8 Hip Thrust Options to Construct Your Glutes and Hamstrings

Though present social media pages is likely to be stuffed with so-called “glute women” who prioritize their posterior within the health club, focusing on your glutes and hamstrings isn’t only for likes and shares. A muscular bottom additionally occurs to be a key element in performing massive feats of energy, in addition to driving athletic efficiency in practically any sport.

Whereas there are many potential workout routines to focus on your posterior chain — decrease again, glutes, and hamstrings — one of the crucial standard workout routines lately is the barbell hip thrust.

Credit score: Vladimir Sukhachev / Shutterstock

This motion, supporting a weighted barbell throughout your hips whereas suspending your higher again on a platform, could be extremely efficient however it may also be awkward, bodily uncomfortable, and troublesome to grasp. To attain the identical finish outcome (and the identical outcome in your finish), there are just a few equally efficient hip thrust options that present bottom measurement and energy with fewer obstacles.

Greatest Hip Thrust Options

Sumo Deadlift

The traditional deadlift, with its hip-width stance and important again involvement, is a staple for a lot of lifters targeted on muscle-building and energy features. The sumo deadlift, nevertheless, makes use of a a lot wider stance to change leverage and shift muscle recruitment.

The wide-set foot place will increase leg drive, permitting the inside thighs (adductors), hamstrings, and glutes to be labored by a protracted vary of movement, which may contribute to muscle growth. (1) The sumo deadlift additionally permits a extra upright torso, which may scale back pressure on the decrease again, making the train ideally suited for anybody with recurring decrease again ache or mobility points.

When to Use It

As a “massive ‘n fundamental” compound (multi-joint) motion, the sumo deadlift is a heavy hitter within the weight coaching world and will get prime billing in a exercise. Carry out the train as early within the session as potential, as both the primary or second train after a normal warm-up. 

Giving the train a excessive precedence helps to reap the best energy and muscle features, in comparison with performing it towards the top of the exercise. (2)

Learn how to Do It

Place a barbell on the ground and take a wider than shoulder-width stance. Angle your toes barely outward and attain down with straight arms. Maintain your higher physique principally vertical and bend your legs to seize the bar. Set your fingers roughly hip-width aside. Take a breath and flex your abs to create stress.

Squeeze the bar tightly and pull your shoulder blades collectively. Drive your toes by the bottom and apply fixed stress to elevate the load — don’t attempt to abruptly yank the bar off the bottom. Maintain the bar near your physique as you elevate as much as full lockout. Reverse route to exchange the bar on the bottom.

Break up-Stance Romanian Deadlift

The Romanian deadlift is a generally used deadlift variation to zero-in on the glutes and  hamstrings. You possibly can amp up that focus by adopting a cut up stance, or staggered stance, to emphasise every leg individually. Relatively than a pure single-leg motion along with your non-working leg solely off the bottom, you possibly can keep stability whereas additionally shifting nearly all of muscular stress to the entrance leg.

Single-leg training, or utilizing a single-leg emphasis, could be as useful as bilateral (two-legged) coaching on the subject of constructing muscle, energy, and energy, whereas requiring comparatively decrease masses total. (3) Getting comparable outcomes with much less weight could be particularly useful for lifters dealing with joint pain.

When to Use It

Despite the fact that the cut up stance gives some stability assist, it’s greatest to not carry out the split-stance Romanian deadlift when extraordinarily fatigued (on the finish of a coaching session). Coordination, energy, and stability may very well be compromised which might make the train excessively difficult. Prepare the split-stance Romanian deadlift comparatively earlier within the exercise on a devoted leg day, or as one of many solely leg workout routines carried out in a full-body workout.

Learn how to Do It

Stand upright, holding a barbell with an overhand grip. Take a small step again along with your proper leg, holding the toes of your proper foot usually consistent with the heel of your left foot. Set your toes at the very least shoulder-width aside till you’re feeling steady. Brace your core, maintain your again impartial, and bend ahead at your hips. Maintain the bar near your entrance leg.

Decrease the load till you’re feeling a major stretch within the hamstrings and glutes of your entrance leg. Elevate the load with out transferring your toes. Carry out all reps on one facet earlier than switching your stance.

Strolling Romanian Deadlift

The strolling lunge has a well-earned popularity as an intense cardio train and an excellent leg-builder. Each of these advantages could be amplified by swapping the lunge for this deadlift variation. The strolling Romanian deadlift cranks up the glute and hamstring exercise with out compromising any of the conditioning advantages.

When to Use It

The strolling Romanian deadlift (or strolling RDL) could be carried out as an intense finisher on the very finish of any exercise, not only a leg session, or it may be carried out by itself and programmed just like a cardio/conditioning exercise. Don’t really feel like leaping on the treadmill? Seize a pair of dumbbells and do some strolling RDLs. Relatively than particular repetitions, the strolling RDL could be carried out for a period (one or two minutes is an efficient begin) or for a complete distance (start with 50 to 100 toes).

Learn how to Do It

Stand with a dumbbell in every hand by your sides. Take a step ahead along with your left foot. When your foot is absolutely planted on the bottom, barely bend your left leg and hinge ahead at your hips. Maintain your again in impartial, not rounded.

Attain the weights towards your entrance foot so far as is comfy. Pull your shoulders again to face upright once more. Take a step ahead along with your proper foot. Repeat the hinge ahead and attain down. Proceed alternating toes with step ahead.

Kettlebell Swing

The swing is likely to be probably the most incessantly carried out kettlebell exercise as a result of it delivers an excellent bang for the coaching buck. It lets you construct explosive energy, top-notch conditioning and endurance, and a muscular posterior chain. When you have entry to a kettlebell in your health club or at dwelling, swings needs to be on the quick checklist of “must-learn workout routines.”

When to Use It

The kettlebell swing depends on explosive energy, so it’s ideally carried out early in a coaching session or in a exercise by itself. Should you’ve fine-tuned the approach and may management the motion, you might be able to use it as a finisher towards the top of a exercise so long as your grip and decrease again (two vital security parts) aren’t pre-fatigued.

Learn how to Do It

Stand in entrance of a kettlebell in a comparatively huge stance. Hinge ahead at your hips, push your glutes again, and seize the highest deal with with each fingers in a palms-down grip. Forcefully drive your hips ahead to elevate the load in a quick, highly effective snap. Maintain your arms principally straight. Squeeze the deal with tightly with out actively utilizing your arms to maneuver the load. Your arms are only for management, the power of motion ought to come from the preliminary hip drive.

Flex your core when the load is on the prime place (roughly chest stage) and permit the kettlebell to reverse route because it “falls.” Repeat the hinge along with your higher physique. Because the kettlebell passes simply behind your knees, snap your hips ahead to start the subsequent repetition easily.

Reverse Hyperextension

If one train is repeatedly touted by veteran powerlifters as a option to construct the decrease again, glute, and hamstring energy wanted to squat tons of upon tons of of kilos, it’s most likely value contemplating even for these not involved in lifting a half-ton. The reverse hyperextension has lengthy been advocated within the energy sports activities world as a option to “injury-proof” the posterior chain.

That’s a big declare that will depend on the person and loads of components, however the reverse hyperextension has been proven to work your decrease again, glutes, and hamstrings without having to throw round heavy weights. (4) This makes it a super option to work the goal muscular tissues with out carrying down your physique.

When to Use It

This motion is an environment friendly option to wrap up any leg exercise after your decrease physique is fatigued and absolutely warmed up. Nevertheless, performing the reverse hyperextension with gentle weight for average to larger repetition may also be a great addition to your normal warm-up routine. The muscle activation and important stretch will help to organize your posterior chain for any heavier work to comply with.

Learn how to Do It

Some industrial gyms have devoted reverse hyperextension machines, however the train could be carried out on a “customary” again hyperextension machine (whereas going through backwards, holding the leg pads along with your fingers) or utilizing a train ball positioned on prime of a flat bench, however the ball will likely be unstable and would require way more core control.

Get into place along with your hips and abdominals supported on the pad. Lean ahead at your waist and permit your toes to hold freely within the air. Your higher and decrease physique ought to type a normal L-shape. Contract your glutes to boost your straight legs till they’re roughly parallel to the bottom. Pause on the prime for one or two seconds. Decrease your legs underneath management. Pause within the stretched place for one or two seconds earlier than repeating.


The supine hip extension leg curl, or SHELC, requires an train ball and a few house to lie on the ground. It’s an environment friendly option to carry out a hip thrust various at dwelling with restricted tools. This bodyweight-only exercise is without doubt one of the few actions to considerably recruit your hamstrings practically in isolation, with out the assistance of your bigger quadriceps muscular tissues and with out including weight.

When to Use It

The SHELC is flexible sufficient to be carried out at any level in a coaching routine. As a result of it’s a body weight motion, you might wish to pre-fatigue your goal muscular tissues with workout routines and use the SHELC to complete them or, if the train is sufficiently difficult on your legs, carry out it earlier within the exercise.

Learn how to Do It

Lie on the ground along with your legs prolonged and each heels on prime of an train ball. Brace your higher physique by holding your arms on the bottom. Dig your heels into the ball to boost your hips off the bottom — your physique needs to be in a straight line out of your toes to your chest.

Curl your toes towards your glutes, urgent right down to maintain each toes involved with the ball. Straighten your legs to return to the beginning place. Don’t drop your hips till the complete set is accomplished — carry out the leg curl whereas sustaining the bridged place. In case your toes are near falling off the ball when your legs are curled in, transfer your heels nearer to the highest/heart of the ball within the beginning place.

Single-Leg Glute Bridge

The glute bridge is similar to the essential hip thrust, minus a bench to raise your shoulders, so you will get the advantages of a hip thrust with out tools. The only-leg glute bridge could be an environment friendly train alternative, particularly as a result of the essential (two-legged) glute bridge is usually not difficult sufficient for a lot of lifters.

When to Use It

The only-leg glute bridge solely requires some house on the bottom, so it may be very simply superset with practically any train to sneak in further glute and hamstring coaching at any time. Strive pairing them with push-ups for a fast and easy, ground-based, bodyweight-only exercise. Or carry out a set of single-leg glute bridges earlier than every set of deadlifts to spice up glute activation.

Learn how to Do It

Lie flat on the bottom along with your legs straight. Bend your left leg and place your foot on the bottom close to your proper knee. Maintain your proper leg straight and lift it till your knees are subsequent to one another. Maintain this straight leg place during the set.

Maintain your foot flat on the bottom and drive by the ground whereas elevating your hips. You must really feel a powerful contraction by the again of your left leg. Pause for one to 2 seconds earlier than decreasing your glutes to the ground. Carry out all reps with one leg earlier than switching sides.

Single-Leg Landmine Hip Thrust

One extremely efficient hip thrust various is definitely a easy hip thrust variation. The landmine lets you shift the load to a single hip, as a substitute of bearing a protracted barbell throughout your whole hip space. This modified hip thrust could be extra comfy for the lifter, whereas the landmine’s pivoting base affords a novel coaching angle.

When to Use It

The single-leg landmine hip thrust could be programmed like every hip thrust motion, merely regulate the load as wanted. Single-leg coaching is usually missed in lots of coaching packages, so in case your present leg exercise doesn’t contain any unilateral actions, contemplate making the single-leg landmine hip thrust a key participant.

Learn how to Do It

Sit on the ground perpendicular to a flat bench along with your legs prolonged straight. Place the top of a landmine above your left hip. Place your left foot flat on the bottom close to your proper knee. Relaxation your higher again and arms throughout the bench.

Elevate your hips by driving by the ground along with your left foot. Brace your core and pivot your higher physique across the bench. Pause briefly within the prime place — once you’ve reached a straight line out of your knees to your shoulders. Decrease to the bottom underneath management, being cautious to not bounce the load off the ground. Carry out all reps with one leg earlier than switching sides.

Advantages of Hip Thrust Options

You’re not sacrificing outcomes for those who’ve opted out of the basic barbell hip thrust. In actual fact, there are just a few particular explanation why a barbell hip thrust various may very well be the popular alternative as a barbell hip thrust alternative.

Avoids Hip Discomfort

Many lifters discover the bar’s place throughout hip thrusts to be too uncomfortable and never well worth the hassle. As a result of the hip thrust requires a barbell to be laid throughout your hip area, it’s not unusual on your hip bones to come back into contact with the load, particularly if the bar shifts or slides throughout repetitions. Even on specifically designed hip thrust machines, the load is supported immediately throughout your hips through a belt or pad, which may nonetheless trigger excessive discomfort as the load pulls down by your pelvis.

Muscular person outdoors on ground doing leg exercise
Credit score: Maridav / Shutterstock

Nearly all of hip thrust options don’t require weight to be loaded in your hips in any respect. The only-leg landmine hip thrust, particularly, helps the load on a single facet and the angle of the landmine helps to offset the stress.

Elevated Muscle Recruitment

The barbell hip thrust can require some approach, between setting your higher physique on the bench, positioning your toes appropriately, and sustaining a impartial physique place as your hips rise. Any errors in these steps can drastically scale back activation on the goal muscular tissues, making the train much less efficient.

These barbell hip thrust options are comparatively extra easy to grasp, whereas focusing on the glutes and hamstrings extra immediately both by utilizing a single-leg emphasis or by decreasing contributing muscular tissues and dealing the goal muscular tissues in isolation.

Decreased Decrease Again Stress

Some lifters really feel decrease again pressure in the course of the barbell hip thrust, as there could be some mobility necessities to soundly and successfully carry out the motion. Most of the various hip thrust workout routines scale back compressive pressure on the decrease again and don’t require as a lot hip mobility to carry out, which may make the workout routines extra joint-friendly.

Extra Methods to Work the Posterior

The hip thrust is a comparatively standard train, however regardless of the hashtags, it’s not a compulsory motion for constructing a robust, muscular set of glutes and hams. The efficient options laid out above could be plugged into any coaching plan whether or not your purpose is decrease physique energy, total-body muscle, or the sort of glute and hamstring improvement that will get trending.


  1. Schoenfeld, B. J., & Grgic, J. (2020). Results of vary of movement on muscle improvement throughout resistance coaching interventions: A scientific overview. SAGE open medication, 8, 2050312120901559. https://doi.org/10.1177/2050312120901559
  2. Nunes, J. P., Grgic, J., Cunha, P. M., Ribeiro, A. S., Schoenfeld, B. J., de Salles, B. F., & Cyrino, E. S. (2021). What affect does resistance train order have on muscular energy features and muscle hypertrophy? A scientific overview and meta-analysis. European journal of sport science, 21(2), 149–157. https://doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2020.1733672
  3. Speirs, Derrick E.1,2; Bennett, Mark A.3; Finn, Charlotte V.4; Turner, Anthony P.2. Unilateral vs. Bilateral Squat Coaching for Power, Sprints, and Agility in Academy Rugby Gamers. Journal of Power and Conditioning Analysis 30(2):p 386-392, February 2016. | DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001096
  4. Lawrence, M. A., Somma, M. J., & Swanson, B. T. (2022). Impact of Load on Muscle Exercise, Kinematics, and Power Manufacturing In the course of the Reverse Hyperextension Train. Journal of utilized biomechanics, 38(5), 336–345. https://doi.org/10.1123/jab.2022-0046

Featured Picture: Viewfoto studio / Shutterstock

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