I recently wrote a post on low bar vs high bar squatting (you can read it HERE if you’re interested), where I claimed (a claim I still stand by) that one of the few truths within the health industry is that strong and active glutes are integral to low back health.
While making this claim is all well and good, I thought there was a little more I could do in regards to discussing how to increase glute strength.
As a result we have this blog post.
So here we go.
The glutes are one of the largest muscle groups on the posterior chain. They are powerful hip extensors, which explains why having strong glutes can seriously improve our athletic performance (think sprinting, bounding, and jumping).
While I have covered the importance of glute activation extensively (HERE), I have not talked about improving glute strength nearly enough.
Enter the Hip Thrust
The hip thrust is a posterior chain dominant exercise that focuses on hip extension strength specifically.
The hip thrust was made famous by the Glute guy himself, Bret Contreras. Since its meteoric rise in popularity, hip thrust strength has been demonstrated to have a direct relationship to a number of performance measures, with specific emphasis on sprint speed and measures of horizontal power (think broad jumps etc.).
To perform the hip thrust, all you need is a bench and some glutes (for an example check out the video below).
While it looks quite simple, there are a few key cues that allow you to maximise the benefits of hip thrusts.
1. Keep your heels flat on the ground
2. Keep the spine neutral by bracing your abs HARD (avoid excessive lumbar extension in the bottom position)
3. Squeeze glutes HARD
Hip thrusts are an awesome exercise to develop posterior chain strength and power. As a bonus, they are extremely easy to load. You can use resistance bands, barbells, or even weight plates as a way to add external resistance to the hip thrust, making it an extremely versatile (and beneficial) exercise.
I typically use the hip thrust as an accessory exercise on my lower body days after either squats or deadlifts.
I use pretty typical loading parameters dependant on my current goal, for example if I am training for strength I might use a 6x4 set and rep scheme, whereas if I am training for hypertrophy and GPP, I might use a 4x10 set and rep scheme.
As I have already mentioned, the hip thrust is a great way to build posterior chain strength and power while also promoting spinal health.
As an added bonus, hip thrusts can be a useful tool to help build that ghetto booty you have always wanted.
Contact me if you have any questions!