May 09, 2017

Everyone, absolutely everyone, should be training legs in some form. Regardless of your goals, or your sport.

You’ve got two long dangly things sticking out of your hips – these are your legs and they are important.

Hopefully you’re already performing some form of leg exercise e.g. lunges, squats, or deadlifts (if not, start now!!). But are you doing hip thrusts?

Hip thrusts have emerged over the last 3-4 years thanks largely to the work of Dr Bret Contreras aka – The Glute Guy. Contreras popularised the hip thrust as a superb way to strengthen and grow the hamstrings and glutes.

The Hip Thrust improves strength, speed and power by promoting hip extension. Hip thrusts will actually improve power at the bottom of the squat and the lockout of the deadlift (by improving glute strength)!

Hip Thrusts build the gluteal muscles by allowing full glute engagement and hip extension. Build big, strong, powerful glutes with the barbell hip thrustIn a nutshell, the glutes aren’t just for show. They serve the purpose of extending the hip, or pulling the leg backwards. No glutes? No fast sprint, no heavy squats, no high jumps, no walkey up mountains.

Whilst squats improve leg and glute strength, they don’t promote full hip extension or maximal glute engagement….

The Hip Thrust Solution


To perform a hip thrust you will need:

  • a low bench (16 inches or lower – an aerobics step propped on some bumper plates will do)
  • a barbell and weights
  • a barbell pad


Sit with your upper back against the bench. I prefer to position myself so the edge of the bench lies just under my shoulder blades. You may need to experiment with adjusting the bench / step height to get it right for you.

The barbell should sit directly below your crotch at the crease of the hips. If you are using standard Olympic plates, simply roll the bar over your legs and into position. You should keep the bar in position using your hands throughout the movement.

Here’s the crucial part – to reduce risk of injury or discomfort and to ensure that you can concentrate on lifting heavy with excellent form – always use a barbell pad.We’ve developed ours specifically with hip thrusts in mind! We’ve used extra dense and robust advanced foam on the inside, and hard wearing nylon cover on the outside. Our pad will stand up to the heaviest loads so you can concentrate on safe and effective lifting, and growing your glutes!

Position your feet directly under your knees that when you come to full hip extension, they make a 90-degree angle. Try to ‘screw’ your feet into the ground in the same way you should be when you squat.


  1. When you are in the correct position, brace the core and drive up through the heels. Be sure to perform the movement in a smooth, fluid manner. Concentrate on moving the weight with the glutes not the lower back.
  2. When you reach full hip extension, squeeze extra hard with your glutes and push your hips upwards. Do not extend the lower back – this is incorrect and risks injury!
  3. Lower the weight in the reverse, smooth fluid motion.
  4. Repeat

Bear in mind these important form ‘cues’:

The barbell hip thrust builds big, strong powerful glutes. The Beast Gear barbell pad is the tool you need to perform this exercise to its full potential
  • Drive through the heels, not your toes!
  • Maintain a neutral spine – keep the core braced and hips forward.
  • Keep your neck position neutral – imagine holding an egg between your neck and chin


Perform hip thrusts in addition to your usual leg training. The idea is not to max out with heavy sets, but to provide an additional stimulus. 4-5 sets of sets of 5-12 reps are sufficient, 2-3 days per week.


Hip thrusts are great bang for your buck. They are easy to set-up and perform and provide an intense trigger for glute development. The benefits carry over into sports, your other lifting activities, and obviously help you develop great glutes!

I don’t do hip thrusts all the time, rather I cycle them in and out of my training. They’ve helped me develop a stronger posterior chain which has carried over nicely into my lower back rehabilitation and injury prevention goals.

The Beast Gear Barbell Pad makes hip thrusts more comfortable, so you can lift heavier loads and build big, strong, powerful glutes.There really is no reason not to hip thrust. Sure, it’s not as cool as squatting or deadlifting, but the ease, safety and benefits of hip thrusting mean it should become a regular in your training programme.

Grab a barbell pad, get down to the gym and try it. Keep thrusting consistently and enjoy the aesthetic, athletic and gluteal gains ;)


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