How to build big and strong glutes is one of the most frequently asked questions I get as a fitness trainer.
I always recommend weighted hip thrusts, but some of my clients also want home solutions and exercises that can be done anywhere. This is where resistance bands come in.
To help my readers and clients understand the movement mechanics, I teamed up with a physical therapist, and together, we've compiled this report illustrating how to do it with a band and other banded variations associated with this movement.
Let's dive in.
- To perform a banded hip thrust movement, wrap the band around your front hips and loop the ends under your feet before starting the up-and-down hip movements.
- Hip thrusts mainly target the glutes while incorporating the core, quads, and hip adductors. Incorporating resistance bands adds tension for added hypertrophy.
- Doing fast reps, not fully extending your hips, and not pausing at the top are common mistakes that make hip thrust movements ineffective.
How to Do a Banded Hip Thrust
Like weights, bands add resistance to the movement for maximum glute activation and associated muscles.
Here's how to do it:
- Grab a preferred home gym resistance band and wrap it around the front of your hips, looping the ends under your feet.
- After wrapping the band under your feet, plant your feet firmly on the ground and place your upper back on a bench or plyo box.
- Now, in a slow and controlled manner, raise your hips until they are fully extended and in a straight line with your thighs and chest. Engage your core and glutes throughout the movement.
- Once you reach the top position, hold briefly while squeezing your glutes, then slowly return your hips to your starting position.
- Do about 12–15 reps.
Like any other workout, when banded hip thrusts are not done with proper form, they can be ineffective.
Here are some common mistakes you'd want to avoid:
- Performing quickly. A general rule concerning resistance exercises is to perform them slowly and steadily to exert maximum stress. It's all about quality, not quantity.
- Not pausing and squeezing at the top. As you've seen in this guide, you need to squeeze throughout the movement, especially when you reach the top position. In addition to squeezing, pause for one or two seconds when you reach the top to maximize the time spent under tension.
- Not fully extending your hips. Ensure you go all the way up for a full hip extension. Moving muscles through their full range of motion activates them fully.
- Overextending your hips. On the other hand, overextending your hips can also be a problem. So stop when your thighs and upper body are aligned. Pressing higher than that can stress your lumbar spine.
- Not warming up. Like any other exercise, you also need to warm up before stepping into the preferred hip thrust machine. Warm-ups help you loosen up your joints, raise your body temperature for better workout performance, and lessen the likelihood of an injury .
"Full extension is different from overextending. Your hips should reach a neutral position, don't overextend them."
- Paulina Kairys, CPT, Author at Setforset.com
Here are some variations of the standard hip thruster movements.
Single Leg Band Leg Thrust
The single-leg thrust is another great exercise for targeting the glutes.
It has similar movement mechanics to the standard hip thrust, except you're doing it through one leg.
Here's how to do it:
- Wrap a band in front of your hips and loop the other end under your right foot. Angle your left foot outward for stability.
- Plant the right foot flat and firmly on the ground, and place your upper back on a bench or plyo box.
- Now, in a slow and controlled manner, raise your hips until your right thigh is parallel to your upper body. Ensure that you engage your glutes and core throughout the movement.
- Once you reach the top position, pause briefly while engaging your glutes, then slowly return to your starting position.
- Repeat the movement for your desired number of reps before switching sides and repeating the same with your left foot.
Banded Standing Hip Thrust
Think of it as a half squat, but instead of the downward resistance, it's pulling you back. This way, it incorporates more hips than legs.
Here's how to do it:
- Start by wrapping a band around an anchor point behind you and wrapping the other end around your waist.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Ensure the band is taut in the resting position before starting the movement.
- From a standing position, hinge at your waist and drop your hips as if doing a half squat while maintaining the movement exclusively within your hips. The band should pull your hips back. Move your arms out for balance.
- Once your hips are pulled back, briefly hold the position while engaging your glutes and tightening your core, then thrust your hips forward.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
Banded Glute Bridge
The main difference between a hip thrust and a glute bridge is that the former is performed against a bench, while the latter is performed with shoulders on the floor.
While hip thrusts achieve a greater range of motion and more glute contraction than glute bridges, the latter is still a very effective glute activation workout.
Here's how to do the banded glute bridge:
- Wrap a resistance band around the front of your hips and loop the other ends under your feet. Lie down with your back on the floor.
- Now, slowly raise your hips until fully extended while engaging your glutes and core.
- Once you reach the top position, pause briefly before returning to the ground.
- Repeat for about 8–12 reps.
The kneeling banded hip thruster is another effective movement you should consider adding to your regimen.
The primary target of banded hip thrusts is the glutes.
Other secondary muscles include the hamstrings, quads, core, and hip adductors .
Note that different variations may alter some muscles more than others, although the glutes remain the primary focus.
Below are the benefits associated with hip thrust movements:
- They isolate the glutes and cause maximum activation in this area.
- They are easy to do.
- They can be done at home or anywhere with no equipment.
- They strengthen the core.
Is It Better to Do Hip Thrusts With a Band?
Yes, it is better to do hip thrusts with a band to increase tension in the glutes for maximum gains. The good thing about a band is that it can be done from anywhere, including at home, where a barbell may not be available.
Does Hip Thrust Increase Hip Size?
No, hip thrusts do not increase hip size. They can strengthen and increase the size of your glute muscles, but not your hips.
How Many Hip Thrusts for Glute Growth?
For glute growth, shoot for three sets of 12–20 reps of hip thrust movements 2–3 times a week. Combine this with a protein supplement for faster results.
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