How to Do Weighted Hip Thrust: Benefits & Variations

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The search for the perfect glutes workout is always ON. The weighted hip thrust is the golden standard of building stronger and muscular glutes. Bret Contreras, aka The Glute Guy, has popularised this specific exercise and everybody seems to enjoy the hip thrust benefits.

From bodybuilders to sports athletes are incorporating this workout into their regimen, As the significance of glutes is non-negotiable when you want to perform at peak level. So, let’s see what the hype is all about hip thrust and how we can actually build those glutes we always coveted. 

Muscles Worked

The weighted hip thrust is a great lower body workout that primarily focuses on glutes – gluteus maximus and gluteus medius, but it also works on other lower body muscles such as quads, core, and hip adductors. 

Although there are many exercises that may focus on these particular muscle groups, Hip thrust exercise is one of a kind. It will help you in reaping benefits when compared to any other exercise.

Weighted hip thrust benefits

This exercise has its own reputation for strengthening glutes, unlike any other exercise. Strong glutes also improve your athletic performance like jumping, sprinting, etc… Glute strength is imperative in bringing peak athletic performance. 

It is also responsible for stabilizing your core, lower body, and pelvis which will correct your gait while walking and running which often gets disturbed because of weak glutes.

Weighted Hip thrust Form

  1. Take back support on an elevated surface, like a bench with your knees bent and feet on the floor.
  2. Your feet should be just shoulder width apart. Support from the bench should be taken by resting your body on the upper back, just below your shoulder blades.
  3. Keeping your body balanced. Push through your heels and lift your pelvis until your thighs and parallel to the ground and the bent at knees reaching 90-degree angle.
  4. Squeeze your glutes at the top and then return to the initial position.

In the initial stage, try to perform at least 3 sets of 12-15 reps, with good form, and work until you reach 20 reps. These can be just bodyweight hip thrust, later you can progress to variations of this exercise with weights, and those are mentioned below.

Common Mistakes

  1. Complete the movement

When reaching the top, try to lift your hips until the angel at your knees makes a 90-degree angle. If you fail to perfect this, your glutes won’t be activated completely.

  1. Foot Placement

You need to place your feet shoulder-width apart and also at a comfortable length from your body when at the top it should be making a 90-degree angle.

If you place your feet too forward, your hamstring will fire up. Too close and your quads will get activated.

Our focus in this exercise is to work on glutes primarily. You can adjust the position of your feet by where you feel the tension after a few reps and find the perfect spot.

  1. Maintain a Neutral Lower back

Don’t hyperextend your lower back, this will hinder the full extension of hips for glute activation.

Bring your ribs down and keep your lower back neutral to achieve full extension of hips.

  1. Use your heels

Most people tend to use the balls on their feet at the top of the moment. This happens because your foot placement is wrong.

Correct your form and make a 90-degree angle at the top. Then, focus on using your heels in the entire movement.

  1. Keep your neck stable

Most people have a good form from the neck below, they maintain a good torso and keep their feet at optimum distance and also try to perfect the movement but often they forget to keep their neck stable.

The proper way to do this is, by looking at yourself while lifting your hips and keeping your neck in that position constant. This will eliminate any discrepancies in your form.

  1. Lowering too quickly

And this is one critical aspect of this exercise, as the exercise is hip thrust or we can also call it hip raise. Most people focus only on the lifting of the hip but not the lowering.

You need to perform the movement in a controlled fashion rather than sudden jerky movements and sloppy manner.

Variations & Alternatives

One great advantage with this exercise, even when you lack access to the GYM or do not want to go through the hassle of commuting to Gym after a busy workday. You can do this in the comfort of your home.

We will be seeing variations of this exercise below with easy to intermediate levels.

Bodyweight Hip Thrust

Well, you can also call this glute bridge. But don’t confuse any other variation of this exercise to be similar to glute bridge. Why? We’ll see that in detail as we progress through the variations.

Glute Bridge can be performed from the floor itself. 

  1. Similar to the hip thrust position detailed above, instead of resting your upper back on a bench. Place your entire back on the floor.
  2. By pushing your heels and squeezing your butt, lift your pelvis until your legs and torso are in a straight line.

We can modify the exercise by adding resistance and reducing support to our bodies while maintaining the same movement. Master the bodyweight hip thrust and glute bridge before advancing to these workouts.

Don’t advance with assumptions, you need to build enough strength to handle your bodyweight before you can go ahead and practice weighted hip thrust.

Dumbbell hip thrust

Let’s load up with some weights and increase resistance. You can also use a weighted plate by removing it from the barbell instead of the dumbbell. Just another option.

You need to perfect the form without the dumbbell before reaching this workout. If not, go back and continue to practice bodyweight hip thrust until you can do 3 sets of 20 reps with perfect form and consistently.

Start with 5 or 10 pounds, don’t get too excited. If you add too much weight then you will just break your form and this can lead to injuries and sprains.

KettleBell Hip thrust

It is just a replacement for the dumbbell, make sure you maintain the kettlebell in the right position and not to fall on your groin or tip-off and fall on your leg.  Do not perform this on the floor and support your back on the bench.

Barbell Hip Thrust

This is another alternative where we can use the barbell as resistance and practice this workout. Try to provide some comfort to the area where you place weights, this will reduce the friction and give some ease to the movement itself. 

It is similar to hip thrust with more added resistance and it is very effective in improving the gluteal muscle strength and shape. It can improve your athletic performance and also bring your posture into the right form.

The advantage of Barbell hip thrust is that you can stack up weights easily and work out more effectively. Make sure you don’t throw weights in an inconsistent manner. Work your way up, maintain proper form and avoid the common mistakes that we have laid out above.

Bowflex provides an amazing Curl Bar in addition to a Barbell that will improve your form and reduce any injuries while doing barbell hip thrusts. This can be a piece of incredible equipment and versatile for your all-around workout options.

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This offer from Bowflex will reduce the equipment costs and also improve your form. It can be used for other workouts as well and mainly the Curl bar greatly helps in your hip thrust workout.

Dumbbell single leg hip thrust

As we have mentioned earlier, we can make the exercise more challenging by adding resistance and reducing the support. 

In Dumbbell hip thrust, we have added resistance and now er will remove the support which is one leg. So Dumbbell single-leg hip thrust is more challenging than previous.

You are going to experience more burns in your glutes, hamstrings, and glutes. Keep a stable pelvis without tilting, this can cause lower back pain. Proper form is essential at any stage and as the workout gets more challenging, the form of exercise matters more than anything else.

Hip thrust vs glute bridge

It is very much important to understand that as our position changes in the exercise, the muscles which are getting engaged also change.

The movement of the glute bridge and hip thrust is similar but the focus is on different muscles as the glute bridge tends to work on quads more when compared to hip thrust and less on hamstrings.

Whether you are following a full-body workout routine or split-body workout routine, hip thrust can be an integral part of your regimen. Start doing hip thrust with bodyweight and then go on to dumbbell hip thrust or barbell hip thrust.

Don’t throw yourself into something you can’t handle and then see your effort go into the drain.

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