lever squats. I’ve found that, like many really athletic types, Sammie either has it or she doesn’t. Some days she’s strong as ever and other days she’s burnt-out a bit. Whereas as a lifter I’m very consistent, Sammie’s strength is more variable. Finally, there are a lot of gaps here because Sammie was a bad girl and missed some workouts and didn’t always keep track of her sessions in her journal. Looking over this, I feel that had I been more on top of things I could have had Sammie hip thrusting 335×5 much sooner – perhaps within 10 weeks rather than 17.

May 16: 105×15, 105×18

May 22: 105×22, 105×19, 105×15

May 25: 175×10, 165×15, 105×30

May 29: 195×10, 195×10, 105×30

June 5: 50×30, 50×30, 50×30 (fast)

June 6: 50×30, 50×30 (fast)

June 11: 105×25, 105×20

June 25: 105×30

July 24: 135×20, 135×20

July 27: 135×20, 135×20, 135×20

August 3: 125×25, 125×25

August 7: 155×20, 175×20

August 14: 175×20, 195×15

August 17: 225×10, 225×10, 105×40

August 21: 245×10

August 24: 155×20, 195×10, bw x 100

August 28: 215×15, 245×12

September 4: 245×12, 265×8

September 6: 245×9, 245×12

September 11: 195×8, 285×12, 335×5

September 15: barbell glute bridge 225×20, 225×20

September 20: 255 x10, 205×20

September 25: 315×6, 225×20, 105×42

October 2: 245×16, 245×15, 285×10

October 4: 285×10, 335×5

October 9: 335×6, 370×2

October 16: 245×20, 245×15

October 25: 285×10, 335×5

October 30: 285×12, 335×5

3. Carrie

Carrie is a 40 year old woman who I just started training last month. She hasn’t regularly attended a gym in ten years, and initially her squat and deadlift patterns were very poor (they’re decent now after I’ve spent 6 weeks with her). But I started building up her hip thrust right away and she’s seeing good glute hypertrophy results already.

September 11: 50×12, 50×12

September 13: 45×15, 75×8, 95×4

September 18: 95×5, 95×5, 95×5, 45×20

September 20: bwx30, 25×30, 45×20 (low back sore from prior deadlift session)

September 24: 75×20, 75×20

September 26: 95×10, 95×10, 95×10

October 1: 95×12, 95×12

October 3: 115×8, 135×3

October 8: 105×12, 105×12

October 10: 135×5, 135×5

October 15: 135×8, 135×6

October 17: single leg hip thrust bw x 15, bw x 15

October 23: 135×10, 135×10, 105×15

October 29: 155×6, 155×6, 105×20

Summary

I hope that these logs help coaches, trainers, and lifters in seeing actual loading progressions used with my clients and training partners. As a lifter and a coach, I love seeing these sorts of data, and I hope that you do too! Witnessing how strong Charles and Sammie got in such a short amount of time has been an eye-opener for me.

My former client Steve Hammond got 585×3 within a couple hard months of training:

And Kellie Davis progressed quickly as well. Here she is doing 315 x 4, and looking back I think we could have gotten here within 4 months of hard training.

As you can see, people can get very strong, very quickly at this exercise. The glutes are the powerhouse of the human muscular system!

87 Comments

  • Lauren says:

    This is such a great article Bret! I’ve been really struggling with hip thrust progression!

    I note the training dates of the days you trained hip thrusts with your clients, and am wondering where is best to incorporate hip thrusts into a training schedule?

    What I mean by this is – if you do full-body workouts, should hip thrusts be included at each workout? Or if using an upper/lower split, should hip thrusts be included on each lower body day? And what about glute bridges and single leg hip thrusts? – should/can these be incorporated into a routine alongside hip thrusts or should they be left out if focusing on hip thrusts?

    Sorry for all the questions and hope this all makes sense!

    • Bret says:

      Hi Lauren – it depends on your goal. Do you want shapely glutes? If so, pick a bridge variation (hip thrust, bbgb, slht) each session. I usually do them first in the workouts with my girls. But if you have other goals, and glutes aren’t that important to you, then you don’t have to do them every session. And sometimes you can do them 2nd, 3rd, last, etc. There are many ways to skin a cat.

      • Mark says:

        Hey Brett…I did 225 x 10 around the middle of October WITHOUT a barbell pad and now anything I workout my lower body, the next day my hips will hurt and feel really sore. I feel like I compressed a tendon or a bursa on both sides. Have you had this experience/what do you think? The pain doesn’t occur during the exercises but only the next day. Extremely disheartening considering I hip thrusted 400 pounds last monday even after taking a few weeks off. I laid off the heavy weights for about 3 weeks but the pain was still there.

  • Jessica Jane says:

    According to Sammie’s progression, she only hip thrusted 1x a week?? Rarely 2x? Or are those just her “milestones”?

  • Alexander says:

    Thank you so much for this Bret!! I had been considering messaging you about this actually. Ive been hip thrusting for about 2 months, and Ive gone from 135 x 10 to 315×12 in that time. I had no idea what was normal for strength progression. Ive alternated between thrusting 1x and 2x weekly.

    Ive really noticed that my mind-muscle connection and ability to fire my glutes has improved rapidly. Its made me realize how much of strength is neurological fine tuning

  • Awesome post Bret! Great to see the progression data on your clients, very helpful 🙂

  • Kat says:

    Thanks for this! I’ve only been trying hip thrusts/weighted bridges since for a few months, and not more than once a week, but started out at only 95lbs and am currently at 155 doing three sets of 8.

    My question is the same as others’ – are they just thrusting once a week? And, do you have a formula or plan for their increase?

    I love these – in spite of the strange looks I get in the gym. I’m recovering from a shoulder issue and slowly rebuilding upper body strength, so it’s fun to have something where I feel like I can push more weight and see progress!

    • Kat says:

      Also, I can see that I need to add in some lower weight – high reps as well!

    • Kat, just peaking for myself, I do them 1x/wk. There are many ways to organize total workload of course — personally I have 2 lower body sessions/wk

      • Bret says:

        If the goal is to maximize hip thrust strength, then I like the idea of picking a hip thrust variation four times per week. They don’t tax you that much, and I like just doing 2-3 sets. Two hip thrust days, one single leg hip thrust day, and one bb glute bridge day, for example.

        But if the goal is to just use hip thrusts as an assistance lift for powerlifting, weightlifting, sports, etc., then 1-2 days/wk is fine.

        And I like getting good at all rep ranges (from triples to twenties).

        • Eugene says:

          Sorry, I thought a hip thrust and glute bridge were the same exercise. What’s the difference? Glute bridge has shoulders on the floor? Thanks for the clarification.

          • norman says:

            yeah, that’s right. glute bridge has shoulders on the floor. hip thrust has shoulders/back against a bench.

    • Kat says:

      Thanks, guys!

  • Carol says:

    Great article. It was interesting to see all the high rep work. I typically lift high weight low reps. For hip thrusts I do 5X5 at 225 (I am a 125# 52 year old woman). Should I go lighter with more reps?

    Thanks
    Carol

    • Bret says:

      Hi Carol,

      Nice job on the 225lb club! It’s up to you – if you hate high reps then focus on low reps. If you hate low reps focus on high reps. Do what you like doing. But if maximum glute size is the goal, then I like a mix. Throw in some high reps here and there for sure.

  • Mathieu says:

    Great post ! We finally can see how people evolved as to the weight they used.

    I have a question, though : I feel the glutes much more and the hamstrings much less when I do single-leg hip thrust, and it also is more back-friendly to me than when I do bilateral hip thrust. Can I rely on the single-leg version – provided, of course, I increase the number of reps and eventually the weight used overtime – for substantial gluteal hypertrophy ?

    Thanks in advance, glute guy.

    • Bret says:

      Mathieu – of course you can! Just keep pushing your single leg hip thrust strength and do different variations. Ben Bruno has filmed a ton of these on hip Youtube page.

      • Eugene says:

        You might be hyper extending the lumbar spine in the bilateral lifts ,Mathieu. Make sure you finishing with the gluteus and not the low back.

        • Mathieu says:

          I’m pretty sure I don’t, Eugene, as I hip thrust with posterior pelvic tilt. I seem to have SI joint issues aside “pure” lower back’s. I’m currently trying to figure out solutions for those two major problems. Thanks for your comment, though. 🙂

          • Phil says:

            Matt,

            I don’t know how long you have been doing the HT but I do agree it may be an SI joint issue. I had the same problem when I first started. Brett kept mentioning hip hyperextension in articles and i even emailed him as i just could not get it. What I found was over a period of time I was persistent with iso holds as a means of looking for that hyperextension and secondly when i did deadlifts at say 60% I would exaggerate the drive of the glutes to achieve that hyperextension. It took a number of months but I can now achieve it. I would like Bretts comments, but I think that ability to achieve glute activation in hip hyperextension actually prevents the load going through to the lumbar spine. By the way I have lifted 500lbs for my hip thrust and I had a total hip replacement 9 months ago so I had to work through a number of problems.

      • Mathieu says:

        Thanks for the answer Bret ! The idea came to my mind after reading Ben Bruno’s work.

  • Eugene says:

    I have to say that the form I’m these vids seems quite variable from person to person. Not the same height of thrust and different position of shoulders and back on the bench. Please clarify. Thanks.

    • Bret says:

      Eugene – just like there are many different preferences for squats and deadlifts, there are for hip thrusts as well. I like full hip extension but some folks have more hip extension ROM than others. As for back position, some folks are more comfortable with the back lower on the bench, and some higher. I’m not overly-strict about these things especially during an all-out heavy set. I’m always cueing, “go deeper”, “go higher,” etc., but I pick my battles. You’ll see different foot positions too. I like Kellie’s form the best though – so smooth!

      • Eugene says:

        Thanks Bret .of course these positional changes would help to contribute to these heavy pound ages making it difficult to evaluate just how strong is strong? Would this not effect the weight to a fairly great extent ?

  • Catharina says:

    Love this article, Bret. Very nice to see actual numbers from both experienced and newby lifters.

    I have only been doing barbel glute bridges because whenever I try to do a hip thrust with my back on my bench, it hurts my back in a awfull way. Not the exercise, but where my back is against the bench. Am I being a wuss? Do I have the wrong bench? Wrong height?

    • Bret says:

      Yeah! Your bench probably has very little padding there. I like aerobics steps with rounded-edges – they work well. Benches with lots of padding do too. Sometimes benches that are too high can be painful too. Keep tinkering as this exercise should be pain-free.

  • Tara says:

    Training solo makes it challenging to load this much wt. Any suggestions or strategies?
    Thank you so much!
    Tara J.

  • saretta says:

    Great info, thanks! Just one Q, when I do glute bridges I get a pain in my right knee. Is there an optimal position for avoiding knee pain?

    • Bret says:

      I’ve found that in folks who have this problem, they benefit from having the knee a bit more extended (foot farther away from the butt). Give that a try. Also, dorsiflex the ankle (pick the toes up and push from heels). And usually barbell glute bridges are easier on the knees than barbell hip thrusts.

  • tempest sharp says:

    wow, these are very impressive,,,,,,,,,, i hit 255 this week,,,,,, PR for me, but it was from on the floor. i don’t feel like my form is totally correct from the bench.. any pointers on doing it from the bench. I’m pretty impressed the the first video here……

  • Fred says:

    I have started hip thrusts too a couple of weeks, maybe even months ago, and I’ve some really nice progression so far, I did 290 for 6 this week. The question I have is : hip thrusts don’t make me sore, like at all. I feel my glute working a whole lot when doing them, but the day after is just like normal, no soreness, nothing. The only feeling I get is the ability to fire my glute more easily. Noticed similar remarks from your clients ?

  • Joy says:

    Thanks for this Bret! Great help. I need to up my reps, I noticed it helps me keep integrity in the movement and not cheat when I move onto higher weight.

  • Connie says:

    This might be a dumb question but what is the name of that cushion thing Sammie uses in the video? I’ve stopped doing hip thrusts because nothing I find cushions the bar enough to make the pain tolerable for me to do it. That looks like a great idea whatever it is.

    Thanks

  • Noel says:

    Hey Brett,
    I always wanted to improve everything I do in the gym.. Right now, I think my number one problem is that my glutes aren’t helping me in my lifts. I need to incorporate this exercise to help my glutes fire if I want to get to the next level. I’m currently doing TM 3x/wk, do I decide myself on what the set/rep range is? Also, when is a good time to add these?

    P.S. I only want to use it as assistance to be a better weightlifter.

    All the best

    • Bret says:

      Noel – here’s my advice. Do them 3X/wk for 2 months. Get much stronger at them in medium rep ranges (3 x 5, for example). See if they help your Oly lifts.

      If they do, keep them in but drop to once per week. If they don’t, ditch them. Some people rave about their transfer, some find they don’t help much.

  • Mick Mahoney says:

    Nice one Brett – as ever. I’ve got myself up to 400×3 in a few months and kind of stopped myself there for some reason. Some days when I’m not in the mood for getting the barbell and all the weights together, carrying them to and from the stack’s a workout in itself. I use a dumbbell, stick it between my legs at the groin and with my back against a bench and feet elevated, knock out sets of… well it varies but basically as many as possible. The burn’s unbelievable! Question being – what difference in turns of benefit is there between a few sets going heavy, with no burn. Compared to knocking out loads with lighter weight and burning like mad? Just wondered…

    • Bret says:

      Mick – trust me I understand. I do them right after my deadlifts so I don’t have to deal with loading the plates. There is nothing wrong with your approach – do high reps for the burn most of the time, but every once in a while load up the bar and go heavy.

  • Michael says:

    Nice post, Brett. I’m hoping you’ll post an update for Carrie in a month or so as I’d be curious to see how the load/volume continues to increase for the beginner case. Do you think you’ll be keeping her where she is at now and maintaining or will there still be a lot of increase left in loading?

    • Bret says:

      Hell no! I’d keep loading her up. She’s paying me to get her glutes looking better. My guess is 3 sets of 155 x 10 at the end of the month.

  • Kelsey says:

    Aloha Bret,

    I am a sprinter. I have basically followed a Charlie Francis training philosophy. I have never done Hip Thrusts. I am looking to incorporate them into a leg workout on my speed days. Any suggestions for a leg workout that I can incorporate into my training? Speed and/or special endurance twice a week.

    • Bret says:

      Kelsey – many ways to skin a cat. Maybe just throw in 3 x 5 hip thrusts on speed days. However, sometimes beginners need to get better with high reps (and bodyweight) before going heavy. Since you’re a sprinter you’re probably more advanced, so you might be able to jump right into heavier loading, and you’ll gain strength quickly. Best of luck!

      • Kelsey says:

        Mahalo for your response! Can I get your input on the front squat/fast eccentric training? Or just a leg training routine for sprinting. I have mixed it up with half squats, cleans, deadlifts, and front squats for 10+ years.

  • Mike says:

    Hi Bret,

    I’m currently using Eric Cressey’s show and go program. I started integrating hip thrusts and glute bridges into the routines a few weeks ago once I took the time read the excellent glute exercise manual you wrote as a supplement. I has never done these exercises before, but they are great. Just as an FYI, I have been experience right IT Band tightness/tenderness and right patellar tendonitis. I was evaluated by a chiropractor and he determined my right glute was not firing properly, and sure enough as soon as I do bridges or hip thrusts, the IT Band tightness and pain and patellar pain subsides immediately. I am very thankful for these exercises, so thank you.
    Long story short, I do have a question: I would like to vary my routine a little once I’ve been doing hip thrusts and bridges for a while. You suggest doing pendulum quadruped donkey kicks or pendulum quadruped hip thrusts, as well. I don’t have access to a gym with these machines, but my gym does have a standard reverse leg press machine to isolate the glutes. Is this an adequate substitute in a pinch, or should I just stick with the glute bridges and 1 and 2 leg hip thrusts. Thanks!

    • Bret says:

      Thanks Mike! Here’s what I can tell you about the reverse leg press machine. Some of them work great, and some of them don’t. Some work great for certain body types (antropometries/body segment proportions) while others do not. All you have to do is pay attention and have common sense. If you use the machine and it feels right and you can tell your glute is getting an amazing workout, then by all means, use it and incorporate it into your programs. What I like about the reverse hyper machine is that the pendulum sort of allows for a natural ROM to accommodate for different body types. But I have to work with people to get them to feel it working right. So test it out and see how it feels. If it feels awkward, then discard it. But some work really well.

  • Vlad says:

    Hi Bret. At Sammie on the 5`th of June she does a high Rep session Fast. On the 6`th she does the same thing again but only 2 sets. Is there any reason why you do this 2 consecutive days? Or was Sammie a bad girl on the 5`Th and she had to repeat her workout?

    • Bret says:

      Hi Vlad – good question. We did them at the end of the workouts on those days so it was more of a burnout. So Sammie wasn’t a bad girl on those days haha. Cheers!

  • Nick says:

    Bret,

    Do you have most females do higher reps than males? IE: I see 20’s and 30’s, have you found a better hypertrohpy response from this?

    • Bret says:

      Hi Nick, yes, I do. With males I usually stick with 3-12 reps. With women I go up to 20’s and 30’s. Hell, sometimes I have them do 100 reps with bodyweight. I do this on account of what I can justify physiologically (with what I’ve learned about hypertrophy, female physiology, etc.). But I don’t know if it works better than simply sticking with medium reps all the time and going for consistent progressive overload. I know the women love the variety, and that counts for something. Much of what I do has scientific basis but since there are always so many variables at play, it’s hard to know what’s causing something to work (or not work). Hope that makes sense. The way my mind currently understands things, I believe that the high reps help.

  • maureen says:

    well after reading this I decided to see my progression on paper. I started glute raises on 9/6 20 pound plate on my abdomen 7sets of 20
    as off 10/24 205 3 sets 8 with hold at top. Then at your suggestion moved over to hip thrusts. I got 135 for 10-15 reps and did 5 sets so far not to bad. I also started using the Hammer strength leg press for the first time since I was able to use my airex pad behind me. I am a little to short for the machine otherwise. On 9/12 180 for ten and my goal was 400 by new years. Well on 10/24 I got 410 for 12 reps and 450 for 5. It must be all the glute work.
    Thanks for the info, the videos and the guidance.

    • Bret says:

      It’s funny, I’d think that the hip thrust would transfer very well to the leg press, especially the Hammer strength model. Nice to hear of some anecdotal support. You sure love your high volume! 5-7 sets is crazy, but ideal if you don’t do too many exercises. Cheers!

  • Echo says:

    These timelines are super-helpful, especially for someone who lifts at home alone, it really helps to see how the rest of the world is faring with hip thrusts. I’ve made it to 185# several times and end up having pinching pain in the middle of my lower spine (right about the tailbone). The pain arrives hours after a workout, never during. Tilting my pelvis forward activates this pain and I lay off anything that asks my hips and back to work for a few days, then I start back up again at a lower weight but continually find myself plateauing at this weight due to this recurring pain. Anyone else having this issue? I’ve done the required visit to the Dr whose advice was to start a cardio program and lay off the weights – pfffft! Anyone know of a good S&C coach in the Jacksonville, FL area who might assess my movement patterns for glitches that could be causing this? Love the stuff you put out, Bret, and I learn so much from the comments as well. Congratulations on your continued success!

    • Bret says:

      Echo – most often, this is due to excessive anterior pelvic tilt and lumbar extension. Watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5WhWu1g080

      My client Molly had this problem, but we modified her form to this (below) and it worked like a charm. Hopefully you can notice the differences in form:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eshERY9UDBc

      • Echo says:

        I just watched both videos – thank you for taking the time to post these links. Your education on how the spine and hips work in conjunction (or should, anyway) is fantastic. I DO see the difference in Molly’s technique and will make a concerted effort to keep that slight posterior tilt at the top of the thrust. This should help me break into the 225# club by the end of the year. Your guidance is much appreciated!

  • maureen says:

    I am just so excited Sunday Nov 4th I got 225 for 5 reps. They were a little ugly but that I can work on. One side of me seems to be stronger than the other. Should I just do extra glute work on the weaker side.

  • Juna says:

    Hi Bret
    I tend to feel this a lot in my lower quads (right above my knees) though it’s definitely gotten better as I’ve practiced in the past few months. Any tips for feeling it more in the glutes? I use PPT since my lower back gets weird and do try to push through the heels.
    Thanks a lot!

    • Bret says:

      Hi Juna, do barbell glute bridges for a couple of months. The bbgb relies mostly on the hips and the quads don’t contract hard for co-contraction/stability. After you’ve done this for a couple of months, return to bb hip thrusts and see if you feel it more in your glutes. If so, then great! If not, then just don’t do bb hip thrusts and stick to bbgb’s. Also, you can try a low box, such as an aerobics step with 1 or 2 risers. The higher the elevation, the greater the quad involvement.

  • Jake says:

    Great read as always Brett. Started less than months ago with hip thrusters and am now up to 365 for 10. I feel great!
    ps – who is the female model you have posted with the amazing glutes? damn!!!

  • Keith says:

    Hi Bret,
    Just watching a couple of the vids and watching how people do it in my gyms, a couple of questions for you.
    1 Do you need to keep your erectors flat or not at the top of the rep. I see a lot of people who just seem to be throwing the weight up with no regard for this part of the movement. I seem to remember a few yrs ago when you first put up a vid on hip thrust you said something about this. It appears Kellies erectors are hyperextended in the video or is this the position they should be in.
    2 Would you recommend higher reps or lower reps with more weight for powerlifters and how many times a week should you do them. eg once a week or every time I go in to train.

    • Bret says:

      I would refer to it as the spine, not the erectors (just being particular).

      Yes, the lumbar spine should be neutral at the top of the hip thrust. And the spine should be under control. Flinging and using too much weight is dangerous and often leads to lumbar hyperextension and anterior pelvic tilt.

      That said, some of my clients hyperextend a bit up top when they push to end-range hip extension (actually hip hyperextension). Sammie does it, and Kellie does it (my two strongest girls pound for pound that I’ve ever trained). Neither has ever had any issues with their back health.

      The same goes for squatting and deadlifting if you think about it…some experience pain when they arch too much on a deadlift, while others don’t. Some experience pain at the bottom of a squat if their pelvis tucks posteriorly, while others don’t. So there’s a big genetic component.

      At any rate, neutralish (or even slight posterior pelvic tilt) is certainly the safest way to do them.

      For powerlifters, I think you should rotate lifts. Do hip thrust 1-2X/wk with a pyramid (a set of 10, a set of 5, and a set of 3 reps, with perhaps a burnout set of 12-15). Do them for 3 weeks and then pick other assistance lifts, then revisit them. Of course, you can certainly do hip thrusts week in and week out (like I do), but some people find a ton of transfer from hip thrusting to the powerlifts while others do not.

      Nice questions!

  • Elyse says:

    Hey Bret,
    My head is swimming with literature on glutes! I’ve been trying to get mine bigger for a long time, and while there is definite improvement I still want more size! Right now I am doing hip thrusts 3 days a week, one day high weight/low rep (roughly 185 pounds), one day med weight/med rep (around 100 pounds), and one light weight/high rep (single leg). I was thinking of adding body weight high rep glute bridges the day before my light day, or perhaps the same day would be better.

    Do you have a better recommendation for a routine that will really get my size up? Also, when looking at me from the back, my butt is kinda…square. Any other ways of rounding it out? I do side leg raises and hip abductions as well. Thanks!

  • Melek says:

    Thank you Bret, if i only did this exercise I could have being ready by now but I am not. I will integrate this only this exercise now in :).
    By the way that girls butt turn me off they don’t look naturally sexy to me 🙂 I really don’t want a butt like that. Hope I don’t get it by doing hip trust.

    Thanks again for all your wisdom.

    Melek

  • Dan says:

    Bret,
    Nice article. How much transfer are you or your athletes seeing from this into the squat or deadlift?
    Thanks,
    Dan

    • Bret says:

      I started answering this last night, and it turned into a blogpost. Now it’s a TNation article. Thanks for the inspiration haha.

      The short answer is, “it depends” – some see lots, many don’t see much, others don’t see any transfer. The long answer will come in the form of a TNation article in the next month or so. Cheers!

      • Dan says:

        Thanks for the response. I’ll look for the article. in the meantime I’ll do my own experiment. Your post made me realize I wasn’t progressing the weight fast enough on my own. I’ve added 50 pounds this week after previously only moving about 5 per week on the hip thrusts. Hopefully i can see some good transfer over the next month.

  • judith says:

    Pls am a female and want to enlarge my butts. My statistics is 33:24:36. Am hippy but flat.
    Pls tell ♍ƺ the exercises to do to enlarge,fill and lift my butt(cos i call my butt down butt) and also create an arc between my lower back and upper butt. Am registering with a gym center tomorrow for the sole aim of enlarging my butt and making my abs very flat and my waist very tiny(i have a flat abs though and a tiny waist but i have a little lower pouch and i want a tinier waist) pls help ♍ƺ. I just followed you in tweeter. I eagerly await your reply’
    Thanks,
    Judith.

  • Hey Brett, Thanks for all this great info.

    Question: Do you prefer/recommend a shoulder elevated hip thrust over a floor barbell glute bridge especially for females?

    I personally can not perform a floor glute bridge well at all with 45 lbs plates due to the excessive compressive forces on my lumbar spine when I lift my hips up to meet the bar. (I don’t have a small ass, but it’s not big enough for my hips to meet the bar without me hyperextending at my low back; and with having a spondylolithesis L5/S1 and a herniated disc L4, it feels like my spine is going to break in half when I lift/extend to meet the bar…).

    I just wasn’t sure if BB floor glute bridges (when using 45 lb plates) are better for people with bigger butts or hips, and best for people without my kind of spine issues. Or, maybe use only 25lbs plates to prevent the extension to meet the bar?

    I really want to progress on my BB glute bridges and can move a pretty good weight with my shoulders elevated, but I wasn’t sure if I was missing out by not being able to perform floor glute bridges due to my size and mobility issues.

    Thank you!!

    • Bret says:

      Hi Cass! Great questions. Here’s my take:

      1) I like the hip thrust over the bbgb simply because of more ROM. The bbgb allows for heavier loads, but most lifters intuitively gravitate toward full ROM as they feel it’s optimal for strength/hypertrophy/performance. And I feel the same – I think the bbgb is excellent as a supplement, but the hip thrust is the staple.

      2) You could indeed lift your hips to meet the bar and still keep a neutral spine/pelvic position. In your case, it sounds like you’re raising the hips off the ground and allowing your pelvis to anteriorly rotate and your lumbar spine to hyperextend slightly. But this isn’t the way you have to do it. You could raise the hips off the ground and keep the lumbar spine and pelvis stable in the neutral position. You could even have some slight posterior pelvic tilt if you wanted to relieve pressure off the low back, and this could make the exercise feel much safer and effective. You’d just have to be disciplined and lighten the load a bit.

      3) You have a lot of spinal issues, but if we all took x-rays/MRI’s of ourselves we’d find out a lot of stuff we didn’t want to know. So I’m glad you don’t let that deter you from lifting as one of the worst things for spinal health is complete sedentarism. We gotta keep lifting and figuring out what works best for our spines, which is exactly what you’re doing. And you have good intuition – if something doesn’t feel right then you should not do it (as is the case when you try barbell glute bridges). You can certainly try to tinker with things (such as trying them with slight PPT), but in the end if it causes “bad” pain or feels dodgy, ditch it (as there are plenty of lower body exercise variations to allow for an effective and pain-free workout).

      4) Some people like squats, others like front squats, and some like RFESS. Some people like deadlifts, others like sumo deadlifts, and some like single leg RDLs. Some people like hip thrusts, others like barbell glute bridges, and some like single leg hip thrusts. It’s all about finding what works best for our personal anatomy/physiology/biomechanics and then progressing from there.

      5) Make sure you’ve watched this. I’m sure you already know most of this, but sometimes seeing a model helps cement things and make sense of any loose ends: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5WhWu1g080

      Hope that helps! – BC

  • Zee says:

    Who is the model on the bottom of the article?

  • brian says:

    Hey Bret, does the barbell hip thrust help squat weaknesses? Specifically trouble during the squat with ‘good morning’ the weight up. I assume the hips shooting back and the load being taken by the stronger back is indicative of weak hips? So would hip thrusts help to resolve this?
    Thanks Bret, great article.

  • LC says:

    Hi Bret! I have been stalking your blogs for a few days now. I started CrossFit about 3 months ago. And I love it. I’ve seen incredible changes in my body… I looks better than ever and FEEL better than ever. BUT the glutes are lacking. Even though everything else is coming along great, I feel that I’m never sore in the glutes (regardless of the work out) and I haven’t seen a significant difference. My brother has a home gym and I decided to start doing hip thrusts, butt bridges, etc at home as well. I started being able to thrust about 105lb. How long do your clients take to see changes? Does the level of fitness have anything to do with it? And is 105lb too “light” to really make a difference. Amateur questions, I know! But thanks! 🙂

  • Stephen says:

    Hi Bret, please can you tell me how you would progress to doing hip thrusts for a westside template lower body day. Would you begin with glute bridging moving on to single leg briding (unweighted then weighted) etc and then when competent with those move onto hip thrusts? Or simply jump straight into hip thrusts but progress the weight each week instead?

    Thanks,
    Stephen

    • Bret says:

      For complete beginners to exercise, I’d probably do as you mentioned, but for those with lifting experience, straight to barbell hip thrusts and just work on increasing weight over time.

  • Augustus says:

    Bret I my first time thrusting I did 405 x 5. Am I doing them wrong? I’m a male btw. I run track. For some reason I still anterior pelvic tilt? Why?

  • Bianca says:

    Bret I bought strong curves and I love it! How can I get stronger with hip trushst though? I feel my glutes firing only up to 60 kg. after that hams and quads take over and can’t feel the glutes anymore.I used to do 90 kg but i dropped the weight right down… and now they are firing.. but I really want to progress in weight x Thanks

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