- In the top position, your hips should extend fully, but make sure you don’t over-extend them because that will hurt your spinal alignment.
- As you extend your hips, engage your entire core musculature and squeeze the glute muscles hard to ensure a stable platform for your spine, as well as to allow greter power generation.
And to make sure you get the most out of this exercise, try to avoid the following common mistakes:
- Not achieving full hip extension – This happens to a lot of people due to tightness at the hip flexor or lifting too much. To fix it, try lowering the weight and/or perform hip flexor stretches to relieve the tightness.
- Driving through the toes – Driving through the toes will reduce your ability to generate enough power and cause your body and the barbell to rock from side to side, which decreases the effectiveness of the movement. To ensure maximum stability and efficiency, always drive through your heels and keep your shoulders firmly placed on the bench.
- Lifting or cranking the neck – Never do this unless you want to reap neck pain caused by vertebral or disc prolapses. Improper head and neck positioning places a lot of undue strain on the neck and puts you at risk of excessive lumbar extension and anterior pelvic tilt.
- Holding your breath – This common practice causes unnecessary pressure and interferes with adequate force generation. For best results, always try to exhale on the eccentric phase and inhale on the concentric phase of the movement.
- Not maintaining a neutral spine throughout the full range of motion – This especially applies to hyper-extending the hips in the top position. This will result with an arched lower back, which can increase your risk of injury and diminish the results of the exercise.
- Performing the exercise too fast – This movement is supposed to be performed under control, with a slow and smooth execution of every single rep instead of using an explosive motion. That means that the thrust should be both powerful and performed in a controlled manner.
The Maximum Glute Development Routine
- Start with a foam rolling protocol for the lower back muscles, glutes and hams.
- Single-leg glute bridges: 2 sets x 10 reps for each leg
- Monster walks with resistance band: 2 sets x 5 reps in each direction
- Glute kickbacks: 2 sets x 15 reps for each leg
#2. The workout
- 1 set x 5-10 bodyweight reps with a weight plate between your legs for maximum glute activation
- 1 set x 5 reps with an Olympic barbell and a safety pad
- As a general rule of thumb, for developing maximum glute strength, you should perform a higher number of sets x 1-3 reps with 80-100% 1RM, but if your focus is on increasing glute size, opt for performing a lower number of sets consisting of 8-12 reps at 60-70% 1RM.
#3. Post-workout exercises
- Low-intensity steady state cardio
- Static stretches for the lower back muscles and glute medial
Needless to say, you don’t have to strictly follow the set & rep scheme presented in this article. There are many different ways to program hip thrusts for best results and you should feel free to experiment with different styles until you find your own sweet spot. Among other options, you can do pyramid sets and perform a mixed rep scheme or you could perform a lower number of reps on one day of the week and a higher number reps on another one. If you make sure to maintain flawless form and train regularly, your glutes will undoubtedly get stronger than ever. Because one thing is for sure: the hip thrust is one of the best exercises for building glutes of steel and adding it to your routine will make a huge difference in your glute development.