Looking to build strong and functional glutes and increase your personal records for deadlift & squat? You should check out these 12 hip thrust variations!

You may have done hip thrusts (or hip “bridges”) before, but have you thought outside of the box when hitting these?

Hands down, the fundamental movement of a hip thrust is, in my opinion, the best way to get a pure isolated contraction of the glutes and the hamstrings.

Since you have such a fixed movement range with a hip thrust, the concentric contraction that occurs is intense.

You can vary how you hit these, allowing you to target more of your hamstrings, or completely take your hamstrings out of the equation and strike down hard on the glutes.

The range of motion in a hip thruster is where your hamstrings and glutes love to be. You are performing an isolated contraction involving both of their major muscle movements.

If you can’t feel your hamstrings or glutes contract in these movements, you are doing it wrong. You should feel the contraction as much as you feel a bicep curl.

Without further ado, I present to you, 12 KILLER hip thrust variations that you should include in your leg days.

Related: Boyce’s Choices - 3 Best Exercises for Glutes


1. Double Foot on Floor

This is your most basic hip thrusting movement.

Start with your feet flat on the ground, shoulder width apart, and your back and head flat on the ground.

Drive up through your heels, sticking your butt as high as you can into the air, until you feel an intense contraction. Hold this for 1 second, and release.

Progression: Put a MB/KB/DB on your hips to add resistance to the thrust.


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2. Single Leg on Floor

This is a little more difficult, because you’re supporting your body weight with 1 leg rather than both.

Do the same as you would with double foot, with the exception that you will hold the opposite leg at a 45-degree angle up in the air.

Progression: Hold the opposite leg higher, or put a MB/KB/DB on your hips.

3. Double Foot on Bench

We are upping the ante a bit with this one.

This is the same fundamental concept of the hip thrust. However, you will place both feet on an elevated bench, rather than simply on the floor.

Placing your feet at an elevation will increase the angle required for your hips to contract, thus leading to a stronger contraction.

Progression: Increase elevation of bench, or add MB/KB/DB on your hips.

4) Single Foot on Bench

Time to make things a bit more interesting.

Perform the same motion as you did when you performed these on the ground. The higher elevation will require greater force output, leading to a greater isolated contraction.

Keep that opposite leg about 45-degrees in the air. Switch legs.

Progression: Increase bench elevation, increase opposite leg elevation, add MB/KB/DB to hips.

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We are moving into the intermediate portion of these movements. This is where you can start to challenge yourself and suffer the agony of training the posterior portion of your hips to be incredibly strong.

5. Barbell Thrust (back to bench)

This may be the king of hip strengthening thrusts. This is where you can load up and create some excessive force output.

Set up a flat bench against a sturdy surface so it won’t move. Load a barbell up with 25/45lb plates. You are still performing the same fundamental movement of a hip thrust; But, you will instead sit vertical with your back pressing fully against the bench, keeping yourself locked into the position.

Now that you’re locked in, roll the bar over top of your hips and proceed to perform the same hip thrusting motion. Drive up through your heels, keeping them flat on the ground, squeeze at the tops, and allow your upper back to go on top of the bench.

This can feel a bit uncomfortable since you have such a heavier load on your hips, it’s one of those love-hate exercises. It never stops feeling uncomfortable, but once you start to recognize the benefits of it, it’ll hardly matter anymore.

Progression: Add more weight, silly.


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6. 1 Legged DB Thrust (back against bench)

This is the same concept as the full barbell thrust, however, you will only load a dumbbell (horizontally) on your hips and thrust your hips upwards with one leg, holding the other leg out straight ahead of you.

7. Double Foot on Bosu Ball

If you have access to this piece of equipment, this can provide a great change-up for your hip thrusting variations.

Lie flat on your back, with both feet in the center of the Bosu Ball. Drive your hips up through your heels and squeeze at the top.

This should be a little unstable and require more motor unit recruitment.

Progression: Put a MB/KB/DB on your hips.


Now it’s time to get serious. These movements are advanced in the fact that they require you to think about what you’re doing, and making sure you’re doing it correctly.

8. Single Foot Bosu Ball

Lie flat on the ground, place one foot in the center of the Bosu Ball, drive your hips up through your heel, and keep the opposite foot elevated.

This will prove to be challenging because the Bosu Ball is an unstable surface, so you will recruit more motor units and a slightly prolonged concentric contraction.

Progression: Put a MB/KB/DB on your hips.

9. Double Foot on Medicine Ball

This is where it starts to get tough. Find a hard MB, one that can roll around, not the squishy ones. Place both feet on the sides of the medicine ball, at about a 45 to 55-degree angle.

Lie flat on your back and drive your hips up through your heels and squeeze.

Since the MB is small and will easily move, you must focus if you want to contract your hamstrings and glutes correctly.

Progression: Put a MB/KB/DB on your hips.

10. Single Foot on Medicine Ball

Place one foot in the center of the medicine ball, drive your hips up through your heels and squeeze. Keep the opposite foot elevated 45-degrees.

This will be extremely tough because the MB is already unstable and moving side to side, and you’re performing this with only 1 foot, adding to the instability factor. Motor unit recruitment at its finest!

Progression: Put a MB/KB/DB on your hips.

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11. Double Foot on Yoga Ball

This will be the most unstable variation you do. Since yoga balls are generally big, you will also have an increased range of motion in this movement.

Lie flat on your back, place both feet in the center of the yoga ball, and thrust up, squeezing your posterior.

The ball will 100% move from side to side, so to perform these correctly you must make sure you are contracting your leg muscles to keep it controlled.

This last variation is my favorite glute developer you can do. I learned this from strength & conditioning coach Brandon Spickler, whom I performed my internship with. Drumroll…..

Related: The Real Benefits of Stronger Glutes

12. Frog Thruster

This is one of the best glute isolating exercises you can do.

Lie down flat on your back, and bring the soles of your feet together, touching the bottoms of both soles against each other. It should resemble somewhat of a butterfly position.

Lie flat down, keeping the soles of your feet together, and thrust your hips up. This takes your hamstrings pretty much out of the equation completely, with the sole contraction being the glutes.

Since your hamstrings are responsible for flexion of the knee, they won’t be active movers in this, due to your leg position. The knee angle stays the same throughout the entire movement, thus isolating only the glutes as the prime mover.

With your glutes already in an abducted state since the bottoms of your feet are touching, you will feel the contraction even deeper as you thrust up and further that abduction. Pow.

Progession: Put a MB/KB/DB on your hips, or hold the contraction at the top for 30s-1 minute.

Wrap up

Now that you have some variations of hip thrusters in your arsenal, it’s time to start programming some of these in your training.

Nothing beats a squat and deadlift for pure hip strength, but supplementary exercises are always important in a balanced program.

Keep it well-rounded and change up your variations each week.