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Barbell Hip Thrust 101 Video Tutorial

Gym Main Variation Core Exercise


Barbell Hip Thrust
Barbell Hip Thrust

Exercise Synopsis

Target Muscle Group


Secondary Targets



Force Type

Push (Bilateral)

Required Equipment


Fitness Level










The Barbell Hip Thrust is a highly effective exercise designed to target the glute muscles, offering a comprehensive approach to lower body strength and development. Executed by positioning the upper back against a stable surface, individuals place a barbell across their hips, creating resistance for the movement. The primary focus of this exercise is on the glutes, engaging them as the hips are raised toward the ceiling in a controlled manner. Not only does this movement effectively isolate and activate the gluteal muscles, but it also engages the abdominals and hamstrings as secondary targets. The use of a barbell adds significant resistance, promoting muscle growth and strength. The Barbell Hip Thrust proves beneficial for individuals seeking to enhance their gluteal strength, improve overall lower body power, and develop a well-rounded physique.

How to Perform

  1. Initial Positioning: Begin the exercise in a supine position, lying on your back with the upper part of your body supported by a bench. Roll a barbell up to the crease of your hips, ensuring a comfortable and stable setup for the movement.

  2. Foot Engagement and Glute Activation: Drive both feet firmly into the floor, establishing a solid base, and simultaneously squeeze your glutes. This dual action is crucial for maximizing the engagement of the target muscle group – the glutes. It also contributes to overall stability during the exercise.

  3. Controlled Hip Bridging: Lift your hips upward while maintaining control throughout the movement. The emphasis should be on the glutes, driving the hips toward the ceiling. This controlled hip bridging motion ensures that the glutes are the primary muscles at work, promoting strength and development.

  4. Mindful Descent: Lower your hips back to the starting position with a controlled descent. Avoid sudden drops, as this maintains constant tension on the glutes and minimizes the risk of strain or injury. Controlled movement also encourages better muscle activation.

  5. Repeat for Repetitions: Execute the entire sequence for the desired number of repetitions, ensuring each repetition is performed with proper form and control. This step allows for an effective and targeted workout, enhancing the development of the glute muscles.

  6. Incorporate Progressive Overload: Gradually increase the weight on the barbell as your strength improves. This progressive overload is key to continuous muscle growth and development, ensuring that the exercise remains challenging and effective over time.

  7. Secondary Muscle Engagement: Recognize the engagement of secondary muscle groups, including the abdominals and hamstrings, throughout the movement. While the glutes are the primary focus, the involvement of these secondary muscles contributes to overall core stability and lower body strength.

  8. Breathing Coordination: Coordinate your breathing with the movement by exhaling during the upward phase of hip bridging and inhaling during the descent. This mindful breathing pattern supports overall performance and helps maintain focus on the targeted muscle groups.

  9. Customize for Comfort: Adjust the placement of the barbell on the hips to ensure comfort and proper alignment. This customization is essential for preventing unnecessary discomfort and optimizing the effectiveness of the exercise.

  10. Incorporate Rest and Recovery: Allow adequate rest between sets to facilitate recovery and prevent fatigue-related compromises in form. Adequate rest contributes to optimal muscle adaptation, promoting continuous improvement in glute strength and development.


  1. Bodyweight Variation Arm Positioning: When performing the exercise with just your body weight, choose a comfortable arm positioning. You can either cross your arms in front of your chest or extend them straight out to the sides. Opt for the method that feels more natural and supportive to your body.

  2. Maintain Neutral Lower Back: To prevent unnecessary strain on the lower back, ensure it doesn't arch as you extend your hips. Focus on actively squeezing your glutes and slightly tilting the pelvis posteriorly. This technique not only protects the lower back but also enhances the isolation of the glute muscles.

  3. Aim for a Straight Line: Strive for optimal alignment by prioritizing a straight line from your knees through your shoulders at the peak of contraction. This alignment enhances the effectiveness of the exercise, promoting a full range of motion and engagement of the target muscle group.

  4. Stability in Hip Movement: Avoid dropping or rotating the hips as you bridge them up. Maintain stability throughout the movement to ensure targeted activation of the glutes and prevent unnecessary stress on the surrounding muscles.

  5. Mindful Exhalation: Focus on exhaling as you bridge the hips up. This coordinated breathing technique contributes to core engagement and enhances overall stability during the exercise. It also prevents the movement from placing undue stress on the lower back.

  6. Glute Activation Check: If you struggle to feel your glutes activating, use your hands to palpate the muscle. Additionally, consider pausing the movement at the peak of contraction. This technique allows you to concentrate on the muscle connection, ensuring optimal engagement of the glutes and promoting effective muscle activation.

  7. Customized Arm Placement: Tailor your arm placement to your comfort and preferences, especially when using additional weight like a barbell. Experiment with different positions to find the one that complements your body mechanics and allows for a smooth and controlled movement.

  8. Consistent Breathing Pattern: Maintain a consistent and controlled breathing pattern throughout the exercise. Coordinating your breath with the movement helps stabilize the core, allowing for better focus on the target muscle groups and preventing unnecessary energy expenditure.

  9. Incorporate Progressive Resistance: When ready to advance, consider incorporating a barbell for added resistance. This progression challenges the glutes further, contributing to ongoing strength development and muscle growth.

  10. Post-Workout Stretching: Conclude your workout with a series of post-exercise stretches, particularly targeting the glutes, abs, and hamstrings. This promotes flexibility, reduces muscle tightness, and aids in overall recovery, ensuring a well-rounded approach to your fitness routine.

How Not to Perform

  1. Avoid Overarching the Lower Back: To prevent unnecessary strain on the lower back, refrain from overarching during the hip thrust. Maintain a neutral spine throughout the exercise, ensuring the emphasis remains on the glutes rather than placing undue stress on the lumbar region.

  2. Do Not Rush the Movement: Resist the urge to rush through the exercise. Performing the hip thrust too quickly can compromise form and reduce the effectiveness of the movement. Instead, focus on controlled and deliberate movements to ensure proper muscle engagement and minimize the risk of injury.

  3. Avoid Allowing the Hips to Drop Quickly: Prevent the hips from dropping too quickly during the descent phase of the hip thrust. A sudden drop places excessive stress on the lower back and diminishes the activation of the glutes. Maintain control throughout the entire range of motion to maximize the benefits of the exercise.

  4. Steer Clear of Excessive Barbell Weight: Do not use excessively heavy weights on the barbell, especially if it compromises your form. Overloading the barbell can lead to poor execution, increased risk of injury, and may shift the focus away from the glutes to other muscle groups.

  5. Incorrect Breathing Technique: Avoid inconsistent or incorrect breathing patterns. Failing to coordinate your breath with the movement may compromise core stability. Ensure you exhale during the upward phase of the hip thrust and inhale during the descent to optimize muscle engagement and maintain proper form.

  6. Skipping the Warm-Up: Neglecting a proper warm-up can increase the risk of injury and limit the effectiveness of the hip thrust. Always engage in a warm-up routine that targets the glutes, hamstrings, and core to prepare these muscles for the demands of the exercise.

  7. Neglecting Secondary Muscle Engagement: Do not neglect engagement of the secondary muscle groups, including the abs and hamstrings. While the primary focus is on the glutes, maintaining awareness of these secondary muscles ensures comprehensive activation and support throughout the exercise.

  8. Avoiding Full Range of Motion: Skipping the full range of motion inhibits optimal muscle activation. Ensure that you reach a complete extension at the top of the hip thrust, forming a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Incomplete movements limit the effectiveness of the exercise and waste energy.

  9. Neglecting Posture and Alignment: Poor posture and misalignment can hinder the effectiveness of the hip thrust. Avoid slouching or leaning to one side during the movement. Maintain a straight line from your head to your knees to ensure that the focus remains on the targeted glute muscles.

  10. Failure to Listen to Body Signals: Pay attention to any discomfort or pain during the exercise. Ignoring signals from your body may lead to injuries or overtraining. If you experience pain, especially in the lower back, reassess your form, reduce the weight, or seek guidance from a fitness professional to prevent potential injuries.


Variations of fitness exercises refer to different ways of performing a specific exercise or movement to target various muscle groups, intensities, or goals. These variations aim to challenge the body differently, prevent plateaus, and cater to individuals with varying fitness levels.