was successfully added to your cart.

Contributors

  1. Bret Contreras
  2. Chris Beardsley
  3. Andrew Vigotsky

Overview

The hip thrust is a loaded glute bridge performed with the back resting on a bench, which increases the exercise range of motion. It is most commonly loaded with a barbell, elastic resistance bands, or a combination of the two. Biomechanically, the hip thrust is a horizontally-loaded (relative to the body, or anteroposteriorly) bent-leg hip extension exercise, with a peak level of contraction where the muscles are shortest, and with consistent tension placed on the hips throughout. These features make it ideal for developing strength at short muscle lengths, and also for maximizing muscular hypertrophy of the gluteus maximus. Since the glute bridge is a very common exercise in physiotherapy, many people associate both the glute bridge and the hip thrust with rehabilitation rather than muscular development or sports performance. However, supine bridging exercises were regularly performed by old-time strongmen in preparation for their whole body feats of strength. Additionally, the partner-resisted hip thrust was devised by Verkoshansky for track and field athletes, and described in Supertraining. Many years later, in line with Verkoshansky and Mel Siff’s predictions, research showed that the barbell hip thrust improves sprinting performance to a greater extent than the front squat. This is probably because the gluteus maximus contracts at very short lengths in sprinting, which is where the hip thrust is most effective, and because the hamstrings are recruited fairly well in a hip thrust. More recent research has challenged these findings, suggesting that the effects of hip thrusting on speed are likely dependent on the population examined and the hip thrust technique employed. In 2006, strength coach Bret Contreras popularized the barbell variation of the hip thrust, quickly showing that extremely heavy loads could be handled. Millions of people have since adopted the hip thrust exercise for gluteal hypertrophy, and their before-and-after photos speak for themselves.

Barbell hip thrust

Barbell hip thrust

History

Old-Time Strongmen

Australian old-time strongman Don Athaldo appeared to have included the bodyweight isometric glute bridge as a means to strengthen the gluteals as early as the 1920’s. Interestingly, old-time strongmen performed a number of exercises that appear similar to barbell hip thrusting, including the neck bridge, belly toss, pullover and press, and Tomb of Hercules. The neck bridge involved bridging from the floor up onto one’s head in order to target the thoracic and neck extensors. It was done with bodyweight, with weight placed onto the hips, or with a barbell locked out over the shoulders. The belly toss involved catapulting a barbell situated at hip or belly level and catching it with the arms locked out, which could be thought of as a modern day explosive glute bridge combined with a floor press lockout. The pullover and press looked like a bridging movement but was actually an upper body movement performed in an isometric bridge position (alternating reps of pullovers and decline presses). The Tomb of Hercules required the strongman to hold himself in a bridge position while a vehicle or large animal traveled over a wooden bridge placed on top of the strongman’s torso.

examples of strongman bridging exercises

Examples of strongman bridging exercises

Physical Therapy

Bodyweight supine bridging exercises have been popular for many decades, especially in the field of physical therapy. In fact, bridging holds are commonly used in the field to test core stability endurance (Schellenberg et al. 2007, Tidstrand & Horneij 2009, Brumitt et al. 2013). Physical therapist Tyson Alan wrote about the glute bridge as a rehabilitation exercise in Strength & Conditioning Journal in 2000 (Alan 2000). It was not until recently, however, that heavily-loaded bridging variations have become more mainstream in fitness and strength & conditioning communities. The bridging exercise has many names, usually consisting of 2 to 3 terms strung together. The first term is usually “glute,” “floor,” “supine,” “hip,” “pelvic,” or “lying”; the second term is usually “bridge,” “lift,” “thrust,” or “raise.” In Pilates, the movement is known as the shoulder bridge, while in yoga, the hold is known as Setu Bandha Sarvangasana pose.

Modern Strength & Conditioning

In the book Supertraining, sports scientists Yuri Verkoshansky and Mel Siff depicted a variety of partner-resisted double-leg and single-leg bridge variations that were proposed to be useful in developing and enhancing the cyclical action of the hips and legs during sprint running. They recommend that the resistance exercise, “should not only reproduce the full amplitude of the movement but also the specific direction of resistance to the pull of the muscles.”

Yuri Verkoshansky should be credited as the originator of resisted hip thrusts for sport training - 1977

Yuri Verkoshansky should be credited as the originator of resisted hip thrusts for sport training – 1977

In 2006, strength coach Bret Contreras introduced heavy barbell glute bridges and hip thrusts to the strength & conditioning industry out of his Scottsdale-based personal training facility. In the years to come, he would come up with dozens of resisted single- and double-leg bridging variations utilizing dumbbells, barbells, resistance bands, chains, and combinations thereof, while colleagues Ben Bruno and Cem Eren would do the same at their training facilities. Contreras made the hip thrust a primary glute exercise in Strong Curves, a book he wrote with Kellie Davis in 2013. The numerous testimonials he has posted on his site showing impressive gluteal improvements provided compelling evidence to convince people to experiment with the hip thrust. He has been working hard on the research front to legitimize the hip thrust and has extensively studied the hip thrust in his PhD thesis titled Kinematics, kinetics, and electromyography of vertical and horizontal hip extension exercises and their transference to acceleration and power. Bruno, on the other hand, is training celebrities such as Kate Upton in Hollywood to promote and popularize the hip thrust, while Cem is training Ms. Bikini Olympia finalists to do the same. Men’s Health Fitness Director BJ Gaddour has effectively popularized the hip thrust on the digital media front.

Kate Upton performing the hip thrust

Kate Upton performing the hip thrust

Due to the cumbersome nature of the hip thrust setup that includes setting up and stabilizing a bench, in addition to the other equipment requirements inherent to the hip thrust exercise, apparatuses and devices that allow for a more comfortable and convenient setup, such as the Hip Thruster , Glute Builder, and Booty Builder, are beginning to crop up around the world.

The Rock performing knee-banded barbell hip thrusts

 

Why People Hip Thrust

A poll undertaken in July of 2017 with 7,628 responders indicates that the majority (63%) of exercisers hip thrust for physique and aesthetics purposes (to get a better butt). The remaining people hip thrust for injury/pain prevention (16%), transfer to squats and deadlifts (12%), and functional performance outcomes (8%).

Muscles Worked

The barbell hip thrust heavily recruits the hip and knee extensors and is performed with the back against a bench. The American hip thrust is performed with the back elevated higher on the bench such that the hinging point is lower, and it leads to slightly higher hamstring and lesser quadriceps activation compared with the traditional hip thrust. The band hip thrust is performed with an anchored band placed around the hips and tends to exhibit lower average muscle activation levels, but similar peak muscle activation levels, compared to the barbell version. The barbell glute bridge is performed off the floor with the back on the ground and therefore involves a shorter range of motion. It elicits similar levels of gluteal and hamstring activation but lower levels of quadriceps activation. More research is needed to examine bodyweight and resisted single-leg hip thrusts, though pilot data indicates that loaded double-leg hip thrusts lead to greater overall levels of muscle activation.

2

Dani Shugart performing the hip thrust

 

Despite what the data suggests, muscle activation varies considerably between individuals, so the recommended approach is to experiment with different variations in order to determine the most effective forms of hip thrusting per individual.

  1. Gluteal group
    • Gluteus maximus (upper subdivision)
    • Gluteus maximus (lower subdivision)
  2. Hamstrings group
    • Biceps femoris (long head)
    • Semitendinosus
    • Semimembranosus
  3. Adductor group
    • Adductor magnus
    • Adductor longus
    • Adductor brevis
  4. Quadriceps group
    • Vastus lateralis
    • Vastus medialis
    • Vastus intermedius

Technique

The hip thrust is a fairly simple exercise to perform. It is important to master bodyweight before adding resistance. This article details proper form with bodyweight hip thrusts. Here are the primary technique points to keep in mind when hip thrusting:

  1. Hinge on the bench from the lower scapulae region
  2. Push through the heels (feet can remain flat or the ankles can be dorsiflexed)
  3. Ensure vertical shins at the top of the movement
  4. Keep the knees out
  5. Achieve full hip extension
  6. Slightly posterior tilt the pelvis
  7. Keep the ribs down
  8. Maintain forward eye gaze and keep the chin tucked
  9. Make fists and dig the arms into the bench (when performing the bodyweight hip thrust)
  10. Breathe big and brace core before each lift
  11. Pause at the top for a brief moment with a big glute squeeze
Proper bodyweight hip thrust technique

Proper bodyweight hip thrust technique

During the barbell hip thrust, the exerciser is encouraged to touch the buttocks or the plates on the barbell down to the ground when performing hip thrusts from recommended bench height (see below). However, in situations where taller benches must be used (most commercial gyms possess benches that are taller than suggested heights), it is recommended that the exerciser avoid touching down to the ground and instead reverse the motion in mid-air.

This video details proper hip thrust form:

Equipment

In order to perform the hip thrust exercise, an elevated and stable platform is required upon which to rest the back. The recommended bench height is 12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 centimeters). Benches secured against a wall or power rack are the most common implements, but the following can also be utilized: aerobic steps with 4 to 5 risers, plyometric boxes with padding, custom-built platforms, Hip Thrusters (Hip Thrusters are 16″ high with a 2″ foot mat, so the difference yields a 14″ or 35.5 cm bench height) and even heavy punching bags. If using a bench that is too tall, an Airex balance pad can be placed underneath the buttocks shorter subjects or subjects with relatively short torsos in order to allow for more normal range of motion.

Once proficiency is reached with bodyweight, resistance can be added. The most common ways to achieve this are with dumbbells, barbells, and resistance bands. When using a barbell, it is important to utilize thick bar padding in order to protect the hips. The most popular brands of thick bar padding include the Squat Sponge, Airex balance pad, and the Hampton extra thick bar pad. Thick bar padding can make rolling the barbell over the thighs challenging, however, so 1.5” thick mats, DC Blocks, or 45 lb. plates can be placed underneath the barbell plates in order to provide more space for the hips in between the bar and the ground.

When using resistance bands around the hips, the most popular methods of securing the bands involve hooking the ends around a power rack or Smith machine. However, innovative strategies involving combinations of dumbbells and plates have also been used successfully. Apparatuses such as the Hip Thruster allow for convenient band hip thrust performance. Resistance can also be placed around the knees in the form of minibands (loops) or a medium Hip Circle.

A weightlifting belt is not needed for this exercise. Recommended footwear includes barefoot, minimalist shoes, flat-soled shoes (such as Chuck Taylors), or tennis shoes, but not Olympic weightlifting shoes.

Ideal setup for hip thrusts: <a href=

Variations

The most popular hip thrust variations are the barbell, American, band, and single-leg. However, there are numerous potential variations depending on limb number, elevation, back position, foot position, resistance, tempo, and device. This article depicts numerous hip thrust variations, though simple mathematical calculations suggest that there are at least 7,000 possible hip thrust variations using the criteria below. Many individuals figure out through experimentation that they have a strong preference for some variations over others due to the individuality inherent to human motor control. Listed below are all the possible ways to vary the hip thrust.

  1. Limb number
    • Two (double leg)
    • One (single leg)
      • Standard (top leg free)
      • Braced (top leg braced on box)
      • B-stance (aka staggered or kickstand)
  2. Elevation
    • Floor
    • Shoulders-elevated
    • Feet-elevated
    • Shoulders- and feet-elevated
  3. Back position
    • Standard
    • American
  4. Ankle position
    • Flat
    • Dorsiflexed
  5. Neck position
    • Neutral
    • Chin tucked
  6. Spinal/pelvic strategy
    • Hip hyperextension
    • Lumbar flexion + posterior pelvic tilt
  7. Foot position
    • Standard (medium, straight)
    • Narrow
      • feet straight
      • feet turned in slightly
    • Wide
      • feet straight
      • feet turned out
    • Narrow with knees-out (abducted)
    • Frog
  8. Resistance
    • Bodyweight
    • Ankle weight (for single-leg)
    • Knee-banded
    • Hip-banded
    • Chain
    • Dumbbell
    • Barbell
    • Combinations
      • Hip plus knee-banded
      • Dumbbell plus knee-banded
      • Bar plus knee-banded
      • Bar plus hip-banded
      • Bar plus hip- plus knee-banded
      • Bar plus chain
      • Bar plus chain plus knee-banded
      • Bar plus dual band
      • Bar plus dual band plus knee-banded
  9. Tempo
    • Standard
    • Pause reps
    • Isohold
    • Constant tension
    • Rest pause/cluster
    • Eccentric-accentuated
    • Enhanced eccentric
    • 1 1/4 pulses
    • Dynamic effort (speed)
  10. Device
    • Bench
    • Rack
    • Smith machine
    • Lying leg curl/leg extension
    • Hip Thruster/Booty Builder/Glute Builder/Glute Drive
Double band hip thrust

Double band hip thrust

Safety

There are several important safety considerations associated with the hip thrust.

  1. Utilize a stable bench. The bench cannot slide around or tilt back and should be secured to or against a fixed implement.
  2. Ensure the bench or platform has ample padding. This will protect the upper back from getting scraped.
  3. Use thick bar padding. When using a barbell, this can protect the hips from discomfort and bruising.
  4. Ensure optimal spinal and pelvic positioning. The most common complaint associated with the hip thrust exercise is lower back discomfort. This is almost always due to an extended lumbar spine and anteriorly rotated pelvis. By keeping the chin tucked and the ribs down, spinal hyperextension is avoided, erector muscle activation is reduced, spinal compressive and shearing forces are reduced, and facet joint contact forces are minimized. This technique makes the hip thrust more of a pure hip exercise instead of a hip and back exercise.
Chin tucked and pelvis tilted posteriorly at lockout

Chin tucked and pelvis tilted posteriorly at lockout

Perception of Safety

The hip thrust is perceived as a very safe exercise. A poll undertaken in July of 2017 with almost 5,200 responders indicated that:

  • Most lifters rate squats and deadlifts at a 5 in terms of level of danger and a hip thrust at 1 (1 being least dangerous and 10 being most dangerous)
  • 61% of lifters have hurt themselves 1 or more times in the past decade with squats, 64% with deadlifts, and only 17% with hip thrusts
  • Between squats, deadlifts, and hip thrusts, 96% of lifters believe squats to be the most risky lift for the knees, and 71% of lifters believe deadlifts to be the most risky for the low back

Biomechanics

Mechanics

One primary feature of the barbell hip thrust is the heavy loading that can be utilized by nearly all individuals who regularly perform the exercise. Due to the three points of contact at the mid-back along the bench and the two feet upon the floor, the exercise is highly stable and easy to learn. It does not contain a sticking region as seen in the squat and bench press. The most difficult portion of the hip thrust seems to be at the exercise’s lockout, not at the bottom or in the middle of the range of motion. The hip thrust is characterized by a consistent level of tension on the hips throughout its range of motion, unlike the squat or deadlift, which place greater levels of tension at the bottom of the range of motion in the stretch position compared to the top in the lockout position. The hip thrust therefore has a flattened hip extension torque angle curve, whereas the squat and deadlift possess a descending hip extension torque angle curve.

Estimated hip extension torque angle curves associated with various popular glute exercises

Estimated hip extension torque angle curves associated with various popular glute exercises

Individuals of all body types can learn to perform the hip thrust in a coordinated fashion. Whereas relatively long femurs are disadvantageous in the back squat exercise as they lead to greater extensor torque requirements out of the hips and knees, in addition to a greater degree of torso lean, they don’t pose a disadvantage in the hip thrust. Shorter individuals and those with relatively short torsos will require a shorter bench height during the hip thrust. Individuals with long tibias and greater hip extension range of motion will utilize slightly greater range of motion in terms of overall barbell displacement during the thrust.

The Effect of Stance

This is recent, unpublished-as-of-yet data that I collected with Erin Feser at ASU. It examines glute bridges, but this almost certainly applies to hip thrusts as well. We found that knee-banded glute bridges (mini-band placed right above the knees with a 2X hip-width stance), max contraction (flexing your glutes as hard as possible throughout the rep), and frog pumps (heels touching each other with knees flared outwards) were best for the upper glutes, while max contraction, frog pumps, and knee-banded glute bridges were best for lower glutes. Narrow stance bridges ranked lowest in glute activity.

The Effect of Load

Heavier hip thrusts do in fact increase glute activity, but the slope of this increase is not very impressive. At 50% of 1RM, the first rep of a hip thrust set activates the glutes to around 40% of MVIC, whereas at 90% of 1RM, the first rep of a hip thrust set activates the glutes between 50-60% of MVIC. Considering that around 20 reps can be performed with 50% of 1RM and only 3 reps can be performed with 90% of 1RM, this may indicate that lighter loads for higher reps are superior for glute hypertrophy in comparison to heavier loads for low reps.

Lever Type

Whereas the squat is a type III lever, the hip thrust is actually two type III levers. Biomechanist Andrew Vigotsky depicts this concept below:

Lever

Lumbopelvic Hip Complex (LPHC) Kinematics

The range of hip extension mobility varies remarkably in humans, with some individuals possessing 5 degrees shy of full hip extension mobility, and others, 40 degrees of hip hyperextension mobility (Elson & Aspinall 2008). In the hip capsule, hip hyperextension and posterior pelvic tilt mimic each other, with hip hyperextension rotating the hip onto a fixed pelvis and posterior pelvic tilt rotating the pelvis onto a fixed femur (Neumann 2010). During the hip thrust, a variety of lumbopelvic hip complex positions can be utilized depending on the individual and his or her goal(s). For example, at the top of the hip thrust, if the lumbar spine is extended, the pelvis is anteriorly tilted, and the hips are hyperextended, barbell displacement (range of motion) will be maximized. However, in order to protect the spine, it is recommended that the lumbar spine be in the neutral range or slightly flexed and the pelvis posteriorly tilted at the top of the hip thrust. Holding a flexed neck position (maintaining forward head position throughout the duration of the set of hip thrusts) will assist with minimizing erector activation and lumbar lordosis (Shirado et al. 1995). This strategy will reduce barbell displacement, and though it may give the appearance of suboptimal range of motion, it will still max out hip extension mobility in the hip capsule, thereby allowing for near maximum levels of gluteal activation.

Hip Extension Torque

A complicated biomechanical technique known as the inverse dynamics is required to accurately calculate the hip extension moment arms and moments, which determine the torque or turning force requirements from the hip extensor musculature. However, these measurements can be estimated to a reasonable degree by utilizing the floor reaction force vector (FRFV) method as shown below by biomechanist Andrew Vigotsky:

While the graph provided above in the mechanics section provides simplified estimates of joint torques, specialized software that takes into account 3D motion capture and force plate data must be utilized in concordance with inverse dynamics in order to more accurately predict the joint torques during movement. Ian Bezodis and his team recently used a Vicon system to do just this, and below are their findings when examining 70% 1RM hip thrust loads.

Interestingly, they found that peak joint moments (torques) occurred near the bottom of the hip thrust, not the top. Though athletes “feel” hip thrusts most at the top of the movement, the greatest loading occurs at the bottom. This can easily be explained by examining the strength curve of the hip extensors. Since the hips are markedly stronger (around 2.5X stronger) at extending the hips when they’re in deep hip flexion compared to full hip extension, it is indeed “harder” for the hips near the top since their strength is tapped to a greater proportion.

Electromyography (EMG) Amplitude & Gluteal Hypertrophy

Peak activation positions likely have implications for exercise selection and hypertrophy. Since the hip thrust exhibits very high levels of hip extension torque at end-range hip extension, where the gluteus maximus exhibits maximum levels of EMG amplitude, this leads to high levels of tension and motor unit recruitment in the gluteus maximus.

Peak Gluteus Maximus EMG Position

The gluteus maximus exhibits peak levels of EMG amplitude in a shortened position at end-range hip extension (lockout). This was demonstrated in the literature as early as 1968 by Fischer and Houtz, and again in 2001 by Worrell et al. In addition, the maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) position for the gluteus maximus is the prone bent-leg hip extension in knee flexion against manual resistance applied to the distal thigh (Contreras et al. 2015), further demonstrating that peak glute activation is elicited in full hip extension.

Impact of Simultaneous Knee & Hip Extension on Gluteus Maximus EMG

When the knees and hips extend simultaneously, gluteus maximus activity is diminished. This was first demonstrated by Yamashita in 1998. This mechanism provides further rationale for the hip thrust being a better choice for gluteal hypertrophy than squats, lunges, or leg presses. The same phenomenon occurs with the rectus femoris (Ema et al. 2016) and explains why leg extensions are a better choice for rectus femoris hypertrophy than squats, lunges, or leg presses.

Impact of Hamstring Active Insufficiency on Gluteus Maximus EMG

The knees stay bent and the hamstrings stay shortened during the hip thrust exercise. This reduces their contribution to hip extension torque and increases the involvement of the gluteus maximus (Kwon & Lee 2013, Lim & Kim 2013, Norikazu & Masaaki 2018). The same phenomenon occurs with the vastis when the rectus femoris is shortened (Maffiuletti & Lepers 2003), and this is referred to as “active insufficiency,” which forces the prime movers to increase their recruitment in order to compensate for the weakened and shortened biarticular synergist.

Gluteus maximus MVIC position: Similar to top hip thrust position

Gluteus maximus MVIC position: Similar to top hip thrust position

Hamstring Mechanics in the Hip Thrust

Hamstring activation in the hip thrust is much greater than that observed in a back squat, but lower than that observed in a deadlift. While hip extension torque requirements are more consistent in the hip thrust compared to the squat, the hamstrings are more lengthened and in a better position to produce force in the deadlift compared to in the hip thrust. It is this shortened position, combined with great hip extensor demands, that may cause individuals performing the hip thrust to experience a cramping sensation in their hamstrings.

Quadriceps Mechanics in the Hip Thrust

Knee extension torque is high in the hip thrust exercise for three reasons. First, subjects push back into the bench for stability during the hip thrust; second, knee extension will raise the hips in a hip thrust, thereby creating hip extension movement; and third, since slight knee extension takes place, the quads must counteract the high levels of hamstring involvement at the knee. In other words, while the hamstrings extend the hips, they also produce knee flexion torque, which must be countered by the quadriceps if knee extension is to take place (Bryanton et al. 2015).

In contrast to the gluteus maximus, which exhibits peak EMG amplitude in maximally-shortened positions, the vastis muscles of the quadriceps exhibit peak EMG amplitude in mid-range and stretched positions (Kong & Van Haselen 2010, Shenoy et al. 2011, Pincivero et al. 2004).

Since the squat and hip thrust exercises both require very high net knee extension torque at mid-range knee extension, where the vastis exhibit maximum levels of EMG amplitude, this leads to high levels of tension and motor unit recruitment in the quadriceps. However, because the knees move through a much greater range of motion during the squat compared to during the hip thrust, the dynamic nature of the squat makes it superior to the hip thrust for quadriceps hypertrophy.

Adductor Mechanics in the Hip Thrust

Adductor involvement is also high in the hip thrust exercise due to the fact that the adductors are exceptional hip extensors, particularly in deep hip flexion (Vigotsky & Bryanton 2016). The adductor magnus in particular is a powerful hip extensor, and it contributes significantly to the hip extension torque production during the hip thrust.

Erector Spinae Mechanics in the Hip Thrust

Head, neck, spine, and pelvic position modify spinal erector activity during the hip thrust. If seeking to maximize spinal erector activation, an extended head, neck, and spine, and an anteriorly tilted pelvis are advised. However, this posture places increased stress on the posterior elements of the spine (Cavanaugh et al. 1996). It is therefore recommended that the chin stay tucked, head position remain forward, the chest/ribs down, and the pelvis posteriorly tilted in order to reduce spinal erector activity and make the hip thrust more of a pure hip extensor exercise.

Hip Thrust versus Back Squat and Front Squat

Below is a chart showcasing the findings of Bret Contreras’s thesis, which compared the squat and the hip thrust using EMG, force plate, video capture, ultrasound, and performance tests.

Chart

From Kinematics, kinetics, and electromyography of vertical and horizontal hip extension exercises and their transference to acceleration and power

In comparison to the back squat, the hip thrust utilizes a lesser hip range of motion and less force during the eccentric (lowering) phase of the movement. This likely leads to less muscle damage in the gluteals. However, the consistent torque on the hips, greater concentric force production, and greater concentric velocity in the hip thrust likely lead to greater mechanical tension/stress, motor unit recruitment/activation, and metabolic stress/fatigue in the gluteals in comparison to the back squat. Moreover, the hip thrust recruits the upper fibers of the gluteus maximus to a much greater degree than does the back squat (in general, horizontal or anteroposterior hip extension exercises recruit more upper gluteus maximus fibers than vertical or axial hip extension exercises).

Barbell plus band hip thrust

Barbell plus band hip thrust

Taking all biomechanical factors into consideration, the hip thrust appears to be a better exercise than the back squat for enhancing gluteal and hamstring hypertrophy, which is in line with the recommendations of Ebben & Jensen, 2000. These muscular adaptations have not yet been demonstrated in the literature by randomized controlled trials, however. Future research is needed to elucidate the hypertrophic effects of the hip thrust exercise.

Although research is limited, one published study and three in various stages of publication indicate that hip thrusts are better suited than squats for improving sprint acceleration, horizontal jump, isometric mid-thigh pull force, isometric horizontal pushing force, hip thrust strength, and gluteal hypertrophy. Squats appear to be better than hip thrusts for improving vertical jump, agility, and squat strength. Moreover, hip thrusts appear to be a valuable assistance exercise for improving the squat and deadlift, leading to approximately half of the strength gains as performance of the specific lifts themselves. Hip thrusts appear to build the squat better than the deadlift and the deadlift better than the squat.

Some of these effects are likely due to the different force vectors associated with the two exercises. The force vector is the direction in which force is applied with respect to the body. Often, force vectors are referred to as “vertical” and “horizontal”; although, the correct terms are axial (for vertical) and anteroposterior (for horizontal), as these refer to force directed from the feet towards the head, and force directed from the back of the body to the front of the body, respectively.

The squat has an axial force vector, wherein force is transferred by the feet into the ground, and the direction of the force is from the feet towards the head. If the force vector is important, we might expect the squat to transfer better to athletic abilities involving axial movements, like vertical jumping. On the other hand, we might expect it to transfer less well to athletic abilities using anteroposterior movements, like broad jumps and sprinting. Equally, the hip thrust exercise has an anteroposterior force vector, wherein force is applied through the feet into the ground and through the back into the bench, and the direction of the force is from the back of the body towards the front of the body. If the force vector is important, we should expect the hip thrust to transfer better to athletic abilities involving anteroposterior movements, like broad jumping and possibly even sprinting. On the other hand, we might expect it to transfer less well to athletic abilities involving axial directions, like vertical jumps.

Numerous studies have been performed in relation to the role of horizontal (anteroposterior) force production in sprinting. Although sprinters need to perform work against the force of gravity (i.e., vertically), they also need to perform work to accelerate in a horizontal direction against air resistance and ground friction, in addition to overcoming inertial forces of the body. In fact, biomechanically, an increase in sprinting speed can only be attained if horizontal propulsive impulse (force x time) exceeds horizontal braking impulse in the ground contact phase. Only this scenario will allow an athlete to accelerate to a faster speed than they are currently running. The research is quite clear in showing that horizontal force production is more important than vertical force production during sprint acceleration and faster running speeds (Hunter et al. 2005, Morin et al. 2011, Morin et al. 2012, Kawamori et al. 2013, Morin et al. 2015, Brughelli et al. 2011, Buchheit et al. 2014, Cross et al. 2015, de Lacy et al. 2015, Rabita et al. 2015).

The hip thrust strengthens the glutes at hip ranges of motion that are more associated with ground contact compared to squats. Research indicates that the gluteus maximus is the most important hip extensor on the ground, whereas the hamstrings are the most important in the air (Schache et al. 2010, Kryolainen et al. 2005, Dorn et al. 2012). Additionally, the hamstrings have been found to be critical in producing horizontal force production (Morin et al. 2015).

5

Published Research

There are currently 29 peer-reviewed published journal articles and one master’s thesis that pertain to the hip thrust exercise:

    1. Barbell Hip Thrust: Exercise Technique – This article was published by Bret Contreras, John Cronin, and Brad Schoenfeld in Strength & Conditioning Journal. It described proper hip thrust technique and protocols.
    2. Barbell Hip Thrust – This is another technique article published in Journal of Sport and Human Performance and written by Ryan Eckert and Ronald Snarr describing proper hip thrust technique.
    3. The Increasing Role of the Hip Extensor Musculature With Heavier Compound Lower-Body Movements and More Explosive Sport Actions – This article by Beardsley and Contreras published in the Strength & Conditioning Journal demonstrated that the hip extensors proportionately “do more” in relation to the knee extensors as sporting actions rise in velocity and resistance training movements rise in load. The hip thrust exercise was mentioned as a potential method to improve hip strength and power.
    4. The effect of maturation on adaptations to strength training and detraining in 11-15-year-olds – This study was carried out by Cesar Meylan and colleagues and published in Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. It looked at the effects of strength training on strength, acceleration, and power in adolescent males in different stages of maturation. Hip thrust variations were included as part of the training regimen, and marked increases in performance were observed.
    5. Strength, Speed and Power Characteristics of Elite Rugby League Players – this paper published by James de Lacey and colleagues in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research showed that faster rugby players produced more horizontal force during sprinting than slower players. The researchers mentioned the hip thrust as a potential exercise to improve horizontal force and sprinting speed.
    6. Effects of hamstring-emphasized neuromuscular training on strength and sprinting mechanics in football players – This study was carried about Jurdan Mendiguchia and colleagues and published in Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. It examined the effects of hip thrust variations, eccentric knee flexion exercises, and sled towing on speed, ground reaction force, and knee extensor/flexor muscle strength in soccer players. The experimental group saw greater increases in speed and leg strength compared to the control group.
    7. A Comparison of Gluteus Maximus, Biceps Femoris, and Vastus Lateralis Electromyographic Activity in the Back Squat and Barbell Hip Thrust Exercises – This study was carried out by Bret Contreras and colleagues and published in Journal of Applied Biomechanics. EMG amplitude was measured in resistance trained women during the back squat and hip thrust. The hip thrust elicited greater mean and peak EMG amplitudes in the upper and lower gluteus maximus as well as in the hamstrings, but quadriceps activity was similar between the two exercises. In addition, hip thrust isometric holds exhibited far superior hip extensor EMG amplitude compared to squat isometric holds.
    8. A Comparison of Gluteus Maximus, Biceps Femoris, and Vastus Lateralis Electromyography Amplitude for the Barbell, Band, and American Hip Thrust Variations – This study was carried out by Bret Contreras and colleagues and published in Journal of Applied Biomechanics. EMG amplitude was measured during the barbell, band, and American hip thrust variations. In general, the barbell hip thrust was found to be the superior variation for gluteal EMG amplitude. However, some subjects achieved their highest levels of gluteal EMG amplitude during the band and American hip thrusts, indicating that individual experimentation is warranted.
    9. Effects of a six-week hip thrust versus front squat resistance training program on performance in adolescent males: A randomized-controlled trial – This study was carried out by Bret Contreras and colleagues and published in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. One group of adolescent rugby players performed solely front squats for lower body training, whereas another group performed solely hip thrusts. The front squat group saw greater increases in front squat strength and vertical jump performance. The hip thrust group saw greater increases in hip thrust strength, acceleration performance, and isometric mid-thigh pull strength. Furthermore, the study showed that squats transferred to hip thrusts and hip thrusts to squats at around half the rate of the specific lift. This provides preliminary evidence supporting the force vector theory and indicates that both squats and hip thrusts should be included in a comprehensive strength and conditioning program.
    10. Variable resistance training promotes greater strength and power adaptations than traditional resistance training in elite youth rugby league players – This study by Rivière and colleagues published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research did not test lower body strength or power measures, but the hip thrust was included in the training protocol.
    11. Effects of 6-week Squat, Deadlift, and Hip Thrust Training Programs on Speed, Power, Agility, and Strength in Experienced Lifters – This master’s thesis experiment by Michael Zweifel collected important pilot data that will be used in future research to test how squats, deadlifts, and hip thrusts uniquely impact performance and strength. The researcher believes that all 3 exercises are required to maximize acceleration, explosive power, and agility.
    12. Effects of 6-week squat, deadlift, or hip thrust training program on speed, power, agility, and strength in experienced lifters: A pilot study – This article by Michael Zweifel and colleagues published in the Journal of Trainology is the published version of the master’s thesis presented above.
    13. Electromyographic Comparison Of Barbell Deadlift, Hex Bar Deadlift And Hip Thrust Exercises: A Cross-Over Study – This study by Vidar Anderson and colleagues published in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research examined gluteus maximus, biceps femoris, and erector spinae EMG activity between the conventional deadlift, trap bar deadlift, and barbell hip thrust. Deadlifts elicited the highest hamstring activity, hip thrusts elicited the highest glute activity, and erector activity was similar between all three exercises. Moreover, hip thrusts exhibited higher hip extensor activity in the latter half of the concentric phase.
    14. Importance of Horizontally Loaded Movements to Sports Performance – This article by Michael Zweifel published in the Strength & Conditioning Journal discusses the value of horizontally loaded exercises for athletics and mentions the hip thrust as an important tool for potentially improving horizontal force and athleticism.
    15. A Multifactorial, Criteria-based Progressive Algorithm for Hamstring Injury Treatment – This paper by Jurdan Mendiguchia and colleagues published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise utilized bilateral and unilateral hip thrust variations in an individualized algorithm designed to rehabilitate hamstring strain injuries. The experimental group experienced markedly less re-injuries than the control group that performed Nordics.
    16. The Potential for a Targeted Strength Training Programme to Decrease Asymmetry and Increase Performance: A Proof-of-Concept in Sprinting – This case study by Scott Brown and colleagues published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology & Performance incorporated single leg hip thrusts as a means to reduce leg power asymmetries in sprinting. Hip extensor training increased horizontal force on the weaker leg and increased sprinting speed.
    17. The effects of moderate- versus high-load resistance training on muscle growth, body composition, and performance in collegiate women – This experiment published by Jason Cholewa and colleagues in The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research utilized the hip thrust in their training program. Volume equated high and moderate loads showed the same results in hypertrophy, body composition, strength, and performance changes.
    18. Electromyographic evaluation of high-intensity elastic resistance exercises for lower extremity muscles during bed rest – this paper by Vinstrup and colleagues published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology examined lower body EMG activity of 14 band exercises and found that the band hip thrust elicited high levels of gluteus maximus activity. Although the researchers named the exercise a hip thrust, the cut-off picture appears to be a band glute bridge (without shoulder elevation), but it’s hard to tell.
    19. Effects of Hip Thrust Training on the Strength and Power Performance in Collegiate Baseball Players – this study, published by Lin and colleagues in the Journal of Sports Science, examined the effects of the barbell hip thrust on squat strength, hip thrust strength, vertical jump, standing long jump, and sprint acceleration. Although squat and hip thrust strength significantly increased, no functional improvements were realized in the jumps or sprint.
    20. Heavy Barbell Hip Thrusts Do Not Effect Sprint Performance: An 8-Week Randomized-Controlled Study – this experiment, performed by Bishop and colleagues in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, examined the effects of the barbell hip thrust on hip thrust strength and 40m sprints. Although subjects gained considerable hip thrust strength, it had no effect on sprint speed, even when broken down into individual 10m increments.
    21. Analysis of Wearable and Smartphone-Based Technologies for the Measurement of Barbell Velocity in Different Resistance Training Exercises – this reliability and validity assessment by Balsalobre-Fernández and colleagues in Frontiers in Physiology, showed that the Beast wearable device and the PowerLift app were highly valid, reliable, and accurate for measuring barbell velocity in the barbell hip thrust exercise.
    22. Loaded hip thrust-based PAP protocol effects on acceleration and sprint performance of handball players – this experiment by Dello Iacono and colleagues, published in the Journal of Sports Sciences, indicated that both heavy hip thrusts (3 sets of 6 reps with 85% of 1RM) and explosive hip thrusts (3 sets of 10 reps with 50% of 1RM) induced an acute postactivation potentiation (PAP) effect for 15m sprints at both 4 minutes and 8 minutes following the protocol (but not for 15 seconds following the protocol). Moreover, a correlation was found between stronger hip thrusters and PAP response to sprint performance.
    23. Hip thrust-based PAP effects on sprint performance of soccer players: heavy-loaded versus optimum-power development protocols – this acute study by Dello Iacono and Seitz, published in the Journal of Sport Sciences, found that heavy (85% 1RM) and the load that optimized power production (65% 1RM) were effective in inducing a PAP effect for 15m sprints at both 4 and 8 minutes (but not 15 seconds), but the optimal power load is recommended due to it’s increased efficiency.
    24. Single-Leg Glute Bridge – this technique article by Tobey and Mike, published in the Strength & Conditioning Journal, depict single leg glute bridge and hip thrust variations.
    25. Activation of the Gluteus Maximus During Performance of the Back Squat, Split Squat, and Barbell Hip Thrust and the Relationship With Maximal Sprinting – This study by Michael Williams and colleagues, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, compares muscle activation of the gluteus maximus and ground reaction force between the barbell hip thrust, back squat, and split squat and determines the relationship between these outcomes and vertical and horizontal forces during maximal sprinting.
    26. Effects of an 8-week strength training intervention on tibiofemoral joint loading during landing: a cohort study – This study by Maike Czasche and colleagues, published in the BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, evaluated the effect of a strength training intervention on the muscle and joint contact forces during landing in untrained women.
    27. Vertically and horizontally directed muscle power exercises: Relationships with top-level sprint performances – This study by Irineu Loturco and colleagues, published in PLOS One, compared the relationships between vertically-directed and horizontally-directed exercises and sprint performance of top-level track and field athletes.
    28. Barbell Hip-Thrust Exercise: Test-Retest Reliability and Correlation With Isokinetic Performance – This paper by Irineu Loturco and colleagues, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, showed that force profiling with the smith machine hip thrust on a force plate is very reliable and correlates moderately to largely with knee flexion and hip extension strength on an isokinetic dynamometer at 60 and 189 degrees per second.
    29. Short-term optimal load training vs a modified complex training in semi-professional basketball players – This study by Tomas Freitas and colleagues, published in the Journal of Sports Sciences, found that 6 weeks of both optimal load training and modified complex training involving the half squat, bench press, and hip thrust increased basketball players’ strength while maintaining or slightly improving multi-vectorial power despite taking place in-season and not involving heavy loads.

Future Research Needed

Hip thrust research is in its infancy. Hundreds of studies need to be performed in order to fully elucidate the value and drawbacks of hip thrusts on health, aesthetics, and function. Below are some ideas.

  1. Hip thrust EMG studies: Only three EMG studies involving the hip thrust have been conducted (one comparing squats and hip thrusts, one comparing hip thrust variations, and one comparing hip thrusts and deadlift variations), and two are from the same lab (Contreras’ Glute Lab). More EMG studies need to be conducted to confirm Contreras’ findings and to expand to other populations and compare to other exercises.
    • Fine wire EMG studies should be performed to verify the work of Contreras et al. 2015-2016 (in addition to Worrell et al. 2001).
    • Studies should be undertaken to compare male and female hip thrusters, in addition to normal subjects versus elite athletes, elderly, and other populations.
    • A comprehensive gluteus maximus (upper and lower fibers) EMG study needs to be conducted to compare a number of popular glute exercises with each other, such as hip thrusts, squats, deadlifts, lunges, back extensions, and seated hip abductions (currently no comprehensive resistance training studies examining gluteus maximus EMG exist) – mean EMG, peak EMG, iEMG, and RER can be examined.
    • An EMG study comparing no load (bodyweight) hip thrusts with maximal attempts to squeeze the glutes throughout the ROM versus heavy hip thrusts (this could examined in conjunction with fMRI and/or ultrasound to note metabolic stress and cell swelling effects) should be undertaken. * we did this…just need to publish our findings
    • An EMG study comparing no load (bodyweight) hip thrusts with knee-banded bodyweight hip thrusts needs to be undertaken.* we did this…just need to publish our findings
    • A study examining the effects of increasing load on hip and thigh EMG activity with 50, 60, 70, 80, and 90% of 1RM loads should be carried out.* we did this…just need to publish our findings
    • A study examining the effects of stance type on glute EMG activity during the hip thrust should be undertaken, involving narrow, narrow with knees abducted, wide, and frog stances.* we did this…just need to publish our findings
  2. Force plate/motion capture/VICON studies
    • Examine peak and mean vertical and horizontal forces, RFD, velocity, power, work, and impulse for total, concentric, and eccentric phases using force plate
    • Examine barbell displacement, joint ROMs, and repetition time using motion capture
    • Examine joint torques, joint angular velocity joint powers, and active and passive muscle forces using VICON and musculoskeletal modeling *Ian Bezodis’s lab did this, but they need to publish their findings
  3. Relationship between gluteus maximus EMG during hip thrusts and hypertrophy
    • A longitudinal training study needs to be conducted to determine how well gluteus maximus EMG amplitude in the hip thrust relates to gluteal hypertrophy. Magnetic resonance imaging would be ideal, but ultrasound could be used as well (a sound ultrasound protocol for measuring gluteus maximus muscle thickness needs to be developed and described, and reliability needs to be established). Changes in pennation angle and fascicle length should be examined as well (changes in specific tension would be nice to see too, in addition to changes in moment arms).
    • Moreover, an isometric training study at different joint angles should be conducted to determine whether greater hypertrophic gains are seen with increased hip extension (less hip flexion), in accordance with EMG findings.
    • A cross-sectional study investigating the cell-swelling (pump) effects of a high-rep hip thrust protocol using ultrasound (changes in muscle thickness) should be undertaken (muscle damage could be assessed as well, possibly using creating kinase levels and weighted T2 MRI – this could measure activation too).
    • Attentional focus (internal versus external) should first be examined using EMG and then followed up with a training study examining hypertrophy in the gluteus maximus.
  4. Hip thrust effects on field performance, force plate, and isokinetic tests: Studies need to be undertaken to determine how hip thrusts impact multidirectional speed, force, and power (jump, sprint, agility, rotational power, etc.), 1RM squat, deadlift, and hip thrust strength, in addition to isometric and isokinetic hip extension strength at a variety of joint angle and speeds in varying populations. The effects of hip thrusts on gait and functional performance in the elderly in addition to running performance in endurance athletes also need to be examined. Finally, correlations in hip thrust strength (isometric, concentric, and eccentric) with performance should be ascertained and compared with other common lower body tests of strength.
  5. Squats versus squats and hip thrusts on squat strength with equated volume: A study should be conducted to determine whether a protocol such as 8 weekly sets of squats leads to better gains in squat strength when compared to 6 weekly sets of squats and 2 weekly sets of hip thrusts, with both groups involving 8 total sets.
  6. Deadlifts versus deadlifts and hip thrusts on deadlift strength with equated volume: A study should be conducted to determine whether a protocol such as 8 weekly sets of deadlifts leads to better gains in deadlift strength when compared to 6 weekly sets of deadlifts and 2 weekly sets of hip thrusts, with both groups involving 8 total sets.
  7. Hip thrust versus variety on glute hypertrophy with equated volume: A study needs to be undertaken to determine whether solely hip thrusts can be performed (for example, 16 weekly sets of hip thrusts) for optimal gluteal hypertrophy. It could be compared to 16 sets of a variety of glute exercises (for example, 4 weekly sets of hip thrusts, squats, deadlifts, and lunges).
  8. Hip thrusts and hamstring rehabilitation and injury prevention: Studies need to be undertaken to determine whether hip thrusts safeguard against hamstring injuries and whether they are worthwhile in including in hamstring rehabilitation programs (possibly compare to NHCs in hamstring rehab and speed outcomes).
  9. Hip thrust effects on post-activation potentiation (PAP) – only one study has examined this to date: Studies need to determine whether dynamic as well as isometric hip thrusts can create an acute enhancement in performance in different activities (e.g., vertical jump, horizontal jump, triple jump, 10m sprint, 40-yard dash, and max squat).
  10. Hip thrust effects on pain and dysfunction: Studies need to be conducted to determine whether hip thrusts are valuable in preventing injury, improving function, and rehabilitating injuries involving the lumbar spine, sacroiliac joint, ITB, anterior hips, pelvic floor, anterior cruciate ligament, and knee joints. The effects of hip thrusts on pelvic tilt posture needs to be examined as well.
  11. Optimal hip thrust protocols: Studies need to determine what frequency (e.g., 2 versus 3 versus 4 days/week), set and rep schemes (e.g., 3 sets of 5, 5 sets of 3, pyramids such as 10/8/6/15, 4 sets of 8, 10 sets of 1, 2 sets of 20), hip thrust variations (e.g., barbell versus band versus single-leg versus bar plus band), tempos (e.g., standard versus pause reps versus eccentric accentuated), rest periods (e.g., 1 min versus 2 min versus 3 min), and periodization schemes (e.g., linear versus block versus DUP versus flexible DUP) yield the best results for different goals (e.g., hypertrophy, strength, performance).
  12. Optimal hip thrust variations: Studies on the Skorcher-style hip thrust (feet and shoulders elevated with greater hip range of motion), band hip thrust, traditional barbell hip thrust, American hip thrust, double band hip thrust, explosive hip thrust (with or without bands or chains), and single leg hip thrust need to be compared in terms of their effects on speed, hypertrophy, and strength.
3

Dani Shugart performing the hip thrust

Strongest Hip Thrusts

Here are some of the strongest hip thrusts ever performed to date:

Bret Contreras 815lbs

Great workout tonight. New hip thrust PR! I did: Hip thrust 765 x 1, 815 x 1, 585 x 10 Wide grip pulldown 200 x 15 Band overhead press 25, 20 Hammer curl 50 x 15 Seated hip abduction 190 x 40 Basically just did an easy workout (no squats, deads, bench, chins). Hip thrusts are brutal when doing them but the next day I'm not sore or beat up. I want to be fresh and recovered on Friday so I can pull something heavy. I didn't quite lock out the 815 but I'll hit it again in the next week or two more cleanly and raise my hips to full height (you can feel when your hips run out of ROM and I had another inch or two in the tank). But the 585 x 10 was solid and they ties a PR. Gonna do a high rep bro session tomorrow and then go heavy on Friday. #gluteguy #glutelab #thethrustisamust

A post shared by Bret "Glute Guy" Contreras PhD (@bretcontreras1) on

Roselyn Kennedy 315 lbs x 20, 365 lbs x 20, 405 lbs x 12 (also shown is 500 lbs x 2 reps)

James Harrison 675 lbs x 6 reps

700+ pounds at age 39… @jhharrison92 is not human.

A post shared by espn (@espn) on

Martin Julien 700 lbs x 2 reps at 165 lbs bodyweight

Adam Bisek 585 lbs x 15 reps

Adam @besickfit Bisek has some of the freakiest glutes I've ever seen. Swipe left to see all 6 videos of his of workout from yesterday. Who does 585 lb hip thrusts for 15 reps? Only a Minotaur disguised as a human! Here's how Adam described his workout: "Regimen from today was: GHR's 4×20 w/bodyweight BB Hip Thrusts 225×10, 315×10, 405×10, 495×10, 585×15 Sissy Squats 5×20 reps body weight DB RDL's 1 x 130 x 30 reps *hamstring emphasis, constant tension in bottom 3/4 range of motion. Just gave it hell. Single Leg Hip Extension on Roman Chair 3×20 each leg bodyweight *whether I do these bi or unilaterally I will always keep tension on the pad closer to my knee or mid femur almost as if I'm shifting the fulcrum. It then feels like someone's using a blowtorch on my hamstrings instead of my glutes. Walking BB Lunges 95lbs x24 steps x 4 sets *I keep more fundamental, "athletic" movements in my program even though I train as a bodybuilder. I have more of an integrated approach than most who train as I do. Most body weight exercises I will temper my cadence/tempo such that I'm near or at failure on the last rep. My glutes are already large so I try and target my hamstrings a bit more. This is my posterior dominant leg day, I will have a quad dominant one during the week as well." #gluteguy #besickfit #thethrustisamust

A post shared by Bret "Glute Guy" Contreras PhD (@bretcontreras1) on

Joshua Birmingham 605 lbs x 22 reps

Last year around this time I maxed out at 605 x 3, today I maxed out at 605 x 21 With a year of experimenting with the @the_hip_thruster , I found that time under tension (as for any movement/exercise) is best for the glutes. That's why I go half way down right before touching then drive through the heels reaching full extension, keeping a straight line from your knees, hips and shoulders at the top of the movement, nothing more or less. Clearly I didn't hit all 21 at once & that's because my posterior chain was feeling it 🔥🔥. . 📷 @robbytreadwell . . . #gluteguy #glutelab #thethrustisamust #glutes #gluteday #gymlife #humpday #bunsofsteel #strength #okc #oklahoma #local #up @bretcontreras1 @unionperformance

A post shared by Joshua Birmingham (@dntjukemjuice) on

Neringa Adamonyte 484 lbs x 4 reps

Brett Cummins 815 lbs x 2 reps

Courtney Dart 405 lbs x 12 reps

Roxy Winstanley 518 lbs x 3 reps

Katie Sonier 505 lbs x 10 reps & 600 lbs x 5 reps

600 x 5 – Operation phat, strong, gorilla glutes 🍑www.katiesonier.com

A post shared by Katie Sonier, CPT (@katiesonier) on

Matt Ogus 705 lbs x 7 reps

Yo tag @therock so we can hit a hip thrust sesh together! 🍑 ⠀ 705×7, 650×7, 585×10 ⠀ For those wondering why I post myself doing these so often.. no it’s not to bring up my squat (I’d simply squat more), or my deadlift (I’d deadlift to increase my deadlift), I just am really enjoying and loving this lift.. hitting it weekly. Sometimes you gotta follow your own goals and preferences – and that’s exactly what I do and am currently doing 😊 ⠀ Outfit: Felt absolutely incredible in these new @gymshark Onyx Imperial Leggings (size: M) – didn’t even feel like I needed knee sleeves. Top is @Gymshark Gold’s Gym Stringer (size M)… link in bio to check them out! ⠀ @gymsharktrain #gymshark #gymsharktrain #bodybuilding #mattogus #meangains

A post shared by Matt Ogus (@mattogus) on

The Rock 405lbs

Celebrity/Athlete Hip Thrusts

Henry Cavill using the Glute Builder to get buns of steel!

Chelsea Handler trying B-stance hip thrusts for the first time

@benbrunotraining

A post shared by Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) on

Here’s Chelsea crushing heavier barbell hip thrusts

Kate Upton killing this knee-banded 1.5 hip thrust variation

Kate Upton (@kateupton) crushes some “1.5 rep” hip thrusts where, like the name suggests, you do one full rep followed by a partial rep, pausing at the top each time. Strong! I love hip thrusts, but a lot people (myself included) reach a point where the heavy weight becomes uncomfortable on the hips even with a pad, and they start to feel it in the lower back instead of the glutes, even with perfect form. This point is different for different people, but now that Kate is easily using more than 225 pounds on hip thrusts, we’ve transitioned to “1.5 reps” as a way to get a good training effect with lighter loads so we can keep working the glutes with less stress on the lower back and hips. #Repost @kateupton (@get_repost) ・・・ #SundayFunday #225pounds @benbrunotraining 💪💪

A post shared by Ben Bruno (@benbrunotraining) on

Here’s Kate perfecting her barbell hip thrust form

Here’s Kate doing feet-elevated hip thrusts for increased range of motion

Here’s Kate adding more resistance to her hip thrusts with a band around the bar

Here’s Kate doing some knee-banded hip thrusts

Here’s Kate adding in some iso holds to her hip thrusts

Caroline Wozniacki performing barbell single-leg hip thrusts with perfect form

Klay Thompson starting his workout with some heavy knee-banded hip thrusts

Barbara Fialho crushing hip thrusts on her second attempt ever!

Here’s Barbara adding some abduction work to her hip thrusts

Here’s Barbara killing it with some heavy barbell hip thrusts

@barbarafialho1 crushes some heavy hip thrusts with great technique. She's been training extremely hard for a big job coming up, and the results have been amazing. A lot of people do bootcamps to lean out that consist of a bunch of random cardio stuff thrown together haphazardly just for the sake of burning calories. But rather than cardio bootcamp, we're doing a "bootycamp" focused on getting STRONG on key exercises like hip thrusts, RDLS, squats, and sled pushes. They're intense strength-based circuits centered around getting progressively stronger on the key movements combined with shortish rest periods, but getting strong is critical for changing your body for the better. Like my friend @bretcontreras1 likes to say, abs are made in the kitchen, but a nice butt is built in the gym.

A post shared by Ben Bruno (@benbrunotraining) on

Here’s Barbara demonstrating an awesome hip thrust variation

Barbara Fialho (@barbarafialho1) crushes this weighted “hip thrust march” with great technique. This is a great exercise to work the glutes and core, but it’s very important that you keep strict form, meaning the hips are fully extended at the top (without overextending at the lumbar spine) and you don’t allow the hips and torso to swivel as you lift your legs. If you perform the reps slowly and pause each rep for a second (recommended), these are very challenging. Start with just your own bodyweight to get the hang of it before adding weight, but I like progressing to using a barbell because it lets you know immediately if your form is slipping because the bar will tip if your hips move. The goal is the keep the bar perfectly still throughout the entire set. I like to do five reps per leg, which comes out to about 30-40 seconds for the set depending on how slowly you do the reps. Start very light because this is much harder than Barbara makes it look, and beware, these will burn your glutes like crazy…in a good way. 💪🍑

A post shared by Ben Bruno (@benbrunotraining) on

Brendan Schaub showing off his freakish hip thrust strength!

Brie Larson is an absolute savage!

335/350/400 byeeeeeee

A post shared by Brie (@brielarson) on

Whitney Cummings making 315 look easy

@whitneyacummings hip thrusting 315 lbs. that's a strong ASS

A post shared by JASON WALSH (@risemovement) on

Minka Kelly performing the barbell hip thrust with superb form

Minka Kelly @minkak always hittn it hard

A post shared by JASON WALSH (@risemovement) on

References

      1. Don Athaldo, Australian strongman http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/athaldo-don-9396
      2. A clinical tool for office assessment of lumbar spine stabilization endurance: prone and supine bridge maneuvers http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17303961
      3. Inter-rater reliability of three standardized functional tests in patients with low back pain http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19490644
      4. Core Stabilization Exercise Prescription, Part I: Current Concepts in Assessment and Intervention http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3806181/
      5. The Bridge. http://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/Citation/2000/12000/The_Bridge_.11.aspx
      6. Supertraining, Mel Siff & Yuri Verkoshansky https://www.amazon.com/Supertraining-Paperback-Yuri-Verkhoshansky/dp/8890403802
      7. Ten steps to the perfect hip thrust https://bretcontreras.com/10-steps-to-the-perfect-hip-thrust/
      8. The evolution of the hip thrust https://bretcontreras.com/the-evolution-of-the-hip-thrust/
      9. Measurement of hip flexion-extension and straight-leg raising http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2505147/
      10. Kinesiology of the hip: a focus on muscular actions http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20118525
      11. Electromyographic analysis of four techniques for isometric trunk muscle exercises http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7717812
      12. Evolution of the function of the gluteus maximus: an electromyographic study http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/5669839
      13. Influence of joint position on electromyographic and torque generation during maximal voluntary isometric contractions of the hamstrings and gluteus maximus muscles http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11767248
      14. A comparison of two gluteus maximus EMG maximum voluntary isometric contraction positions http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26417543
      15. Revisiting the influence of hip and knee angles on quadriceps excitation measured by surface electromyography : original research article http://reference.sabinet.co.za/document/EJC48390
      16. Angle- and gender-specific quadriceps femoris muscle recruitment and knee extensor torque http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15388311
      17. EMG activities in mono- and bi-articular thigh muscles in combined hip and knee extension http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3220066
      18. Unique activation of the quadriceps femoris during single- and multi-joint exercises http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27032805
      19. How different knee flexion angles influence the hip extensor in the prone position http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820173/
      20. Effects of Different Knee Flexion Angles According to Three Positions on Abdominal and Pelvic Muscle Activity During Supine Bridging http://db.koreascholar.com/article?code=242255
      21. Quadriceps femoris torque and EMG activity in seated versus supine position http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12972870
      22. Quadriceps effort during squat exercise depends on hip extensor muscle strategy http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25895990
      23. Relative muscle contributions to net joint moments in the barbell back squat https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301690652_Relative_Muscle_Contributions_to_Net_Joint_Moments_in_the_Barbell_Back_Squat
      24. Lumbar facet pain: biomechanics, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8872268
      25. The Role of the Back Squat as a Hamstring Training Stimulus http://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/Citation/2000/10000/The_Role_of_the_Back_Squat_as_a_Hamstring_Training.4.aspx
      26. Hamstring muscle forces prior to and immediately following an acute sprinting-related muscle strain injury http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20395142
      27. Changes in muscle activity with increasing running speed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16194986
      28. Muscular strategy shift in human running: dependence of running speed on hip and ankle muscle performance http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22573774
      29. Relationships between ground reaction force impulse and kinematics of sprint-running acceleration http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16131703
      30. Technical ability of force application as a determinant factor of sprint performance http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21364480
      31. Mechanical determinants of 100-m sprint running performance http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22422028
      32. Relationships between ground reaction impulse and sprint acceleration performance in team sport athletes http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22531618
      33. Acceleration capability in elite sprinters and ground impulse: Push more, brake less? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26209876
      34. Effects of running velocity on running kinetics and kinematics http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20703170
      35. Mechanical determinants of acceleration and maximal sprinting speed in highly trained young soccer players http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25356503
      36. Mechanical properties of sprinting in elite rugby union and rugby league http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25310279
      37. Strength, speed and power characteristics of elite rugby league players http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24513623
      38. Sprint mechanics in world-class athletes: a new insight into the limits of human locomotion http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25640466
      39. Sprint acceleration mechanics: the major role of hamstrings in horizontal force production http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26733889

13 Comments

  • Dunkman says:

    Just noticed you haven’t added “PhD” to your header on bretcontreras.com. I know you’re humble, but you worked hard for that bad boy. : )

  • JD says:

    Hey Bret, not sure if you would be interested in adding this resistance combination?.
    One wears a dog collar w/ d-ring, 2 ankle straps w/ d-rings & you clip the resistance band(s) length wise down the body from the neck to the ankles.

  • jason says:

    Dude,
    Did you invent the hip thrust because I always tell everyone you did?

  • Hi Bret:

    Congratulations for this article. Faboluos report for freaks of HT.
    I have one question: Is there an electromyographic analysis for single-leg hip-thrust?

    Thank you very much.

    • Not yet but I know someone is working on publishing this. I have data for it but just for a handful of subjects. Interested in seeing this as some people tend to love SLHTs and others not so much.

  • Debra Sneddon says:

    This is awesome and so worthy of a wiki page! Try yoyre a pioneer and I’m grateful for your knowledge and sharing of it! Thanks so much!! You rock or you thrust!! Haha!

  • My god. Just the length makes me want to read this. Right now, though, I’m going to derail here a tad. Any idea why my left erector (lumbar portion) hurts when I do 1 legged hip thrusts holds with my right leg doing about 20-30 degree abduction lifts (e.g I hold position, have right leg out and move it up and down). Doing it with the other leg – easy as anything, no pain. Could it be due to my right Transversus abdominis and other abdominal weakness? I think my rectus and obliques do not fire perfectly on my right side. Thank you very much.

  • […] hip thrust workout builds the gluteus medius( also known as the upper glutes). Hip thrusts are said to be more effective than squats for […]

Leave a Reply to jason Cancel Reply

SIGN UP FOR THE FREE NEWSLETTER

and receive my FREE Lower Body Progressions eBook!

You have Successfully Subscribed!