Hip Thrust | Which Muscles Does It Activate? How is it done?

Hip thrust

The hip thrust is a great exercise to work the glutes, one of the largest and most powerful muscle groups in the body.

The glutes are made up of three muscles: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. All three originate from the sacrum, the coccyx and the iliac crest to enter the femur at the level of the greater trochanter.

The main action of these muscles is the extension of the hip, but they also intervene in external rotation, internal rotation, in adduction (mainly the gluteus maximus) and in the flexion of the hip (anterior bundles of the gluteus minimus); moreover, some bundles of these muscles cause hip abduction at the same time as extension.

They also have a stabilizing function of the spine for maintaining an upright position and walking.

The buttocks are essential in many activities such as running and jumping and, in the gym, in performing exercises such as squats, deadlifts, etc ...


To perform the hip thrust, all you need is a bench press and a barbell.

The athlete positions himself sitting on the floor with his shoulders resting on a bench at a height slightly lower than where the barbell would fit in a low-bar squat, therefore just below the rear delts.

The torso should be 45 degrees to the floor.

Hip Thrust | Which Muscles Does It Activate? How is it done?

Once positioned correctly you need to bring the barbell above the flexion point of the hips, slightly above the pelvis, making it “roll” towards you.

With heavy loads the pressure on the groin can be painful so a towel or pad can be used to limit it.

At this point the athlete must put himself in a position to be able to push, then he will have to bend his knees so as to bring the whole soles of the feet in contact with the ground, looking for a shoulder width positioning and a tibia-femur angle of 90 °, with toes feet slightly diverging.

Now you have to push with the entire sole of the foot against the floor, lifting the barbell from the ground until the torso is parallel to the ground and aligned with the thighs. The core muscles must be contracted, it is very important to maintain the physiological curves of the spine.

Maintain the position for 1 second then descend in a controlled manner, exhaling.


The hip thrust with the barbell is not an exercise that is commonly seen in the gym, perhaps because you have to assume a somewhat strange and uncomfortable position, however it is really useful for training a good part of the posterior kinetic chain, formed by hamstrings, lumbar and buttocks, with a particular focus on the latter.

In a 2015 study an electromyographic comparison was made between Back Squat and Hip Thrust with barbell and it was found that the latter is superior in the activation of the buttocks and hamstrings.

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