Do More: Hip Thrusts
Every week, from here on out, we are going to take a look at an exercise that every athlete should be doing. In the post, we will discuss why you should incorporate the exercise and how to properly perform it.
In the very first entry of our “Do More” series we highlight the hip thrust.
Why Should We Hip Thrust?
Squats and deadlift are great. They are staples of all of our programs. They are foundational movements that should be mastered by all athletes. However, when it comes to the glutes the hip thrust reigns supreme.
One of the biggest flaws in programming is that some people neglect the posterior chain, especially the glutes. This is a major mistake. The gluteals (a group of three muscles that make up the booty) are of utmost importance for athletes of all ages and sports. They play a major role in running, throwing, swinging, and kicking (aka just about everything an athlete will do on the field/court/ice). The glutes are some of the biggest and strongest muscles in the body, yet many athletes suffer from underdeveloped glutes because they neglect to train them properly.
The hip thrust outperforms the squat and deadlift when it comes to gluten activation. Bret Contreras, aka “The Glute Guy” has dedicated his career to studying the glutes and how to properly train those muscles. He argues that “most individual’s glutes contract harder during body weight glute activation exercises than from one-rep max squats and deadlifts.” This may come as a surprise to you because everywhere you look, people talk about how the squat or deadlift gives you a big butt. However, Contreras points out that the glutes maximally contract during bent-leg hip hyperextension exercises. This is why the hip thrust is so effective in firing up that big ol’ butt.
What can poor glute activation lead to?
Athletes with poor glute activation can face a litany of issues. Poor glute activation leaves athletes more susceptible to knee injuries, ankle injuries, low back pain and more. Poor glute activation will affect your posture, create pelvic and hip instability and leave you prone to serious non-contact injuries. The glutes are a powerhouse for the athletic body and if their development lags then the athlete runs the risk of getting seriously hurt.
How to Perform Bodyweight Hip Thrust:
1. Lie flat on the ground in a supine position (on your back, face up)
2. Bring your feet towards your body until they are flat on the ground and your shins are vertical
3. Push your lower back into the ground. Do this by pulling your ribs down towards your hips.
4. Push the ground away from you by driving through your heel. Be sure to keep both feet fully on the ground. Do not allow your toes to come off the floor.
5. Contract your glutes to achieve hip extension. By squeezing your butt cheeks you will reach the top position with proper alignment. Your spine should remain neutral throughout the movement.
6. Hold the top position for at least one second, continuing to squeeze your glutes.
7. Lower your body under control until you reach the start position.
8. Shoot for 12-20 reps.