Barbell hip thrust has certainly gained a lot of popularity in both the fitness and rehabilitation worlds in recent times. As an exercise is it of any benefit and if so why should you use it ?
What is a Barbell hip thrust ?
A barbell hip thrust is a lower-body strength training exercise defined by lifting your lower back and torso with your knees bent and your upper body resting on a bench.
With proper form, the barbell hip thrust works muscle groups across your entire lower body, particularly the gluteal muscles.
What muscle groups does the barbell hip thrust work ?
From the research it would appear that the barbell hip thrust is highly effective at developing the strength:
- Glute max
- Outer hamstring muscle : Biceps femoris
- Outer quad muscle :Vastus lateralis
- Lumbar spine muscles : Erector spinae
So as we like to say you can get a lot of bang for your buck with this exercise.
What are the benefits of the barbell hip thrust ?
Apart from strengthening the muscles listed above the barbell hip thrust has shown to be effective in the following scenarios:
- Development of horizontal power and speed, so good for sprinters and jumpers or those that require sprinting in their sports.
- Role in ACL rand sports rehabilitation due to integration of hip extensors, hamstrings and quads.
- By moving the feet forwards you can increase the demand placed on the hamstrings if desired
Will the hip thrust exercise it aggravate my back ?
One of the concerns around the hip thrust is that it can aggravate back pain. If it is done correctly you shouldn’t really have a problem. If you do get back pain then you may be arching too much.
If anything if you maintain a good neutral spine and brace your abdominals you have another excellent core exercise combined with lower limb exercise.
So how should i do a barbell hip thrust ?
- Stabilize the Upper Back on the Bench
- Tilt pelvis into neutral position and brace abdominals
- Press Through the Heels and Lift the Hips, imagine you are pushing the world away with your feet
- Place Loaded Bar In Hip Crease
Top tip to get more glute from your hip thrust
- Try turning your feet slightly outwards, think about the 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock foot position, to make it even more work for your glutes.
In summary of the barbell hip thrust
They are a very effective exercise to strengthen the hips and hamstrings with and without a barbell. Easy to do and can be used as a main or accessory exercise. We use them with our runners , ACL and knee rehab clients as well as our osteoporosis and rehab strength classes. So they are are a very adaptable exercise across many rehab situations.
There is evidence that they are also effective in improving sprinting speed , so runners and field sport athletes can benefit from including it in their repertoire as well.
Want help with getting a back from injury, you can contact one of us here
Barbell Hip Thrust, Muscular Activation and Performance: A Systematic Review: J Sports Sci Med. 2019 Jun; 18(2): 198–206
Effects of a Six-Week Hip Thrust vs. Front Squat Resistance Training Program on Performance in Adolescent Males: Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Volume 31, Number 4, April 2017, pp. 999-1008(10)
Gluteus Maximus Activation during Common Strength and Hypertrophy Exercises: A Systematic Review: J Sports Sci Med. 2020 Mar; 19(1): 195–203