Top 5 Benefits of the Barbell Hip Thrust for Men & Women

Nothing builds the glutes quite like the barbell hip thrust, yet, while it is a staple in most gym programmes designed for women, it remains an unusual sight to see a man hip thrust a loaded barbell in the gym. The biggest advocate and inventor of the barbell hip thrust is, in fact, Bret Contreras, otherwise known as “The Glute Guy”. A certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist with a PhD in Sports Science, Contreras hails the barbell hip thrust as not just the greatest glute-building exercise, but a movement which maximises performance in other areas too, curious? Read on for Top 5 Benefits of the Barbell Hip Thrust for Men & Women!

1. Barbell Hip Thrusts Strengthen & Develop the Glutes to Create a Balanced Physique

From an aesthetic standpoint, men and women will each benefit from the hip thrust’s potency for strengthening and growing the glutes.

As the largest muscle in the body, training the gluteus maximus will help to create a balanced physique, and transform any leg day. While squats and deadlifts engage the glutes, studies suggest that glute activation measured by *EMG activity, from this movement can almost double that of a back squat.
(*Electromyography: an electrodiagnostic medical technique for recording and assessing the electrical activity produced by the skeletal muscles.) 

2. Improves Squat and Deadlift Lockout

If you are looking to improve your squats and deadlifts, then the barbell hip thrust may be your saving grace. The reason for this is that the glutes are key players in powering the lower portion of the squat as well as in successfully locking out on the (end part of a) deadlift.

The hip thrust can be used as a valuable aid to increase strength in both of these staple powerlifting moves.

3. Boosts Athletic Performance

One study in The Sports Journal found that a seven-week strength training programme for hip thrusts is more effective at boosting sprint times than the equivalent programme for squats.

“For athletes, most of the stuff with sports doesn’t involve deep hip flex position. Most sports are more neutral hip extension, and end-range hip extension is critical. It’s going to give you more power when sprinting, cutting, twisting and rowing”, says Bret Contreras, speaking to Ask Men.

According to his own studies, training the hip extension muscles improves acceleration and the hip thrust increases EMG activity in the “sprint muscles”, boosting overall athletic performance.

4. Easy to “Fail”

Due to the nature of the hip thrust set up, if failed, the weights will simply return to the floor as soon as the hips are lowered, meaning there is a low risk of injury provided the exercise is performed correctly.

5. Easy to Progressively Overload

As such, most people will find the hip thrust easy to progressively overload with heavier weights because there is less fear of “failing”. Progressively overloading the glutes with bigger weights will produce greater muscle growth and more dramatic results.

Perhaps it’s the reputation that this exercise has gained, as a “girly” exercise, or that booty-building just doesn’t rank high on the priority list of men’s fitness goals, that the hip thrust has become almost an exclusively female bodybuilding exercise. The obvious attraction for women is the exercise’s effectiveness in strengthening and growing the glutes, but as you’ve read above, it also has other benefits for both men and women. 

Are you getting to grips with the barbell hip thrust? How’s it going for you? Already experienced? What benefits have you noticed, please share your insights in the comments below, and join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Meantime, check out these other useful articles on lunges, Overcoming Gym Anxiety as a Woman, and 5 Keys to getting your fitness motivation to truly STICK…to get ready for 2020!

Katie Treharne

A lifelong health and fitness enthusiast, and vegetarian, Katie is committed to weight training with the view that all women would benefit from lifting. Aside from that, she is keen on keeping an active lifestyle and has experimented with yoga, kickboxing, and ice skating, to name a few. She's also interested in balancing health and fitness with travel, as a freelance travel journalist too.

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