For example, you can do a bodyweight glute bridge to get a full range of glute movement. Other glute activation exercises include a four-way kick in a quadruped (tabletop) position with a resistance band and hip ring.
Slip on the mini-band just above the knee or ankle and do some side steps to engage your gluteus medius (side gluteus) as well, says DeMatos. When you do side steps, make sure to do it with a hip hinge instead of a squat, and keep tension on the straps by pressing your legs wide enough throughout the exercise. (Try this glute activation circuit to put all of these suggestions to work!)
You can also use the same mini-bands during your actual hip thrusts to add to the challenge.
“Put a strap on your knee and push your knee out onto the strap as you do the hip thrust, this will activate more of the glute medius,” DeMatos said. “So it’s a great way to challenge yourself a little bit more, especially when the regular hip thrust becomes easy.”
2. Play with the position of your feet.
Your hamstrings, or the muscles in the back of your thighs, play a little role in hip thrust, but they shouldn’t be the main driver of movement. So if they’re the primary muscles you get excited, you may need to adjust your foot position to bring the movement back to your hips.
Glute thrusts to bring your feet closer to your hips, says DeMatos.
“The farther your feet are from your body, the more it becomes a hamstring-based exercise,” she says.
You also need to make sure your feet are flat on the floor, about shoulder-width apart, or at a 90-degree angle between your knees and your tibia (shinbone) at your hip Top of the stretch or exercise, Rice says. More hip external rotators, such as the gluteus medius, piriformis, and tensor fascia lata, DeMatos said.
3. Think about pushing the ground away from you.
One of the most common mistakes DeMatos sees people making with hip thrusts is not deliberately pressing their entire foot into the ground to fully utilize the hip extension. Rice says you should push your feet evenly throughout your range of motion. This will ultimately help you get more glute activation from the movement.
“You want to be a candy bar and make sure you push the ground away,” DeMartos said. “Everyone’s reaction was like, oh, let me try to lift My hips. So I like to tell people to push off the ground with your whole foot, not just your heel.”
When you get stronger and want to push your hips For more challenging times, DeMatos recommends elevating your feet on a small bench or some weight plate so your hips have a greater range of motion.
4. Find the right settings so you can reach the full bridge.
When setting up your hip thrust, you want to make sure you find the right height on a bench, sofa or box so your upper back can rest comfortably, Rice says on it. This will help you reach a full bridge at the highest point of the movement, forming a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.