What You Need To Know About The Hip Thrust Exercise To Get Bigger, Stronger Glutes And Improve Your Performance In Athletics, Lifting, And Life
The hip thrust exercise is a phenomenal tool for targeting the glutes, which are those big, beefy muscles on your bum. The glutes are one of the largest and most powerful muscle groups in the body that are involved in most day-to-day and athletic movements. They are the prime movers in many activities like lifting (e.g. squats, deadlifts, etc.), running, and jumping just to name a few. Unfortunately, most people have weak, dysfunctional glute muscles – and many don’t even know it. Furthermore, most people think that squats and deadlifts are the best exercises for targeting the glutes, but that isn’t necessarily true.
Benefits of the Hip Thrust Exercise
So, why would you want to focus on training your glutes? Well, here are three reasons:
1. You’ll get stronger, and as a result…
2. You’ll perform better. Your lifts will likely increase (e.g. squats, deadlifts, etc.). You’ll be able to run and sprint faster. You’ll have a greater capacity for improved performance in the future, and as a result…
3. You’ll look and feel better. And that’s the real reason why a lot of people train, after all. So, if you want to transform the ol’ posterior chain (i.e. your backside), then the hip thrust should be a regular choice in your program.
Now, there are many great ways to train the glutes. Squats, deadlifts, lunges, step-ups, kettlebell swings, jumping, and sprinting are just a handful of the many great ways to train them. And all of these are functional, practical, full-body exercises and/or movement skills that have immense benefits. So, why bother with the hip thrust exercise, which is technically an isolation exercise that targets the glute musculature?
There are two reasons. First, the hip thrust is one of the most effective – if not the most effective exercise – for activating the glute musculature, according to EMG studies. In fact, research has found that the hip thrust activates the glutes 2-3 times more than squats do. And done together in the same program, they become a powerful combo.
Strength and conditioning specialist, Bret Contreras, who is known informally as “The Glute Guy” said that, “Due to several factors, the hip thrust greatly outperforms squats and deadlifts in glute activation… For these reasons, the glutes fire 2-3 times harder in a hip thrust compared to a squat depending on whether examining the mean or peak activation levels” (source).
The second reason you may want to use the hip thrust is that most people have major problems with their glute muscles. In fact, most people have a hard time just contracting their glutes – period – let alone contracting them maximally. The reasons are many, of course – one of the main culprits being that we sit on our butt’s for long periods of time. Unless you train them frequently, we typically don’t use them very much in day-to-day life. So, the glutes forget how to contract. It’s called sensory motor amnesia. Essentially, the nervous system short-circuits and you can’t fully or properly contract a particular muscle group.
And given that the glutes are one of the largest, most powerful, and most important muscles in the body, this dysfunction is a major problem! Fortunately, the hip thrust is one of the best exercises for teaching your glutes how to fire and perform at their best.
So, who would benefit the most from including the hip thrust exercise into their fitness routine?
Who is the hip thrust exercise best-suited for? Well, you should strongly consider doing the hip thrust…
- If you regularly sit for long periods of time.
- If you have weak, under-developed glutes or if you have trouble contracting your glutes to their full capacity.
- If you want to get stronger and look/feel/perform better.
So, in this hip thrust how-to tutorial, I’m going to teach you how to do the hip thrust not just properly, but optimally, in order to maximize the benefits you receive from the exercise and minimize the risk of injuries or other problems – and get you some great glutes!
Check out the video tutorial first.
How to Perform The Hip Thrust Exercise Properly
Note: this is the bodyweight version of the hip thrust exercise, which is the most basic variation that everyone should get started with regardless of training history or skill level. I don’t care if you can squat 405 lbs raw. Do it right, and start off with the rudimentary progression. But keep in mind that there are many great ways to increase the difficulty of the exercise, such as single-leg variations, or by adding load via a resistance band, barbell, sandbag, etc. Just make sure that you master the bodyweight variation first and progress gradually from there. Your glutes – and the rest of your body – will thank you.
How to do the Hip Thrust Exercise – Technique Tips and Strategies
A common thread in success stories from those who have transformed their body, changed their life, and gotten strong (etc.) is that they all report experiencing something to the effect of more self-confidence, self-esteem or mental toughness and/or clarity.
When they’re asked about how they’ve changed now that they’ve finally succeeded or how their life is different after their transformation, they often say things like:
- I’m more confident than ever.
- I feel like I can accomplish anything.
- My self-esteem has improved.
They may go on to say that they feel like they’re a new man or woman, and everything has changed, and people are treating them differently, among other things. And after our curiosity has been sufficiently piqued, that’s usually all we hear about it. We rarely get to go deeper into the far-reaching implications that a physical transformation can have psychologically, socially, spiritually, etc.
I think this is for two reasons, primarily:
Meet Derek Mitchell: The 570 Pound Man Who Put a Stake in the Ground to Finally Start Losing Weight, Quit His Soda Addiction, Started Eating Healthier, Finished His First 5k in Dead Last and Then Made a Commitment to Run a 5k Every Month This Year.
Derek Mitchell may have finished his first 5k race in last place, but he was on Cloud 9 when he crossed the finish line. And in my book, he wins the “most determined” award.
You see, five years ago, Derek was diagnosed with a benign tumor on his pituitary gland. Apparently, it has been there for a long time (likely since childhood) and has caused all sorts of trouble that contributed to him gaining over 600 pounds of weight.
Now that Derek has a diagnosis, he is treating it with medication and testosterone replacement therapy, among other things. But he quickly realized that he’d have to make some other lifestyle changes to lose the weight.
So, earlier this year, Derek committed to making healthier food choices and started by quitting his soda addiction – a New Year’s resolution. He also started walking.
At 34 years old and around 570 pounds, Derek said, “I just knew I had to do something if I had hope for a future or anything like that.”
“I started just walking around in my neighborhood, and I started at a mile and then worked my way up to a little over two miles a day.” – Source.
And after some encouragement from his sister, who is a marathon runner, Derek decided to sign up to walk a local 5k race – the Kansas City Big 12 5k.
He didn’t care how long it took. His goal was simply to finish the race. It didn’t matter that the road crews were reopening intersections right after he walked through them or that he was being tailed by a police car (just in case). Derek kept going despite the pain. As he approached the final stretch, Runners World reports that “Mitchell’s feet and knees were ‘killing’ him.” But with a steady stream of high-fives from the 12k race finishers and a word of encouragement from a gentleman to “finish strong,” that’s exactly what Derek did.
“As soon as I saw that finish line and heard everybody yelling, all the pain that I’d been feeling up until that point vanished,” Mitchell said. “I booked it. I couldn’t go as fast as I’d wanted to because I’d already lost some weight and my pants started falling down. But it was just amazing.” – Source.
Finally, after about an hour and a half, he finished in last place. But he walked away with a new perspective of what is possible, especially since he dropped out of the last 5k race he entered (i.e. he DNF, which he says took him “down a notch or two.” – Source).
“I wanted to cross the finish line with my hands up, because that’s how it felt! It was pretty awesome,” Derek told Fox4KC.
After his triumphant finish, Derek set himself on a mission to tackle another 5k race every month this year. He has completed two so far and has signed up for several others. He also has a goal of shaving 5 minutes off his time each month and also losing 250 pounds by the end of the year.
After posting some Youtube videos and sharing his daily walks and some of his diet choices on a Facebook page that his sister setup for him, Derek now has thousands of fans cheering him on. He says, “Now I have so many eyes on me, and because of this following I can’t quit now.”
Derek wants the world to know that…
“If I can walk a 5K, anybody can. All it takes is just to go out for a walk and get active and get your body moving. Even if you can only walk to the end of the block, walk to the end of the block, because at least that’s something.”- Source
And with that, let’s get to the interview!
Interview with Derek Mitchell about his 5k Mission to Lose Weight and Get Healthier
After I found out about Derek’s story, I sent him a quick email asking if I could interview him. He quickly agreed. So, I sent him some questions and here’s what he sent back.
What If You Canceled Your Gym Membership And Used The Money For A New Home Gym?
As of last week, the average monthly cost of a gym membership is $58 per month according to Statistic Brain. And a Google search tells me that most gym memberships cost between $40-60 per month. Obviously, some gym memberships will fall outside of this range, and there are certainly many bargain gyms out there (Planet Fitness, anyone?). In fact, I remember getting in on a deal and paying less than $10 a month at one particular club – the one that kicked me out, ironically.
But let’s just say that the average person pays $50 a month for their gym membership since it falls within the average range. Plus, it’s a nice round number, and Cool Hand Luke would approve. That’s $600 a year for you math whizzes. And let me tell you: you can setup a great home gym with $600 a year. Let me walk you through some possibilities.
Note: you will receive 10 Siffer-points if you read this article while you’re upside down.
I read an article this morning by yoga instructor, Rachel Hector, on the value of doing inversions (e.g. handstands, or any other exercise/movement/pose where you’re upside down in some way, shape, or form). She went over some of the benefits of inversions such as improving immune function and cardiovascular health, boosting your mood, etc. She makes some good points and the article is worth the read if you’re a movement geek like me.
Of course, the take-home point is that we would all benefit from doing inversions and should find a way to incorporate them into our training and life – even if it just means putting your feet up more often. So, naturally, the typical reaction to an article like this is to start inverting yourself more often. We might even think…