Want bigger glutes? Then start doing thrusts. I can’t tell you how many times someone sees me and says “dang I need to squat more,” assuming that squats are the only thing I focus on for glute development (false). Definitely NOT bragging here, but want to shed some light on the subject.
So why hip thrusts? First off all, I have to say that yes squats can and will help with glute development, but they aren’t necessarily the best (or only) choice. When compared to hip thrusts, squats don’t maximize as much glute activation or hip extension torque. Why is this? First, think about the end range of a hip extension. In a thrust your muscles are in a shorter length, but in a squat they are stretched. Next, because your knees stay bent in a thrust, you are allowing your hamstrings to stay out of the equation, which leads to more work from the glutes to create hip extension torque. Also, because the hips during a thrust are in a more neutral position, you can fire your glutes more than you would in a squat.
So yes, squats work a ton of muscles, but a hip thrust can more effectively activate glutes at the end range of a hip extension. End range hip extension strength is important for performance and is also where glute hypertrophy and development can really come into play.
And you aren’t limited to plain old hip thrusts – here are a few variations that I love:
- Single leg
- 3 second eccentric
- 2 sec pause
See them action here – and let me know what you think.