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What Is a Barbell Hip Thrust?
A barbell hip thrust is a lower-body strength training exercise defined by lifting your lower back and torso with your knees bent and your upper body resting on a bench. With proper form, the barbell hip thrust works muscle groups across your entire lower body, particularly the gluteal muscles.
4 Benefits of Doing Barbell Hip Thrusts
Incorporating the barbell hip thrust into your workout routine can have several benefits:
- Barbell hip thrusts build your glute muscles. The barbell hip thrust is a great exercise for glute activation, targeting muscles like your gluteus maximus and gluteus medius. Unlike other bodyweight exercises like the glute bridge, the barbell hip thrust puts extra weight on your gluteal muscles.
- Barbell hip thrusts work your entire lower body. The barbell hip thrust activates muscles in the entire posterior chain of your lower body, including the hamstrings, quadriceps, adductors, and erector spinae muscles.
- Barbell hip thrusts improve your hip flexor muscles. The movement pattern of a barbell hip thrust works your hip flexors, a group of muscles that help with natural leg movements like walking, sprinting, and other cardio exercises. Performing barbell hip thrusts can help your hip flexor muscles prepare for more advanced hip hinging exercises like the Romanian deadlift.
- Barbell hip thrusts are versatile. The barbell hip thrust uses a lower body movement pattern that can be adapted to other free freights like dumbbells and kettlebells. Other barbell hip thrust variations include the single-leg hip thrust and the banded hip thrust using a resistance band.
How to Do a Barbell Hip Thrust
For the barbell hip thrust, begin by using a barbell with a weight that you can control for 2–3 sets of 6–12 repetitions. Choose a weight that allows you to maintain good technique throughout all sets and repetitions.
- Place a loaded barbell parallel to a bench.
- Sit on the floor with your back up against the bench. Roll the barbell over your hips until the barbell rests in the crease of your hips.
- With your upper back in contact with the bench, lift your hips slightly off of the ground. Your upper arms should rest against the bench. Rotate your shoulders outward to engage your lats. The bottom of your shoulder blades should be in contact with the bench. The weight on your feet should be evenly distributed along each entire foot. Rotate your feet into the floor to create a stable foot position. Your chin should remain tucked throughout the movement, as if you were holding an egg under your chin. All repetitions should begin from this position.
- To begin the upward movement, squeeze your glutes and push your feet into the ground.
- Continue squeezing your glutes as you push your hips toward the ceiling to achieve full hip extension. Your core should be engaged to keep your ribs down and your pelvis should be slightly tucked at the top. Your shins should be vertical.
- Pause for 2–3 seconds at the top.
- To begin the downward movement, hinge from your hips to return to the starting position. Allow your chest to follow your hips. Gaze forward while keeping your chin tucked. Maintain tension on your glutes and keep your core engaged. Your torso should create a 45-degree angle with the ground at the bottom of the movement.
How to Work out Safely and Avoid Injury
If you have a previous or pre-existing health condition, consult your physician before beginning an exercise program. Proper exercise technique is essential to ensure the safety and effectiveness of an exercise program, but you may need to modify each exercise to attain optimal results based on your individual needs. Always select a weight that allows you to have full control of your body throughout the movement. When performing any exercise, pay close attention to your body, and stop immediately if you note pain or discomfort.
In order to see continual progress and build body strength, incorporate proper warm-ups, rest, and nutrition into your exercise program. Your results will ultimately be based on your ability to adequately recover from your workouts. Rest for 24 to 48 hours before training the same muscle groups to allow sufficient recovery.
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