Can you attain great glutes without the hip thrust? Sure you can. There are hundreds of excellent glute exercises, and I’ve included nearly all of them in my various books, articles, and videos. Can you get there faster with the hip thrust? I believe so, and my large following of supporters do too.
There are currently tens if not hundreds of thousands of lifters worldwide employing the hip thrust to help them attain better glute development, and this list of people is growing everyday. Why? Because it works. Lifters hear about the hype, and they try it out for themselves. Once they feel the tension in their glutes, they’re sold. After a few weeks of progressive hip thrusting, they start to notice increased glute development. If an individual is new to lifting and spends a solid year focusing on hip thrusts, it is very likely that their glutes will completely transform. Men, and especially women, want to spread the word, so they talk about the exercise on social media. Other lifters try it out for themselves, and the exercise gains momentum. (On a side note, thank you very much to all the wonderful folks out there who are spreading the glute gospel and tagging me in their social media posts. It’s helping, and you’re making a difference.)
The hip thrust is growing more popular every day. Glute training methods have progressed considerably in the past several years, and lifters who are seeking greater glute development are enjoying the advancements. The hip thrust might be just one movement in the gym, but there’s a larger movement taking place. The hip thrust “movement” is about innovation. It’s about progression. It’s about results. Those of us who are aboard the hip thrust train know the truth.
Who are we? We are a growing crowd of lifters who are excited about our glute development, and we want to share our secrets with others. We sometimes encounter criticism, usually by powerlifters who for some strange reason get angry that lifters are prioritizing a lower body movement other than the squat or deadlift, but we push on and prevail. Don’t get us wrong; we like the squat and deadlift too, but no matter what others say, we cannot be stopped, we won’t be distracted, and you won’t break our stride. We’re gonna keep on thrusting, and we’re gonna keep on seeing better results.
If You Wanna Change the World…
To all of those wanting to change the world and spread their methods or ideas, here’s how you do it. Talk about the current popular method, discuss why there’s a better way, and then show your evidence. The more evidence you have, the more seriously people will take you. Want to see my evidence? Click right HERE. You’ll see over 100 lifters who are happy to share their pics to the masses. Follow my Facebook page and you’ll see lifters every single day chiming in about their results after stumbling upon The Glute Guy. This is why my name and my methods continue to gain steam year after year – there is evidence accompanying my ideas; it’s not just a bunch of words.
If someone out there wants to take my crown as The Glute Guy, if someone wants people to stop doing the hip thrust, or if someone wants to revamp the way that glute training is done, they’re going to have to do a little better than writing an article or filming a video. They’re going to need to start showing compelling before/after pics from people who follow their methods (and they’re going to have to be better than mine). They’re going to have to conduct scientific experiments and publish research. They’re going to have to listen to their followers and create solutions to their problems. They’re going to have to build a community, write books, film instructional videos, and answer questions. If they don’t care to go down this path, I understand. It’s hard work, and not everyone can sustain it.
If you put yourself out there, you’re going to attract criticism. In this day and age, there’s simply no way around it. Having posted more free content than nearly any strength & conditioning writer on the internet, I come to expect a certain amount of criticism. The following statement doesn’t apply to the guys that I’ll address later in this article, but many of the individuals who criticize me haven’t written a single article or posted a single video, not to mention taken the time to create a website, patent an invention, or formulate a system of training. This doesn’t imply that their criticism is automatically invalid; but I’ve found that it’s far easier to attempt to tear something down rather than be creative and innovative.
Of even greater importance is that fact that those who tend to criticize me about my glute training usually have zero evidence that they’ve been successful in helping reshape women’s backsides. Again, this doesn’t automatically mean that their arguments aren’t valid, but if I was presented some compelling data, or some logical reasoning, or a superior compilation of testimonials and before/after pics, I’d be much more apt to consider updating my training recommendations (as would my followers). Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.
Recently, two articles and one video surfaced on the internet, all of which criticize the hip thrust, my integrity, and my lack of physical strength. The articles and videos are filled with logical fallacies, pseudoscience, and ad hominems. Since a high percentage of my readership consists of trainers, coaches, physios, and lifters who play an active role in dispensing strength training information to the masses, I would like to use this opportunity as a teaching tool to help my readers be able to better identify poor logic and science, since they will inevitably find themselves in similar encounters in the future with fellow fitness professionals. Here are the three links (it would be a good idea to familiarize yourselves with the material included in these links before continuing on):
Avoid the Hip Thrust by Ryan Lingenfeiser
Real Strength vs. Guru Strength by Chris Bartl
Drop the Useless Hip Thruster by Chris Duffin
Before I get started, I’d like to throw out on offer. If any of these gentlemen above would like to debate any of the following points, I’d be happy to jump on Skype, record a podcast, and post it on my site. They can let me know in the comments section if they’d like to debate.
With regards to the hip thrust, a famous quote comes to mind here by Arthur Schopenhauer.
While some have arrived at stage 3, others are still stuck in stage 1 or 2. If you study the history of the bench press, you’ll notice close similarities between the bench press and the hip thrust. Lifters in the 1930’s and 1940’s would scoff at anyone bench pressing, calling them sissies, accusing them of cheating, telling them that the movement isn’t functional, and informing them that it didn’t work. The bench press prevailed, despite what the haters were saying, because it’s a great exercise that helps lifters achieve their aesthetics goals. The same phenomenon is presently occurring with the hip thrust.
Surf the internet, and you’ll find plenty of articles cautioning lifters to avoid squats, avoid deadlifts, avoid military press, and avoid any other good exercise, so it’s of no surprise that the hip thrust would join the ranks of these exercises. Moreover, research any popular individual in any field and you’ll inevitably find articles or forums bashing that individual; it comes with the territory. In this day and age, no one remains unscathed. I’m therefore not surprised.
However, what does surprise and slightly offend me is the lack of respect for my followers. Dis me all you want – but when you dis the hip thrust, you’re dissing on all the people who have seen great results from the exercise. Who’s employing the hip thrust? The list of people ranges from your everyday commercial gym-goer, to moms training out of their homes, to garage lifters, to bikini and figure competitors, to strength athletes, to physical therapists, to personal trainers, to strength coaches, to professional sports teams and Olympic athletes, to celebrities. The world is loving the hip thrust, and they’re seeing better results.
Have these gentlemen, or any other haters of the hip thrust, taken the time to examine my testimonials? I’m unaware of any fitness professional with 1/10th of the anecdotal support that I have amassed in the glute development department. I wonder what goes on in the hater’s heads when they see those pictures. Do they think I’m fabricating or photoshopping the pictures? Do they think I’m just randomly finding them on the internet and claiming them? Do they think that these types of results are the norm? If so, they clearly have no experience in the trenches. This doesn’t seem to be the case, so what gives? Do they simply turn the other cheek when it comes to testimonials and before/after pics? If this is the case, then what do they go by? Unicorn science?
Have they taken the time to read my clients’ and my readers’ stories? Each picture on my testimonials page has a story behind it, and I’ve included these at the bottom of my random thoughts posts over the past year. Do they think my followers are all just too stupid too determine what works and what doesn’t? My people are far smarter than these folks imagine, and they’re quite capable of determining for themselves what works and what doesn’t.
Once my followers started incorporating the hip thrust and other methods I espouse into their training, their results increased substantially. The difference is, I talk to these people and listen to what they have to say. If anyone does the hip thrust progressively for 6 months, they will notice a plethora of intriguing adaptations, but most of the hip thrust haters clearly haven’t performed hip thrusts on a consistent basis – it’s blatantly apparent by what they say about the exercise.
Have they familiarized themselves with the science behind the movement (for example, have they read HERE and HERE)? Methinks not. Have they conducted any EMG research? Have they taken before pictures, implemented a training program, and then retaken after pictures? If so, where in the world are they? Have they taken baseline performance tests, implemented hip thrusts, and then retested to examine the transfer of training? Have they examined the glute girth measurements of their clients? If so, where’s the data? Or, are they concerned more about what they think happens rather than what really does happen? Sadly, this is nearly always the case.
Do they think I’ve duped the entire industry? Seventeen TNation authors have written about hip thrusts (Bret Contreras, Christian Thibaudeau, Martin Rooney, Dan John, Eric Cressey, Ben Bruno, Lee Boyce, Tony Gentilcore, Tim Henriques, Mike Robertson, Charles Staley, Dean Somerset, Jordan Syatt, Dan Blewett, John Gaglione, Todd Bumgardner, Eirik Sandvik, Kasey Esser). Other top dogs like Jason Ferruggia, Joe Dowdell, Jim Smith, John Romaniello, Chad Waterbury, David Dellanave, Nick Tumminello, BJ Gaddour, Nick Horton, Kelly Baggett, PJ Striet, Molly Galbraith, Nia Shanks, Jen Sinkler, Kellie Davis, Marianne Kane, Rachel Guy, Joy Victoria, Sohee Lee, and Christine Marie have all written about hip thrusts as well. Legendary professional strength coaches Joe Kenn, Buddy Morris, and Chip Morton employ the hip thrust with their NFL players. Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness Magazines have featured hip thrusts on numerous occasions. NCSA’s Strength & Conditioning Journal published an technique article on hip thrusts. Former Ms. Bikini Olympia Nathalia Melo and current Ms. Bikini Olympia Ashley Kaltwasser love their hip thrusts. Fitness models Jamie Eason and Amanda Latona are happily hip thrusting. Even legendary spinal biomechanist Stu McGill likes the hip thrust (and credits it for prolonging his hip replacement surgery and improving his gait)! Clearly there’s something to the exercise or these highly esteemed professionals wouldn’t be incorporating them into their arsenals. One can find videos of high level powerlifters, bodybuilders, strongmen, Olympic weightlifters, NFL players, UFC fighters, MLB players, NBA players, NHL players, and Olympic sprinters performing the hip thrust on the internet as well.
In each of the aforementioned articles/videos linked above, the individuals referred to me as a guru. I’m not a guru; I call out other gurus. My integrity means far more to me than anything, and I’m doing the best I can with the available forms of evidence to provide my readers with the soundest approach to training. If my methods didn’t work, they’d fizzle away just like other training fads. But this is not the case, and according to Google trends, hip thrusts are at an all-time high and their popularity continues to rise year after year.
I can’t help but wonder why anyone on the planet wouldn’t look at my testimonials (and see how happy are with their results) and start recommending hip thrusts to anyone who was seeking better glute development. It mystifies me. Nevertheless, I will now reply to each of these naysayers one-by-one.
Response to Ryan Lingenfeiser (Avoid the Hip Thrust)
I. Avoid Everything?
I see you feel people should avoid the hip thrust. I see you also have articles dedicated to advising people to:
- Avoid Kettlebells
- Avoid Overhead press
- Avoid Ab wheel rollouts
- Avoid Olympic lifts
- Avoid Lunges
- Avoid Assistance exercises
- Avoid Turkish get ups
- Avoid Thick bar training
- Avoid Rest-ice-compression-elevation
- Avoid Leg curls
- Avoid Leg extensions
- Avoid Cardio machines
- Avoid Cardio rest days
- Avoid Support gear
- Avoid Focusing on the stabilizers
- Avoid Resistance bands
- Avoid Advanced training techniques
- Avoid Wide stances or grips
- Avoid Functional training
- Avoid Peak contractions
- Avoid Suspension training
- Avoid Pullovers
- Avoid Powerlifting for general training
- Avoid Grip training
- Avoid Kipping pull-ups
- Avoid Periodization
- Avoid Cycling
- Avoid Yoga
- Avoid Rest, ice, compression, and elevation
Way to alienate just about every lifter out there Ryan! I’m not sure if this is a strategy designed to attract more hits to your website, or if you really feel this way. I see that you advise in THIS article for lifters to just perform 3 exercises and that’s all – a squat, press, and row. I’m thankful that your training programs at least allow for some resistance training – for a while I was wondering if our programs utilized any resistance training at all. However, I find your programming to be boring and inferior for the vast majority of lifters when considering their goals.
II. Learn How to Utilize Pubmed, or Just Stick to What You Know
Not trying to be a dick Ryan, but I can go through almost every article you’ve written and pick apart your logic and reasoning. Your understanding of biomechanics and grasp of sports science is piss-poor. For example, in your article on the Deadlift vs. Squat, you state that deadlifts overstress the hamstrings, glutes, and low back, but then you go on to state that the squat creates higher tension in the muscles. You can’t have it both ways my friend. In my opinion, when comparing the two, it would be far more prudent to list which muscles receive more tension in the squat compared to the deadlift (calves, quads, lumbar extensors) and which muscles receive more tension in the deadlift compared to the squat (hamstrings, thoracic extensors, lats, forearms), rather than just issue inconsistent blanket statements.
Multiple sets are better than one set for strength and hypertrophy; comb the large body of research and you’ll come to this conclusion on your own. Sure, the first set is by far the most important, but there’s a reason why all Olympic weightlifters, powerlifters, bodybuilders, strongmen, and Highland Games athletes perform multiple sets in their training – it’s optimal for strength and hypertrophy.
You can certainly make things up and see where that takes you, but judging by the fact that you’ve written over 150 articles and at this point in time only have 144 Facebook likes, 23 Twitter followers, and a 3.1 million Alexa website ranking, it doesn’t appear to be working well. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need a big social media following to be right or to come up with brilliant methods, but I’m largely unimpressed with your body of work. You have some great potential as a writer, but if you based your work on science rather than “Ryan’s made-up-rules,” you’d be much more successful in my opinion.
III. The Truth About Hip Thrusts
Hip thrusts don’t go against our anatomy and biomechanics; conversely, they’re well-tolerated by the masses. The length-tension relationship doesn’t dictate what exercises we should be doing; lifters should be strong at all muscle lengths which will require a variety of exercises. The hip thrust isn’t dangerous if you do them correctly, just like most exercises. The moment arm doesn’t decrease as the hips raise – it stays fairly consistent throughout (again, stick to what you know rather than spewing pseudobiomechanics). You can use thick padding to protect the hips. Proper hip thrusts don’t involve lumbar hyperextension just like proper deadlifts don’t involve lumbar flexion. There’s no such thing as hyperextension of the glutes. Hyperextension doesn’t only exist in functional anatomy for repositioning joints. Hip thrusts don’t have to involve posterior pelvic tilt, but PPT is useful in many situations. Hip thrusts are one of the most functional exercises in existence. Hip thrusts involve synergy; many muscles work together to achieve the movement. And for optimal glute function and development, you need a variety of exercises such as hip thrusts, squats, and lateral band work. Keep in mind here that I’m only looking at one of your articles – I ignored the other 155.
Response to Chris Bartl (Real Strength vs. Guru Strength)
I. Do Our Methods Really Differ Greatly?
You claim that our methods differ HERE. Let me guess, you have your clients squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press, chin, and row? You might add in some additional single leg, core, or posterior chain work, right? For people who don’t tolerate certain lifts well, you might find substitutions or regressions? Hmmm, that sounds a lot like what I do. With my bikini competitors, I’ll prioritize the hip thrust and tack on additional glute work at the end such as lateral band work. If you did the same, I’m positive that your physique clients (assuming you train physique clients) would see better results. I hope you don’t train every client the same way despite their varying goals – please tell me you don’t shove powerlifting down a physique client’s throat. Nevertheless, hip thrusts are just one component of my programming, and you won’t find many S&C writers who have written more articles and filmed more videos on squats and deadlifts than me.
II. I’m Well-Aware that I’m Not Strong by Powerlifting Standards
I was the skinniest kid in my class growing up – I looked sickly and was made fun of constantly. I couldn’t even come close to performing a single chin-up when I was given the Presidential physical fitness test in grade school. When I first tried the bench press, I was stapled to the bench by the barbell. I started lifting at 15 years of age, and it took me:
- 3 years to perform my first bodyweight dip
- 4 years to perform my first bodyweight chin-up
- 6 years to bench press 225 lbs
- 22 years to reach the 300/400/500 bench/squat/deadlift club
- 22 years to finally deadlift 600 lbs
Words cannot describe how intimidated I was of lifting weights. Back in middle and high school, I thought that something was physically wrong with me and wondered why I was so weak. I was bullied constantly by bigger students, and I hated being harassed so much that I vowed to stick with it and build some muscle. I spent my entire allowance on a gym membership and rode my bike several miles to the gym each day. I couldn’t afford a personal trainer so I just watched what other people did and tried to copy them. I’d go the library and grocery store and read the muscle magazines to try to pick up some tips. Little by little, my strength rose and my muscles grew. Never in the world did I ever imagine that I’d one day be considered “strong.” All I wanted at that time was to be normal. In 22 years, I’ve never taken more than 7 days off of lifting, and this fact makes me prouder than you can imagine.
I have no ego in the strength game. I’ve had incredibly strong lifting partners, and I’ve trained some freaks. I follow natural raw lifters such as Ben Rice, Jonnie Candito, Bryce Lewis, Brandon Campbell, Greg Nuckols, Layne Norton, and Mike Tuscherer, and I’m constantly in awe. I’ve seen all the videos of Malanichev, Konstantinovs, Green, Efferding, Lilliebridges, Kendall, Norris, Rubish, Byrd, Spoto, Bolton, and Magnusson. Trust me, I know exactly where I stand in the world of physical strength. There are guys who can raw squat and bench well over double what I can. I’m also well-aware of my weaknesses in powerlifting. I know that I need to work on staying more upright in the squat and strengthen my quads, I know that I need to work on keeping my elbows more tucked in the bench press and strengthen my triceps, and I know that I need to work on keeping my back more stable in the deadlift.
Despite these realizations, I’m still damn proud of my recent deadlift PR, I’m damn proud of how hard I worked to achieve this goal, and I’m damn proud that my form has improved over the past two years. I’m going to keep giving it my all, and in years to come I hope to raise my raw total to 1,400 lbs and continue to bring up my weaknesses.
However, strength isn’t just a measure of physical prowess; there’s a mental component as well. It takes a lot of balls to pump out articles on maximum strength training, knowing that you’re far from being the strongest guy on the planet. It takes a lot of strength to stick with powerlifting despite the fact that squats have never felt natural to me and I struggle with form. It takes guts to attempt to help powerlifters, knowing that the industry is plagued with meatheads who think that he who is strongest writes better programs and provides better training recommendations.
Nevertheless, I trust in my methods. I have extensively studied the science and find most strength experts’ understanding of the biomechanics to be rudimentary. A strength coach is someone who can help lifters and athletes become stronger. Some of the best strength coaches in the world are weak as a kitten. I attended the CSCCa Conference last week – these collegiate strength coaches are doing an amazing job helping athletes around the country get stronger and improve their performance while keeping them injury-free. Their strength comes in all sizes, you see big guys, medium size guys, and small guys. Al Vermeil is arguably the most successful strength coach in the history of the iron game, and he probably can’t bench press 165 lbs.
Bottom line, it doesn’t take world-class strength to be a world class strength coach. I’m not trying to “trick” my readers into thinking I’m insanely strong – I embed videos of powerlifting records every month into my blog so my readers stay abreast of recent strength feats. Nevertheless, I represent the common lifter, so my readers relate to me and appreciate my dedication. Attacking a fitness writer for being weak is very lame. Stick to the science rather than resorting to ad hominem attacks.
III. You Would Like 2 x 4: Maximum Strength
If you took the time to read through my 2 x 4 product, you’d like the system. It’s highly influenced by Dan Green, but with less volume and other modifications. It’s based around back squats, front squats, deadlifts, block pulls, bench press, close grip bench, floor press, and military press. It provides a systematic method for increasing strength while attempting to prevent overreaching and allow for peaking after 14 weeks. Accessory work is allowable and advisable, but limits are placed on volume. How could this approach go wrong? Try it and you will see results. THESE lifters all did. Or don’t, but don’t criticize a system that you’ve never analyzed or experimented with.
IV. The Truth About Hip Thrusts
I have a very hard time believing that there are guys out there hip thrusting 800 lbs that can’t do a bodyweight squat. I’d like to know who these people are. The vast majority of lifters can hip thrust more than they can squat, with the caveat that they’ve been performing it progressively for at least six months. These are things you learn from training hundreds of people.
The hip thrust is incredibly functional. Not only does it safeguard people from injury to the knees, hips, and low back, it also transfers quite favorably to performance. Lifters and athletes who employ the hip thrust notice improved gait function at all speeds, increased hip power, stronger squats and deadlifts, increased throwing/striking power, and more. Hip thrusts strengthen end-range hip extension, which is vital for sport performance. They build glute hypertrophy incredibly well, and this added glute mass does wonders for improving functional fitness. Any added mass is accompanied by nerves. It gets innervated and the athlete figures out how to utilize it in their sport, especially under the supervision of a skills coach.
I see that you compete in geared powerlifting. Do you like when others say that the bench press isn’t functional, or that wearing bench shirts or squat suits isn’t functional? I wouldn’t agree with these folks, but hopefully this illustrates my point. But, I digress.
To say that it has no real-life application and is “anti-functional” shows that your understanding of sports science is way off-the-mark. Let’s say that we had ten groups of 20 athletes perform one movement alone for 8 weeks (3 times per week with DUP). One group did just squats, another did just deadlifts, another just hip thrusts, another just glute ham raises, another just bench press, another just military press, another just chins, another just bent over rows, another just dips, and another just barbell curls. Let’s say that we pre and post tested them on ten performance tests: vertical jump, broad jump, triple jump, 40-yard dash, 400-meter run, horizontal pushing force, backward shot throw, rotational power, T-test agility, and max push-ups. My educated guess is that the hip thrust group would fall into the top 3, along with the squat and deadlift groups. But the lifter that performed all ten exercises would see far greater improvements than the lifter who only performed one exercise. Strength training is all about synergy, and the hip thrust is a staple in S&C programming.
V. Most Lifters Care More About Their Physiques Than Their Strength
I’d say that 90% of the personal training clients that approached me over the years came to me for aesthetics purposes. Most clients want to look better first and foremost. Initially, they aren’t concerned with strength acquisition. The majority of my followers want better glutes, not to set records in powerlifting. Sure, strength is nice, but given the choice, the vast majority of my female followers would choose to possess great glutes over superior strength. I agree that the two go hand-in-hand, but in my experience hip thrust strength is more critical to glute growth than squat strength. Either way, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to program both in a lifter’s training, if glute growth is the goal. Training should be tailored to the goal of the lifter, not predetermined according to the trainer’s biases.
VI. Do You Use Anabolic Steroids?
I’m curious Chris, do you use roids? I don’t know if you do or not, but if you do, and you go around the internet poking fun of natural lifters – isn’t that like a kid who cheats on a test and pokes fun of the other students for being dumb, or a runner who finds a shortcut during a race and makes fun of the other runners for being slow? If you’re all natural, please correct me and forgive me for the question. In my experience, most juiced lifters conveniently forget how difficult it is to build strength year after year as a natural lifter.
VII. Practice What You Preach
Chris, check out this quote:
“One lifter I really look up to and can’t wait to meet at the end of the month at EliteFTS’s LTT Seminar is Jeremy Frey. His lifting and his attitude have been nothing short of inspirational for me. I recently read in his training blog about his first meet back from a major injury. He talked about how he doesn’t give a shit about any records or whom he’s competing against because he is doing it for only one person: himself.
Records and accolades don’t matter in this sport. It’s about you and only you versus a bar full of weight and it doesn’t care about medals or records. It wants to hurt you and you are the only one who can kick its ass. While training for this meet, I totally lost the meaning of why I am doing this and it’s not because of records. It’s because I fucking love lifting weights and competing. LOVE it. The gym is my idea of what heaven should be like. It’s a place where nobody is hated and everyone is loved because we are all in there for the same reason: to get bigger, faster and most definitely stronger.”
Pretty awesome, right? This quote came from you HERE. Then why all the disrespect?
Response to Chris Duffin (Drop the Useless Hip Thruster)
I. Hip Thrusts Allow for Full Hip Extension
Chris, when I saw your video, my jaw dropped. Your main premise is that hip thrusts don’t allow for full hip extension. They do. As a matter of fact, they allow for hip hyperextension. They do this so well, that spinal biomechanist Stu McGill (who used the exercise to rehabilitate his hip) noted that it naturally makes for an excellent hip flexor stretch. Since the glute (the antagonist) is contracting, it can be thought of as a natural form of PNF stretching, which has been shown to be highly effective in the literature at improving flexibility. I assumed that a bunch of people would call you out for your inaccurate conclusion, but this wasn’t the case. This actually made me depressed about the S&C industry and made me realize how far we have to go. Seriously, you’re argument is flawed. The repetition terminates when the hip runs out of ROM.
The range of motion issue has been discussed ad nauseam by myself and others. It was discussed 4.5 years ago when I first introduced hip thrusts HERE, it was discussed in my first instructional video 4 years ago HERE, and it’s been discussed in dozens of articles/videos since then. For example, below is BJ Gaddour demonstrating full hip extension. HERE is a video of me achieving full hip extension with 635 lbs.
If someone is not achieving full range of motion, then they’re not doing the exercise correctly. However, the same could be said for squats, deadlifts, leg press, bench press, military press, chins, rows, etc. We know that some lifters will inevitably go too heavy and cut their ROM short, but lifters (especially in commercial gyms) around the world do this on every major lift. It’s not the fault of the exercise, it’s the fault of the lifter. You mentioned that lifters can use full ROM with body weight, but when they use too heavy of load, they cannot. Why wouldn’t there be a sweet spot right in between where you can still use load and achieve full ROM? I highly respect the level of strength you’ve achieved, but I’d respect you even more if you were fair on this topic.
II. Hip Thrusts Don’t Cause “Late Glute Firing” and They Transfer Just Fine to Performance
Hip thrusts cause late glute firing? Now I’ve heard it all. Ask fellow powerlifters Greg Nuckols and Quinten Cody (see articles HERE and HERE) if bridges and hip thrusts screwed up their glute firing. I hope you’re not judging the effects of hip thrusts by examining my form on deadlifts. I pulled that way long before I ever did hip thrusts. You see plenty of lifters who perform hip thrusts pull with an arched back, and you see plenty of lifters who don’t perform hip thrusts pull with a rounded back. When examining glute EMG, you don’t see delayed glute firing with roundback deadlifters or with people who perform hip thrusts, and the glutes are firing whether the pelvis is neutral, posteriorly tilted, or anteriorly tilted. I agree that it can help roundbackers better achieve lockout, but this doesn’t incriminate the exercise, as deadlifting mechanics have more to do with discipline when pulling than whether or not the lifter is performing hip thrusts.
When you showed your examples in the deadlift, I don’t agree with you in the posture that demonstrates optimal glute activation. The hip thrust does not “de-stabilize” the spine either – no exercise does that. And if you only standing exercises transfer to real life functional movements, then do you also avoid push-ups, bench press, incline press, inverted rows, seated rows, chins, pulldowns, hip sled, leg extensions, leg curls, planks, side planks, ab wheel rollouts, sit ups, back extensions, glute ham raises, and Nordic ham curls? Or is it just the hip thrust? Are you consistent with your logic here? The truth is that each of these exercises transfer to everyday movements just fine, they’re very useful for physique clients and strength clients alike, and best results are seen when you combine various patterns and force vectors. If you hypothesize that a training study for say 12 weeks involving 3 days/week of progressive hip thrusting would yield zero transfer to functional performance, then I’d have to say that you possess poor biomechanical instincts.
Any exercise that is good for glute growth will improve torque generating ability in hip extension, hip external rotation, hip abduction, and posterior pelvic tilt (see HERE), and there’s more to functional training than meets the eye, according to the literature (see HERE). You seem to think that squats and deadlifts are the end-all, be-all, but a huge percentage of my readers couldn’t care less about what they squat and deadlift – they just want to possess great glutes.
III. I’m Not Just Trying to Sell People Something
Chris, you think I’m just trying to sell people Hip Thrusters? This has never been about the money. It’s about spreading sound glute training methods and helping others achieve their goals. It’s about improving sports performance, decreasing injury, and building better booties. It’s why I taught the world how to hip thrust off of standard benches, and why I taught the world how to do band hip thrusts out of power racks. If I was just trying to sell people Hip Thrusters, this strategy would make me the world’s worst businessman. The people who have bought Hip Thrusters are very happy with their purchases and have seen good results.
I’ve spent approximately 2 hours per day for four straight years answering people’s questions on the internet – this equates to almost 3,000 hours of pro bono work. I’ve been late to meetings and appointments, skipped out on needed sleep, and made sacrifices with my social life just to help others and spread my training methods. Since I’ve gone this route, I’ve attracted many fans. That’s what this is all about – improving the way the world trains.
If I make a buck or two along the way, then that’s great. I created the Hip Thruster because women and coaches were emailing me requesting a special unit. I’m pricing the unit as low as I can go – Sorinex and I must both make some profit. If people want to hip thrust at the gym, they can go that route. If they want to hip thrust more frequently out of the comfort of their homes using bands, they can buy Hip Thrusters. I believe that the Hip Thruster will lead to greater results compared to exercise equipment that is for more costly, especially when shipping is factored into the equation, including the reverse hyper, the 45 degree hyper, and the glute ham developer. Nevertheless, there’s nobody forcing people to make purchasing decisions.
IV. Alternative Exercises
Chris, the exercises you showed in your video as alternatives were good glute exercises. Tinkering with bands to add a horizontal force vector as in the case of the Ukranian deadlift you showed will increase glute activation and ensure greater end-range hip extension torque requirements. Blending two force vectors together as you’ve done in your video is very useful for teaching people how to groove it all together. However, I prefer to just do the different lifts independently. For example, do your squats, do your deadlifts, and do your hip thrusts.
On a side note, I feel the same way with banded squats (bands around the knees). Instead of doing them, I prefer to do regular squats, along with band seated hip abductions (two separate exercises rather than one combined exercise). With regards to band loaded deadlifts, I prefer to rely on American deadlifts so you involve the pelvic action.
If powerlifting strength was the goal, then maybe your approach would be ideal, but I prefer to maximize axial vector efficiency with squats/deads and anteroposterior vector efficiency with hip thrusts/back extensions. Your lifts are a bit more complicated so the average lifter may need some time to gain proficiency at them.
Either way, you’ve created a sound system. You do low load hip thrusts for cueing, heavy squats and deadlifts, band deadlifts and Ukranian deadlifts, and more. I do heavy hip thrusts, along with various squat/lunge, hip hinge, and lateral band work. Both of our systems are going to be highly effective for building glutes. I don’t think that either of us should be dissing each other’s approach. I’m just glad that you do add in glute activation work and more glute specific exercises into your arsenal, as they’re of great benefit to the general public.
V. Practice What You Preach
“A warrior lives his passions and never compromises following the path towards his dreams.”
Great quote, right? It’s yours. Originally, I wasn’t going to reply to your video. But when I clicked on your website, I saw this quote and decided to respond. This is a true story. In honor of your motto, I won’t compromise on my path for improving the way the world trains their glutes. Also on your blog are the tabs: Be Strong, Create Things, and Work Hard. This pretty much describes me, so I’d think that you and I would get along just fine if we met in person.
I’m not sure if this article will even make a dent in the opinions of Ryan, Chris, and Chris. I would imagine that they would be able to see the flawed logic in the others’ claims, but possibly not their own. Either way, I wrote this article for my readers and fans. These types of articles will undoubtedly continue to surface on the internet. Have confidence in your training and don’t let them deter you.
I tried my best to remain professional in this article, and I wish I didn’t have to go this route. We should be building each other up, not tearing each other down. We should be supporting each other, not bickering. We should be working together to promote the sport of powerlifting and increase awareness of sound glute training methods. We should be focusing on what we agree on, not just on our disagreements. We should figure out ways to experiment and resolve our disagreements. We should be complimenting each other, not just criticizing each other. Therefore, I’ll end this article like this:
Ryan Lingenfeiser, you have great potential as a writer. You’re very persuasive and passionate, and you have an admirable work ethic.
Chris Bartl, congratulations on your physique and life transformation HERE and on your powerlifting success. My hat’s off to you. Stay passionate!
Chris Duffin, you’re a total badass. I’ve posted a couple of your videos on my blog over the past year. Your life story is very impressive as well. You’re strong as an ox and I’ll be cheering for you on the sidelines. You’re one of the strongest dudes on the planet, and that speaks for itself. Stay passionate as well!
I hope that one day the three of you change your minds. Until then, please forgive me and my people while we ignore your advice and thrust away.