While exercises such as squats and deadlifts are recognized for their ability to engage the glutes, they do not qualify as isolation exercises and therefore do not exclusively target the glutes.
Exercises like the glute bridge and hip thrust are recommended to prioritize glute development as they are designed to specifically target and activate the glute muscles.
These two exercises share some similarities, but their distinct approach to glute isolation make them valuable additions to a comprehensive workout routine aimed at enhancing glute strength and development.
Understanding glute bridge and hip thrust
To comprehend the similarities and differences between glute bridge and hip thrusts, it is necessary to understand what each of these exercises entails:
What is a glute bridge?
The glute bridge is a popular body-weight exercise mainly targeting the glutes and is frequently included in strength training and yoga regimens.
To perform the glute bridge, begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet planted firmly on the ground. Keep your hands on the sides or stretch them over your head. Subsequently, raise the hips towards the ceiling, creating a diagonal line between the knees and neck.
Glute bridges can be performed as a warm-up to activate and stretch the glutes or as a more challenging workout with the inclusion of weights such as dumbbells.
What is hip thrust?
The hip thrust is similar to the glute bridge but requires a weight bench, box, or exercise ball.
The exercise involves sitting on the floor with your mid to upper back against the bench, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. The hips are lifted upward while pushing through the heels, with the glutes contracting at the top of the movement.
While hip thrusts without a barbell can be a good starting point for beginners, the exercise is often performed using a weight like a dumbbell or a barbell. To execute a dumbbell hip thrust or a barbell hip thrust, simply position the dumbbell or the loaded barbell across the hip crease and lift it with the hips.
According to a study National Library of Medicine: A comprehensive biomechanical analysis of the barbell hip thrust, barbell hip thrust presents greater activation of the glutes than traditional squats, making it a great exercise to increase glute strength. You can also try the Kas glute bridge, a modified version of the hip thrust workout.
Differences between glute bridge vs hip thrust
Although both the glute bridge and hip thrust are effective exercises for targeting the glutes, they differ in a few ways. Here is the list of differences between them:
1. Starting position
To perform a glute bridge, you initiate the movement from the floor. On the other hand, for a hip thrust, you start with your shoulders and upper back resting on a weight bench.
2. Range of motion
Hip thrusts offer a larger range of motion than glute bridges due to the use of a bench or box, allowing for full flexion and extension of the hips in a straight line.
3. Equipment used
A glute bridge can be performed without equipment or with a resistance band, dumbbell, or barbell across your hips. A hip thrust requires a bench or box and a barbell with weight plates.
Both these glute exercises can be done with body weight or with added resistance. However, hip thrusts are typically done with more weight than glute bridges, making them a more challenging exercise.
5. Muscles worked
Although both exercises primarily target the glutes, the hip thrust emphasizes the hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, and lower back more than the glute bridge. This can help to develop the core muscles required for overall stability.
Here is a glance at the differences between the glute bridge and hip thrust:
|Exercise||Glute bridge||Hip thrust|
|Target muscles||Glutes||Glutes and lower back muscles (to a certain extent)|
|Equipment||Bodyweight or band||Bench and barbell|
|Resistance||Body or lightweight||Heavyweight|
|Range of motion||Shorter range||Full range|
|Difficulty level||Easy||Slightly challenging|
|Purpose||Muscular endurance||Muscle growth and strength|
|Ideal for||Warmup and glute activation||Muscle building|
Pros and cons: glute bridge vs. hip thrust
Here are some pros and cons of the glute bridge and hip thrust exercises:
Pros: glute bridge vs. hip thrust
|Glute bridge||Hip thrust|
|Bodyweight exercise can be done anywhere||Greater range of motion allowing for deeper muscle activation|
|Great for beginners or those with limited mobility or injuries||Recruits more muscle groups, including the hamstrings and lower back|
|Relatively easy to perform with proper form||Provides a challenge for advanced lifters|
|Can be modified by using a resistance band||More effective for building overall core stability|
Cons: glute bridge vs. hip thrust
|Glute bridge||Hip thrust|
|Limited range of motion compared to hip thrusts||Requires access to equipment|
|It does not provide enough resistance for advanced lifters||More challenging to perform with proper form|
|It does not engage other lower body muscles||May not be suitable for beginners|
How to choose between the glute bridge vs. hip thrust?
Choosing between the glute bridge vs. hip thrust ultimately depends on your fitness goals. Both exercises offer great benefits, and including both in your workout routine is recommended.
If you want to maintain general fitness, tone your back, and strengthen your glutes, the glute bridge is a suitable option.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to build muscle mass, the hip thrust is a better choice due to its greater activation of the hamstrings and lower back muscles.
Both the glute bridge and hip thrust exercises effectively target your glutes and build overall strength. You can modify both exercises to increase their difficulty and target different muscle groups. To determine which exercise is best for you, consider your fitness goals and consult a personal fitness professional.
|↑1||National Library of Medicine: A comprehensive biomechanical analysis of the barbell hip thrust|
|↑2||Strength and Conditioning Journal: Single-Leg Glute Bridge|