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Hip thrusts are a type of glute isolation exercise for both at home or in the gym. Find out what equipment you need and what options you have.
Hip thrusts are similar to glute bridges but instead of doing them on the ground, you need an elevated platform of about knee height to rest your upper body on. Once you have that to do a hip thrust take the following steps.
Sit right in front of the bench or other object you will use with your back slightly over the edge. Make sure the object is stable. Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width in a position where your knees will be at a 90-degree angle in the next step. If you want to, hold any weights on your body at the hip level.
Slowly move up your hips until your body is in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Lastly, lower your body back into starting position in a controlled motion.
So to do a hip thrust you basically need two types of equipment. The first is an elevated platform that is sturdy, stable, and preferably comfortable.
The second is some type of resistance to make the exercise harder. Extra resistance is likely required since your glutes are one of the strongest muscles in your body.
The first half of the equipment for a hip thrust is an elevated platform. This allows you to go through a bigger range of motion compared to just doing glute bridges on the ground. In turn, this can benefit glute muscle growth.
A weight bench is a type of padded bench without back support that is a very standard piece of equipment at most gyms. It is one of the most ideal elevated platforms for hip thrusts both in terms of height and comfort.
Something thing you need to keep in mind that the weight bench can tip over, especially when doing hip thrusts with very heavy weight.
One way to avoid this is by using a setup where you put your weight bench against a plyo box against the wall. Depending on the weight bench you can also be fine if are careful.
You may also be interested in getting this piece of equipment for yourself at home. The weight bench can be very helpful in many exercises for a variety of muscles. A weight bench with an adjustable angle may be the right choice if you plan on doing a lot of incline and decline exercises.
Another benefit of a weight bench as an at-home workout equipment option is that it lasts a long time. A downside is that it requires a good amount of storage room.
A plyo box, also known as a jump box or step box, is simply a box that is strong enough to deal with jump exercises. You can however also use a plyo box for a wide variety of other exercises, including as the elevated platform in hip thrusts.
A downside of using plyo boxes for hip thrusts is that they are relatively uncomfortable compared to something like a padded weight bench.
That being said, if you are at the gym and all the weight benches are occupied, the plyo box may be the next best alternative. You can also put a towel or sweater on the edge to make the plyo box more comfortable.
If you invest in a plyo box for your home workouts one of its benefits is that it allows you to do some unique exercises that would not be an option without it. The plyo box is also a versatile and durable piece of fitness equipment.
One potential downside of the plyo box for home workouts is that it requires a good amount of storage room. Plyo boxes also require a moderate initial investment.
Specialized hip thrust machine
The hip thrust is a popular glute isolation exercise so it may not come as a surprise that there are specialized setups for the hip thrust.
These types of machines often come with their own resistance bands but you can use other types of weights too. Do keep the weight limits of the machines in mind if you use extra weights.
A stepper is a piece of fitness equipment that is an elongated platform that is slightly elevated. It is mainly used for a type of workout called step aerobics but you can also do other exercises with the stepper like the hip thrust.
One benefit of this equipment option is that it allows you to do other exercises for other muscles too. They also require a lower investment compared to most of the other elevated platforms on this list.
When it comes to using a stepper for hip thrusts there are also a few disadvantages. First of all, most steppers are not as high as a weight bench or plyo box. You still get a bigger range of motion than on the ground but a smaller range of motion compared to some of these other options.
Another potential downside is that steppers are generally less sturdy than plyo boxes. This may be an issue if you plan on using very heavy weights for your hip thrusts.
The way you build muscle in places like your glutes is by straining and damaging your muscles. This may seem counterintuitive but this makes it so your body starts processes to repair them and build a little extra to be better prepared for similar efforts in the future.
Generally the more weight you have to move, the easier it becomes to strain your muscles enough for muscle growth in a short amount of time.
Initially, bodyweight hip thrusts may be enough to build glute muscles. However, at some point, you likely need to do hip thrusts with extra resistance to keep seeing a lot of muscle gain.
A barbell is a long bar that can hold weight plates. It is one of the most popular ways to add resistance to hip thrusts. This is because you can also easily load a barbell with many plates which may be needed with a muscle as strong as your glutes.
The bar can also rest relatively comfortably on your body without having to focus too much on holding it in place. One way to make this piece of hip thrust equipment more comfortable is using a barbell pad.
A benefit of investing in a barbell for your home workouts is that it allows you to do many other exercises for a variety of body parts.
Another benefit of a barbell is that it generally lasts an extremely long time. One investment can potentially improve your workouts for many years and potentially even decades. On top of that, a barbell does not really lose its value a lot.
This means that if you decide to stop using the barbell you can likely sell it for a very similar price as what you put into it.
The disadvantage is that a barbell with weight plates often requires a slightly bigger investment compared to more short-term fitness equipment like resistance bands.
Other free weights
The barbell is the preferred equipment for extra resistance but other free weights can be used too. Some examples of other free weights are dumbbells, kettlebells, weight plates, workout sandbags, etc. Similar to the barbell these pieces of equipment can be used in many workouts.
The main downside of other free weights for the hip thrust is that they are less comfortable. Especially at higher and higher weights. They also often require a lot more balancing. This takes your attention away from actually lifting the weight and training your glutes.
For other exercises than the hip thrust, one-handed free weights may allow you to do more other exercises. So if you plan to work out the rest of your body at home too, these other free weights may be a smart choice anyway.
Resistance bands are an inexpensive type of fitness equipment that are basically elastic cords. You can use this piece of exercise equipment to do a variety of exercises including the hip thrust.
While it is definitely possible, resistance bands are generally not the best piece of equipment for hip thrusts. The setup is rather awkward since you need to anchor the resistance band at a place where it offers resistance. This means likely below your heels or under the equipment for the elevated surface.
Even if you find a good place to anchor the resistance band, you will have to do some adjusting to get the tension exactly right. Resistance bands are a great piece of fitness equipment with many benefits but they are just not great for hip thrusts compared to the other resistance options.
That being said, it is still possible to do a hip thrust with resistance bands to build muscle. On top of that, this piece of equipment also opens the door to many other exercises for most of your other important muscles.
When talking about fitness equipment and exercises it is easy to forget that you may already have objects you can use to make hip thrusts more challenging. Some examples include a heavy backpack with books or grocery bags.
These types of “equipment” may not be optimal for hip thrusts or other training programs but basically everyone has them at home.
Bonus: hip thrust gym machine
Among the other glute gym machines, there is a gym machine specifically made to simulate the hip thrust. It is basically an elevated platform and extra resistance in one machine.
The main problem is that this gym machine is not very popular so your local gym may not have it available. If this is the case you can also give the regular hip thrust with a weight bench and a barbell a try.