Fitness

Make Leg Day Epic With This Forgotten Exercise

We get it. It’s hard to get anyone excited about doing a barbell hip thrust, but if you do this move, you’ll take your leg day from average to epic in no time. Be prepared to have trouble walking to your car after this workout. It’s leg day after all, so it’s time to man up. 

Not convinced? Maybe you’re thinking this is the exercise that turned Bruce Jenner into Caitlyn. Wrong! It’s probably the move that made Bruce an Olympian.

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Personally, I can walk into a room and tell you who’s an athlete by looking at their build beginning in the middle – yep, by scoping out rears. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t name one powerful or elite level athlete that doesn’t have a strong butt, man or woman, and I bet you can’t either.

Your rear end is the epicenter of power in your body and has been for a very long time.  Your glutes serve as a counterbalance to your chest. They are what allowed mankind to stand up straight on two legs and launch themselves to number one on the food chain.

Your glutes are the largest group of muscles you have that are the most common under-active muscles (because we sit on them all day). However, if you build them, an unleashing of power follows. Think about how useful a strong set of haunches would be in the field where a lack of athleticism could be lethal, and let’s not forget the weight of your packs.

To build that posterior powerhouse, you must do the barbell hip thrust because it actually targets the gluteal muscles instead of using them secondarily such as when you complete compound movements like squats. That’s right, this move may just outdo the all-powerful squat in certain workouts.

It’s time to get over what people think, and take your ass to the gym–literally!

How To Do The Exercise:

  • Use a low bench, such as a bench press rack, and a barbell.
  • Load the bar while it’s on the floor.
  • Sit on the ground. Roll the bar over your hips so that when you lift the bar it’s almost in the proper place.
  • The bar should rest directly on your hips, pretty close to your crotch. You should use your gym towel or the black tubing that some use on the bar for squats to relieve pressure. It will also prevent marks from appearing on your lower body that your significant other might get pissed about.
  • Brace your shoulders on the bench right below your shoulder blades.
  • Drive your feet into the ground while you extend your hips upward. Your body will form a flat bridge meaning your shoulders, hips, and knees are in perfect alignment. Hold for a one count and squeeze your butt cheeks.
  • When you move downward, move slowly and don’t let the weights touch the floor before you begin the second repetition.

Still, think this is an exercise for sissies? Tell that to pro football player, James Harrison in the video above, as he hits sets with nearly 600 lbs racked on the bar.

Trainer Tip:

  • It’s highly important that you squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement for maximal contraction.
  • Keep your chin tucked toward your chest during the exercise.
  • Use a slow, controlled movement.

–Sarah Chadwell, CPT


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Sarah Chadwell

Sarah Chadwell