Okay, let’s talk hip thrust variations.
Most of us already know that hip thrusts and glute bridges exist, but you don’t have to limit yourself to the traditional movement pattern. You can change it up and include different variations in your workout routines.
You may even find that some of the less common variations give more glute activation that the traditional ones. And what works for me, may not be as effective for you.
Definitely try out these different exercises and see which ones you want to incorporate into your routines. My personal favorites are the triple contraction method, the frog pumps, and the iso hold.
Hip Thrust Variations
One thing you will notice in these exercises is that there is a lot of repetition. Basically for every exercise there will be a way to do the movement pattern with both legs, with a single leg, with a dumbbell, barbell, and/or a resistance band.
Also, I will link helpful videos to demonstrate certain exercises. I know embedding them directly in the post is more convenient, but it will slow down the page speed making it take a lot longer to load since I’ll be including more than 1 video…
Basic hip thrust– You can do this with a barbell, with a dumbbell resting on your hips, or with a band.
Now, with the band you can either use a glute loop band like this one and put it around your thighs OR you can use a long band and anchor it down on either side as they do in this video from Bret Contreras. You will notice different activation depending on the type you choose.
Another version of this exercise uses the Smith Machine for resistance. It is easier to set up than a normal barbell.
Single leg hip thrust– If you are doing a single leg, the way you would add weight is with a dumbbell or by using a long resistance band, anchored at the sides as demonstrated in this video.
B-stance hip thrust– Similar to the single leg, but using the non-working leg as a “kick stand” to help with stabilization. Here is a video demonstrating.
Frog pumps– Lie flat on your back and put the soles of your feet together. While keeping your feet together, thrust your hips up.
Triple contraction hip thrust– Make sure you lighten your weight on this one. It is killer!
Start in normal hip thrust position and come up to the top of a hip thrust. Now, lower back down 1/4 of the way & come back to the top. Repeat this 1/4 thrust two more times before fully coming back to the bottom of the hip thrust.
Basically you are doing a hip thrust, with 3 pulses at the top before lowering back down and that is 1 rep. I first learned of this variation from Coach Mark Carroll’s instagram page.
Iso hold with band abductions– with a mini band around your thighs/above your knees, you will do an abduction movement at the top of each hip thrust.
If you aren’t sure what an abduction is, it the exercise where you push both knees out. Add 10 reps of abductions at the top of each hip thrust. By doing this, not only do you get the benefit of the abduction which works your gluteus medius and minimus, BUT your gluteus maximus will be on fire since this automatically adds a brief iso hold to your thrust.
Check out this post on lower glute exercises for more ideas!