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Hip Thrust Testimonial: High School Football

By November 24, 2011January 10th, 2014Glute Training, Guest Blogs

A high school football coach recently sent me the following email detailing his progress over the past season. I noticed similar things when I assisted with the strength coaching for a high school football team in Arizona, though I didn’t crunch any numbers and analyze the data. In fact, due to a healthy diet of box squats, hip thrusts, and power cleans our lineman could deadlift 500 lbs without ever deadlifting. I believe that the hip thrust is even more beneficial for younger and less advanced athletes as they often have much room left in the tank for increases in gluteal physiological cross-sectional area, neural drive to the gluteals, and improved on-the-field and lifting kinematics subsequent to hip strengthening. It’s nice to gain insight from experienced coaches who know what to expect year in and year out, as when they add something in that works they notice right away. I also appreciate the statistics – mathematics is the universal language. Here’s what Coach Kevin had to say:

Coach Kevin Smith
NASE Certified
Palmetto High School
Williamston, SC

I am a football coach at a 2A high school in South Carolina. I also serve as our strength and speed coach. The make-up of our athletes is lacking, but our kids work hard. I wanted to find another tool to help our kids develop their explosiveness and speed. After a lot of research, I contacted Bret, who has taught me about glute activation and the effects it has on athletic performance. I was skeptical at first thinking that strengthening the glutes would have this much affect on an athlete. After all, we did cleans, squats, dead lifts, and lunges; we were working our glutes.

We decided to go ahead and add in a few of the recommended exercises Bret prescribed. We started out slow with the fire hydrants and glute- bridge. We saw a little improvement in our kids’ quickness. We then added in the weighted hip thrust with the athletes that were ready for that movement.  The results have been astonishing. We set a mark of 185 on the power clean to gauge the improvement. We now have 40 kids that can power clean over 185 easily. Our quickness has continued to improve. Most often during the season football players do good to maintain their maxes.

We kept in the hip thrust with our in season program and had remarkable results. We had a 61% increase in our power cleans maxes from our summer testing session. We had a 47 % increase in our squat maxes from the summer also. I want you to understand that in the six years I have been at my school, we have never had kids increase in their maxes like this. Most of our kids play both ways and the practices are physical each day; it is hard to build strength. Bret’s innovative approach has helped our kids tremendously. You could actually see kids getting quicker during the season. We have just begun our 40 yard testing this week, and we have already had kids best their summer 40 times by as much as 2 tenths of a second. I am truly grateful to Bret for all his guidance with our program. It has made a difference.


  • Pretty awesome results there.

  • Sol Orwell says:

    Who is that in the squat picture with that amazing shelf?

  • Trevor Judson says:

    Those are some exciting results! Can you say what sort of hip thrust numbers correlate to particular numbers in the squat and power clean please? I’m a bit geeky for such things.

    • Bret says:

      Hmmm, based on my experience most athlete deadlift more than they can hip thrust, hip thrust more than they can squat, and squat more than they can power clean. Of course anthropometry affects strength on the different lifts, but an example would be a hypothetical 200 lb football player who can deadlift 450, hip thrust 365, parallel squat 315, and power clean 205. Hope that helps!

      • Trevor Judson says:

        Thanks Brett. My numbers OCD is sated!

      • Naomi says:

        Interesting. My hip thrust numbers zipped right up but I haven’t worked squat in a while. Now I am, I guess I can expect it to increase rapidly? It’s nowhere near my deadlift or hip thrust (which is highest at around 185).

  • Jeff says:


    I printed out this article as my 12-year-old son questioned what the GHR would do for him. After he read this, he said, “Now I know.”

    My question is can you recommend a budget saving GHR machine? I checked out the prices at Elite FTS and they are out of my price range.


  • Hey Bret,

    what is the difference between doing the hip thrust with your feet on the ground as most of the pics and your instructional video on you tube show, and doing them with your feet raised to shoulder height as shown in the video example with the ‘Dispelling the Glute Myth’ article on the T Nation site? thanks

  • Tom Watson says:

    Hi Bret,
    Was wondering about a few things:
    If it’s difficult to get active glutes with tight hip flexors, should I take a few weeks to stretch my hip flexors before starting glute bridges or get going straight away?
    And in response to your “advanced glute training” article on T Nation – if deadlifts are done with higher hips than squats, does this make them a better exercise for sprinters than squats (as your hips never extend to 90° in sprinting)?
    Finally, with my body perpendicular to the floor, I can only do 2 clams. What’s a good strategy to build them up – just single reps at different points throughout the day?
    Cheers for your help!

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