Barbell Hip Thrust: How To & Benefits

Written by Daniel Mesa
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barbell thrust

If you want a stronger, more defined back, it’s time to step up your lower body workout. If you want to strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, and core, the Barbell Hip Thrust is the exercise for you.

In this guide, we’ll explore Barbell Hip Thrusts in-depth, supplying you with detailed, easy-to-follow directions, expert tips, and more exercises to kickstart your fitness routine. Get ready to unlock the potential of your lower body and build a foundation of strength and confidence!

How To Do The Barbell Hip Thrust

Step up your lower body game with the Barbell Hip Thrust. Follow these simple steps for a proper execution:

Set Up

Position your upper back against a bench and roll a barbell over your hips.

Hip Placement

Plant your feet shoulder-width apart, flat on the floor, and close to your glutes.


Grasp the barbell, ensuring a comfortable and secure hold.

Thrust Up

Drive through your heels, lifting your hips towards the ceiling while keeping your core engaged.

Pause and Lower

Hold the peak position for a second, then lower your hips back down, maintaining control.


Perform the desired reps, focusing on proper form throughout.

Our Tips For Barbell Thrusts

Hip Activation 

Get your Barbell Hip Thrusts off to a good start by using your hips right from the start. This makes sure that these big, strong muscles are working and ready to recruit other muscles in the best way possible throughout the action. Focusing on starting the movement from your hips can make the exercise work better and help you make bigger gains.

Full Range of Motion

If you want to get better results, make sure you do each rep with a full range of motion. Make sure your hips are fully extended at the top of the move. This exercise works your glutes to their fullest, which helps you build a strong, well-shaped backside.

Controlled Tempo

When you do Barbell Hip Thrusts, use the power of slow, controlled actions. Don’t rush through the exercise. Instead, focus on keeping a steady pace. This controlled method improves muscle activation and lowers the risk of injury, making your lower body workout more effective and safer.

Engagement with your core

Don’t forget about your core! Keep your abs working throughout the move to stabilize your back and keep it in the right place. This extra core activity not only helps your lower back, but also makes your workouts more complete and effective.

Common Barbell Hip Thrust Mistakes To Avoid

how to do barbell thrust

Mistake 1: Arching the Lower Back

One of the biggest mistakes to avoid when doing the barbell hip thrust is arching your lower back too much. This can put stress on your low back and make you feel bad. Focus on keeping your back in a neutral position throughout the movement to make sure your glutes work right and reduce the chance of getting hurt.

Mistake 2: Using Momentum

Using momentum can make the barbell hip thrust less efficient. When you swing the weight up with force, you take the focus off of your glutes and put it on other muscles. Instead, do the movement slowly and focus on squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement to get the most out of your muscles.

Mistake 3: Not Using Your Core

Your core is a very important part of keeping your body stable when you do the heavy hip thrust. If you don’t use your core, you could become unstable and ruin your form. Before you start moving, consciously engage your core muscles and keep them engaged throughout the exercise. This will make you more stable overall and protect your back.

Mistake 4: Improper Foot Placement

If you put your feet too far away or too close to your body, it can change the angle of the movement and how your hips work. To get the most out of your glutes, make sure your feet are right under your knees when your hips are fully extended at the top of the move. This position is best for transferring force and getting the target muscles to work.

Barbell Hip Thrust Muscles Worked


The barbell hip thrust takes center stage in targeting your gluteus maximus, the largest muscle of the buttocks. This exercise provides intense activation, contributing to both aesthetic enhancement and functional strength for activities like walking, running, and climbing.


Your hamstrings, located on the back of your thighs, play a crucial role in hip extension during the hip thrust. This movement helps strengthen and define these muscles, improving overall lower body power and stability.


While the focus is on your lower body, the core muscles also come into play during the barbell hip thrust. Keeping your core engaged stabilizes your spine and pelvis, aiding in proper form and posture.

Lower Back

The lower back muscles, including the erector spinae, help maintain an erect posture throughout the exercise. This engagement provides additional support and helps prevent unwanted strain on the lumbar region.

Barbell Hip Thrusts Benefits

The Barbell Hip Thrust stands as a cornerstone of lower body training, offering a multitude of benefits that extend beyond the gym. Engaging in this exercise presents a transformative opportunity to shape and fortify your physique, with each rep propelling you closer to your fitness aspirations.

Benefit 1: Enhanced Glute Activation and Growth

One of the best things about the Barbell Hip Thrust is that it works and stimulates the gluteal muscles like no other exercise. By focusing on the glutes and moving them through their full range of motion, this exercise is a great way to sculpt and improve the shape of your buttocks. A study released in the “European Journal of Sport Science” shows that hip thrusts really work the glutes. This makes them a good choice for people who want to develop their glutes the most.

Benefit 2: Improved Lower Body Strength

As you progressively load the barbell and engage in regular hip thrust sessions, you’ll experience a substantial boost in lower body strength. Beyond the aesthetic benefits, this increased strength has practical implications for everyday activities and athletic performance. Research published in the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” underscores the effectiveness of hip thrusts in enhancing lower body strength, making them an invaluable addition to your strength training regimen.

Benefit 3: Posterior Chain Empowerment

The Barbell Hip Thrust focuses on your posterior chain, which is a group of muscles that go from your hips to your upper back. Hip thrusts are a great way to strengthen this chain, which is a key part of total functional fitness. They also help you get a balanced and proportionate body. By focusing on these muscles, you can improve your balance, stability, and how you move, which can help you in many ways in your daily life and in sports.

Alternatives To Barbell Hip Thrusts

Looking to switch things up? Try these alternative exercises:

Exercise Option 1: Glute Bridge

The glute bridge is a basic exercise that focuses on the buttocks and also works the legs and lower back. By lying on your back with your knees bent and your hips off the ground, you create a bridge-like pose that works your back muscles. Glute bridges are a great way to strengthen your glutes, increase the range of motion in your hips, and improve the flexibility of your lower body as a whole. This exercise is great for people who want to get a strong, well-rounded booty and keep their hips healthy at the same time.

Exercise Option 2: Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian split squat is a dynamic single-leg exercise that places significant emphasis on the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. By stepping one foot back onto a bench or platform and lowering your back knee toward the ground, you create a challenging and effective lower body movement. This exercise not only builds lower body strength but also works on balance, stability, and coordination. Bulgarian split squats are an excellent choice for those seeking to sculpt their glutes while also enhancing overall lower body function.

Exercise Option 3: Deadlift

The deadlift is a classic multi-muscle exercise that works the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and core. Lifting a barbell from the ground to a standing stance works both your lower and upper bodies, making it a very effective exercise. Deadlifts are known for increasing general strength, power, and muscle mass. This makes them a great choice for people who want to build a strong, functional body. Even though deadlifts don’t only work the glutes like the hip thrust, they are still a great way to work out the lower body as a whole and build strength.

Bottom Line On The Barbell Hip Thrust

Building strong and toned glutes, increasing lower body strength, and boosting overall athletic performance can all be accomplished by adding the barbell hip thrust to your workout regimen. The glutes, hamstrings, and low back are all activated in this one special workout that focuses on the posterior chain. To reap the full benefits of the barbell hip thrust, it is essential to focus on form, progression, and consistency.


Can I do barbell hip thrusts without a bench?

Yes, you can use a step or stable platform if you don’t have a bench for support.

How often should I do barbell hip thrusts?

Aim for 1-2 times a week to target glutes and build lower body strength.

Can barbell hip thrusts help with back pain?

Strengthening the lower back and glutes may provide spinal support and alleviate some back pain.

Why do my hip flexors feel tight during hip thrusts?

Focus on proper form and engage the glutes to reduce hip flexor discomfort. Try dynamic stretches.

Can I use resistance bands with barbell hip thrusts?

Yes, loop a band around your hips and anchor it for added intensity and glute activation.


  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.
  1. González-García, J., Morencos, E., Balsalobre-Fernández, C., Cuéllar-Rayo, Á., & Romero-Moraleda, B. (2019). Effects of 7-Week Hip Thrust Versus Back Squat Resistance Training on Performance in Adolescent Female Soccer Players. Sports, 7(4), 80.

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