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Barbell Hip Thrusts - The Number 1 Glute Builder

Want fantastic glutes? The barbell hip thrust is an excellent exercise for targeting and activating these massive, strong muscles.

Not only will this exercise tighten your bottom cosmetically, but it will also aid prevent injuries and increase athletic performance.

Training Suggestions

While the glute bridge looks similar to the hip thrust, it is sufficiently different that trainers consider it a distinct exercise and refer to the two movements differently.

With the shoulders and back on the floor, perform the glute bridge. The hip thrust is identical to the hip extension, but is performed with the shoulders elevated on a bench. The hip thrust is more difficult and likely more effective than the shoulder thrust because it utilizes a broader range of motion. However, if you want variety in your regimen, it's good doing both types because each exercise has somewhat distinct results.

When you drive your hips upward, raise them totally extended without allowing your lower back to arch. Your body should make a straight line from your knees to your shoulders at the top of the exercise.

Your repetitions should be fluid and smooth, rather than bouncing or jerky. You can perform the concentric portion of the rep quickly or even explosively (which many athletes prefer), but the reps must be completely controlled. You can either reset between reps by allowing the plates to touch the floor or perform constant tension hip thrusts without allowing the plates to touch the floor. However, the reps should have a beautiful even cadence and a fluid flow in either case.

Always power the movement using your glutes. This involves not arching your back excessively while performing the maneuver. If your chest flares out near the peak of the range of motion, you may be arching excessively.

Bear in mind that while this exercise is very popular with women, it is not exclusively a female activity. Men can benefit from the hip thrust as well, and it is frequently utilized by strength and power athletes of both genders in a variety of sports.

Variations (make it harder or add intensity)

The bodyweight hip thrust is the most basic version. Bodyweight hip thrusts can also be performed one leg at a time to increase the difficulty, which is an excellent choice if you do not have access to free weights.

When you can comfortably perform full sets of 15 to 20 reps of bodyweight hip thrusts, it's time to progress to the barbell hip thrust.

When performing the glute bridge in a properly equipped gym, you can develop by adding weight. Beginners may begin with a modest weight plate or dumbbell on their hips and progress to a barbell on their hips (a towel or pad around the bar helps for comfort).

This exercise has numerous progressions, regressions, and adjustments. The most straightforward progression is to increase the weight on the bar. Progressive overload is not as difficult with hip thrusts as it is with other exercises, and you should be able to increase the weight several times as you gain strength.

If you lack a barbell (or find the bar unpleasant), consider using a dumbbell, medicine ball, sandbell, or sandbag.

When you've progressed past the beginner stage and want to increase the difficulty, hip thrusts can be intensified by incorporating a variety of popular "bodybuilder" techniques such as rest-pause, peak contraction ("isoholds"), or continuous tension sets.

By utilizing the (advanced) rest-pause technique, you can increase the intensity of a set while also increasing the volume load. This is where you reach the normal end of your set, but instead of stopping, you take a 10- to 20-second partial rest period, perform 1 to 3 additional reps, and repeat until you are unable to perform any more. For additional information, please see the link at the bottom of this page.

Another technique for intensification is the continuous tension method. Here, you do not allow the plates to touch the floor, which keeps the glutes contracted throughout the exercise. If necessary, you can use smaller plates (25s or 35s) or a higher bench height to avoid bottoming out. These can be performed slowly or quickly with a piston-like movement.

Finally, the peak contraction method can be used to boost intensity. All you have to do is hold for around three seconds at the top of each rep and squeeze before lowering back down.

Regularly train the barbell hip thrust and be sure to incorporate some of these variations and intensification strategies for the best results.

Video Demonstration



My name is Steven Goldstein

With over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry, I have worked with clients of all ages and fitness levels. From professional athletes to individuals aiming to lose weight, I have helped countless people achieve their goals and improve their overall health through customized training and nutrition plans.

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Hundreds of clients of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities have put their health in our hands over the years and achieved truly remarkable results. 

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