The Low Down on the Hip Thrust

If you follow Train Heroic and especially the Explosive Athlete program you will see a lot of the usual suspects when it comes to Strength and Conditioning movements and exercises – the Back Squat, Bench Press and the Deadlift. But a movement you might not know is easily becoming a staple of our Explosive Athlete program. That movement is the HIP THRUST!

If your idea of getting bigger and stronger glutes has anything to do with the Brazil Butt Lifter or the Booty Pop then you should turn in your man card and just leave now.  But if you want to sprint faster, jump higher, and just be all around more explosive then you need to use and learn to love the Hip Thrust. It is single handedly the best glute developer on the planet! If you look at any and all sport movements – baseball swing, basketball dunk, soccer kick, and a touchdown catch in football – you will see full hip extension achieved by all the athletes.  Hip extension and achieving hip extension in sports or weightlifting is the driving force of all our power.  Without hip extension we will never reach our full potential as an athlete.  The HIP THRUST is a great tool to teach athletes what full extension actually is and helps get the athlete to achieve full hip extension while strengthening the glutes.

“Take out hip thrusters they hurt really bad and are probably causing hernias…” – Anonymous Athlete*

Once you get over the initial intimidation and somewhat embarrassing movement pattern you will begin to see the difference that this exercise can make.  Your glutes will become stronger, and you will see major changes in strength (in your lower half), speed, and power.  HIP THRUSTS isolate the glutes differently than the squat and deadlift because in those movements the glutes are used to help aid in the lift.  Whereas in the HIP THRUST, we are focusing solely on the glutes so we can strengthen them, which in return will help all your other lifts i.e. Squat and Deadlift.

// WHO SHOULD HIP THRUST?

Anybody and everybody should be doing Hip Thrusts, especially athletes.  If you want to transform your backside, then the Hip Thrust needs to be your method of choice.  It’s easy to setup and execute which makes implanting it into your programs very easy with experienced and novice lifters.

// WHEN SHOULD I HIP THRUST?

The Hip Thrust should be a staple in your program and should be done 1-2 times per week.  If you are using it as your Strength movement, think heavy weight for low repetitions.  It can also act as a supplement lift on days that you are going heavy on squats and deadlifts.  When used as a supplemental lift, think less weight and higher rep schemes. You will see great results with both methods.

// WHERE SHOULD I HIP THRUST?

Any gym should have the pieces of equipment used to execute the Hip Thrust.  In an ideal scenario they would have a sturdy box, a barbell, and some type of bar pad or guard on the barbell to protect your pelvic region.  Some easy substitutes could be a bench instead of a box, a heavy dumbbell or kettle bell instead of a bar, and you can even use a towel or sweatshirt as a pad for the bar.  What I am trying to get across here is that no matter the situation you have for a gym you should be able to come up with a way to achieve full hip extension with some kind of antagonist force against your hip/pelvic region.  Get creative and get this exercise in your program.

“Please get rid of the hip thrust lift. It’s very painful and to what my team and I think, quite pointless.” – Anonymous Coach*

// HOW DO I HIP THRUST

Wedge yourself into position where your back is up against a bench or box * (just beneath your scapulae is a good reference point). 

You should have a medium to wide stance (think squat stance here – if you have longer legs error on the side of wider).

Drive through your heels (do not let the weight shift to your toes at any point of this movement – again same idea as a squat where you should be driving through your heels throughout the entire movement).

Continue driving through your heels until reaching full hip extension (we are looking for a direct line between the knees, hips and shoulders).  If you are unable to reach full hip extension you need to lower the weight immediately!

Just like in our squat stance, we should be pushing our knees out directly over our toes and we should be squeezing our glutes as hard as we can.

There should be a slight pause at the very top of the movement (think straight line of knees, hips and shoulders) and you should hold for a 2-4 second count.

Return the bar in a controlled manner back to floor where the plates hit the ground. 

Relax for a second, and repeat for your total amount of reps.

*Athletes and Coaches quoted will remain anonymous to protect their man cards.*

Are you a better coach after reading this?

More coaches and athletes than ever are reading the TrainHeroic blog, and it’s our mission to support them with useful training & coaching content. If you found this article useful, please take a moment to share it on social media, engage with the author, and link to this article on your own blog or any forums you post on.

Be Your Best,

TrainHeroic Content Team

HEROIC SOCIAL

TRAINING LAB

Access the latest articles, reviews, and case studies from the top strength and conditioning minds in the TH Training Lab