How to Do Hip Thrusts for Stronger Glutes

How to Do Hip Thrusts for Stronger Glutes

Hip Thrusts: Building Booty Muscles and Boosting Mobility

Hip Thrusts

Do you want to build a booty while improving your strength and mobility? Look no further than hip thrusts! This hip extension exercise targets your glutes and is favored by weightlifters for its ability to uniquely work the butt muscles. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be a weightlifter to benefit from hip thrusts. This exercise is suitable for anyone looking to build strength and boost their overall mobility.

Hip thrusts, similar to elevated glute bridges, not only aid in spinal and hip flexibility but also provide a serious workout for your glutes and your entire posterior chain. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to get your groove on by hip thrusting to the beat of “Bootylicious” 🎶. So, if you’re ready to sculpt your glutes and enhance your mobility, it’s time to add hip thrusts to your exercise routine.

How to Perform Hip Thrusts

To perform hip thrusts, you’ll need a sturdy bench or box. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:

  1. Rest your upper back against the bench, keeping your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. The bench should hit just below your shoulder blades. You can rest your elbows on the bench, and your butt should be slightly off the floor.
  2. Press through your heels until your thighs are parallel to the floor, maintaining a 90-degree angle with your legs.
  3. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement, holding for a couple of seconds, and then slowly return to the starting position without letting your butt touch the floor. Repeat the exercise.
  4. Complete 3 sets of 12-20 reps.

Pro tip: If you’re new to hip thrusts, start with fewer reps and gradually work your way up to 20. Once you feel comfortable and need a greater challenge, you can add weights to intensify the exercise.

Hip Thrusts

Muscles Targeted by Hip Thrusts

The primary focus of hip thrusts is your glutes, engaging both the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius. Additionally, this exercise provides an effective workout for your hamstrings, quads, core, and hip adductors.

While similar exercises like glute bridges also benefit your glutes, hip thrusts specifically target the butt muscles and can be a valuable addition to any exercise routine.

Beyond Booty Build-up: Additional Benefits of Hip Thrusts

Hip thrusts offer more than just booty gains. By strengthening your glutes, you also stabilize your core, pelvis, and lower body, reducing the risk of knee pain, lower back pain, and various injuries. So, it’s not just about fitting into those jeans!

Moreover, hip thrusts can lead to athletic gains, such as higher jumps, faster sprints, improved glute and mid-thigh strength, and enhanced agility. In a 2019 review of studies, researchers noted that hip thrusts with barbells significantly improved participants’ short sprint time. They also found that weighted hip thrusts activated the hip extensors more effectively compared to other exercises.

Perfecting Your Hip Thrust Form

To get the most out of your hip thrusts, it’s essential to maintain proper form. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:

Do: Complete the full range of motion

Aim to achieve a 90-degree angle with your legs during hip thrusts. This ensures full activation of your glutes while minimizing strain on your lower back.

Don’t: Put your feet too far forward

Avoid placing your feet too far forward, as it primarily activates your hamstrings instead of engaging your quads and glutes. Take some time to find the optimal foot position that allows for the best glute activation. If you experience lower back discomfort, adjust your foot placement immediately.

Do: Maintain a neutral back

Keep your spine neutral throughout the exercise. Avoid arching your lower back or angling your ribs upward. Maintaining a neutral back enables full extension of your hips, maximizing glute activation. Keep your ribs angled down and your lower back neutral.

Don’t: Come up onto your toes

Avoid rising onto the balls of your feet during the upward thrust. Maintain contact with your heels throughout the movement. Proper foot placement and a 90-degree leg angle will ensure activation of your entire posterior chain, including your glutes.

Adding Weights to Hip Thrusts

If you’re already a hip-thrusting pro and looking for an extra challenge, you can incorporate weights into your routine. Here are a few ways to do it:

With a dumbbell or weight plate:

Hold a dumbbell or weight plate on your hip bones during the thrust. Ensure the weight isn’t too heavy, causing pain or strain. The additional weight should provide an extra burn without compromising your form.

With a barbell:

You can use a barbell alone or with plates. For Olympic-size plates, roll the bar above your feet before assuming the starting position. If your barbell weight is lighter, you can ask for assistance when loading it onto your hips. Alternatively, deadlift the bar up, sit on a bench, and move into the starting position from there. Throughout the movement, stabilize the barbell with your hands on either side.

With a Smith machine:

The Smith machine, also known as the hip thrust machine, allows you to perform hip thrusts effortlessly using a barbell or resistance band. If the bar causes discomfort on your hips, use weight pads or roll up a yoga mat or towel for cushioning.

Variations of Hip Thrusts

To keep your workout exciting and target different muscle groups, try incorporating these variations into your routine:

Single-leg hip thrust:

Isolate one side of your glutes by straightening one leg and holding it at a 45-degree angle while performing the move. Increase the weight as you build strength.

Hip thrust off a bench:

Performing hip thrusts on a higher bench offers a greater range of motion compared to a standard hip thrust. You can find this type of bench at the gym, or even a higher bed or couch can serve as a suitable alternative.

Banded hip thrust:

Increase the resistance by incorporating a resistance band. Place the band under the arches of your feet and pull the top of the band over your hips while resting your upper back against the bench. Proceed with the hip thrust as usual.

Glute bridge:

Similar to hip thrusts, the glute bridge focuses on your glutes while engaging your hamstrings. Perform it on the floor, with your arms by your sides and palms facing down. Hold the top position for 30 seconds, squeezing your glutes, or move up and down as with a regular hip thrust. The glute bridge helps activate your glutes with a slight emphasis on your hamstrings.


Hip thrusts are a legitimate way to increase the size and strength of your glutes while improving flexibility and range of motion. Whether you’re an experienced powerlifter or just starting out, incorporating hip thrusts into your routine offers benefits for every fitness level. For optimal results, add 12-20 reps of bodyweight or weighted hip thrusts to your workouts 3-5 times a week. If you have concerns about your form, consulting a personal trainer is a great idea for guidance and support. Start hip thrusting your way to a stronger, perkier booty today!