Using these 4 different variations, you can challenge your glutes in different ways and not only work your glute max, but also your glute medius.
Try these 4 variations in your workout routine as part of your warm up for activation prior to heavy squats or deadlifts or even as part of your lifting session!
Exercise #1: Mini Band Hip Thruster
Then try the Mini Band Hip Thruster!
By adding the mini band around your legs, you help activate your glute medius, which will also help your glute max fire better to prevent low back, hip and knee pain!
To do Mini Band Hip Thrusters, place the mini band right below your knees to make it harder and right above to make it easier. Lie with your back on a bench and feet about hip-width to shoulder-width apart. Press out on the band. Don’t let your knees cave in.
Then bridge up, driving through your heels and upper back on the bench. Make sure to press out on the band as you bridge up. Keep your abs engaged with a pelvic tilt so you don’t hyperextend your back at the top. Pause and engage those glutes then lower back down and repeat. Even slightly tuck your chin to look down at your knees to help engage your abs more.
Feel your glutes working and do not let your knees cave in at any point. Keep constant tension on the band.
Exercise #2: Barbell Hip Thrusters
To do the Barbell Hip Thruster, set up a bench and place your upper back on the bench and sit your butt on the ground with your legs out straight. Place the barbell over your hips and then bend your knees and plant your feet firmly on the ground and close to your butt.
Then drive up through your heels and your upper back on the bench, to lift your glutes and the barbell up toward the ceiling.
Squeeze your glutes and press your hips up as high as possible, driving the barbell up and off the ground. Hold a second or two at the top and then lower back down and repeat.
Do not hyperextend your back at the top. You can even use the pelvic tilt to keep your abs engaged and prevent your low back from taking over. Make sure you are driving straight up through your heels. Do not push yourself backward over the bench.
You may find that as you bridge up you want to “push” the barbell down toward your thighs to help you drive up and squeeze your glutes.
Lower back down toward the ground and repeat. You do not fully need to touch the weight down, but you do want to complete a full range of motion. Make sure to sit back forward as you lower down so that you don’t hyperextend your low back by simply lowering your butt.
Then repeat, driving your hips back up.
Do not rush the movement. While you can add weight to make the movement harder, you may also want to slow down the tempo.
Exercise #3: Frog Hip Thrusters
By rocking toward the outside of your feet and letting your knees fall open, you can make it easier to fully engage your glute max, making this Frog Hip Thruster a great variation for anyone struggling to activate their glutes.
To do Frog Hip Thrusters, sit on the ground with your upper back against a bench and the bottoms of your feet together so your knees fall open. Your arms can be relaxed out on the bench. If you have any ankle issues, you can just place your feet together flat on the ground and let your knees fall open. Engage your abs, even using a little posterior pelvic tilt.
Then bridge up, driving through your upper back and the outsides of your feet. Squeeze your glutes to extend your hips. And even pause at the top. Looking forward at the top can help you prevent yourself from hyperextending or arching your lower back at the top.
Lower back down and repeat. Keep your knees open as you bridge up and down. Make sure too that as you lower down, you sit back toward the ground and don’t arch your back over the bench. You should be able to look forward not up at the ceiling as you lower down.
Exercise #4: Feet-Raised Hip Thrusters
By placing your feet up on a box with the hip thruster, you can increase your range of motion and challenge your glutes even more without having to add weight!
Plus, the bigger the range of motion we can strengthen through and learn to control, the better our mobility and stability will be!
To do the Feet-Raised Hip Thruster, place a box and a bench close enough together that your back can be on the bench and your feet up on the box with your knees bent to about 90 degrees. (If your legs are out too straight, you will use more hamstrings than glutes.)
Place your upper back on the bench and your heels up on the box. Then, driving up through your heels and your upper back, press your hips up and squeeze your glutes.
Lift your hips to full extension, hold for a second and lower back down.
Make sure you don’t drive yourself backward over the bench. Squeeze your glutes and press straight up, almost as if you are sort of driving your knees forward toward your toes.
And, like with all the glute bridges and hip thrusters, make sure you don’t hyperextend your low back at the top. Consciously squeeze your glutes and drive up through your heels while keeping your abs engaged, evening us a posterior pelvic tilt as you lift.
Make sure your knees don’t fall apart at the top but stay in line with your hips and ankles.
Drop back down so your butt goes below the height of the box and repeat. You do not have to touch the ground each time, but you do want to do a bigger range of motion than you could do from the ground.
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