Charles Staley and I have been training together for almost two years. In fact, HERE is a “glute-off” we had a year ago, where we worked our way up to 600-lb hip thrusts. Strangely, Charles doesn’t feel barbell hip thrusts working his glutes much. This is hard for me to comprehend, since they make my glutes burn so bad I can hardly stand it (it often takes me twenty minutes just to walk properly following three sets of hip thrusts due to the massive glute pump).
At any rate, Charles doesn’t feel squats, deadlifts, lunges, back extensions, or hip thrusts in his glutes either. We often joke that he lacks glute muscles and that his hamstrings run right up into his back. He doesn’t feel anything working his glutes and never feels the burn. That is, until now. For some strange reason, certain lifters who struggle to feel their glutes will find that the band hip thrust does the trick. Here’s what Charles had to say after doing band hip thrusts for the first time:
I don’t exactly know why this phenomenon occurs. I suppose that it has to do with the emphasis on end-range hip extension torque (the tension really kicks in right at the top, where the glutes activate to the highest degree). My colleagues Nia Shanks and Emily Soccolinsky have noticed the same phenomenon in their training – they feel the band hip thrust working their glutes much more so than the barbell. Maybe they can offer a better explanation than I can. Most of my lifting partners and clients prefer bands (I still prefer barbell, but I do a 50/50 split of bar/band).
I have my girlfriend Diana doing barbell hip thrusts once per week and band hip thrusts 3 times per week. Some trainers who have purchased Hip Thrusters have informed me that they no longer use the barbell with their clients and stick solely to bands since they’re much better tolerated. HERE is how we do band hip thrusts, but you can get crafty and rig something up like we showed in THIS article if you don’t yet own a Hip Thruster.
If you struggle to feel your glutes firing properly during glute exercises, then the band hip thrust might be a great fit for you.
The Hip Thruster is the best way to do the hip thrust – stable and versatile!