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Barbell glute hip thrust

This is an excerpt from Lower Body Training by Jason Brown.

The barbell glute hip thrust is a bilateral exercise that targets the hamstrings and to a higher degree the glute complex. Like the single-leg glute hip thrust, this exercise is effective because of its ability to isolate and target the glutes. Barbell glute hip thrusts have made quite a name for themselves thanks to people like Dr. Bret Contreras, a strength coach and author who gained popularity from this exercise and his work to bring direct glute training to the forefront of strength training. Barbell glute hip thrusts utilize all four actions of the glutes—hip external rotation, hip abduction, hip extension, and posterior pelvic tilt. There are a few pointers for reaping the benefits of this exercise. First, use a bench or a box with a height of 12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 cm). Second, don’t sacrifice ROM for load—it’s common to see people miss-ing 10 to 15 percent of end ROM just to use heavier load-ing. Additionally, although this variation could be programmed for heavier work (3- to 6-rep max), I’ve found this variation to be more effective in the 8- to 12-rep range and have gone as high as 20-rep sets, so feel free to experiment.


  • Sit on the floor in front of the long side of a standard-height weight bench.
  • Raise your body to place your mid back fully on the bench and your feet about hip-width apart. The legs should be at about 90-degree angles throughout the entire movement.
  • Place a standard barbell with a pad or folded towel over your pelvis (see figure a).
  • Push through the heels and use the glutes to thrust the hips upward until they are parallel to the floor (see figure b).
  • Tuck your chin and squeeze your glutes at the top.
  • Lower your hips until your backside is about 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) above the floor. That’s 1 rep.

Barbell glute hip thrust

Sets: 4-5
Reps: 8-10
Rest: 90 sec


1-1/4 Barbell Glute Hip Thrust

When performing the 1-1/4 barbell glute hip thrust, follow the same mechanics as previously described, but instead of returning to the start position, come up only a quarter of the way, lower yourself down again to the floor, and then back up to the start position (see figures a-d). This constitutes 1 rep.

1-1/4 Barbell Glute Hip Thrust

Sets: 3-4
Reps: 10-12 (1 full ROM rep + 1/4 rep at the top of each rep = 1 rep)
Rest: 90 sec

More Excerpts From Lower Body Training