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To Hip-Thrust or Not?

Updated: Aug 31, 2021

Always thrust.


Slice of humour here today too.

Y'know, there'd have been a time when I thought a hip thrust was a STOOPID idea, and why the heck would you want to look so silly?!

Ok, I changed my mind. We all have the right to do that; I always reserve the right to change my mind.

Many of clients do hip thrusts all the time. Most of them complain, but then at least it's not a Bulgarian split squat or a bear crawl or a burpee right?!

So, why do either? GLUTES. We like the glutes. Both primarily target your bum, plus a smidgen of hamstrings. Sitting for long periods of time, day in and day out, like many of us do in our jobs, can sometimes cause stronger hip flexors and weaker glutes (by this I do not mean your glutes are broken, without them you couldn't walk!). So we like to balance things out...

So what's the difference?

A glute bridge is typically done lying down, with feet hip width apart. As you exhale, lift hips off the ground, extending the knees away from you and keeping the inner thighs magnetised (so the knees stay over heels). Slowly lower back down. Note: glute bridge can also be used as a backbend (hi, yoga!), but that is usually not the aim when performing a bridge for your glutes. Keep a tuck in of the tailbone and shoulder blades on the floor - and let's have a squeeze of the butt cheeks shall we?

Variations: marching glute bridge, single leg glute bridge, glute bridge pulses, foot elevated glute bridge

A hip thrust props up the shoulders on a bench/box etc. Typically, a weight is placed into the hip crease. Hips start lower to the ground, and again, exhaling to lift the hips and extend the knees away from you. It's a controlled lift and squeeze! Keep the chin tucked in.

Variations: single leg hip thrust

Pros of glute bridges:

- great place to start building core and glute strength

- easily done at home

- no equipment required

Cons of glute bridges:

- more difficult to add weight (and therefore progress strength and power of glutes)

Pros of hip thrusts:

- larger range of motion

- improves hip mobility

- easier to add weight

- more quad activation (pro, con, I dunno?!)

Cons of hip thrusts:

- you need a bench/box/platform

- you gotta find somewhere to fix your eyeballs; no weird eye contact whilst thrusting here please.

Do you need to do either? No, not if you don't want to.

Squats, deadlifts, reverse lunges etc all use your glutes too. You may also find stiff-legged deadlifts, single leg deadlifts and donkey kicks to be of use to your glutes too.

Do both, do neither, either's cool.

Which do you prefer?

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