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Glute Bridge vs. Hip Thrust
What Is The Difference?

Last updated: June 17, 2021

When it comes to sculpting a firm and toned booty, it’s all about targeting the glutes to make them well defined.

But exactly which of these glute exercises is better: the glute bridge or hip thrust?

We’ve spent hours examining the effects of these two exercises to put an end to this debate once and for all.

What Is the Difference Between the Glute Bridge and Hip Thrust?

Hip Thrust and Glute Bridge

The glute bridge and hip thrust are both exercises that target the glutes. The differences lie in the type of equipment required to perform the exercise and the benefits each one provides.

The most notable differences include:

Technicality: 

  • The glutes bridge relies on the individual’s own body weight and does not involve any additional weight or requirement.
  • On the other hand, hip thrusts often utilize a barbell as a strength training exercise or a sturdy bench for pivoting the upper body.

Muscle Focus: 

  • Glute bridges are an efficient way to build muscular endurance and invoke glute activation.
  • The hip thrust focuses more on developing power and strength in the glutes.

Mobility: 

  • The hip thrust covers a wider range of motion than the glute bridge, making it more difficult. The increased range of motion makes the hip thrust an excellent test of hip mobility.

Which One Is Better - The Glute Bridge or Hip Thrust

Both the glute bridge and the hip thrust are effective exercises for developing lower body strength as well as a well-rounded butt.

Both exercises target similar muscle groups and come with their own set of pros and cons, listed below.

Glute Bridge

A woman doing the glute bridge exercise

Proper technique is the most important factor when it comes to a glute bridge workout.

To perform a glute bridge exercise:

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Open your knees hip-width apart, ensuring that your back is straight and arms resting by your sides.
  2. Contract your core muscles and slowly lift your butt and hips until your knees, hips, and shoulders form a perfect inclined straight line. Clench your glutes and hold the position for 3 to 8 seconds.
  3. Release your butt muscles and lower your hips in a slow, controlled motion.
  4. Perform three sets consisting of 10 reps each.
Pros
  • Gives you a nicely shaped butt: Invokes glute activation and works the quadriceps and hamstrings, giving you a toned and well-rounded posterior.
  • Improves body posture: People who spend their days sitting behind a desk tend to develop weak glutes and tight hips. The glutes bridge helps reverse these effects by strengthening the lower back, glutes, and hip flexors.
  • Increases core strength: Glute bridge exercises exert strain on your mid-section, which helps strengthen one’s core stability.
  • Helps manage lower back pain: By working the hamstrings and lower back muscles, the glutes bridge helps treat complications regarding lower back pain and the spine.
Cons
  • Your body may eventually get used to the exercise and hit a training plateau
  • Poor form can lead to lower back pain

Hip Thrust

A man performing a hip thrust

Performing the hip thrust requires weights and a sturdy bench to perform an optimal hip extension.

According to researchers, “The barbell hip thrust exercise and its variations are expected to demonstrate higher GMax excitation levels when compared to any exercise that includes simultaneous knee and hip flexion/extension movement, such as squats and their variations [1].” - Walter Krause Neto, Morphoquantitative Researcher

That makes the hip thrust the most intense when compared to other exercises of similar stature.

To perform a barbell hip thrust:

  1. Sit on the floor with the bench behind your back and your knees bent. 
  2. Place a barbell on your lap, keeping your feet pressed flatly against the floor. To minimize discomfort, place a smooth pad between your hip crease and the barbell.
  3. Lean back and allow your shoulder blades to rest on the bench. Make sure your neck does not rest on the bench.
  4. Slowly lift the weight up by driving your hips towards the ceiling. Lift your hips as high as you can go until your back is straight and parallel to the floor.
  5. Squeeze your glutes and hold the position for about five seconds. Slowly lower your hips to the ground in a controlled motion.
  6. Repeat the exercise for 2 sets of 6 reps each.
Pros
  • Tones butt and gluteal area: The hip thrust works the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius, resulting in a perfectly toned butt.
  • Improved posture: Hip thrusts correct muscular imbalances that are responsible for poor posture.
  • Improves athletic performance: Stimulating core muscles helps individuals develop explosive power for intense movements like sprinting and jumping.
  • Increases the strength of the glute muscles: The range of motion and weights incorporated also work the core, hips, and quads, significantly increasing core muscle mass and glute strength.
Cons
  • Prone to muscle cramping due to the short range of motion across multiple muscle groups
  • Possibility of neck pain as a result of poor execution

FAQs

Who Should Not Do Glute Bridges and Hip Thrusts?

Individuals who should avoid the glutes bridge and hip thrust include women in their final term of pregnancy and patients who are injured or recovering from back, hip, or abdomen surgery.

Other than the mentioned exceptions, the exercises are considered safe for everyone.

Are Glute Bridges More Effective Than Squats?

Glute bridges are generally more effective as they target all three gluteal muscles (maximus, medius, and minimus), whereas squats target only the maximus.

Bridges are also safer as they do not exert any stress on your lower back, allowing individuals that have hip or knee injuries to still work their glutes.

Do Glute Bridges Make Your Hips Bigger?

Over time, performing the glute bridge will make your hips bigger.

The exercise targets hip flexors and hip extension muscles, which are primarily responsible for increasing the strength and mass of the hips.

That results in a well-rounded booty that’s toned and firm.

Do You Prefer The Glute Bridge or Hip Thrust?

When it comes to which exercise reigns supreme, both the bridge and thrust have slight differences and their own benefits and risks.

Whether you’re looking to develop explosive power or simply better posture, both exercises are great ways to build strength from a seated position.

Incorporating these exercises into your workout routine can help you gain muscle mass,  develop stronger glutes and sculpt the booty you’ve always wanted.

Let us know how effective they are in your workout routine.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7039033/

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