The Most Underrated Strength Excercise
If you want to run faster incorporate hip thrusts. If you want to jump higher incorporate hip thrusts. If you want to improve your deadlift lockout incorporate hip thrusts. If you want a firmer more muscular ass incorporate hip thrusts into your program. Hip thrusts in my opinion are one of the most underrated and unused exercises. Walk into a commercial gym and I guarantee you won't find anyone doing this exercise.
Everyone knows the importance of having strong powerful glutes, however most people donft know how to develop them. If you think that just by squatting or lunging you will develop a muscular behind you are missing a big piece of the puzzle. Sure lunges make your glutes sore the next day. When you perform a lunge the muscles in the glute-ham tie-in are being contracted in stretched position which is why you notice a great deal of delayed onset muscle soreness. However, lunges donf'tdo much for the upper portion of the glutes. What about the glute ham raise? It has glute in the name of the exercise it must be effective glute exercise. Actually, it is an effective hamstring exercise not a glute exercise. Hip thrusts are the superior gluteus maximus exercise. No exercise is better at activating the glutes than a hip thrust.
Brett Contreras aka "The Glute Guy" a self proclaimed biomechanics nerd has done numerous EMG tests which show the hip thrust produces 2- 3 times more maximum voluntary contraction of the gluteus muscles than backsquats, lunges, glute ham raises, and deadlifts. To perform the hip thrust exercise lay on your back with your feet on the floor shoulder width apart, squeeze your glutes together and push your heels through the floor to elevate your hips. Make sure you are not going into lumbar hyperextension by trying to arch your back. If you find you have trouble getting into full extension you likely have tight hip flexors, and/or you have weak gluteus maximus strength.
There are many variations of hip thrusts to perform. You can do them single leg or double leg, with your upper back on the bench or on the floor. I recommend starting out with the double leg variation and then moving to a single leg variation for progression. If you have never performed this exercise before or if you have trouble activating your glutes you should be able to do 15 body weight reps before you attempt to add resistance. There are many options that you can use for resistance. You can drape chains over your hips, strap bands over top of you, hold onto a plate, dumbbell or kettlebell, or load a barbell. My favorite variation to do is a double leg hip thrust with my upper back on a bench. I perform these weighted with an axle bar across my hips as resistance. I like to use an axle bar for heavy hip thrusts because the bigger diameter bar broadly distributes the weight over your legs. I also like to use an airex pad as a cushion under the bar. This takes an exercise that if you are doing 500 plus lbs with from very unpleasant to quite comfortable. If you are a bigger guy and you canft squeeze under the bar you can set up in a power rack with the plates elevated off the floor a few inches.
Whether you are an athlete looking to increase your performance on the field/ court, or you exercise just to look and feel good add hip thrusts to your program.