I'm often asked about lower body exercises to use in a minimalist/bodyweight training program. Most people have an idea of basic squats and lunges, they may even have an idea of a few progressions to make each of those harder or easier ... but that's about it! While squats and lunges are a great place to start, and they do have their place, they're certainly not the only exercises available for building lower body strength on a minimalist training program! One EXCELLENT exercise that you can add to your training program, starting to day, is ...
The Hip Thruster!
For a variety of reasons, the hip thruster is an exercise that has become a staple in most of my programs. First off, the hip thruster improves stability and athleticism.
The hip thruster helps develop glute strength (specifically glute max) and hip drive. The glutes play an integral roll in all athletics, core strength, as well as stabilizing the hips and lower back! In fact, glute inactivity (glute amnesia) is a common cause of lower back issues for many people! Having strong and functional glutes is a must for anyone, regardless of whether or not you're an athlete or office worker. Along with squats and lunges, the hip thruster is a terrific exercise to do just that!
Hip drive is important in just about any athletics, the ability to drive forward and explode from the hips is a must in any sport. The hip thruster can help improve your hip drive, which will translate well to things such as faster sprinting speeds! Hip drive and thrust is also important at home ... in the bedroom ... with your partner. If you catch my drift!
The hip thruster is an excellent functional movement, but in terms of aesthetics, it's also fantastic for developing a great looking butt! I say it all the time, the beautiful looking body is a by product of your functional fitness and diet. There's no need to put aesthetics over function. Functional movements will help provide you with the aesthetics you desire, along with the ability to move well during everyday life or athletics! The hip thruster is a great example of this.
How To Hip Thrust
Finding a set up to hip thrust isn't hard, you can do it just about anywhere! This is just another reason I enjoy it. In the video I'm using my living room couch, but you can use anything from chairs, gym benches, park benches, picnic tables, or even tree stumps/logs to lay your upper back across. The possibilities are endless, be creative and you'll find something to use.
Tips When setting up the hip thruster ...
- The bench rests just under your shoulder blades
- Weight is placed through the heels (not the toes)
- Keep the knees from caving inward
- Neck remains neutral throughout the movement, don't tuck your chin at the top
- Glutes should remain tense throughout the movement. Think of them pulling you down and pressing you upward.
- The glutes should be squeezed hard at the top of the movement
- Your shins should run vertical at the top of the movement, not on an angle.
In the video below I demonstrate (along with my assistant) 3 hip thruster variations. They're placed in order of difficulty, the easiest comes first. If the first one is too difficult for you I suggest getting comfortable with glute bridges first and then move onto hip thrusters. Now, take a look at the video and get those hip thrusters into your bodyweight training program!