Hips thrusts are one of the newest additions to the standard booty-building regimen thanks to Bret Contreras getting creative in the gym circa 2006.
Ever since, women everywhere have been looking for help simplifying the process (and getting into that somewhat awkward position).
While hip thrusts are undeniable glute blasters, the added benefit is strengthening the hip flexors, hamstrings, quadriceps, and entire core.
Additionally, they help take pressure off the back and knees if those are areas of concern for you. Before jumping straight into a hip thrust, let’s work our way up with some simpler exercises that will help you familiarize yourself with the motion and keep you safe from injury.
If you’re a beginner, the best thing to do is start with a simple lying glute bridge.
Not only will it work your backside, but it will help you stabilize your lower back to help prepare you for weighted hip thrusts.
Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, about hip-width apart.
(Tip: The closer your feet are to your butt, the more you activate your glutes. The further you slide your feet from your butt, the more you activate your hamstrings. Find the place that is comfortable for you.)
Drive your heels into the floor and your hips upward, making sure to tighten your core to prevent from hyperextending your back.
Hold the bridge for a second while squeezing your glutes before lowering yourself back down to the floor.
–Repeat 3 sets of 10-15 reps
Single Leg Glute Bridge
You can make the glute bridge more challenging by using one leg at a time.
Not only will this target your glutes individually, but will help raise awareness if one side of your lower body is weaker than another.
If this is the case, do not add weight of any form to your stronger side; simply continue the same number of sets and reps per leg until the weaker side strengthens.
Start in the usual glute bridge position, but raise one leg off the floor to run parallel with your second leg’s thigh.
Push up through the heel, lengthening your back and squeezing your core and glute. Hold for a second and return to the floor.
Make sure to finish your set and exhaust the first leg and glute before switching to the other.
-Repeat 3 sets of 8-10 reps per leg
Plate Weighted Glute Bridge
When the classic glute bridge becomes too easy for you, it’s time to add some weight.
Lie down on a mat in the glute bridge position and put a weight plate of your choice over your stomach, tightening your core to help support it.
Continue holding it on both sides with your hands, pushing up into your glute bridge while tightening your gluteals and abdominals.
Hold for 1-2 seconds before lowering yourself down to the mat.
As you build strength, challenge yourself by adding heavier weight plates.
-Repeat 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Lying Barbell Glute Bridge
It’s time to pick up the barbell.
The plate weighted glute bridge is good preparation for the barbell lying glute bridge because it’s the same basic motion and resistance, however, you will have to adjust to having a bar across your hips.
You will also eventually have the potential to add more weight on a bar.
Start by sitting on the floor with the barbell in front of your feet, rolling it up your legs until it rests on your hips.
Lie back onto the matt, bending your knees while holding the barbell evenly in place.
(Tip: If the barbell is uncomfortable or too heavy on your hips, wrap a bar pad or towel around the bar before rolling it up to your hips.)
Push up through your heels, tightening your core and glutes and focusing on keeping your lower back from hyperextending.
Hold for 1-2 seconds before lowering back down to the mat.
-Repeat 3 sets of 8-10
Barbell Hip Thrust
If you can pick up the barbell glute bridge and move it to the bench, you’re ready to hip thrust.
The added benefit of the hip thrust versus exercises on the floor is the opportunity for increased range of motion, working the lower back and gluteals extensively.
Start with your upper back resting on the side of a bench, making sure the bench is firmly in place or pushed up against a wall for stability.
Roll the barbell over your feet and legs up to your hips, using a bar mat for comfort if necessary.
Bend your feet and hold the barbell on either side with both hands in preparation to thrust.
Push up through your heels, keeping your head from falling backward as your back extends over the bench.
Your knees should be at about a 90 degree angle at the top of the thrust with your thighs parallel to the floor.
Focus on tightening your glutes, abdominals, and keeping your lower back stable. Your spine should remain neutral throughout the entire motion – pay special attention that you do not hyperextend your back.
Hold for one second before returning to the floor.
Continue to add weight to the bar as you advance.
-Repeat 3 sets of 8-10
So there you have it. Whether you’re a beginning glute bridger or advanced hip thruster, there are options for everyone in this family of glute exercises.
What’s important is that you add this motion into your booty building workout regimen, moving on up and challenging yourself along the way.
Your firm summer backside will thank you!