How to Build An Amazingly Functional Booty with the Dumbbell Hip Thrust – Technique, Benefits, Variations

Raise your gains.

Welcome to the definitive guide to the Dumbbell Hip Thrust. This article will teach you everything you need to know about this useful and effective exercise.

What is the Dumbbell Hip Thrust?

The Dumbbell Hip Thrust is an exercise that uses the hips to raise and lower a weight. It improves, strengthens and tones the entire posterior chain, as well as building muscle and power.

Muscles Worked by the Dumbbell Hip Thrust

The primary muscles worked by the Dumbbell Hip Thrust are the:

  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Adductors

The glutes are the most heavily targeted part of the body.

This muscle group consists of the gluteus maximus, the medium and the minimus. The exercise works and improves all these muscles, but significantly strengthens the gluteus maximus.

iliacus muscleSource: RX'd Photography
Activate your hips and glutes

The hamstrings are made up from three muscles in the back of your leg: biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus.

The exercise also works the adductors. These are located in the inner groin and stabilise the pelvis. They also help with balance.

The secondary muscle groups that the exercise tests and improves are the:

  • Core
  • Lower Back

Benefits of the Dumbbell Hip Thrust

There are many benefits to this booty building exercise.

Bigger, Stronger Glutes

The Dumbbell Hip Thrust is an excellent go to glute exercise to combine with compound lifts such as Sumo Deadlifts and Squats. The combination will result in a bigger, firmer and stronger bum.

Better Squatting Strength

Stronger glutes will help improve other lifts such as the Squat (in all its variations)

Enhanced Power

The Dumbbell Hip Thrust is a great way to augment explosive power. This has many carry overs to other lifts and speed-based movements such as sprints or Sled Pushes.

Lower Risk of Injury

Stronger glutes and a solid posterior chain will help you become more resilient to injuries in general life as you body will be better balanced, tougher and more stable.

Better Posture

The exercise reinforces good movement patterns that will strengthen you back, core, glutes and hips. This will significantly help your posture, especially if you spend 8 hours in a chair every day.

How to do the Dumbbell Hip Thrust

You will need a dumbbell and a bench or some other surface that you can brace your body on.

  • Sit on the floor with your upper back against the bench. The point of contact should be beneath your shoulder blades. Make sure the bench is secured so that it cannot slide around (resting it against a wall is perfect)
  • Hold the dumbbell in your lap. Tuck your chin in and set your eyes ahead
  • Inhale and tense your core and glutes
  • Extend your hips upwards until your knees reach a 90-degree angle
  • Pause and squeeze your glutes as hard as you can
  • Slowly lower your hips and the dumbbell to the starting resting position
  • Exhale
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps

Training Tips for the Dumbbell Hip Thrust

If you want even more of a challenge for your glutes then point your toes out slightly.

Start with a light weight if you aren’t used to the movement.

Sometimes the weight (if it is too heavy) can feel uncomfortable resting on the body, you can place a towel or jumper between the dumbbell and your body if you like.

Dumbbell Floor Press dumbbell hip thrustSource: Photos Courtesy of CrossFit / Dave Castro

Dumbbell Hip Thrust Alternatives

If you enjoy the movement and already find it beneficial then try adding these alternatives into your training.

Stiff Leg Deadlift

Similar to the conventional Deadlift however this movement places much more emphasis on hip flexion and the hamstrings. You will need to use a lighter weight as well.

Glute Bridge

This is another highly effective glute and posterior chain exercise for developing your body. As well as working the glutes it targets the quads as well, so is a great way to work your legs and bum together.

You can perform this with bodyweight or with a barbell.

Cable Glute Kickbacks

A great movement to finish a session, this exercise isolates and engages your glutes.

Again, you can use a bodyweight version if you prefer.

Dumbbell Hip Thrust Variations

These variations allow you to slightly alter the stimulus of the Dumbbell Hip Thrust and keep your training fun and varied.

Barbell Hip Thrust

This is an excellent variation to progress onto once you feel like you have reached a plateau with the dumbbell variation.

If you want an easier way to add more weight to the thrust movement, then this is perfect for you.

If the barbell digs into your hips too much then perform them with the padding.

Bodyweight Hip Thrust

This is the perfect start for beginners. If you’ve never tried it before then begin here!

Despite this, it can also be a useful training tool and creates a strong pump when it is programmed for higher sets with the goal of improving muscular endurance.

Single Leg Hip Thrust

A challenging variation. This will also enhance your balance and control as well as strength. Make sure to move slowly for maximum benefit.

As a unilateral variation this will point out any weaknesses or imbalances you may have in your mobility or strength.


Got more questions?

Are Dumbbell Hip thrusts Good?

Yes, they are a useful and effective exercise for building a strong and resilient posterior chain. They will develop and strengthen your core, glutes, hamstrings and hips.

As a movement, it also has significant crossovers for other exercises such as Squats and Deadlifts.

Are Glute Bridges or Hip Thrusts Better?

If you want to gain muscle mass and strength then Hip Thrusts are better.

When you want to simply have a less intense workout and only target your glutes then go for Glute Bridges.

The best idea is to understand them both so that you can include them into your training routine exactly when and where they are needed.

Do Hip Thrusts make your Thighs Bigger?

Yes, the exercise can make your thighs bigger. To do this you should train for muscle mass (hypertrophy).

Go for 3 – 5 sets of 8 – 12 reps with rest periods of 30 – 45 seconds. You should be very close to total failure by the last few reps in each set.

Learn More

Expand your knowledge with the Snatch Grip Deadlift or Zottman Curl.

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