Hip Thrusts: Muscles Worked, Benefits, & Correct Form

October 23, 2021

There are a number of muscle groups labored when doing hip thrusts, however the one which takes the cake is the gluteus maximus. This decrease physique train reigns supreme with regards to constructing a strong bottom. This publish will go over do hip thrusts, advantages, 8 variations and the way the muscle groups are labored to execute the very best gluteus maximus train.


The hip thrust, typically referred to as the hip thruster, successfully trains decrease physique muscle groups, particularly the gluteus maximus. Simply put; the hip thrust is the place you’ll place your higher again on a flat bench along with your ft on the bottom, knees bent, and your butt near the ground, you then’ll contract your glutes and different muscle groups to elevate your hips upwards till your hips are parallel with the ground. Most doubtless, you’ve seen individuals doing the hip thrust in your social media feeds as this as soon as comparatively obscure train has gone mainstream.

Although many individuals would possibly confuse the hip thrust with a glute bridge, there are variations. The hip thrust normally requires a raised platform to brace the higher again and infrequently an exterior resistance of some kind, corresponding to a barbell or resistance band.


The hip thrust isn’t as easy as chances are you’ll suppose; to get probably the most out of it, you need to be conscious of some type ideas and tips. So listed below are the step-by-step directions on do the hip thrust correctly and most successfully.

Note: If utilizing exterior masses such because the Smith machine, hip thrust machine, bands, or different weights, the setup will change barely.

how to do hip thrusts

Step One: Setup

Set up your barbell with weights on it earlier than sitting down. You could wish to use a towel or pad across the bar for added consolation. Try to make use of weight plates broad sufficient to present you clearance to roll the bar into place when your legs are flat on the bottom. Otherwise, you’ll need to have a accomplice make it easier to place the burden.

Once seated, you must be capable of roll the bar up in the direction of the crease in your hips earlier than you bend your knees. If not utilizing a barbell, you’ll be able to skip this step and get into place.

Find a flat bench that’s round your decrease leg top and place it in entrance of a rack, wall, or one other secure base of help only for added security considerations so the bench doesn’t shift whereas doing the train.

Then sit perpendicular to the bench within the middle, along with your ft on the bottom and your knees bent along with your ft barely wider than hip-width aside. Rotate your toes outward at round 10-15 levels. Start along with your higher again (scapula area) in opposition to the sting of the bench. Grab the bar on the skin of your legs to assist preserve the bar secure as you thrust up.

Note: Do a number of apply reps with light-weight to get your physique positioning right.

Step Two: Lift Off

After the barbell is in place, push by way of your ft and lean again onto the bench. Before you provoke the thrust, it’s necessary to flex the glutes earlier than squeezing them to maneuver the burden up. Focus on absolutely extending your hips till your decrease legs and higher legs create a 90-degree angle on the high.

Note: Throughout the motion, you need to be wanting straight forward, not up in the direction of the ceiling, along with your chin tucked. Try to squeeze your glutes as a lot as potential to complete off the movement.

Step Three: Repeat

Lower the bar within the reverse movement till your butt is a number of inches off the bottom earlier than thrusting up once more.

Pro ideas:

Try to rotate your pelvis posteriorly on the high by contracting your abs down barely. This tweak will assist get your glutes right into a full hip extension whereas stopping hyperextension of the decrease again.

1-3 second pause and contraction on the high

Move ft out farther from the bench in the event you’re feeling it extra in your quads than your glutes

Play round with physique place till you discover the right setup that may maximize the contraction in your glutes. Everyone has totally different physique proportions, so you’ll have to make minor tweaks till you’re happy with the way it feels in your glutes.



The distance your ft are from the bench will decide what muscle groups can be extra engaged. If your ft are too near the bench, your quads will tackle extra pressure. If your ft transfer too distant from the bench, you then shift emphasis to your hamstrings.

How to Fix: You must attempt a number of totally different foot positions to make sure that your glutes get probably the most activation.


Overarching the decrease again can scale back the effectiveness of the hip thrust. Pay consideration to the way you end off the movement in the direction of the highest. Your decrease again needs to be saved in a impartial place to get the utmost hip extension.

How to repair: Try to contract your abs downward in the direction of the highest of the motion to maintain your decrease again flat.


Many individuals carry out hip thrusts with out locking out the motion. Your hips needs to be above your knees on the high of the movement. The frequent motive for that is individuals making an attempt to elevate a weight that’s too heavy. If you’re not feeling an intense burn in your glutes on the high, you then’re in all probability not locking out the rep.

How to repair:

Lower the burden you’re utilizing.

Hold on the high for 2-3 seconds.

Make certain your hips are above knee stage.


With the hip thrust, there’s an inclination to let the burden drop in an uncontrolled method. This lack of management results in less-than-optimal coaching outcomes and potential damage.

How to Fix: Use a slower eccentric tempo of 1-2 seconds as you decrease your hips.


It’s important to maintain your chin tucked so that you just don’t put an excessive amount of extreme stress in your backbone as you thrust the burden up.

How to Fix: Keep your eyes wanting down as you elevate up.


Gluteus Maximus: This is the muscle that’s the star of the present and first mover with regards to hip thrusts. The gluteus maximus is the biggest of the gluteal muscle groups. Starting on the high of the pelvic bone, stretching down, then connecting to the thigh bone. The main features of the gluteus maximus are to assist in hip extension and supply stability to hips and knees in actions like strolling or operating. Other actions of the gluteus maximus are exterior hip rotation and hip abduction/adduction.

Gluteus Medius: The gluteus medius additionally begins on the ilium and inserts into the thigh bone, equally to the gluteus minimus. Most of the gluteus medius is roofed by the gluteus maximus, with the one superficial (seen) space on the forward-upper portion. The fundamental features of the gluteus medius are to help hip motion and stability. Hip abduction is the central motion of the gluteus medius, whereas it additionally helps with frontal aircraft management together with the gluteus minimus.

Gluteus Minimus: The gluteus minimus is discovered beneath the opposite gluteal muscle groups and the TFL, with the gluteus medius overlaying most of it. The gluteus minimus begins on the ilium (a part of the hip bone) and ends on the thigh bone. The fundamental features of the gluteus minimus are hip abduction and the stabilization of the hip. The fundamental motion is to assist rotate your thighs out to the edges. It additionally performs a major position in frontal aircraft management whereas strolling in order that the hip doesn’t decrease each time your leg comes off the bottom.

Hamstrings: The hamstrings are the group of muscle groups positioned behind the thigh. The hamstring muscle groups embody; each heads of the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus. The fundamental features of the hamstrings are knee extension and hip extension. They additionally assist with each hip and knee extension as a result of the muscle groups cross each the hip and knee joints. When doing hip thrusts, you shouldn’t really feel the contraction an excessive amount of within the hamstrings. If you do, your foot place, vary of movement, or knee place wants some changes.

Adductor Magnus: This is the biggest and strongest hip adductor on the thigh’s posterior medial aspect (inner-back half). The different adductor muscle groups embody the adductor longus, adductor brevis, gracilis, and pectineus. The main perform of those muscle groups is thigh adduction and helps with thigh extension, inside/exterior rotation, and pelvic stabilization.

Erector Spinae: This group of muscle groups runs the size on each side of the backbone from the bottom of the cranium to the hips and sacrum. The main perform of the erector spinae is later extension and flexion and rotation of the trunk.

Quadriceps: The quadriceps are the group of muscle groups positioned on the entrance of the thigh. There are 4 quadriceps muscle groups; the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and the rectus femoris. The vastus muscle groups are primarily accountable for knee extension. The rectus femoris features as a hip flexor and is a direct antagonist to the hamstrings.

hip thrust muscles worked

How The Muscles Work During Hip Thrusts

The hip thrust is without doubt one of the finest hip extension workouts that you are able to do. The main movers within the hip thrust are the gluteus maximus, hamstrings and the hamstring portion of the adductor Magnus. The secondary hip extensors embody the adductors, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.

The erector spinae stabilize the vertebrae, whereas the rectus femoris and vastus muscle groups work as knee extensors.

The hip thrust is a superb glute activator as a result of the burden is loaded horizontally relatively than vertically on the hip extensors. However, this results in much less hamstring activation due to lively insufficiency (when a two-joint muscle is shortened at one finish whereas the opposite finish begins muscle contraction). In this case, the hamstrings cross each the knee and hip joints. Thus, they’re shortened throughout knee flexion, which creates the necessity for the gluteus maximus to contract at the next fee.

Note: The placement of your ft dramatically modifications how your muscle groups are stimulated. The finest foot place for optimum glute activation is along with your ft rotated outwards.


Hip thrusts have been confirmed to be probably the most efficient workouts to activate and work the glutes. There have been a number of research that evaluate the again squat and hip thrusts. Let’s take a look at what the science says with regards to the hip thrust and again squat.

Perhaps probably the most well-known and revered particular person on this area, Bret Contreras, aka The Glue Guy has carried out a number of exams centered his doctoral thesis across the hip thrust and squat. One of probably the most fascinating research Contreras did, used similar feminine twin sisters. One twin solely targeted on squats whereas the opposite solely did hip thrusts. The outcomes confirmed that the hip thrust led to extra gluteus maximus muscle thickness and horizontal pushing energy.

Overall, most science and research help the notion that the hip thrust will end in extra gluteus maximus features than the squat. However, the squat nonetheless holds the title for decrease physique train to elicit probably the most muscle activation. Therefore, it will be finest to do each hip thrusters and squats in your exercise routine.

Related: Squats – Muscles Worked, Correct Form, How To, & Best Variations


The hip thrust works a number of muscle groups in unison and is an efficient decrease physique train. Here are among the implausible advantages you’ll get by including hip thrusts into your exercise.

Perfect Hypertrophy & Strength Exercise: Hip thrusts are superb as a muscle-building train for the glutes. With this train, you’ll be able to work by way of energy and energy rep ranges and hypertrophy rep ranges with no need a spotter. Once you’re capable of finding the very best physique positioning for your self, you then’ll be capable of go as arduous as you’ll be able to making an attempt to get these features.

Suitable For All Abilities: Although we usually consider the hip thrust as an train accomplished with the added resistance of a barbell, you can even do that train with simply your body weight. This makes the hip thrust an accessible exercise for individuals of all health ranges. Beginners can begin with body weight hip thrusts and slowly progress in resistance ranges utilizing bands, dumbbells, and extra.

Improved Athletic Performance: The hip thrust is probably the simplest train to construct the glutes and hip extensors. Strengthening these muscle groups will will let you run sooner, bounce increased, change path, and speed up/decelerate higher.  

Better Posture: Strong glutes will help to stabilize your sacrum (the triangular bone on the backside of your lumbar vertebrae). If your glutes change into too weak, you then would possibly expertise decrease again ache or posture issues. Performing hip thrusts will assist mitigate the sacrum from being pulled in a tucked place. Another good thing about hip thrusts is to steadiness out tight hip flexors. The hip thrust is a hip extension train. Therefore, the hip flexors are the antagonist muscle groups to the glutes. If the hip flexors change into a lot stronger than the glutes, it might result in anterior pelvic tilt or hole again (when your pelvis is pulled out of alignment). Doing hip thrusts can scale back the probabilities of this occurring.

Look Better & Gain Confidence: The flat booty was an aesthetic that was “in” greater than 30 years in the past. Times have modified; most individuals respect a nicely developed rear-end. Hip thrusts will assist to tighten and construct your bottom like no different train.

Enhanced Mobility: Everyday actions corresponding to strolling upstairs or getting/sitting down on a chair requires your hip extensor muscle groups (primarily your glutes and hamstrings) to go to work. Hip thrusts strengthen the muscle groups that may help in performing every day actions like strolling or simply conserving your steadiness.

Improve Bone Density: Weight-bearing train is without doubt one of the solely scientifically confirmed methods to strengthen the bones and enhance bone density. Hip thrusts are a terrific train to assist with this as a result of they’re a low-impact weight-bearing train that allows you to elevate heavy masses. This will help with enhancing low bone density within the backbone, hips, knees, and legs.

hip thrusts benefits


Load: The load you utilize needs to be commensurate along with your health ranges. If you’re a newbie, you must begin by mastering the hip thrust with simply your body weight. Once you get the motion down pat and also you’re capable of really feel a most gluteal contraction, then it’s time so as to add some resistance. For intermediates or educated individuals, your purpose needs to be to elevate a weight that equals your body weight. After you accomplish this feat, then you must attempt to add weight in 20 lb increments. Advanced lifters will be capable of transfer a whole bunch of kilos with the hip thrust.

Equipment: One of the very best facets of hip thrusts is utilizing totally different gear to supply added resistance. You can use the next instruments for the added resistance:

Barbell Hip Thrust: See above**

Dumbbell Hip Thrust: Hold the burden within the crease of your hips

Kettlebell Hip Thrust: Hold the burden within the crease of your hips

Resistance Bands Hip Thrusts: Multiple setups potential relying on physique positioning (See under*)

Hamstring Curl Machine: Place the leg pad within the crease of your hips along with your higher again on the bench

Smith Machine Hip Thrust: Set up a bench on the correct distance in order that the bar rests within the crease of your hips.

Note: The setup will change relying on the software you’re utilizing; see under for hip thrust variations.


The superb units and reps for the hip thrust are based mostly primarily in your coaching objectives and health stage. If you’re a newbie, you would possibly wish to goal for the next rep vary and decrease weight, whereas superior lifters would possibly use fewer reps and heavier weights with longer breaks between units. Generally talking; you must comply with the protocol under:

Strength & Power: 3-5 units of 1-6 reps with extra prolonged relaxation intervals as much as round 2 minutes

Hypertrophy & Strength: 3-4 units of 6-12 reps with rests of 1-2 minutes between units

Endurance & Hypertrophy: 3-4 units of 10-20 reps with rests of 1-2 minutes between units

Note: The glutes are comprised of roughly half fast-twitch and half slow-twitch muscle groups fibers, which suggests you must use quite a lot of coaching volumes to get probably the most from the train.


We put collectively among the finest hip thrust workouts under. You will discover that you are able to do hip thrusts with quite a lot of instruments or along with your body weight, use these workouts to get your glutes pumped.

1. Barbell Hip Thrust

barbell hip thrust

The barbell hip thrust is taken into account to be the usual hip thrust that we coated above. We imagine that is the best choice for hip thrusts due to the flexibility so as to add a heavy load whereas going by way of a full vary of movement.

2. Barbell One Leg Hip Thrust

single leg hip thrust muscles worked

This variation of the hip thrust is unbelievable as a result of it’s a unilateral train. Doing this train with one leg on the bottom will will let you concentrate on enhancing and balancing the energy and energy in a single leg at a time. In addition, unilateral workouts normally spotlight any weak factors or areas the place one aspect must catch as much as the opposite aspect. Seeing how the hip thrust is without doubt one of the finest workouts to isolate and work the gluteus maximus, working one aspect at a time will heighten this profit. It’s additionally going to lively the gluteus medius and minimus extra because of the demand on hip stability. 

How To:

Set up a barbell, then sit on the bottom along with your higher again in opposition to the sting of a bench. 

Roll the bar into place, resting it within the crease of your hips. Hold the bar with each fingers utilizing an overhand grip on the outdoors of your thighs.

Lift one leg and bend your knee at 90 levels 

Flex your glute to elevate your butt off the bottom, then contract it to elevate your hips till they’re barely above your knees

Hold on the high for 1-3 seconds whereas squeezing glutes as a lot as potential.

Slowly decrease your hips till your however is a number of inches above the bottom.

Repeat for desired reps, then change sides.

Note: You can carry out this single-leg hip thrust with simply your body weight, or you’ll be able to add the types of resistance above. 

3. Resistance Band Hip Thrust

hip thrust variations

This is the right choice if you wish to do hip thrusts at residence with some added resistance, however you don’t have a barbell. There are a number of methods you’ll be able to arrange a band hip thrust, as seen under:

With this model, you’ll need heavy objects or dumbbells to safe the band. You might additionally loop both finish of the band round your foot to make use of your ft as an anchor.

4. Smith Hip Thrust

do hip thrusts work abs

To do the Smith hip thrust, you’ll comply with the identical cues because the barbell hip thrust. Just be sure you have the correct setup earlier than you begin including weights onto the bar.

Note: If it’s an angled Smith machine, then you need to be thrusting the bar up in the direction of the path of your head.

Related: How Much Does A Smith Machine Bar Weigh?

5. Kneeling Hip Thrust With Band

benefits of hip thrusts

This model of the hip thrust is extremely efficient for creating glute contraction. It is basically a squat with out the knee motion (so simply the highest a part of a squat). However, with the resistance being created by a band, in a horizontal path, you get a terrific contraction of the glutes, which you’ll be able to’t with squats.

Note: You can even use a cable machine with a rope attachment to do that train. You’ll simply have to carry onto the ropes when performing the motion.

Buy Resistance Bands

6. Frog Hip Thrust

hip thrust muscles

This body weight hip thrust is superb for focusing on the gluteus medius and different hip abductors whereas working the identical muscle groups as a typical hip thrust.

7. Bodyweight Hip Thrust

hip thrusts vs squats

Using solely your body weight is a regression of the barbell hip thrust. However, learners can begin with doing these body weight hip thrusts till the approach is perfected. Bodyweight hip thrusts are additionally a terrific various that you are able to do at residence in the event you don’t have any gear however nonetheless wish to get some work in.

Related: Best Bodyweight Leg Exercises

8. Glute Bridge

hip thrusts vs glute bridges

The glute bridge may be a wonderful various to the hip thrust for learners or these with restricted hip mobility. The important distinction between the hip thrust and the glute bridge is that your shoulders/higher again will keep in touch with the ground. Your shoulders braced on the bottom result in a lowered vary of movement. Follow the identical cues because the hip thrust for lifting your hips. Make certain you maintain and squeeze on the high to get most glute contraction.

Note: You can even make the glute bridge more difficult by including resistance like a loaded barbell.



The important distinction between the hip thrust and the glute bridge is that the hip thrust gives a extra implausible vary of movement because of the elevated place of the higher again. The glute bridge is carried out along with your shoulders on the bottom and is normally accomplished with simply body weight, though you may add resistance.


You might do a number of units of body weight hip thrusts every day to counteract lengthy hours of sitting. However, in the event you’re including weight, you’ll want to present your muscle groups time to get well. If coaching for hypertrophy, we suggest you do hip thrusts 1-2 instances per week.


If you’re experiencing ache whereas doing hip thrusts, you then could be doing the train flawed. On the opposite hand, you may have some underlying issues, which in that case you must seek the advice of your physician. The most typical causes for experiencing ache when performing hip thrusts are going too heavy or awful physique positioning. Refer to the cues from above to make sure you’re executing the hip thrust as safely and effectively as potential.


If hip thrusts aren’t a part of your exercise routine, you then’re lacking out on the very best train to construct sturdy glutes. Your glutes are concerned in most on a regular basis actions, so it’s important to maintain them in tip-top situation. Pay consideration to the preliminary setup and your physique positioning. Remember, in case your glutes aren’t burning after a number of units of hip thrusts, then make some changes and get again to work!

Related: 8 Best Gluteus Maximus Exercises

what do hip thrusts work

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