If you are looking for an exercise that will strengthen your glutes and hip muscles, then hip thrust is the best exercise for you. Many people believe that hip thrust is the same as the glute bridge. And it is true for the most part, except that in the hip thrust, the back is also in the air unlike the glute bridges, where the back is lying straight on the floor. Another difference is that the hip thrusts target the hamstrings more and quads less than the glute bridges.
The hip thrust is among the most popular and loved exercises of bodybuilders and weightlifters. This is so because hip thrusts exercise the glutes, hamstrings, quads, hip abductors, and core. It also creatively works your posterior chain.
Thus, in this article, we will be discussing the hip thrust in great detail. We will first look into the benefits of the hip thrust. Then, we will look into the step-by-step procedure of doing a hip thrust. Further, we will be seeing some of the common mistakes that people often do, some of the variations of the hip thrust.
Benefits of Hip Thrust:
There are quite a lot of benefits of the hip thrust. Let us look into some of them:
- A safer alternative for barbell squats:
It can be hard for some people to do barbell squats due to the weak and painful neck, shoulders, or lower back. This can prevent people from exercising their posterior chain. Hip thrust provides an easy alternative for those people.
- Empowers the glutes and allows more flexible hip extensions:
Glutes and hip extensors are a very important part of our body. They even help us in doing everyday activities, for instance standing, sitting, running, etc. which are taken for granted by us. However, weak glutes and hip extensors may make you dependent on other people for these negligible everyday works.
- Generates immense power in the hip area:
People seem to believe that standing exercises such as squats, deadlifts, etc. strengthen the glutes and the hip extensors. However, researches have proved that while standing, the tension in the hip area can’t be at its maximum. While, in the horizontal position, the tension in the hips becomes maximum. Therefore, hip thrusters form an ideal and important exercise.
Step-by-step instructions for doing hip thrusts:
Follow the following steps to do a hip thrust:
● Place your shoulders (the shoulders should be placed in such a way that the bench or box should end just below your shoulders) on an elevated surface, such as a box or a bench.
● Your feet should be flat on the ground (feet should be a shoulder width apart) and knees bent, keeping your hips swinging in the air.
● You can rest your elbows on the elevated surface and also provide a certain support to the neck with your hands. It is important that your chin should be necessarily tucked down towards your chest and not hanging in the air.
● Once in a steady position, push your hips upwards until your thighs become parallel to the ground and your legs are forming a right angle at the knees.
● Keep your abs and glutes part as rigid as possible.
● Stay there for 5 seconds.
● Squeeze your glutes and return to your initial position.
As a beginner, you must aim for 2 sets of 12 reps each. Subsequently, try increasing your sets to 4 and add some of the variations of the hip thrusts (these will be discussed below).
Common mistakes to watch out for:
No matter how meticulously you try to perform an exercise, there are some catches in every exercise that you must watch for to perfect the exercise. Similarly, we have some of these mistakes lined up for hip thrusts too. Let us look into each one of them so as to prevent any injury:
- Improper foot placement:
Your foot placement can play an important role in this exercise as if you place them far away from your hips, your hamstrings will be engaged more. While, placing the feet very close to your hips will exercise your quads more. Therefore, if you want to exercise your glutes, you must find the right position. One way to know this is to check which part of the body you are feeling the stretch and then, adjust accordingly.
- Rising up onto your toes:
Some people tend to raise their feet and balance themselves only on their toes. This is highly incorrect. Thus, you must focus on keeping your feet on the ground only.
- Not reaching the full stretch:
If you are not feeling a slight stretch and pain in your glutes, then you might be stretching to the full extent. Thus, there is a need to stretch some more.
- Lower back is slightly curved:
Sometimes, your chest can be outstretched, curving your lower back (this will not allow your back to be parallel to the ground). This can cause an injury in your lower back. Therefore, try to keep your back straight while doing this exercise.
- Swinging neck:
While putting all your focus on the hip area, you can neglect your neck positioning. This can cause neck pain and in some extreme cases, injury also. Thus, keep your chin tucked down to the chest during the whole course of exercise.
- Quick lifting and lowering:
People tend to do the lift and lowering part in this exercise fast. This can stop you from achieving your goal and can also lead to a jerk in your back. Therefore, it is essential that you list and lower your body slowly.
Different variations/ modifications to the hip thrust:
Therefore, we have provided below some of the variations of the hip thrust:
● Glute bridge
● Hip thrust off bench (It is the exact same exercise, the only difference being that the feet are on the elevated surface and the back is lying straight on the ground)
● Single leg hip thrust (keep one leg swinging in the air and another firm on the ground while performing the hip thrust, knee of the both the legs should be bent)
● Hip thrust using a:
○ Hip thrust machine (This machine, specifically designed for doing hip thrusts, can make your exercise simpler)
○ Dumbbell or weighted bell
Barbell (Place a barbell on your hip bones and do the hip thrusts keeping the barbell in that position)