The barbell hip thrust is a pure glute building movement that will increase the size and improve the strength of your glutes.
That statement is true if you are using proper form.
Without using great form while performing the barbell hip thrust or by that matter, all exercises in the iron game, you will be leaving an extraordinary amount of meat on the bone when it comes to developing your best physique.
I’m all for moving heavy weight, but many lifters in today’s iron game are blatantly sacrificing form for weight.
Some lifters load up excessive plates for cheap likes on so-called social media and some do it to pump up their fragile egos.
The truth of the matter though is that half-reps build a half-body.
Unfortunately, this half-rep plague that runs rampant in gyms all over the world affects every exercise in the iron game.
When it comes to purely building bigger and stronger glutes, the hip thrust is the top barbell movement for the job but lousy form will nullify any gains that could be made.
When a lifter uses bad form for the barbell hip thrust their glutes are doomed to remain flat, weak, and unspectacular unless they change how they perform the movement.
There are 4 cues that you must implement today that will help you master the barbell hip thrust so you can build a hall of fame worthy backside.
Cue 1) Make sure your bench set-up is correct
The correct bench set-up is critical to barbell hip thrust performance. A bench that is too high will not allow you to get into the movement properly.
If you are fortunate enough to have the original Hip Thruster apparatus, then you will already be setup in the perfect position for performing the barbell hip thrust.
If you are training in the commercial gym, where lousy machines are always the priority, then you probably will not have access to the Hip Thruster.
Your best options at the gym are to use a bench or a step risers set up.
The Hip Thruster is about 16 inches off the ground while most benches at the gym are about 17-17.5 inches off the ground.
I used the flat bench when I used to train at the commercial gym. For many years this was the only option until the Hip Thruster was became available.
Even though the flat bench was slightly higher, it did not stop my progression. You can see great results using the flat bench.
The step risers set-up works well too, but you will need to set it up against a wall.
If not, they will topple over when you start to load serious weight onto the barbell hip thrust.
Cue 2) Make sure you are sitting upright
A mistake that many trainees and lifters make is that they perform the barbell hip thrust in the wrong position.
When you start to perform the barbell hip thrust, your goal is to be as upright as possible when you begin the movement.
An upright position will allow you to create the leverage needed to dominate the movement.
If you are sliding down or if your upper back near your traps is making contact with the bench, you will not maximize what your glutes will get from the movement.
Starting your reps down in the Sunken Place will leave your glutes in the Sunken Place forever.
Cue 3) Properly position your feet
Foot position is critical to success in the barbell hip thrust.
When your goal is to train your glutes and to improve their size and strength, you cannot have your feet in the wrong spot.
If your feet are too far out, then the hamstrings will take the brunt of the movement. Your glutes will be minimized like Super Mario before he gets the mushroom.
If your feet are too close to you, then you will be unable to reach a full lockout.
There is no point in doing barbell hip thrusts if you cannot reach a full lockout and contract your glutes.
You will have to play around with your foot position to determine what is ideal for you.
Cue 4) What constitutes full range of motion?
Before you begin the movement you want to be sitting upright with your chin down, your knees out, and your eyes forward.
As you thrust the weight up, you will be driving your feet into the floor through your heel and midfoot.
You will also be keeping your knees out so that your hips stay engaged throughout the movement.
If you are having trouble keeping your knees out it indicates you have a lack of strength in your hip abductors.
Your knees caving inward during the exercise will also increase your chances of getting injured.
You can use a resistance band (Hip Circle) placed right below your knees to keep you honest throughout the barbell hip thrust.
The band will keep you focused on not letting your knees cave in and as you push against the band, you will create more tension in those glutes.
When you reach the top your body should be straight across and your glutes should be rock solid.
You do not want to arch your back or lean your head back.
You also do not want to cut your reps short like The Penguin. Fake hustle reps lead to a fake hustle body.
By executing the barbell hip thrust with a complete range of motion, your pants will no longer fall down your backside!
As a result you can expect big gains in performance and your physique if you give a consistent, quality effort with the barbell hip thrust.
Bonus Cue) Constant Tension
Using the constant tension repetition style on the hip thrusts will have your glutes more pumped up than my hometown Philadelphia fans after Super Bowl LII.
To perform constant tension reps on the hip thrust you will:
•Perform a regular rep of the hip thrust
•On the lowering phase bring the barbell down until the plates are right above the floor
•Thrust back up and repeat until the set is complete
The plates will never hit the floor as you lower the weight so this will not allow your glutes to rest. Constant tension reps will force a gait changing pump straight to your backside.
You can also add a heavier resistance band like the Hip Circle around your knees or use 1 and ¼ reps to increase the intensity.
Check out my video below to learn about how to perform constant tension reps with the barbell hip thrust.
Bigger Glutes Training Program
So you will start the process of building bigger and stronger glutes by utilizing this training program for 3 weeks.
Don’t forget that in order to maximize your growth you have to eat accordingly, get plenty of sleep, and keep your stress low.
In other words, if you do not create an environment for growth, your body will not grow.
Sample Training Week
Day 1-Lower Body (RP-21)
Trap Bar Deadlift SS GHR 7×3
Hip Thrust SS RDL 6×5
Day 2-Upper Body (RP-21)
Pull-Ups SS Dips 7×3
Neutral Grip Chin-Ups SS Dips 6×5
Standing Calf Raises 6×10 (rest 60 seconds between sets)
Day 3-Lower Body
1 and ¼ rep Hip Thrusts SS Barbell Hip Extensions 5×10
Barbell Bulgarian Split Squats 3x 10, 8, 6 (reps per leg)
(rest 45-60 seconds between moves/legs and then 90-120 seconds between sets)
Day 4-Upper Body
Barbell Neck Press SS Barbell Rows 5×10
Seated Dumbbell Press SS Chin-Ups 3×8
Decline Dumbbell Tight Press SS EZ Bar Curls 2×12
Seated Calf Raises 4×12
(rest 45-60 seconds between moves and then 90-120 seconds between sets)
Day 5-Hill Sprints
• Find a hill that is 30-100 meters long
• After you perform the sprinter warm-up, perform 5-10 total sprints based on your speed and distance.
• If you are new to sprinting, work up to about 80-85 percent of your maximum speed for the first few workouts.
• The hill works as a natural governor switch on your speed so your risk of injury is significantly less than it would be on the track.
• These sprint workouts are designed for muscle growth and conditioning.
• They are not designed for pure speed development and sprinting performance.
• Use the guideline below to set up your sprinting workout.
•30m x 10
•60m x 6-8
•100m x 4-6
•your rest period is the walk back
• If you want an extra day of rest, perform the sprinting workout directly after the upper body workout on Friday.
• Learn about how to do the RP-21 Training Program here.
• Barbell Bulgarian Split Squats are an advanced movement.
• If you are not able to perform them yet, use the dumbbell version until you get stronger. Find out how to perform it below.
Your glutes make or break your overall physique so don’t let them fall by the wayside.
I’ll holla at you next time.
The People’s Trainer,