And all of its magical, glute busting variations/derivatives.
- Single leg hip thrusts
- Feet elevated hip thrusts
- Frog hip thrusts
- Banded hip thrusts
- Glute kick backs
- Banded/cable standing hip abduction
- Lateral band walks
Talking of glute exercises, in my mind it also applies to Kettlebell swings.* Plus what I like to call Thrusty Wusties.
* Kettlebell Swings are not squats to shoulder raise. Nor should that KB swing below the knee. Please Jesus no. It is explosive hip extension via squeezing the crap out of those buttcheeks.
Who's it for?
- Ladies looking to create those curves and firmness.
- Anyone looking to smash through deadlift/squat plateaus.
- Anyone who gets persistently achy lower back muscles. (There are exceptions)
- Everyone who sits down, a lot. (Especially you)
- Even Sauron smashes these bad boys.
How else are you supposed to be a Chief Lieutenant bad ass to the first Dark Lord?
My case is clearly, irrefutable.
Let's dissect those little points so we can understand the why's and ultimately, the benefits.
Those curves though.
Sure thing ladies, you can squat and deadlift till pigs can fly. It's worth appreciating that these exercises - Whilst staple, undisputed kings of the repertoire - Do not hit the glutes as much as hip thrusts.
Deadlifts? More hamstrings.
Squats? More quads.
Hip thrusts? More glutes.
This is grossly oversimplified, but you get the idea.
All those muscles work hard - Plus many more - in all of those exercises. However, some 'hit' different areas harder.
Let's provide a little guide on the subdivisions.
Ladies, if you fancy 'hitting' the upper glutes more? Smash these.
- Standing hip abduction with cables, bands, or ankle weights.
- Side lying hip abduction with bands or ankle weights.
- Lateral bands walks.
Make sure you do these towards the end of your sessions as a means of polishing off the overall workout. The beginning should play home to the bigger multi-joint exercises like the barbell hip thrust and blindfolded double back flips.
Fancy nailing the lower glutes more? compliment your hip thrusts with these.
- Step ups
- Pistol squats
- Bulgarian split squats
The last two are my faaaves.
It makes sense to programme these in sensibly and intelligently. However this should be a good 'right out the gate' way to start.
Include volume and an 8-10 rep range, and you should see some wicked curves/tone/firmness develop.
This is an interesting one. Whilst I haven't gone full geek and hooked up my clients to an array of fancy machines that go bloop, bleep, bloop, or shone gamma rays at their backsides. I did make an interesting observation.
'I wanna hit a new 120kg deadlift PR'
'Alright, sweet!' I said. 'Where are you at with squats, deadlifts and hip thrusts?'
'Uhh, deadlifts are around 90kg at 6 reps and squats are about the same, I dunno about hip thrusts though.'
My client Leila swiftly got a lesson on hip thrusts, let me tell you.
We immediately established that she was at about 35kg over 10 reps on hip thrusts. My conclusion? Those glutes are lagging and have a whole lot more to contribute to the deadlift. You should expect to see similar strength levels across these three exercises.
Here's the astonishing bit, within 4 weeks we got up to 95kg over 10 reps. Which is AWESOME. It's like they finally got let out of their cage.
You see, I like to look at the body as a whole system, whereby a contribution in varying degrees is required for different movements. Half the reason people hit plateaus is because they only stick to what they like and know.
You need to be able to potentiate your work by working on areas you dislike or feel weak in.
Leila knew 120kg was going to be hard, and had failed to achieve it before. However, with those glutes taken up several levels. We nailed that 120kg PR in about 4 weeks.
This was Leila's face.
And mine for that matter.
I know, I know. This isn't exactly statistically significant, however, not many people legitimately go up from 35kg 10RM to 95kg 10RM in 4 weeks with proper technique.
My back always aches.
It doesn't need to be this way. By similar mechanisms of the above, glutes are lagging behind.
This point actually goes hand in hand with those of you who have to glue yourself to a chair for 8 hours a day, all in the name of making enough dough to pay the bills.
Sitting down for prolonged periods is bad for a lot of reasons, this is fairly well known.
Think of the continual pressure those butt cheeks are under, it is like an 8 hour massage. Inevitably those muscles switch off, neural drive is lost. When you proceed to stand up, the glutes do not contribute their workload.
As a result the lower back muscles pick up the extra slack, lo and behold. They ache like crap.
It is pretty straight forward to appreciate this adequately enough. So all that's left is to get in the gym and become a hip thrusting terminator.
I'd be very surprised if your lower back ache doesn't evaporate.
Mind you, you don't even need to shift a fuck-tonne of weight. Even body weighted hip thrusting will do the trick.
Try it, twice per day. 3 sets of maximum reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
Lie with your back on the floor, knees flexed at roughly 90 degrees, squeeze your bum cheeks so damn hard that you would crack a walnut, and thrust away.
You should ideally try to tilt your hips towards you at the top of the movement. Imagine trying to connect the bottom of your ribcage with your hip bones.
The final reason
Because Sauron does them, that's why.