How to get a cute butt: HIP THRUSTS!

Written by: Elsie Velazquez cert. personal trainer at Prescription Fitness (Cleveland, Ohio)

The hip thrust is a popular exercise among athletes and those who want to strengthen their core and glutes muscles.  Hip thrusts also target the quads, hamstrings, and calves.  Hip thrusts can be performed using just your bodyweight, with a barbell, with dumbbells, or with resistance bands (this choice usually requires some creativity).  The hip thrust improves strength, speed and power because it teaches optimal hip extension.

The hip thrust is a great glute exercise designed to improve strength, speed and power by teaching optimal hip extension.  The glutes are the largest and most powerful muscle groups in the body and are involved in most day-to-day and athletic movements. They are the main muscles used in many activities like lifting, running, and jumping. Unfortunately, most people have weak glute muscles and don’t even know it. The hip thrust is a great exercise choice to strengthen them. Research has found that the hip thrust activates the glutes 2-3 times more than squats do. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to give up squats and you should not.  In fact, if you combine squats and hip thrusts in a workout, you have a powerful combo.  According to the Mayo Clinic, incorporating the hip thrust into your routine can also help with balance and stability in sports and in daily activities.

You should really consider hip thrusts if:

  • you regularly sit for long periods of time;
  • if you have weak glutes or if you have trouble contracting your glutes to their full capacity; and
  • if you want to get stronger and look/feel/perform better.

One thing I love about the hip thrust is that it can be improvised based on an individual’s needs because there are so many variations of the exercise.  The three most popular are the following:

  1. Basic Floor Hip Thrust
  • Start by lying on your back with your feet hip-width apart and your heels about six inches from your fingertips
  • Lift your hips upward by squeezing your glutes so you’re balancing on your shoulder blades and feet. Hold for two seconds and then release back down.
  • Do three sets of 10 reps.
  1. Weighted Floor Hip Thrust (intermediate)

The added weight in this variation will challenge your lower abs by forcing you to engage the stabilizing muscles in your core.

  • Start by lying on your back with your feet hip-width apart and your heels about six inches from your fingertips
  • Add weight directly above your pelvis area (barbell, dumbbells, weighted plate, weighted ball)
  • Lift your hips upward by squeezing your glutes so you’re balancing on your shoulder blades and feet. Hold for two seconds and then release back down.
  • Do three sets of 10 reps.
  1. Feet-Elevated Hip Thrust (advanced)

This is my favorite variation because it offers more range of motion in your hips, leading to even more glute activation.

  • Start by lying on your back with your feet elevated on a bench or box and drive your hips up through your heels.
  • Engage your core and squeeze your hips at the top, then slowly reverse the movement and repeat
  • Do three sets of 10 reps.

Go to our blog page on prescription-fitness.com and tell us about your favorite glute exercise!