EAT, SLEEP, TRAIN, REPEAT: hip thrust

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Article by JC

Why do we need to train our glutes? It will create a high and strong butt. It may be the best exercise to give you that high strong butt. By having a high butt it will also make your legs look longer, creating more curves. The gluteus is the strongest muscle in the body; it can help you burn fat while you are doing any exercise. Your body needs calories to feed those muscles. Strong glutes also help you do well in sports or in the gym, and provide stability for the hips, which in turn help stabilize the spine, minimizing the risk of lower back injury and so on.

Hip thrusts can help strengthen your glutes. First, find a lower bench, one that is comfortable for you, but it should be between 35-50cm from the ground. Find big dumbbells to stabilize the bench, so as to make sure that, when you’re doing hip thrusts, the bench does not move away from you.

Let’s start with a body weight hip thrust. Lay with your back on the bench, the part of your back that you should place on the bench is at the bottom of your shoulder blades. Lay with a straight spine, looking forward at all times, put your feet directly under your knees. When you fully extend into the lift, the shin should be 90 degrees with your thighs and the floor. Place your feet firmly on the floor at shoulder width. Breath into your belly, raise your hips up, make sure you push from the heel. At the top position you will feel that you can’t go any higher. Your butt should be squeezed very tight, your lower back still a little bit round and your pelvis is in a posterior position not anterior. Make sure not to hyper extend your lower back.

Here are the key points for a body weight and a barbell hip thrust.

5-1The glutes have three major muscles: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, and they are used for hip extension, hip abduction and internal hip rotation. They are all across the hip joint. They have nothing to do with the lumbar spine, but you may do hip thrusts and they will feel their lower back is tight and sore. This is because the form is not right, or your lower back is really too weak, but mostly it’s because they hyperextend their lower back at the top. They use the lower back to do the job of the gluteus. Looking down and forward while keeping your ribs down can fix this problem. In this position, you can’t over extend your lower back, you will be 100% safe. Looking up can easily hyperextend your lower back.

5-2Some people may feel it in their quads or hamstrings then you should move your feet until you feel your glutes totally engaged. When you are strong enough to do barbell hip thrusts the bar should be placed above or below the hip bones where you feel most comfortable. Do not place the bar directly on the hip bones. Also, when you can go heavier remember to place a squat mat under the bar on your body, this will allow you to do heavier weights without pressure from the bar.

If your gym doesn’t have the correct bench height for you, you still need to know how to get into the right position.  Sit on the floor with your back against a bench, roll the bar into the correct position around the hip bone, put your elbows on the bench, and push up with your elbows to get the proper position or ask your friend to help you set up the bar.

And finally treat a hip thrust like a squat: go heavy, keep the right form, and do more sets. The results will surprise you!

JC is a fitness instructor; if you want to contact him for one-on-one training add his  WeChat: jc18370330856 (Chinese) or janihaupt (English)