Hip Thrusts: Toned Muscles, Benefits, and Correct Form (2023)

There are several muscles that are worked when doing hip thrusts, but the one that takes the cake is the gluteus maximus. This lower body workout reigns supreme when it comes to building a solid butt. This post will cover how to do hip thrusts, benefits, 8 variations, and how the muscles are worked to perform the best glute maximus exercise.

Hip Thrusts: Toned Muscles, Benefits, and Correct Form (1)


The hip thrust, sometimes called a hip drive, effectively trains the muscles of the lower body, especially the gluteus maximus. Just put; The hip thrust is where you will place your upper back on a flat bench with your feet on the floor, knees bent, and glutes close to the floor, then contract your glutes and other muscles to lift your hips until your hips are parallel to the floor. Chances are you've seen people doing the hip sway on their social media, as this relatively obscure exercise has become popular.

Although many people may mistake the hip thrust for aglute bridge, There are differences. The hip thrust typically requires a raised platform to support your upper back, and often some type of external resistance, such as a barbell or resistance band.


The hip thrust is not as easy as you might think; To get the most out of it, you should keep in mind some form tips and tricks. So, here are the step by step instructions on how to properly and effectively do the hip thrust.

Note: If you use external loads like the Smith machine, hip thrust machine,bands, or other weights, the setting will change slightly.

Hip Thrusts: Toned Muscles, Benefits, and Correct Form (2)

Step One: Setup

Set up your bar with weights before you sit down. You may want to use a towel or pad around the bar for comfort. Try to use weight plates that are wide enough to give you room to roll the bar into place when your legs are flat on the floor. If not, you'll need a partner to help you place the weight.

Once seated, you should be able to roll the bar into the crease of your hips before bending your knees. If you're not using a barbell, you can skip this step and get into position.

Find a flat bench at the height of your lower leg and place it in front of a shelf, wall, or other stable support base just for added safety, so the bench won't move during your exercise.

Next, sit perpendicular to the bench in the center with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Turn your toes out about 10 to 15 degrees. Start with your upper back (scapula region) against the edge of the bench. Grab the bar on the outside of your legs to help keep the bar stable as you push up.

Observation:Do a few practice reps with a light weight to get into proper body position.

Step Two: Take Off

Once the bar is in place, push off your feet and lie back on the bench. Before starting the push, it is important to flex the glutes before contracting them to move the weight up. Focus on fully extending your hips until your legs and thighs form a 90-degree angle at the top.

Note: Throughout the movement, you should be looking straight ahead, not at the ceiling, with your chin tucked in. Try to squeeze your glutes as hard as possible to complete the movement.

step three: repeat

Lower the bar in reverse until your butt is a few inches off the ground before pushing up again.

Pro Tips:

  • Try to rotate the pelvis back at the top, slightly contracting the abdomen downward. This adjustment will help bring the glutes to full hip extension, preventing hyperextension of the lower back.
  • 1-3 second pause and contraction at the top
  • Take your feet off the bench if you feel your quads more than your glutes.
  • Play around with your body position until you find the perfect setup that will maximize glute contraction. Everyone has different body proportions, so you may need to make small adjustments until you're happy with how your butt feels.



The distance between your feet and the bench will determine which muscles are most engaged. If your feet are too close to the bench, your quads will be tighter. If your feet stray too far from the bench, you shift the emphasis to your hamstrings.

How to fix:You will need to try a few different foot positions to make sure your glutes are more activated.


(Video) Hip Thrust Guide | Form, Benefits, Variations, and Tips!

Arching the lower back can reduce the effectiveness of the hip thrust. Pay attention to how you finish the move to the top. The lower back must be kept in a neutral position to achieve maximum hip extension.

How to fix:Try to contract your abs towards the top of the movement to keep your lower back straight.


Many people perform hip thrusts without blocking the movement. Your hips should be above your knees at the top of the movement. The common reason for this is that people try to lift too heavy a weight. If you don't feel an intense burn in your glutes at the top, you're probably not rep-locking.

How to fix:

  • Lower the weight you are using.
  • Hold at the top for 2-3 seconds.
  • Make sure your hips are above the level of your knees.


With the hip raise, there is a tendency to drop the weight uncontrollably. This lack of control leads to sub-optimal training results and possible injuries.

How to fix:Use a slower eccentric pace for 1-2 seconds as you lower your hips.


It's essential to keep your chin tucked so you don't put too much excessive pressure on your spine when pushing the weight up.

How to fix:Keep your eyes down when lifting.


The hip thrust targets a wide range of muscles in the lower body, making it a great exercise.exercise for hips.

gluteus maximus:This is the muscle that is the star of the show and the prime mover when it comes to hip thrusts. EITHERgluteus maximusIt is the largest of the gluteal muscles. Starting at the top of the pelvic bone, extending downward and connecting with the thigh bone. The main functions of the gluteus maximus are to assist in hip extension and to provide stability to the hips and knees in movements such as walking or running. Other actions of the gluteus maximus are hip external rotation and hip abduction/adduction.

gluteus medius:ogluteus mediusit also begins at the ilium and inserts on the femur, similar to the gluteus minimus. Most of the gluteus medius is covered by the gluteus maximus, with the only superficial (visible) area being the superior anterior portion. The main functions of the gluteus medius are to support the movement and stability of the hip. Hip abduction is the central action of the gluteus medius, while also helping to control the frontal plane along with the gluteus minimus.

Gluteus Minimal:ogluteus maximusit lies below the other gluteal muscles and the TFL, with the gluteus medius covering most of it. The gluteus minimus begins at the ilium (part of the hip bone) and ends at the thigh bone. The main functions of the gluteus minimus are hip abduction and stabilization. The main action is to help rotate the thighs to the sides. It also plays an important role in controlling the frontal plane of walking so that the hip doesn't drop every time the leg is lifted off the ground.

Hamstrings:ohamstringsThey are the group of muscles located on the back of the thigh. The hamstring muscles include; both heads of the biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus. The main functions of the hamstrings are knee extension and hip extension. They also help with hip and knee extension because the muscles cross the hip and knee joints. When doing hip thrusts, you shouldn't feel too much contraction in your hamstrings. If you do, your foot position, range of motion, or knee position need some adjustment.

The great leader:this is the biggest and strongesthip adductoron the posterior medial surface of the thigh (inner back). The other adductor muscles include the adductor longus, adductor brevis, medial rectus, and pectineus. The primary function of these muscles is thigh adduction and assists in thigh extension, internal/external rotation, and pelvic stabilization.

Spinal erectors:This group of muscles runs along both sides of the spine, from the base of the skull to the hips and sacrum. The primary function oferector spinaeis the posterior extension and the flexion and rotation of the trunk.

Quadriceps:The quadriceps are the group of muscles located at the front of the thigh. There are four quadriceps muscles; thewaste lateral,answer in media, vastus intermedius and rectus femoris. The vastus muscles are primarily responsible for knee extension. The rectus femoris functions as a hip flexor and is a direct antagonist of the hamstrings.

Hip Thrusts: Toned Muscles, Benefits, and Correct Form (3)

How muscles work during hip thrusts

The hip thrust is one of the best hip extension exercises you can do. The primary movers in hip raises are the gluteus maximus, hamstrings, and the hamstring portion of the adductor magnus. Secondary hip extensors include the adductors, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.

The erector spinae stabilizes the vertebrae, while the rectus femoris and vastus muscles act as knee extensors.

The hip raise is an excellent glute activator because the weight is carried horizontally rather than vertically on the hip extensors. However, this leads to decreased hamstring activation due to active insufficiency (when a two-jointed muscle shortens at one end while the other end initiates muscle contraction). In this case, the hamstrings cross the knee and hip joints. Therefore, they shorten during knee flexion, creating the need for the gluteus maximus to contract at a higher rate.

(Video) Exercise Index - Hip Thrust "Target the Glutes"

Note: foot placement drastically changes the way your muscles are stimulated. The best foot position for maximum glute activation is feet out.


Hip flexions have proven to be one of the most effective exercises to activate and work the glutes. There are several studies comparing back squats and hip thrusts. Let's see what the science says when it comes to hip raises and back squats.

Perhaps the most well-known and respected person in this space, Bret Contreras, aka The Glute Guy, conducted several tests centered around his PhD thesis around the hip thrust and squat.One of the most interesting studies.Contreras did it, he used identical twin sisters. One twin only focused on squats, while the other only did hip thrusts. Results showed that hip elevation led to greater gluteus maximus muscle thickness and horizontal push force.

In general, most of the science and studies support the notion that hip thrusts will result in more gluteus maximus gains than squats. However, the squat still has the title of lower body exercise for the most muscle activation. Therefore, it would be better to include hip thrusts and squats in your exercise routine.



The hip thrust works multiple muscles in unison and is an effective lower body exercise. Here are some of the great benefits you'll get from adding hip thrusts to your workout.

Perfect hypertrophy and strength exercise:Hip thrusts are ideal as a muscle-building exercise for the glutes. With this exercise, you can work through strength and power rep ranges and hypertrophy rep ranges without the need for a spotter. Once you have found the best location for your body, you can work towards those achievements.

Suitable for all abilities:While we often think of the hip raise as an exercise that is performed with the added resistance of a barbell, you can also do this exercise with just your body weight. This makes the hip thrust an accessible activity for people of all fitness levels. Beginners can start with bodyweight hip thrusts and slowly progress through the resistance levels usingbands, dumbbells and more.

Enhanced Athletic Performance:The hip raise is perhaps the most effective exercise for developing the glutes and hip extensors. Strengthening these muscles will allow you to run faster, jump higher, change direction, and accelerate/decelerate better.

Best Posture:Strong glutes can help stabilize the sacrum (the triangular bone at the bottom of the lumbar vertebrae). If your buttocks get too weak, you may feellower back painor posture problems. Performing hip thrusts will help prevent the sacrum from becoming flexed. Another benefit of hip thrusts is to balance your hip flexors. The hip raise is a hip extension exercise. Therefore, the hip flexors are the antagonist muscles of the gluteals. If the hip flexors become much stronger than the glutes, it can lead to an anterior pelvic tilt, or a hollow back (when the pelvis becomes misaligned). Doing hip thrusts can reduce the chances of this happening.

Look better and gain confidence:The flat butt was an aesthetic that was “in” for over 30 years. The time has changed; most people respect a well-developed butt, that's why we love itbutt lift exercises🇧🇷 Hip thrusts will help you tighten and strengthen your butt like no other exercise.

Improved mobility:Everyday activities, such as climbing stairs or sitting in a chair, require the hip extensor muscles (mainly the gluteals and hamstrings) to work. Hip thrusts strengthen the muscles that will help you perform daily activities like walking or just keeping your balance.

Improve bone density:Weight lifting exercise is one of the only scientifically proven ways to strengthen bones and improve bone density. Hip thrusts are a great exercise to help with this because they are a low-impact, weight-bearing exercise that allows you to lift heavy loads. This can help improve low bone density in the spine, hips, knees, and legs.

Hip Thrusts: Toned Muscles, Benefits, and Correct Form (4)


To charge:The load you use should be compatible with your fitness levels. If you are a beginner, you should start by mastering the hip thrust with just your body weight. Once you've slowed down the movement and can feel a peak glute contraction, it's time to add some resistance. For intermediate or trained people, your goal should be to lift a weight equal to your body weight. Once you've accomplished this feat, you should try adding weight in 20-pound increments. Advanced lifters will be able to move hundreds of pounds with hip thrust.

Equipment:One of the best aspects of hip thrusts is using different equipment to provide additional resistance. You can use the following tools to increase stamina:

  • Barbell Hip Thrust – See above**
  • Dumbbell Hip Thrust – Hold the weight in the crease of your hips
  • Kettlebell Hip Thrust – Hold the weight in the crease of your hips
  • Resistance Bands for Hip Thrusts: Multiple configurations possible depending on body location (see below*)
  • Hamstring Curl Machine – Place the leg pad in the crease of your hips with your upper back on the bench
  • Smith Machine Hip Thrust: Set up a bench at the proper distance so the bar rests in the curve of your hips.

Note: The settings will change depending on the tool you are using; see below for hip thrust variations.


The ideal sets and repetitions for the hip thrust are based primarily on your training goals and fitness level. If you're a beginner, you may want to aim for a higher rep range and lower weight, while advanced lifters may want to use lower reps and heavier weights with longer intervals between sets. Usually; You must follow the following protocol:

  • Strength and Power: 3 to 5 sets of 1 to 6 reps with longer rest periods of up to 2 minutes
  • Hypertrophy and Strength: 3-4 series of 6-12 repetitions with 1-2 minute rest between series
  • Endurance and hypertrophy: 3-4 sets of 10-20 reps with 1-2 minute rest between sets

Note: The glutes are roughly half fast-twitch and half slow-twitch muscle fibers, which means you should use a variety of training volumes to get the most out of the exercise.


We've rounded up some of the best hip thrust exercises below. You will find that you can do hip thrusts with a variety of tools or with your body weight, use these exercises to pump up your glutes.

1. Barbell Hip Thrust

Hip Thrusts: Toned Muscles, Benefits, and Correct Form (5)

The barbell hip thrust is considered the standard hip thrust we covered earlier. We believe this is the best option for hip thrusts due to the ability to add a heavy load throughout the full range of motion.

2. Barbell Single Leg Hip Thrust

Hip Thrusts: Toned Muscles, Benefits, and Correct Form (6)

(Video) How To Build Great Glutes with Perfect Hip Thrust Technique (Fix Mistakes!)

This hip thrust variation is awesome because it's a one-sided exercise. Doing this exercise with one leg on the ground will allow you to focus on improving and balancing strength and power on one leg at a time. Additionally, single-sided exercises often highlight weaknesses or areas where one side needs to catch up with the other side. Since the hip thrust is one of the best exercises to isolate and work the gluteus maximus, working one side at a time will increase this benefit. You will also activate the gluteus medius and minimus more due to the hip stability requirement.


  • Set up a barbell and sit on the floor with your upper back against the edge of a bench.
  • Roll the bar into position, resting it in the crease of your hips. Grab the bar with both hands using an overhand grip on the outside of your thighs.
  • Raise one leg and bend the knee to 90 degrees.
  • Squeeze your glutes to lift your butt off the ground, and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips to just above your knees.
  • Hold at the top for 1-3 seconds while squeezing your glutes as hard as possible.
  • Slowly lower your hips until your butt is a few inches off the ground.
  • Repeat for desired reps, then switch sides.

Note: You can perform this single leg hip thrust with just your body weight, or you can add to the forms of resistance above.

3. Resistance Band Hip Thrust

Hip Thrusts: Toned Muscles, Benefits, and Correct Form (7)

This is the perfect option if you want to do hip thrusts at home with some extra resistance but don't have a bar. There are a few ways to set up a banded hip thrust as seen below:

With this version, you'll need heavy objects or dumbbells to secure the band. You can also wrap one end of the band around your foot to use your feet as an anchor.

4. Smith's Hip Thrust

Hip Thrusts: Toned Muscles, Benefits, and Correct Form (8)

To do the Smith hip thrust, you'll follow the same tips as for the barbell hip thrust. Just make sure you have the proper setup before you start adding weights to the bar.

Note: If it's an angled Smith machine, you should push the bar toward your head.

Related:How much does a Smith machine bar weigh?

5. Banded Kneeling Hip Thrust

Hip Thrusts: Toned Muscles, Benefits, and Correct Form (9)

This version of the hip thrust, which is actually akneeling squatting, is highly effective in creating gluteal contraction. It is essentially a squat with no knee movement (just the top part of a squat). However, since the resistance created by a band is horizontal, a great contraction of the buttocks is achieved, which is not possible with the squat.

Note: You can also use acable machine with a rope attachment to do this exercise🇧🇷 You will only have to hold the ropes when performing the movement.

buy resistance bands

6. Frog Hip Thrust

Hip Thrusts: Toned Muscles, Benefits, and Correct Form (10)

This bodyweight hip thrust is great for working the gluteus medius and others.hip abductorswhile working the same muscles as a standard hip thrust.

7. Bodyweight Hip Thrust

Hip Thrusts: Toned Muscles, Benefits, and Correct Form (11)

Using just your body weight is a barbell hip thrust regression. However, beginners can start doing these bodyweight hip thrusts until the technique is perfected. Bodyweight hip thrusts are also a great alternative to do at home if you don't have any equipment but still want to exercise.

Related:Best Bodyweight Leg Exercises

8. Glute Bridge

Hip Thrusts: Toned Muscles, Benefits, and Correct Form (12)

The glute bridge can be an excellentalternative to hip thrustFor beginners or people with limited hip mobility. The significant difference between the hip thrust and the glute bridge is that your shoulders/upper back will be in contact with the ground. Your shoulders flat on the floor leads to a reduced range of motion. Follow the same hip thrust tips to raise your hips. Be sure to grip and squeeze at the top for maximum glute contraction.

Note: You can also make the glute bridge more challenging by adding resistance like a loaded bar.



(Video) Are Hip Thrusts Even WORTH Doing?

The significant difference between the hip thrust and the glute bridge is that the hip thrust offers a more fantastic range of motion due to the elevated position of the upper back. The glute bridge is performed with your shoulders on the floor and is generally performed with just your body weight, although you can add resistance.


You can do a few sets of bodyweight hip thrusts every day to counter long hours of sitting. However, if you are adding weight, you will need to give your muscles time to recover. If you are training for hypertrophy, we recommend doing hip thrusts 1-2 times per week.


If you experience pain when doing hip thrusts, you may be doing the wrong exercise. On the other hand, you have some underlying problems, in which case you should see your doctor. The most common reasons for pain when performing hip thrusts are too much weight or poor body position. Check out the tips above to make sure you're performing the hip thrust as safely and efficiently as possible.

Hip Thrusts: Toned Muscles, Benefits, and Correct Form (13)

SFS Hypertrophy Program

Get ready to maximize your gains with our exclusive 12-week hypertrophy training program. Choose between a 4 or 5 day training split and gain 2 to 12 pounds of muscle in 90 days...

see now


If hip thrusts aren't a component of your exercise routine, you're missing out on the best exercise for building a strong glute. Your glutes are involved in most everyday movements, so it's vital to keep them in top condition. Pay attention to the initial configuration and positioning of your body. Remember, if your glutes aren't burning after a few sets of hip thrusts, make some adjustments and get back to work!

Related:8 best exercises for the gluteus maximus

Hip Thrusts: Toned Muscles, Benefits, and Correct Form (14)

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before appearing.

(Video) The PERFECT set up for Hip Thrusts/KAS 🔑


1. How To Hip Thrust With Krissy Cela
(EvolveYou )
2. How To Build Round Glutes With Proper Hip Thrust Technique: Perfect Form & Fix Mistakes | Variations
(Citizen Athletics)
3. Barbell Hip Thrust Form (3 Steps) #vshred #shorts
(V Shred)
4. Dumbbell Hip Thrust (FULL TUTORIAL) - Glute Exercises for Beginners
(J2FIT Strength & Conditioning)
5. How To: Hip Thrust
6. How To Perform The Perfect HIP THRUST | Glute Series Ep.3
(Lucy Davis Fit)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Zonia Mosciski DO

Last Updated: 10/14/2023

Views: 5845

Rating: 4 / 5 (71 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Zonia Mosciski DO

Birthday: 1996-05-16

Address: Suite 228 919 Deana Ford, Lake Meridithberg, NE 60017-4257

Phone: +2613987384138

Job: Chief Retail Officer

Hobby: Tai chi, Dowsing, Poi, Letterboxing, Watching movies, Video gaming, Singing

Introduction: My name is Zonia Mosciski DO, I am a enchanting, joyous, lovely, successful, hilarious, tender, outstanding person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.