You may have heard hip thrusts work core muscles but do they also work abs to a large extent. Find out whether this exercise can give you abs.
In short, hip thrusts may engage your abs to some extent to make small corrections to the angle of your hips.
However, this will be only to a very small extent. You should not expect any growth or strength progress in your rectus abdominis muscles from doing hip thrusts.
Instead, the main core muscles hip thrusts work are lower back muscles like the erector spinae. These work isometrically to keep your hips at the same angle and to prevent your lower back from bending under the weight.
What movements abs are responsible for
The abs, also known as rectus abdominis muscles are the muscles that run between the front of your hips to your rib cage along your stomach.
Muscle groups only work in one direction. In the case of the ab muscles, contracting them means moving your chest toward your hips, your hips toward your chest, or both movements at the same time.
For example, a typical ab exercise is the crunch movement where you lie down on your back and move your chest towards your hips.
An exercise example for the opposite direction is the reverse crunch. This again starts with lying down but this time, you move your hips toward your chest while keeping your knees and hips at 90-degree angles.
When the lower back muscles on the opposite side of your spine work, your abs may have to make some corrections to keep your hips tilted as desired. However, this is generally not that challenging.
What core muscles hip thrusts work
The hip thrust exercise starts with lying down on the ground with your back and putting your feet flat on the ground. After that, you raise your hips off the ground.
Your glute (butt) and hamstring (back upper thigh) will have to work the hardest during hip thrusts because they are responsible for pushing the hips up.
At the same time, your lower back muscles will have to work a good amount to keep your spine from bending under the weight.
As mentioned the ab muscles could have to work to a tiny extent to correct the angle of your hips. However, this will generally not be challenging enough to see any growth or strength progress.
Instead, the core muscles that will have to work the hardest besides the erector spinae during hip thrusts are the oblique muscles.
These are responsible for tilting the hips sideways, twisting your upper body, or preventing these movements from happening.
When doing weighted hip thrusts with something like a barbell, your oblique muscles likely have to work a small amount to keep your upper body and hips in position.
Can hip thrust give you abs?
An important answer to this common question is that basically all people already have abs.
That aside, as mentioned, hip thrusts will likely not be able to grow and strengthen your ab muscles.
At the same time, you may notice that your abs are becoming more visible after adding hip thrusts at home or in the gym to your routine.
The main reason for that is that resistance training exercises can also help you use more calories and in turn, potentially help you lose fat.
Additionally, part of your healthier lifestyle may also have involved making some changes in other areas like your nutrition.
These things could be the reason for hip thrusts seemingly giving you bigger abs. Instead, you are likely just losing belly fat which makes the existing rectus abdominis muscles more visible.
Do hip thrusts make your waist smaller?
The most typical way to make your waist smaller is to lose fat around it. For people who have extra pounds to lose, hip thrusts could help make your waist smaller.
Hip thrusts are an exercise where you lift relatively heavy weights because the glutes and hamstrings are relatively strong.
This requires a lot of energy from your body, aka burns a lot of calories.
Additionally, there is a lot of room for muscle mass increases in the glutes and hamstrings. More muscle mass means burning more calories throughout the day.
To lose fat, you have to make it so your body requires more energy than is coming in from food or other energy stores. Since hip thrust can help with this, you could say they can help you make your waist smaller.
At the same time, you need to keep in mind that other lifestyle habits play an important role in whether or not and to what extent you will be able to lose fat.
Additionally, there is a limit to how small a waist can get through exercise. If you are already lean, hip thrusts will likely not make your waist smaller.
Exercises that do work your abs
Luckily, there are still a variety of exercises that are able to grow and strengthen your ab muscles. Some examples include:
- Reverse crunches
- Leg raises
- Crunch variations
By doing these movements with the right repetitions, weight, frequency, nutrition, and rest, you can see muscle growth and strength results in your rectus abdominis muscles.