9 Hip Thrust Exercises: Technique, Variations, and Alternatives

A fit girl doing hip thrust exercises on a rug at home

Hip thrusts are one of the best exercises for glute strength. The hip thrust movement not just trains the glutes but also improves mobility and speed.

Hip thrusts are one of the best exercises for glute strength. The hip thrust movement does not just train the glutes, it also improves bone density and mobility. It is no surprise that the global hip thrust machine market is a multi-million market [1]Precision Reports: (COVID VERSION) GLOBAL HIP THRUST MACHINE MARKET STATUS (2016-2020) AND FORECAST (2021E-2026F) BY REGION, PRODUCT TYPE & END-USE and is poised to grow in the next five years.

If you are looking for stabilization of your pelvis, core, and lower body, perform hip thrust workouts regularly. Here are some simple and easy hip thrust exercises to rely on. 

Technique to perform hip thrust exercise

The hip thrust improves hip extension by engaging the glute muscles, hamstrings, and hip extensors. It can be done on the hip thrust machine or a bench. Hip thrusts are often performed with a barbell placed over a person’s pelvis. For beginners, however, it is best to start with bodyweight hip thrusts. 

If you do not know how to use a hip thrust machine and want to do the exercise at home, follow these steps:

  1. Sit on the ground with a bench behind you. 
  2. Keep the knees bent and feet planted on the floor. The feet should be shoulder-width apart.
  3. Rest your elbows on the bench behind you to stabilize the position. Make sure the bench hits just below your shoulder blades.
  4. Lift your pelvis until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  5. Squeeze the glutes and then move the hips down.

Tip: As you raise your hips, squeeze your glutes as hard as you can and then relax at the bottom. Do not turn the knees in. Your legs should form a 90-degree angle.

9 Hip thrust home-based exercises: Hip thrust variations

The hip thrust improves hip extension by engaging the glute muscles, hamstrings, and hip extensors. It can be done on the hip thrust machine or a bench. Hip thrusts are often performed with a barbell placed over a person’s pelvis. For beginners, however, it is best to start with bodyweight hip thrusts. 

If you do not know how to use a hip thrust machine and want to do the exercise at home, follow these steps:

1. Traditional hip thrust

The traditional hip thruster is the basic hip thrust exercise done with the help of a hip thrust bench. The traditional hip thrust workout engenders powerful glutes. 

Targeted Muscles: Gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, hamstrings.

How to do:

  • Sit on the front of the bench with feet firmly on the ground and knees bent. 
  • Rest elbows on the bench.
  • Lift your hips off the ground while engaging your glutes until the hips form a straight line with shoulders and knees.
  • Lower hips back to the start position. 
  • Do 10-12 reps and complete 3 sets.

2. Single-leg hip thrust

This version of hip thrust involves having one foot planted on the ground and raising another off the ground. This variation also fixes any strength imbalances in one’s body. 

Targeted Muscles: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, and adductors.

How to do:

  • Sit on the ground with a padded bench behind you. 
  • Dig your feet into the floor and keep them shoulder-width apart. Place your elbows on the bench. 
  • When about to execute the movement, raise one foot off the ground, keeping the other knee bent. 
  • While keeping one leg elevated, lift your hips upwards. Stop when the hips extend fully.
  • Now drive your hips back down and come to the original position. 
  • Do 10-12 reps on each leg.

3. Dumbbell hip thrust

You can take the basic hip thrust exercise up a notch with a dumbbell. In this exercise, you will place a dumbbell on your hip bones and perform the movement.

Targeted Muscles: Glutes, hamstrings

How to do:

  • Place your back on a bench and get into the basic hip thrust form.
  • Place a dumbbell horizontally across your hips.
  • Squeeze your glutes and perform a hip thrust with the dumbbell on your hips until your body is in the form of a straight line from the knees to the shoulders.
  • Hold for a few seconds before lowering down to repeat.
  • Do 3 sets of 10 reps each.

5. Barbell hip thrust

The barbell hip thrust is a weighted hip thrust exercise for glute activation that works by putting extra weight on the gluteal muscles. 

Targeted Muscles: glutes, quadriceps, adductors, hamstrings, and erector spinae.

How to do:

  • Sit in front of a bench and keep your upper back against the bench. 
  • Keep feet hip-width apart and planted on the floor.
  • Place a barbell on your pelvic region. 
  • You may place a folded yoga mat or towel on your hip region for extra comfort.
  • Keeping your core engaged, lift your hips towards the ceiling.
  • Hold for a few seconds, then lower your hips to the original position.
  • Do a total of 3 sets with 10 reps each.

6. Banded hip thrust

Add a resistance band to the basic glute bridge exercise to engage the abductor muscles. Apart from targeting your glutes and hamstrings, the banded hip thrust helps to develop better hip mobility. 

Targeted Muscles: Glutes, hamstrings.

How to do:

  • Get into the basic hip thrust form.
  • Place a resistance band at your lower thighs slightly above your knees. The ends of the band should be wrapped around your feet.
  • The length of the band should be such that it is taut while your feet stay hip-distance apart. 
  • Squeeze your glutes and light your hips to make the basic hip thruster move.
  • Pause for a second and then lower your hips down. 
  • Do 10 reps and 3 sets. 

6. Hip thrust walkout

This version of hip thrust strengthens the gluteus medius and hip abductors. The exercise also improves hip mobility and can even relieve pain in the lower back. 

Targeted Muscles: glutes, hamstrings, quads, core.

How to do:

  • Start by lying on the ground with feet planted hip-width apart on the floor and knees bent. 
  • Keeping your back straight and glutes engaged, lift your hips off the ground to form a straight line from knees to shoulders. 
  • From here, walk one step forward at a time until your knees are nearly straight. 
  • Now, walk back in with your feet to come to the starting position. This is one rep.
  • Do a total of 10 reps. 

7. Alternating hip thrust march

This hip thrust version primarily targets glute muscles and hamstrings and engages the core. 

Targeted Muscles: glutes, hamstrings, core.

How to do:

  • Lie on your back with your feet planted on the ground and knees bent. Keep your arms by your sides with palms facing down.
  • While keeping the core engaged, lift one foot and drive the knee toward the chest. Raise your hips while doing so. At this point, your shoulders and planted knee form a straight line.
  • Lower the foot and hips back to get into the starting position. 
  • Switch legs to complete a rep.
  • Do a total of 12 reps.

8. Stability ball hip thrust 

This version of hip thrust can be executed with your body weight. Using a stability ball will improve stability and balance apart from targeting your lower body. 

Targeted Muscles: glutes, hamstrings.

How to do:

  • Lie on a stability ball with your head resting on it. The ball should support your head, neck, and shoulders. 
  • Keep your feet planted on the ground, and your knees bent at 90 degrees.
  • Push your hips up to perform the basic hip thrust movement. Do not arch your back.
  • Hold and then lower hips back to the starting position.
  • Do 10 reps.

9. Frog pump

The frog pump exercise strengthens your glutes and hamstring while giving your abs a good workout. The version works on your back and helps to improve posture.

Targeted Muscles: gluteus minimus and gluteus medius.

How to do:

  • Lie on your back on the ground.
  • Join your feet together such that your legs are in the shape of a diamond.
  • Place a dumbbell on your pelvis region if required.
  • Keeping your feet together, slowly raise your hips off the ground.
  • Now, press your hips upwards and squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement.
  • Hold for a second and then return to the starting position.
  • Do 2 sets of 10 reps each.

Sample 1 week hip thrust workout plan

DaysExercises
MondayTraditional hip thrust – 10 reps * 3 Sets
Single-leg hip thrust – 10 reps each leg
TuesdayFrog pump – 10 reps * 2 Sets
Dumbbell hip thrust – 10 reps * 3 Sets
WednesdayBanded hip thrust – 10 reps * 3 Sets
Barbell hip thrust – 10 reps * 3 Sets
ThursdayHip thrust walkout – 10 reps
Alternating hip thrust march – 10 reps
Friday Stability ball hip thrust – 10 reps
SaturdayRest
SundayRest

5 Alternatives to hip thrust exercises

Hip thrust exercises are a great way to strengthen and tone your glutes and hamstrings, but they’re not the only way to get those same benefits. There are plenty of alternatives to hip thrust exercises that can give you the same results without the help of any equipment.

Here are a few hip-thrust alternatives that you can do at home:

1. Reverse plank

The reverse plank is a viable hip thrust alternative to try out. It is similar to the hip thrust in that it works the same muscles but is done from a different position. This exercise is great for toning your glutes, hamstrings, and core.

Targeted Muscles: glutes, hamstrings, core.

How to do:

  • Sit on the ground with your legs extended out in front of you.
  • Place your palms a little behind your hips, but not directly under it.
  • Press into your hands and raise your hips off the ground, keeping your back straight.
  • Engage your core and hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

2. Single leg hip bridge

The single-leg hip bridge is a great way to target your glutes and hamstrings without putting too much strain on your lower back.

Targeted Muscles: glutes, hamstrings.

How to do:

  • Lie on your back with both legs bent and feet flat on the ground.
  • Lift one leg off the ground and extend it straight out in front of you.
  • Keeping your other leg bent, press into your heel and raise your hip off the ground.
  • Squeeze your glute at the top of the movement and hold for a second.
  • Lower your hip back to the starting position and repeat.
  • Do 10-15 reps on each side.

3. Pilates hundred

The Pilates hundred is a great exercise for toning your entire body, but it especially targets your glutes and core.

Targeted Muscles: glutes, core.

How to do:

  • Lie on your back with legs extended straight out in front of you and arms by your sides.
  • Lift your head and shoulders off the ground and bring your knees towards your chest.
  • Extend your legs out to a 45-degree angle and reach your arms out straight in front of you.
  • Pulse your arms up and down while keeping your head and shoulders off the ground.
  • Do 100 pulses, then lower your legs and head back to the starting position.

4. Clam shells

Clam shells are a great way to target your hip abductors, which are the muscles on the sides of your hips. This exercise is also great for toning your glutes and core.

Targeted Muscles: hip abductors, glutes, core.

How to do:

  • Lie on your right side with legs bent to 90 degrees and feet stacked on top of each other.
  • Keeping your feet together, use your hand to prop up your head.
  • Move your legs in such a way that your right knee points down and your left knee points up.
  • Squeeze your glutes and hold for a second, then return to the starting position.
  • Do 10-15 reps on each side.

5. Donkey kicks

Donkey kicks are a great exercise for targeting your glutes. This exercise is also great for toning your hamstrings and core.

Targeted Muscles: glutes, hamstrings, core.

How to do:

  • Start in a quadruped position with your hands and knees on the ground.
  • Keeping your left knee bent, lift your right leg up toward the ceiling.
  • Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement and hold for a second.
  • Lower your leg back to the starting position and repeat.
  • Do 10-15 reps on each side.

Common mistakes people make while doing hip thrust

Hip thrust exercises require a good amount of hip movement, balance, and coordination. While doing hip thrusts, people often make some common mistakes that may hurt their lower back or hip joints. Here are some mistakes that you must avoid while doing hip thrusts:

Incorrect foot placement

You may be tempted to keep your feet in the most comfortable position while performing the hip thrusts, but moving them too farther away or too close to your body is likely to hamper the movement and increase the chances of injury. 

Lowering hips too quickly

The lowering of the hips is as important as lifting them in the hip thrust exercise. Some people lower their hips too quickly, which should be avoided at all costs. 

Precautions to take while doing hip thrusts

Follow these measures to perform hip thrust movement safely and effectively:

  1. Always warm up your glutes before starting the exercise. 
  2. Make sure that the bench you’re using is stable and won’t move or shake while doing hip thrusts.
  3. Set up your weight bench properly if you plan to lift heavyweights. 
  4. Do not arch your back while executing the hip thrust movement. 
  5. If you feel any pain in your lower back, stop exercising.
  6. Try to do the exercise in the presence of a trainer or an experienced friend. 

Conclusion

The hip thrust is the best way to target your glutes and strengthen them. Doing the basic hip thrust exercise along with hip thrust variations will give you amazing results. However, before starting the hip thrust movement, it is always advisable to warm up your glutes and perform the exercises in the presence of an experienced trainer.

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