Barbell hip thrusts with a weight bench can be very effective but you may not have this equipment at home. Luckily, you can also do hip thrusts without them.
When it comes to doing weighted hip thrusts at home without a barbell, the best options will be a workout sandbag, resistance bands, and at-home objects like a filled backpack.
If you lift somewhat heavy and don’t have a weight bench yet, you either want to go for weighted glute bridges or consider getting a good flat weight bench to avoid a broken couch.
There are relatively budget-friendly options out there.
That aside, other less sturdy but at-home-friendly options for raising your shoulders during hip thrusts include a strong couch, a soft plyo box, and a Bosu Ball.
The first part of this article goes over the pros and cons of the resistance options above and other ones. The second part does the same for non-weight-bench ways to elevate your shoulders during hip thrusts.
How to do hip thrusts at home without a barbell
Barbells are great for hip thrusts because they can hold a lot of resistance, can be made somewhat comfortable with a barbell pad, and are relatively easy to get in the right position.
Their downsides for at-home situations include being relatively pricey and requiring a good amount of storage space. Luckily, there are a few alternatives that could be better.
1. Workout sandbag hip thrust
Workout sandbags are not the most well-known pieces of fitness equipment but they are a great option for growing and strengthening muscles at home.
Hip thrusts mainly work the glutes and hamstrings which are relatively strong. A big challenge of doing this exercise at home without a barbell is challenging the muscles you work enough to get results.
This is just the thing workout sandbags stand out in. There are plenty of models that can hold up to 200 pounds (90.7 kg) and some even more than that.
At the same time, workout sandbags are still relatively budget-friendly, compact to store, and can be used as resistance in many other exercises.
One small downside is that sandbags are just a bit more challenging than barbells to get in the right position for hip thrusts.
Additionally, you often have to get the sand separately which means an extra trip to the store.
That being said, many people will be pleasantly surprised by how good workout sandbags can be for doing hip thrusts without a barbell.
2. Resistance band hip thrust
Resistance bands are basically elastic bands that offer resistance as you stretch them out. You may have heard about the hip thrust variation where you loop a band around your upper legs to work your outer thighs more.
However, you also use resistance bands as the main equipment for challenging your muscles more. You can loop the band around your feet and hips or potentially the object and your hips if possible.
Resistance bands are great for doing hip thrusts at home in the sense that they are budget-friendly, easy to store, can be used in other exercises, and still offer a lot of resistance.
At the same time, they can feel a bit awkward during hip thrusts because the direction of the resistance is not the same as free weights like a barbell.
Additionally, resistance bands have to be replaced every once in a while due to wear and tear.
Overall, resistance bands are definitely one of the top choices. Whether you prefer them over workout sandbags is something you have to decide for yourself.
3. At-home objects
When you think about growing and strengthening muscles, going to the gym is likely one of the first thoughts that appear in your mind.
However, you don’t always need specific resistance training equipment to see progress toward these fitness goals. Objects like grocery bags or backpacks filled with heavy objects like books or water bottles can offer resistance too.
Of course, these are not perfect for hip thrusts either. It can be challenging to create enough resistance to challenge your muscles enough and it can be harder to get and keep the objects in place.
That being said, if you are on a tight budget and don’t have any of the other equipment options at home, heavy grocery bags or backpacks could be better than bodyweight hip thrusts.
Keep in mind that if the resistance of this option is too lacking, you can also combine it with one-legged hip thrusts. This will challenge your glute and hamstring muscles more.
4. Dumbbell hip thrust
Dumbbells are popular pieces of fitness equipment that can be described as handles with a weight on each side. Not everyone has them at home but if you do, you can use them to do weighted hip thrusts.
At the same time, you don’t want to forget the downsides of dumbbell hip thrusts either.
First of all, the dumbbells you have available may be a bit lacking when it comes to weight. Even if you use them to do one-legged hip thrusts.
Additionally, dumbbells are generally not the most comfortable equipment option. Both in terms of during the hip thrusts and getting the weight in the right position.
5. Bodyweight hip thrusts
When seeing all these advanced lifters use a barbell and weight bench for hip thrusts, it can be easy to think that these are essential to seeing any results.
However, people who are new to glute exercises could potentially be able to grow and strengthen their muscles with bodyweight hip thrusts.
A rough guideline is that if your muscles fatigue before being able to complete a set of 25 repetitions, you can likely grow and strengthen your glutes with the bodyweight version of this exercise.
Even if the two-legged version turns out to be too easy, you can do the same test at home with one-legged hip thrusts.
Since more weight rests on your muscles, these are more challenging. Just don’t forget to train both sides similarly to avoid muscle imbalances.
Lastly, it is possible that the one-legged version is too easy for muscle growth and strength progress. In that case, you will have to turn to one of the equipment options on this list to see results with hip thrusts.
6. Kettlebell hip thrust
Kettlebells are basically metal balls with a handle. They can be used to add resistance to a variety of movements including hip thrusts.
When it comes to comfort, kettlebells are decent because they distribute the weight over a somewhat bigger surface.
In other areas, a kettlebell is not as great as many other equipment options for doing hip thrusts at home.
They are typically not that heavy compared to how strong the glute muscles are, can be somewhat challenging to get into position, and can easily roll off your hips if you don’t pay enough attention.
If a kettlebell is the only option you have available and bodyweight hip thrusts are too easy, you can consider using this equipment option. Even so, most people will prefer one of the other ways to add resistance.
7. A friend or family member
You should not take this last resistance option for hip thrusts that seriously but in theory, a friend or family member could be just enough to change your exercise from lacking to effective enough to grow glutes at home.
The downsides of this option are somewhat obvious. Balancing will be a challenge and adjusting the weight precisely will generally not be possible.
Additionally, someone has to have the extra time to help you out. You can’t do them by yourself.
On the other hand, this can be a fun way to switch your exercise routine up and still potentially see muscle growth and strength progress. Even if you don’t plan on doing it very often.
How to do hip thrusts at home without a bench
The second equipment category you need for doing hip thrusts at home is something to lean on/against with your shoulders instead of a weight bench.
As previously mentioned, if you lift relatively heavy, you do likely want to consider investing in a weight bench anyway. Replacing a broken couch can be pricey.
You could also get specific hip thrust equipment constructions for home situations but these often cost a good amount of money. Using this money to save up for a barbell and weight bench is often a better idea.
8. Strong couch
For people who don’t lift heavy, the most popular choice for something to use instead of a weight bench in hip thrusts will be a sturdy couch.
A sturdy couch can be a good option because it is typically a decent height, is relatively comfortable to lean on, and many people have one at home.
The main downside is that you want to be careful with how much extra weight you use. While couches can be sturdy, weight benches are typically on another level.
Additionally, you may want to cover the couch with a towel for when your hip thrusts get sweaty.
9. Soft plyo box
Plyo boxes are big sturdy boxes that are made to be strong enough to deal with exercises like box jumps.
The wooden models are generally the most popular but if you’re looking for something to do hip thrusts at home, you will likely prefer the specific soft plyo boxes.
These soft plyo boxes are either a wooden plyo box with a soft cover or a plyo box that is mostly made of foam. Both types should be a lot more comfortable to lean on than the sharp edges of wooden plyo boxes.
In any case, plyo boxes are a relatively good equipment option for hip thrusts.
Their main downside is that they are relatively pricey. Especially if you don’t plan to use it for any other exercises. Additionally, plyo boxes do require a decent amount of storage space.
10. The floor
One of the main things that stand out in hip thrusts is the elevated position of the shoulders.
This is mainly done to increase the range of motion of your glute and hamstring muscles. A bigger range of motion is generally more effective for muscle growth and strength progress.
Additionally, the elevated position of your shoulders makes it easier to keep the weight on your hips in place.
That being said, while hip thrusts are generally more effective, you can also do the same movement with your shoulders on the floor if you don’t have a weight bench.
This is called the glute bridge exercise and it can also help you train your glute and hamstring muscles at home.
11. Bosu Ball hip thrust
A Bosu Ball can be described as a rubber dome on top of a circular platform. This piece of fitness equipment is typically used to do balance and ankle exercises but you can also use it to do hip thrusts.
Bosu Ball hip thrusts are not ideal because your shoulders are not that high and you have to pay extra attention to balancing yourself.
If you don’t plan to use this piece of equipment for anything else, the Bosu Ball is likely not worth the investment.
At the same time, you may still prefer the slightly bigger range of motion and comfort of the Bosu Ball over doing glute bridges on the floor.
Do keep the weight limits of Bosu Balls in mind when doing weighted hip thrusts.
12. Sturdy chair
In theory, a study chair is another common household object you can use to do hip thrusts. At the same time, it may be smarter to choose the floor over a chair for a few reasons.
First of all, at-home chairs are typically not that stable. Instead of worrying about whether the chair is going to fall over during 12 repetitions of every set, it may give you more peace of mind to choose the floor.
Additionally, a chair is often harder than a couch. In combination with the narrow application of pressure, this can be uncomfortable on your upper back.
Lastly, the maximum weight a chair can take could be lacking for how much you plan to hip thrust.
13. Exercise ball hip thrust
An exercise ball is a big rubber ball that is typically used for core and balance exercises. In theory, this is another piece of fitness equipment you can use to do hip thrusts at home.
However, again, you likely want to choose the floor or other equipment options to do hip thrusts instead.
Exercise balls are often used because it is challenging to keep them in place for a variety of muscles.
However, during hip thrusts, you generally just want to be able to focus on working your glutes and hamstrings as much as possible.
By using an exercise ball, the hip thrust becomes more of a balance and stabilizing muscle exercise. This is an option but not one many people are looking for.