I am really loving how the hip thrust has become a staple lift in the gym. Popularized by “The Glute Guy,” Dr. Bret Contreras, it is now a common daily occurrence to scroll through your feed and see a small female lifter crushing HUNDREDS of pounds with a barbell hip thrust.
The exercise has become a popular indicator of impressive lower body strength, but I do think it’s important to know the difference between a hip thrust for maximal force production versus a hip thrust to isolate the gluteal muscles and induce glute hypertrophy.
Let me preface this by saying that neither of these methods is inherently better or worse, as it completely depends on your personal training goals. Are you trying to maximize the strength and power of your posterior chain? Or are you looking to target your glute muscles for specific gains in muscle mass, otherwise known as “toning”?
What really gets me is when a person is trying to grow their glutes, but they aren’t actually doing the style of hip thrust that creates the most tension in that muscle group. This is something that I have been working on a lot during my bodybuilding journey, and I wanted to share it with those of you who are also in the pursuit of glute gains. So once again, welcome to my classroom.
The most efficient way to heave as much weight as possible with the barbell hip thrust is to not only use your glutes to extend the hip, but to also to call in other muscle groups for assistance, including your spinal erectors, hamstrings, adductors, as well as your quads. After a set of this style of hip thrust, you’ll likely feel “the pump” in many other muscles-- not just your glutes.
If you truly want to isolate the coveted gluteus maximus-- don’t cancel me for this-- you may have to lower the weight.
By decreasing the weight on the bar, you may find it easier to facilitate that glute squeeze by tilting your pelvis posteriorly. Imagine that a bowl of water is resting on your hips as you thrust, and at the very top of the movement, tuck your tailbone under as if you were trying to pour the water out of the bowl and into your belly button, while simultaneously “pinching a penny” between your buttcheeks. That cue may sound crazy, but don’t knock it ‘til you try it. Go ahead, try it right now in your living room. Tell your mom to join.
When we try to move a relatively heavy weight, our body is going to call upon our strengths to help us complete the rep. That means if your glutes are the weakness you’re trying to work, you’re not as likely to impart the necessary amount of mechanical tension on them because they’re simply unable to fully participate in the movement. And then what happens? The quads steal the show, yet again.
This concept can carry over to many other muscle groups that you’re struggling to grow-- drop the weight and figure out what movement pattern variation helps you isolate and create the greatest amount of tension in the muscle group of interest.
I hope you guys learned a little something from this video that helps you add some mass to dat a$$. As always, post your questions below and don’t forget to take our short quiz for your chance to win some sick Hybrid Apparel. Catch you in the next video!
~*Test Your Knowledge*~
Which of the following is not part of the gluteal muscle group?
The hip (femoroacetabular) joint is classified as a _________ joint.
Gluteus maximus contraction can be enhanced with: