August 22, 2021 8 min read
Whether you are seeking to tone and strengthen your body or you are simply looking for some new movements to incorporate into your workout routine, you have taken the first step in the right direction by coming to the right place.
There is nothing stopping you now from reaching your goals. First of all, what exactly is toning and strengthening? And how can you do that for your body? Toning and strengthening are two separate concepts. Muscle tone essentially refers to your muscles' ability to resist stretching while they are at rest or they are not being used.
In contrast, muscle strength refers to your muscles' ability to perform when used and required to contract. Therefore, the terms are not interchangeable but by focusing on exercise in general, you are creating a well-rounded platform for your muscles by improving your muscle tone and strength simultaneously.
Hip thrusts are an incredible way to target those lower body muscles including all your glute muscles, the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus, in addition to the hamstrings. By performing this isolated movement, you are also working your quadriceps, your core muscles, and your hip adductors.
Hip thrusts are an easy, fun way to change up your lower body workout routine. They target more than one muscle group which can help improve your mobility and muscular strength. They are not to be confused with glute bridges although they are quite similar.
Glute bridges are typically performed on the floor with your shoulders placed on the ground whereas hip thrusts are more commonly performed with your shoulders on a bench or an elevated platform. There are a couple of key differences between hip thrusts and glute bridges, although both focus on activating those gluteal muscles.
Hip thrusts typically involve the use of free weights such as a barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell which places more force on your muscles, leading, to more activation of those lower body muscles as you lift your body off the floor.
Also, hip thrusts are great for widening your range of motion as they allow for a greater range of motion making it a great exercise to incorporate into your warm-up or glute activation routine. Regardless of which exercise you decide is right for you, you must be focusing on keeping proper form in order to target all those muscles.
It's not a surprise that hip thrusts are at the top of the list for most personal trainers as this exercise does not fail to target the largest muscles in your body. By incorporating hip thrusts into your workout routine, you're allowing the movement to improve important movers and stabilizers in your body by strengthening your posterior chain.
Glutes are great to look at when they're toned and in shape but they also assist in many ways that are essential for our survival. They allow us to do things as simple as walk, sit, stand, get out of bed, or essentially any movement that involves our lower body. However, since society has shifted to a digital phenomenon, we're sitting the majority of the time facing a screen which can make our glute muscles weak.
Having glute muscles basically lead to a domino effect of weak muscles. Weak glute muscles can lead to weaker hamstrings and lower back muscles then weak lower back muscles can lead to your abdominals supporting your lower back but if it continuously has to compensate, it could lead to further injury and lower back pain.
The hip thrust movement prepares your hip flexors for exercises like Romanian deadlifts. You might also be familiar with the term "psoas" for your hip flexors. Every time you take a simple step, you are engaging and using those hip flexor muscles.
While you are actively engaging your glute muscles, you also are strengthening your abdominal muscles as they help you lift up during the movement. Your abdominals are part of the core group of muscles in your body that essentially allow you to perform any task at any point in the day. It is good to incorporate exercises like hip thrusts as well as other core exercises to further develop your abdominal muscles.
Hip thrusts provide the perfect platform for individuals seeking to work on their glute muscles and the strength and power associated with them. It is up to you how heavy or how light you load up your hip thrusts depending on your goals.
If you are seeking strength, you might decide to use a heavy barbell but if you are seeking to improve your endurance, you might decide to use a lighter dumbbell and perform more reps. It is an extremely flexible movement that can be manipulated in a variety of ways to allow you to reach your goals
According to Physiology Reports, the manipulation of acute variables such as volume or intensity can induce an anabolic response to exercise which can lead to hypertrophy.
Hip thrusts are a great movement to incorporate in both your warm-up and cool-down routine as once again, it is extremely flexible. They can be performed using simply your body weight to help prepare your body for the exercise it is about to endure.
They prepare your body for the hip extension which is extremely important especially when you are about to work your glutes as you are sending a signal to all those agonist and antagonist muscles that they need to prepare for exercise.
Other than the fact that hip thrusts on their own can be manipulated in a variety of ways with regards to the number of reps you perform, the speed you perform them at as well as the amount of weight placed onto your hips, they are also great as there are so many alternatives to the traditional hip thrust. Keep reading to learn more about finding the perfect one for your workout routine.
At the end of the day, making sure you have proper form is crucial. It is advisable to perform these exercises in front of a mirror to ensure you are safely performing the movement in order to maximize your workout.
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It is crucial you do not hyperextend your back as this could cause injury.
Now, if you simply want to take a break from the hip thrust movement in general, you can try out the following exercises that still target those glute muscles!
This is a great alternative that is similar to planks but uses different muscles.
No matter which alternative you decide to incorporate into your workout routine or if you simply perform a traditional hip thrust exercise, you are one step closer to those muscle gains. Hip thrusts are a great exercise you can incorporate into your warm-up, main portion of your workout, or your cool-down as they are extremely flexible.
They target a wide variety of muscle groups and guarantee engagement as long as they are being performed properly and safely. It is time for you to work towards your goals and I am sure between the 7 alternatives listed above, there must be one that you’re curious to try out.
If you would like to learn more about alternatives for traditional exercises we are all guilty of repetitively performing, check out the 5 best pull-up alternative exercises. As you focus on working out your toning and strengthening your lower body, you have to make sure you balance it out with your upper-body days!