Your glutes are the largest muscle group in your body. That means they play a role in pretty much every physical thing you do. The glutes are designed to extend the hip or pull the leg behind the body, so naturally, weak glutes are associated with tight hip flexors, sore knees and poor movement mechanics. In addition, if your glutes are underdeveloped, your speed, power and strength are all compromised.
Exercises like squats and leg presses may improve overall leg strength, but they are not the ideal exercise to strengthen the glutes because they don’t maximize hip extension. Hip thrusts, on the other hand, do exactly that. This exercise isolates and fully engages the glutes. And the stronger your glutes are, the stronger you’ll be as an overall athlete.
Here are five benefits of hip thrusts:
- Improve other lower-body lifts, like squats and deadlifts
- Improve stability throughout your hips and core
- Increase your power, enhancing performance in athlete activities
- Increase speed
- Increase your vertical jump
The reason hip thrusts are so good at targeting your glutes is that your knees remain bent throughout the exercise. When the knees are bent, and the hips are extending, the hamstring muscles are inactive, which leaves most of the work to the glutes.
How to do hip thrusts:
Start by sitting on the floor with your legs extended. Lean your back against a padded bench with a weight plate or barbell across your hips. Use a pad or a towel if the position is uncomfortable but know that slight bruising is normal with heavy weight.
Next, bend your knees and plant your feet flat on the floor, about hip-distance apart. Press your back into the bench, with the edge of the pad right below you shoulder blades, and press through your feet. Keep your core tight as you squeeze your glutes to extend your hips. At the top of the movement, your knees should be bent at 90-degree angles and your hips should be extended so that your body forms a flat tabletop. To reverse the movement, slowly lower your butt back to the floor.
All readers are advised to consult their physician before beginning any exercise and nutrition program. BPI Sports and the contributors do not accept any responsibility for injury sustained as a result of following the advice or suggestions contained within the content.