How to Do a Hip Thrust: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a hip thrust to strengthen your butt, hips, and thighs, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Feb 26, 2024

How to Do a Hip Thrust: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a hip thrust to strengthen your butt, hips, and thighs, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Feb 26, 2024

How to Do a Hip Thrust: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a hip thrust to strengthen your butt, hips, and thighs, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Feb 26, 2024

How to Do a Hip Thrust: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a hip thrust to strengthen your butt, hips, and thighs, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Feb 26, 2024
Table of Contents

Your buttock muscles (aka your glutes) are involved in many movements that get you through the day, from walking to running to standing to squatting, so weakness in these muscles can affect a lot of different daily activities and make you more prone to injury or hip pain. The good news: The hip thrust is a great exercise that helps strengthen your butt, hips, and thighs all at once.   

Hip thrusts are a popular gym exercise to build muscle and strength in the glutes, and you may often see people perform this move with dumbbells or barbells. This at-home variation provides many of the same benefits for building resilience in your body’s biggest muscle groups — and you can do it right from your couch.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of a hip thrust and how to do it, plus ways to make it easier or harder.  

Our Hinge Health Experts

Maureen Lu, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist and Clinical Reviewer
Dr. Lu is a Hinge Health physical therapist and board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist with over 17 years of clinical experience.

What Is a Hip Thrust?

While hip thrusts do work your hips, they’re actually an all-star exercise for your glutes (butt). When you thrust your hips up (hence the name) and squeeze your glute muscles in the process, you’ll activate these muscles and make them stronger.  

What Muscles Do Hip Thrusts Work? 

Hip thrusts strengthen your butt, hips, and thigh muscles, specifically targeting:

  • Glutes, or butt muscles. The gluteus maximus in particular helps with the hip extension in this move.

  • Hamstrings, which are at the back of the thigh. These muscles play a role in bending your knee and extending your hip joint. They work in conjunction with the quadriceps to provide stability when you thrust.

  • Adductors, or inner thigh muscles. These muscles help stabilize your legs and control the movement of your thighs toward the midline of your body.

  • Core muscles may not be the primary movers in this exercise, but you should still feel them. They’re essential for stabilizing the spine and maintaining balance as you move through your hips’ range of motion.

Benefits of Hip Thrusts

The large range of motion in the hip thrust makes it a great way to build strength in your hips and glutes, which help support lifting heavy items and athletic movements. Stronger glutes can help make lots of movements more comfortable for your back and knees. As a result, hip thrusts can make it easier to walk and run.

Hip Thrusts: Exercises and Modifications 

The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises. Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.

Hip Thrust

Hip Thrust

Hip Thrust

Hip Thrust

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To do a hip thrust:

  • Start by leaning with your back against a steady couch, and the bottom of your shoulder blades resting near the top of the couch cushion. Your knees are bent with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. 

  • Now, push through your feet to lift your hips off the floor. 

  • Focus on keeping your hips raised to the height of your shoulders.

  • Then, lower your butt down to the floor.

As you do each rep, you might feel your butt, hips, thighs, and hamstring muscles working.

Everyone is different, which is why you may need to modify this exercise to meet your needs. 

Hip Thrust Modifications

Hip Thrust Modifications

Hip Thrust Modifications

Hip Thrust Modifications

To make hip thrusts easier:  

  • Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Then, push through your feet to lift your hips into a bridge position. 

To make hip thrusts harder: 

  • Start with your back against the couch, and one leg lifted off the floor. Then, push through your foot to lift your hips up toward the ceiling.   

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program. 

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.  

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. 

See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.

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References

  1. Neto, W. K., Vieira, T. L., & Gama, E. F. (2019). Barbell Hip Thrust, Muscular Activation and Performance: A Systematic Review. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 18(2), 198–206. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6544005/

  2. Brazil, A., Needham, L., Palmer, J. L., & Bezodis, I. N. (2021). A comprehensive biomechanical analysis of the barbell hip thrust. PLOS ONE, 16(3), e0249307. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0249307

Table of Contents
What Is a Hip Thrust?What Muscles Do Hip Thrusts Work? Benefits of Hip ThrustsHip Thrusts: Exercises and Modifications To do a hip thrust:To make hip thrusts easier:  To make hip thrusts harder: How Hinge Health Can Help You References