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Invigorate Your Glute Routine: 8 Innovative Hip Thrust Options for Every Level of Fitness

To sculpt a firmer, more voluptuous backside, hip thrusts are unparalleled as the preferred buttock-toning move. This powerful motion is adept at targeting the gluteus maximus, which is pivotal in contouring your backside and hip area.

The gluteus maximus isn’t merely for aesthetics; it’s the stoutest muscle in your physique. Strengthening it can lead to posture improvement, an elevation in athletic prowess, and enhanced joint stability, as per a 2019 study in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy.

Incorporating hip thrusts into your training promises a sculpted, uplifted derrière and an increment in muscular fortitude. If you’re eager to vary your regimen, you can adopt a myriad of hip thrust alternatives to persist in challenging the same muscular groups.

Fitness authority Ash Wilking, CPT, also a credentialed coach for Tonal, remarks, “The glutes are often heralded as the ‘powerhouse of the trunk’. By weaving variations of the hip thrust into your exercise sessions, you can amplify lower body vigor, enhance hip flexibility and tautness, reinforce your core’s muscle power, and potentially ease lower back discomfort.”

Wilking introduces eight creative spins on the classic hip thrust for you to integrate into your leg workout schedules, guaranteeing an intense buttock-engaging session for any exercise aficionado, from beginners to the highly experienced. (A helpful hint: These alternatives can also spice up your lower-body workouts.)

Perfecting the Fundamentals of the Hip Thrust

Prior to venturing into more complex variations, it’s essential to master the rudimentary hip thrust move. You can either utilize your own body weight or intensify the move with additional weights such as dumbbells or a barbell.

  1. Search for a bench or a stable elevated surface matching the height of your knees.
  2. Sit on the ground, leaning your upper back against the bench’s brink. Consider your shoulder blades as anchors gripping the bench. Position your feet on the floor with bent knees, spaced as wide as your hips.
  3. In a seated, hips-lowered posture, your upper body should be angled at approximately 45 degrees with the surface.
  4. Position your hands behind your cranium.
  5. Engage your abdominal region to maintain spinal steadiness.
  6. Press your heels into the floor and elevate your hips towards the ceiling. Strive to form a linear path from your shoulders to your knees, with your legs creating a perfect right angle at the height of the movement.
  7. Descend your hips back to the initial position mindfully.
  8. Complete 3 to 4 groupings, with each containing 8 to 12 repetitions.

“The glutes are often alluded to as the trunk’s powerhouse. Cementing our glutes’ power with these hip thrust variants can magnify potency in our lower extremities, cultivate smooth hip motion and stability, strengthen the core musculature, and diminish discomfort in the lumbar area.” —Ash Wilking, CPT

For Novices: Mild Hip Thrust Adaptations

For those new to the practice, beginner adaptations like the glute bridge are executed lying down and they emulate the hip thrust but with the support of the ground instead of elevation.

“These foundational choices are superb for familiarizing one’s physique with hip extension without the necessity of sophisticated apparatus, save for the optional addition of a resistance loop,” Wilking suggests.

Even for those acquainted with these drills, incorporating them into your pre-exercise warm-up can activate your buttock muscles.

1. Basic Glute Bridge

  1. Position yourself supine on the floor, with knees bent and feet anchored flat, spread at an interval matching your hip span. Your arms should lie by your sides, palms facing downward.
  2. Adjust your feet closer to your hips, so they are within fingertip’s reach.
  3. Consciously contract your core to prevent your lower back from overarching.
  4. Force through your heels to project your hips upward, attempting to create a straight alignment from your shoulders to knees at the pinnacle of the move.
  5. At the height of this action, squeeze your buttocks while ensuring that the shoulders and feet remain firmly planted.
  6. Sustain the apex pose for a moment, keeping the muscles in your buttocks and core active.
  7. Carefully bring your hips down to the initiation position, making sure to manage the lowering motion and sustaining muscular activation.
  8. Engage in 3 to 4 sets, completing 8 to 12 reps in each.

2. Banded Glute Bridge

  1. Place a resistance loop around your thighs, just above your knees.
  2. Prepare in the identical commencement posture as the regular glute bridge.
  3. Proceed through steps 3 to 7 as in the former bridge, retaining the band’s stretch throughout the exercise.
  4. Execute 3 to 4 sets, each with 8 to 12 repetitions.

3. Single-leg Glute Bridge

  1. Assume a recumbent position with knees bent so that your feet are stably planted on the surface, set as wide as your hips. Situate your arms to your side, with palms facing the earth.
  2. Reposition your heels beneath your knees, ensuring they’re close enough to be lightly touched by your fingertips.
  3. Lift your left leg, extending it so that the left knee is over the left hip.
  4. Firm up your core to brace your spine and avert excessive curvature of your lumbar spine.
  5. Push down into your right heel, lifting your hips heavenward while maintaining the left leg’s elevation. Make sure your body is in a linear trail from your shoulders up to your knees.
  6. Assertively engage your glute muscles at the height of this movement.
  7. At the culmination of the raise, persist the glute clench and ensure your abdominals are drawn in tight.
  8. Lower your hips to the starting stance in a controlled way, continuing muscle engagement.
  9. Perform 3 to 4 series, each comprising 8 to 12 reps, before alternating to the opposing leg.

Progressed Variants for Hip Thrusts

To increase complexity, arrange your shoulders atop a bench for greater hip elevation, which magnifies muscular exertion as indicated by Wilking.

“Elevated hip thrusts remarkably advance the fortification of the glute muscles,” she affirms.

4. Banded Elevated Glute Bridge

  1. Seek out a bench or a comparably firm elevated platform that’s inline with the elevation of your knees.
  2. Enclose a resistance band over your thighs slightly above your knees.
  3. Place yourself on the floor, with your dorsal side just brushing against the bench’s border (like draping your shoulder blades around the rim of the bench). With legs bent, position your feet firmly, separated at the span of your hips.
  4. Once seated with hips positioned low, your torso in conjunction with the floor should establish a 45-degree slant.
  5. Lock your hands at the rear of your crown.
  6. Awaken your core to ensure a firm spine.
  7. Root your heels and thrust your hips upwards, aligning your limbs in a steady line from knees to shoulders at the apex of the thrust.
  8. Accentuate your glute squeeze throughout.
  9. Revert carefully to your initial station.
  10. Undertake 3 to 4 sets, partaking in 8 to 12 repetitions each.

5. Single-leg Elevated Glute Bridge

  1. Acquire a bench or any sturdy element that reaches up to your knee level.
  2. Counterpoise against the edge of the bench, orienting your raised hips to form an angle with the land.
  3. Elevate and maintain your left leg overhead, suitable to the hip directly beneath it, and preserve this lifted state ceaselessly.
  4. Your shoulder blades should overhang by the boundary of the bench, angled at 45 degrees with the terra firma as your hips remain dipped.
  5. Allow your hands to repose behind your head.
  6. Maintain a rigid torso for backbone support.
  7. Exert pressure through your right heel while ascending your hips to the heavens. Your overall frame should be elongated linearly from your knees to shoulders at the highest point of the lift.
  8. Keep your abdominal and lower body muscles contracted and focused.
  9. Carefully lower your hips back to the ground, ensuring control and connection to your muscles as you return to the origin.
  10. Conduct 3 to 4 sets, achieving 8 to 12 repetitions before switching legs.
  1. Align your shoulders straight, forming a perfect right angle at your knee joints.
  2. Lower back down to your starting stance peacefully.
  3. Execute 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions before switching to the opposite side.

Progressive Variations of Hip Thrusts

Once you have conquered the earlier stages, add a barbell for increased load and challenge. Wilking praises the barbell hip thrust as the ultimate glute workout.

“Adding a barbell amplifies hypertrophy and strength due to the thrust’s raised position,” Wilking states.

6. Barbell Hip Thrust

  1. Place a barbell down, append weights as necessary for your program (this is optional).
  2. Recline with your shoulder blades against the bench. Slide the barbell over your thighs, positioning it above your hips. Employ a pad or towel folded for cushioning.
  3. Maintain feet planted and spread apart at hip-width, knees bent at near-right angles.
  4. Grip the barbell firmly with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  5. Engage your core to ensure protection of your lower back.
  6. Push through your heels, elevating your pelvis towards the sky. Ensure a straight trajectory from your shoulders to your knees at the highest point; shins should be perpendicular. Use a reflective surface to aid with your positioning assessment.
  7. At the top, contract your glutes tightly and keep your core braced.
  8. Take your hips back down to the ground in a controlled manner to your starting point.
  9. Undertake 3 to 4 sequences of 8 to 12 repetitions.
  1. Arrange your frame in a perpendicular fashion for the most effective stabilization.
  2. Lift your left limb, keeping it slightly off the floor.
  3. Tense your torso to secure your spinal column and prevent injury.
  4. Thrust down forcibly through your right heel, lifting your lower body towards the clouds. Ensure that your physique maintains a straight line from shoulders to knees at the heightened position.
  5. At the summit of your motion, pause briefly, keeping your gluteal muscles tensed and your core engaged.
  6. Lead your hips downwards to the point of origin with care.
  7. Go through this exercise for 3 to 4 rounds of 8 to 12 reps prior to engaging the other limb.

TIPIf keeping your inactive limb elevated becomes too strenuous, allow its heel to brush the floor, which will ensure that the primary force comes from the moving limb.

8. Single-leg barbell hip thrust

  1. Organize the barbell on the floor, attaching weights you deem suitable or start without.
  2. Position your torso on the floor, your upper back rested against the rim of the bench. Shift the barbell over your legs to rest above your pelvis, padding the area as necessary.
  3. Stabilize your feet at hip-width distance, bending your knees to form right angles.
  4. Stiffen your abdominal muscles to safeguard your spine and lower back.
  5. Hold the barbell snugly with both hands, positioned slightly outside shoulder-width.
  6. Raise your left limb slightly away from the floor.
  7. Press upwards through your heel, lifting your hips, forming a straight, inclined line from your shoulders up to your knees at the movement’s peak.
  8. Maintain the position at the zenith momentarily, ensuring the glutes are actively engaged and the core is sturdy. Retain your ribs tucked and spine neutral, concentrating on elevating the hips without arching your lower back excessively.
  9. Reverse the movement smoothly, bringing your hips down to the original position.
  10. Perform 3 to 4 sequences of 8 to 12 reps prior to swapping legs.

TIPShould the task of keeping your leg aloft prove overly taxing, you may allow the resting leg to touch the ground, serving as a supporting element, while keeping the emphasis on the leg in motion.

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