4 Hip Thrust Exercises to Strengthen Your Glutes and Enhance Your Stability

You need a strong backside to power your runs. These moves will help you build one.

You may be practicing squats at the gym, but there’s a better way to strengthen your hip extensor muscles, like your glutes. Enter: the hip thrust exercise. According to research, a strength training program complete with hip thrusts is more effective at increasing sprint time, compared to a program featuring squats.

“Hip thrusters strengthen your glutes in a way no other exercise does. They help build strength and power in your posterior chain which is also important for stabilization in your core,” Amber Rees, co-founder of The Brave Body Project and senior instructor at Barry’s in New York City tells Runner’s World. “Strong glutes help control stride length and help the runner to maintain good biomechanics, especially when you start to fatigue on those long runs,” she says.

Hip thrusts look similar to another move you might know, called the glute bridge. But it varies in that the shoulders are typically elevated on the hip thrust (placing the upper body on or against a bench, chair, couch, or cushion will work). This allows for greater range of motion in the hips. The key for both moves: Engaging the glutes, rather than lifting with your low back.

To help you add hip thrust exercises into your workout routine, Rees demonstrates a traditional hip thrust, plus three variations. Add one to your next lower body session, or put them all together for one serious glute and hamstring workout.

How to use this list: Do 12 reps of each exercise, with little to no rest in between each exercise. You can complete 2 to 3 sets of this workout, resting for 30 seconds in between each set.


Traditional Hip Thrust

Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet planted. Rest shoulders and upper back on a stability ball, couch, or other elevated service. Looking down toward belly button, drive feet into floor, engage glutes, and lift hips off the ground, forming a straight line from shoulders to knees. Slowly lower hips back toward the floor. Repeat. Do 12 reps.


Hip Thrust Hold With Walkout

Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet planted. Rest shoulders and upper back on a stability ball, couch, or other elevated service. Looking down toward belly button, drive feet into floor, engage glutes, and lift hips off the ground, forming a straight line from shoulders to knees. Hold this position, keeping glutes engaged. Then, walk feet out one step at a time until knees are almost straight. Then, walk feet back in. That’s one rep. Do 12 reps. Alternate which foot you start with each rep.


Hip Thrust Hold With Alternating March

Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet planted. Rest shoulders and upper back on a stability ball, couch, or other elevated service. Looking down toward belly button, drive feet into floor, engage glutes, and lift hips off the ground, forming a straight line from shoulders to knees. Hold this position, keeping glutes engaged. Lift right foot, driving knee toward chest, while driving left foot into floor. Lower right foot, and repeat on left side. Continue alternating for 12 reps per side.


Feet Elevated Glute Bridge

Lie faceup with knees bent, feet resting on a stability ball, couch, or other elevated service, arms down by sides. Drive heels into ball, engage glutes, and lift hips off the floor. Pause, then slowly lower hips back to floor. Repeat. Do 12 reps.

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