Hip thrusts are to glute gains what the plank position is to core strength: essential. And “Glute Guy” Bret Contreras, Ph.D., C.S.C.S.*Ds, author of Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training has two tips that’ll help you maximize the moves strength-building potential.
Tip number one? Incorporate both double barbell and single leg hip thrusts into leg day. Tip number two? “Don’t do [the single- and double-leg hip thrust] the same way, they’re different lifts with different strategies,” he says. The biggest difference is the end position of your upper back.
“When you do double leg hip thrusts you’re looking forward […] and you move mostly from the sternum down,” says Contreras, noting that the chest and up don’t move throughout the movement at all. Instead, press your weight into your heels and drive hips as high as they will go, keeping your head, neck, arms, and shoulders stable as you do.
Do the single leg hip thrust this way, and you’ll squash the movement efficiency. To get the most out of this rump-rounding move, set up with your arms out to the side on the bench and set your gaze straight ahead. Keep your neck into a neutral position and brace your core. Then, press into the foot on the floor, and drive up with your glutes, rolling onto your upper back as you do. This should feel like you’re “hinging around the bench,” explains Contreras, and will allow you to strengthen your glutes throughout a full range of motion.
Still need some tips to perfect your barbell hip thrust form? Check out this helpful guide. Then, hit the gym and try the double-leg barbell thrust for 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps, following up with the single-leg version for 3 sets of 15 reps.
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