Last week I explained that I rave about Hip Thrusts and Weighted Glute Bridges because I’ve seen such amazing improvements to my glutes, both in strength and appearance, since I started dedicatedly incorporating these into my program.
I wrote about how to do glute bridges as a progressive exercise and promised that this week I would cover hip thrusts.
What are hip thrusts?
In comparison to the glute bridge, hip thrusts are, or certainly were, virtually unknown. I believe they were actually “created” by the great Bret Contreras and in the last 12 months they’ve had a huge amount of publicity thanks to Bret’s increased exposure to so many people in the fitness industry through his articles.
Hip thrusts are almost identical to glute bridges with a single, crucial, difference.
Rather than lying on the ground you sit up, leaning against a box or bench with your knees bent up and feet on the floor. Then thrust your hips up in the air using your glutes so that your body again forms a straight line from the knees to your shoulders. Thanks to the box or bench this line from the knees to the shoulder should be parallel to the floor.
Hold this top position for a count of five before lowering to the ground and repeating.
Again, it is possible to do a single leg version by doing the exercise in exactly the same way with one leg out in the air in front of you rather than resting it on the floor.
Making hip thrusts harder
As with glute bridges these can also be made harder by placing a barbell across the hips and lifting this weight with the strength of the hips. Again I recommend a bar pad on the bar (or a thick towel wrapped around the bar) to avoid bruising to the hip bones. I also need to rest the bar on some other plates to get it high enough off the ground to fit my thighs under it!
What does it work?
The first time you do these, no matter how good you think your glute strength is, you’ll probably feel the most atrocious burn in your glutes. Hip thrusts are fantastic and I’m particularly fond of them because I get to sit up. With a concrete floor in the garage gym it’s nice to have as little as possible in contact with the cold floor in winter!
The difference between these and the glute bridges is that I feel the burn is in the top of the glutes, hitting that join between the glutes and the spinal erectors. This is the area on my body where I carry most fat so I find it comforting to feel the burn in that area, even though I know that direct “burn” post workout doesn’t equate to losing fat from that area. However, it has really done great things for pulling my glutes up a little, making them that little bit more “pert” in my quest for the perfect feminine silhouette.
Incorporating glute bridges and hip thrusts into a program
I’ve incorporated these in various ways over the last few months. Sometimes I use them as a complete supplementary exercise, doing ten sets of four reps on a minute. At the moment I am using them as a finisher, using a DC technique that was introduced to my by Chris (I’ll explain more about this another time).
The most important thing I’ve learned is that I get best results by focussing on one or other of the exercises, doing it for 1-2 months and then swapping over to the other one for the same length of time. That way I can really target a particular area of my glutes but over time I ensure that the overall muscle group is developing evenly.
The times when I’ve tried doing both over the course of a week’s program I’ve found that neither exercise improved as swiftly and the results weren’t as good.
I hope you’ve found my thoughts on both exercises helpful. I would never be tempted to do a program without them now. They are one of those staples which always feature somewhere in my program at all times. I hope you find them as effective. I’d certainly be interested to know how other people build them into their programs.