How to do hip thrusts and properly build buttocks

The hip thrust is a popular glute enlargement exercise that can be found in all gyms. While the exercise can increase the strength and definition of the gluteal muscles, it is easy to make mistakes and lead to lower back injury without good form.

Hip punches are pretty accessible. You can use the best adjustable dumbbells, kettlebells, and resistance bands to do one of these, but the barbell hip row is probably the most popular—and hardest—to master (in fact, I did hip rows every day for a week, and oh ) . Whichever option you choose, the hip row uses hip extension to strengthen the gluteus maximus—the largest and strongest muscle in your body—along with other muscle groups.

If you sit for a long time, your hips tense up and your buttocks weaken. Tight hip flexors along with weak glutes and hamstrings can lead to hip, knee, and ankle injuries, so it’s a good idea to strengthen the muscles around your hips and knees regularly.

The hip lunge is a brilliant option, so read on to find out how to get it in the right shape.

What are the hips doing?

The hip thrust is a powerful exercise, as are your glutes, which are part of your core muscle network. They keep the pelvis stable, rotate the hip joint, and support movement and balance. This is the creation of “Butt Guy” Bret Contreras, whose mission was to build glute muscles everywhere – you can find his 7-minute glute workout with resistance band here.

The hip thrust primarily engages the gluteus maximus, posture, and gluteus medius and minimus. Although it is the most powerful muscle in your body, the gluteus maximus is often underutilized and underactivated during exercise.

Want to develop strength, size and power? Entry, modest hip thrust.

This is a brilliant exercise for the bank. Hip thrusts also strengthen your hamstrings, quads, adductors (inner thighs), and core muscles that work to keep your body stable. Even though exercises like squats and lunges engage your glutes, anyone with quads in the lower body will have a hard time engaging their hamstrings and glutes properly.

According to research (will open in a new tab), weak hamstrings and glutes can lead to sports-related injuries. Thus, in order to achieve a rounded shape of the buttocks, a comprehensive leg workout per day is necessary. Find some of the best ab and hamstring exercises like the cable row to complete your workout.

How to do hip thrusts

Picture of how to do a hip pull

(Image credit: Getty images)

Below we will tell you how to perform barbell hip rows. The advanced lift allows you to increase your maximum weight over time. Manipulating this variable is called progressive overload, which will help you build strength and muscle in your glutes.

Here’s how to do hip thrusts:

  • Stand with your back to a bench or box at the level of your shoulder blades.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place the barbell on your hips.
  • Rest your elbows on the box and look ahead.
  • Grasp the bar and tuck your chin in, then contract your core and inhale.
  • You exhale, move your heels and push your hips up with force.
  • Keep your pelvis, ribs and chin pressed to the ground and tighten your buttocks at the top.
  • Slowly lower your hips down

If you’re new to this exercise, try the glute bridge first to hone your technique, then move on to light dumbbells or kettlebells. Most Olympic barbells weigh 15-20kg so you need to make sure you can lift the bar efficiently before adding weight.

Do 3 to 4 sets of 8-12 continuous reps if your goal is to build muscle. But if strength training is your goal, fewer reps and more sets will help you develop power and strength in your glutes and hips.

Common Mistakes When Pushing the Hip

Hip traction: foot positioning

Putting your feet too close together will turn the hip thrust into a quad-dominated exercise. Too far apart? Your hamstrings will take over the show. Just like Goldilocks, you want it right.

I recommend a shoulder-width position for optimal glute contraction, but everyone is different, so check what works best for you. Sometimes I ask clients to hold a block widthwise between their thighs to keep their feet from moving and their knees not to buckle.

Hip pull: hip position

Arching your back or dropping your hips too low can hurt your lower back. Make sure your core is fully engaged, look forward and tuck your chin in as this should prevent over arching.

Your thighs should be parallel to the floor at the top of the movement, allowing you to draw a straight line from shoulder to knee with your hips fully extended. If your hips drop too low, you may be lifting too much weight. Lose weight (and get rid of your ego!) to see if that helps. Try to push your hips hard, which will help you lift the bar up and complete the full range of motion, allowing your glutes to fully engage.

Looking for more glute exercises? We tried Kim Kardashian’s glute workout and this Pilates bodyweight ab and glute workout is killer. Beginners can pump up the buttocks without weights. Tight hip flexors? These stretches for hip flexor pain are game changers.

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