How to Build Great Glutes with the Barbell Hip Thrust

Enhance your lower body power, strength and fitness.

This complete guide to the Barbell Hip Thrust will teach you everything you need to know about this powerful and effective exercise.

What Is a Barbell Hip Thrust?

The Barbell Hip Thrust is a lower body strengthening exercise performed by lifting the lower back and glutes whilst in a horizontal body position.

The movement is especially effective at improving power output, strength and hypertrophy for the glutes.

What are the Benefits of The Barbell Hip Thrust?

The exercise has numerous benefits.

Build Stronger, Bigger Glutes

Few exercises are as powerful for the glutes as this one.

It activates, tests and improves the glute muscles such as the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius

It is different other bodyweight exercises such as the glute bridge because the barbell hip thrust puts extra weight on your gluteal muscles.

iliacus muscle barbell hip thrustSource: RX'd Photography
Activate your hips and glutes

Strengthen the Entire Lower Body

The entire posterior chain must also work hard to complete every rep. This strengthens and enhances all the muscles that make up this group.

Easily Adapted

The Barbell variation can easily be switched out for dumbbells or kettlebells instead. Feel free to load it up and attack it in your own way.

Improve the Hip Flexor Muscles

The movement will significantly improve your hip flexors.

These muscles help with walking, sprinting and other exercises such as toes to bar and the Romanian Deadlift.

What Muscles Does the Barbell Hip Thrust Work?

The exercise works the following muscles:

Gluteus Maximus

This is the largest of the gluteal muscle groups. It attaches at the top of the pelvic bone and and stretches down to the thigh bone.

Its primary function is to help with hip extension and provide stability for the hips and knees when running or walking. It also allows for rotation, abduction and adduction of the hips.

Gluteus Medius

This muscle starts at the ilium and inserts into the thigh bone. The main functions of the muscle are to support hip movement and stability.

Gluteus Minimus

The final gluteal muscle rests beneath the others and the TFL. It also assists with hip abduction and hip stabilisation.

Adductor Magnus

This helps with thigh extension, internal/external rotation and pelvic stabilisation.


Located at the back of the thigh, Barbell Hip Thrusts work these muscles hard. Hamstrings are important for power and hip and knee extension.

They include both heads of the biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus.

Erector Spinae

An important muscle group for protecting your spine. They allow for extension and flexion and rotation of the midline.


Located on the front of the thigh, they consist of four muscles; the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and the rectus femoris.

How to Do a Barbell Hip Thrust

Use the following instructions to perform the Barbell Hip Thrust properly. Many people like to place a pad on the barbell or a towel on their body to make the movement more comfortable.

  • Put the loaded barbell parallel to a bench
  • Sit with your back against the bench
  • Roll the loaded barbell over your hips. Rest the barbell in your hip crease
  • Keep your upper back in contact with the bench
  • Rest your upper arms on the bench. Lift your hips slightly off the ground
  • Rotate your shoulders outwards and engage the lats
  • Inhale and brace your core, glutes and grip
  • Squeeze your glutes and press the bar upwards
  • At the top of the movement, once you have reached full hip extension, pause for 2-3 seconds. Shins vertical
  • Slowly lower your self back to the starting position
  • Exhale
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps

Training Tips

Keep your feet planted firmly at all times to establish a solid base for the movement.

Don’t jerk the weight upwards. Move with control and coordination at all times.

Hip Thrust Variations

Want to switch up the stimulus? Try these variations.

  • Resistance Band Hip Thrust
  • Barbell One Legged Hip Thrust
  • Smith Machine Hip Thrust
  • Frog Hip Thrust
  • Kneeling Hip Thrust with Band
  • Bodyweight Hip thrust
  • Glute Bridge

Learn More

Add the Pallof Press and Cable Crunch into your training.


Image Sources

Related news