Barbell Hip Thrust
Bret Contreras, MA,
John Cronin, PhD, CSCS,
and Brad Schoenfeld, MSc, CSCS
Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand; and
Exercise Science Department, Lehman College,Bronx, New York Supplemental digital content isavailable for this article. DirectURL citations appear inthe printedtext and areprovidedin the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (http://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj).
S U M M A R Y
THE TECHNIQUE OF THE BARBELLHIP THRUST IS DESCRIBED ANDDEMONSTRATED THROUGH THEUSE OF PHOTOGRAPHS ANDVIDEO IN THIS COLUMN. ANEXERCISEPRESCRIPTIONISGIVEN.
TYPE OF EXERCISE
he barbell hip thrust is a bio-mechanically efﬁcient way towork the gluteal muscles. Theexercise can be used to maximizegluteal muscle activation, developend-range hip extension strength inthe gluteus maximus musculature,increase horizontal force production,and increase the contribution of thegluteus maximus relative to the ham-stringsduringhipextension movement,which may decrease the likelihood of hamstring injuries (4).
Primary hip extensors (gluteus maxi-mus, hamstrings, and hamstring partof adductor magnus), secondary hipextensors (adductors and posteriorﬁbers of gluteus medius and gluteusminimus), posterior vertebral stabilizers(erector spinae), and knee extensors(rectus femoris and vasti muscles).This bent-leg, horizontally loaded hipextension exercise decreases hamstring contribution to hip extension throughactive insufﬁciency. Active insufﬁciencyrefers to the phenomenon where a 2- joint muscle is shortened at one jointwhile a muscular contraction is initiatedby the other joint (11). The hamstrings(semitendinosis, semimembranosus,and long head of the biceps femoris)are a group of biarticular muscles thatcross both the knee and the hip joints.Because the hamstring muscles areshortened during knee ﬂexion (11),their force-producing capacity neces-sarily will be reduced during perfor-mance of the hip thrust, consequentlyincreasing the contractile requirementsof the gluteus maximus musculature.One drawback of typical standing barbell strength exercises is thedecreased tension on the hip extensorsas the exercise nears lockout and thehips reach a neutral position. Because of the horizontally loaded nature of thehip thrust exercise, tension on the hipmusculature is maximized at theexercise’s lockout as the hips reach a neutral or a slightly hip hyperextendedposition. This corresponds to thezone of hip range of motion involvedin ground contact during maximumspeed running. Normal hip extensionrange of motion is around 20
pastneutral (10), and moving into this rangethrough active glute contraction maymaximize gluteus maximusactivation asmaximal voluntary isometric contrac-tion electromyographic activity of thegluteus maximus has been shown toincrease as the hips move from ﬂexionto extension (13). However, increasedhip extensionrangeofmotion andweak glutes have been shown to increaseanterior hip joint force (7,8), so properexercise progression should be em-ployed, and caution should be takento ensure that the glutes are controlling the movement.Considering that (a) vertical forcestend to plateau after approximately70% of maximum running velocity isachieved (1), whereas horizontal forcescontinue to increase as velocity rises,and (b) horizontal force application issigniﬁcantly correlated to increasedacceleration, whereas total and verticalforce production are not (9), it seemswise to incorporate strategies to work the hips from a horizontal vector if increased speed and acceleration aresought. Furthermore, because of theincreased muscular tension throughoutthe full range of motion, the hip thrustexercise would theoretically heightenthe hypertrophic stimulus for thegluteal muscles (12) and thus increasestrength and power potential becauseof the relationship of these factors tomuscle cross-sectional area (3,5,6).
The Exercise Technique Column provides detailedexplanations of proper exercise technique to optimizeperformance and safety.Column Editor:John Graham, MS, CSCS*D, FNSCA
VOLUME 33 | NUMBER 5 | OCTOBER 2011 Copyright
National Strength and Conditioning Association