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Barbell Hip Thrust

Barbell Hip Thrust

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Published by Damiano Molinaro
Exercise for gluteus
Exercise for gluteus

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Published by: Damiano Molinaro on Dec 27, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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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).
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 standinbarbell 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 andweaglutes 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
Exercise Technique
VOLUME 33 | NUMBER 5 | OCTOBER 2011 Copyright
National Strength and Conditioning Association
Begin the exercise by sitting on theground and straightening the legs.Line up the upper back acrossa secured and padded bench, step,or box. The placement of the upperback across the bench should beslightly lower than the low-barposition used in the powerlifting-style squat. Position the barbell overthe lower legs (Figure 1). (Note:
Body weight resistance must be mastered before using barbell loading, and grad- ually progressive increments should be used to prepare the body’s tissues for the new movement pattern 
Lean forward and grab a hold of thebarbell (Figure 2).
Assuming large plates are used forresistance, such as 45-lb or 20-kg plates, it is usually possible to simplyroll the barbell over the thighstoward the hips (Figure 3). Individ-uals with extremely muscular thighsmay find this task challenging, inwhich case they will need to makemodifications, such as asking a spot-ter to liftup onone side of the barbellto allow the exerciser to slide his orher legs underneath.
Because the hip thrust puts consid-erable pressure across the lowerabdominal and pubic region, it iswise to pad the barbell. Coacheshave used Airex Balance Pads(Airex AG, Switzerland), densepadding, Hampton thick bar pads(Hampton Fitness, Ventura, CA),regular bar pads, towels, and home-made devices consisting of sagittallycut PVC pipe and hollowed outfoam rollers. The thicker the pad-ding, the better. The barbell issituated symmetrically and placedat the crease of the hips slightlyabove the pelvis. If a bar pad is used,precautions are taken to ensure thatthe bar will not slip through thepadding by making sure that the slitin the pad is facing upward.
Lean back and resume the properupper back placement. Tighteneverything up by scooting the feettoward the buttocks and ‘‘digging into’’ the bench and ground. Thefeet should be positioned aroundshoulder width apart and placed ata distance that creates a 90
angle atthe knee joint with a vertical tibia relative to the ground at the topportion of the movement (Figure 4).
From this starting position, a big breath is taken and the core is braced.The barbell is raised off the groundvia a powerful contraction of the hipextensors. It is of utmost importanceto ensure that the spine and pelvisstay in relatively neutral positions andthe extension movement comes fromthe hips, not from the lumbopelvicregion.Aslightarchinthelowbackisfine, but excessive lumbar hyperex-tension can predispose the posteriorelements of the spine to injury andincrease disc deformation and spinalloading (2). Proper form involvesthe athlete controlling the barbellthroughout the entire movement,including the concentric, isometric,and eccentric portions. The kneesshould track directly over the toesand not caveinward. Theback hingesacross the bench, and any sliding of the back up and down the bench iskept to a minimum. The exercisershould keep the feet flat and pushthrough the entire foot. Alternatively,the exerciser may dorsiflex the anklesthroughout the movement to ensureforce transfer through the heels,whichmayslightly increaseposterior
Figure1.Start position for the hip thrust.Figure2.Rolling the barbell over the legs.
Strength and Conditioning Journal | www.nsca-lift.org
chain recruitment. For maximumsafety, the head and neck shouldtrack accordingly to remain in align-ment with the spine.
The hips rise until the torso isparallel with the ground and a hip-neutral position is reached. Theexerciser may choose to take theexercise a couple of inches higherinto hip hyperextension via a power-ful contraction of the gluteals as thehips can hyperextend around 10
with bent legs (Figure 5).
The lockout position of the exer-cise is held for a 1-count. Theeccentric portion is performed undercontrol, and the barbell shouldlightly return to the ground. Thispractice may allow for better trans-fer to running through increasednet horizontal forces (see Video,Supplemental Digital Content 1,http://links.lww.com/MAO/A83).
Five main strategies can be employedfor the hip thrust exercise:1. The barbell is raised concentricallyfor a 1-count, held isometrically uptop for a 1-count, and loweredeccentrically for a 1-count, and then,the barbell rests on the ground fora 1-count before repeating. This isthe standard technique.2. The barbell is raised concentricallyfor a 1-count, held isometrically uptop for a 3-count, lowered eccentri-cally for a 1-count, and thenrepeated just before the barbelltouching the ground. This is theconstant tension method and createsextreme cellular swelling and anocclusion effect, which may maxi-mize hypertrophic signaling.3. Thebarbellisraisedconcentricallyfora 1-count, held isometrically up topfor a 1-count, and lowered eccentri-cally for a 1-count, and then, thebarbell rests on the ground for 3–5seconds. This is known as the rest-pause method and creates an extremehigh-threshold motor unit activa-tion stimulus by allowing adequaterecovery between repetitions to max-imize neural drive, which mayenhance neurological adaptation.4. The exercise is first performed via the constant tension method. Whenit is no longer possible to performany more repetitions, the exerciserswitches to the rest-pause methodto squeeze out 1–5 more repetitions.This is known as the extendedset method, and because it is anadvanced technique, fewer sets inthis manner should be performed(1 all-out set would serve the exe-rciser just fine).5. The exercise is performed via a com-bination of barbell, plate, and bandor chain resistance. Bands can besecured to the end of the bar andfastenedto heavy dumbbellsresiding directly underneath the bar. If chainsare used, care must be taken to makesure the chains do not interfere withthe ground-plate interface.
Beginners should perform 1–3 setswith 8–12 repetitions with 60–120seconds in between sets.
Intermediates should perform 3–4sets with 5–8 repetitions with 60–120 seconds in between sets.
Advanced lifters should perform 3–5sets with 1–5 repetitions with 120seconds in between sets.
Figure3.Ensuring symmetrical bar alignment and placement at the hips.Figure4.Bottom of hip thrust with barbell in position to be lifted.
Exercise Technique

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