Dumbbell Hip Thrust: A Complete Guide | How to Train Your Glutes!

By
Yara Mersi
October 4, 2021

The Dumbbell Hip Thrust

The dumbbell hip thrust is one of the most important exercises for building a strong posterior chain. Not only will this exercise boost your hamstrings and glutes, but it will also help you develop proper form on other exercises as well, especially the barbell hip thrust. 

If you take the time to learn the dumbbell hip thrust, you will quickly see results!


Muscles Worked by the Dumbbell Hip Thrust

Primary Muscle Groups:

The dumbbell hip thrust primarily works your hamstrings, glutes and your adductors.

Unsurprisingly, the dumbbell hip thrust works the glutes the most. The gluteal muscles are a group of three muscles: the gluteus maximus, the medium and the minimus. The dumbbell hip thrust targets all parts, but places the greatest emphasis on the gluteus maximus. 

 

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Furthermore, this exercise also works the hamstrings which is comprised of three muscles in the back of your leg: semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris.

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Lastly, the dumbbell hip thrust works the adductors, which are muscles of the inner groin that work isometrically to stabilize the pelvis during hip extension. It is a stabilizing muscle that supports the balance and when strengthened, can help prevent injuries. 

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Secondary Muscle Groups:

The dumbbell hip thrust also activates other muscle groups, including your core muscles and lower back. Your core is also engaged during compound exercises to help stabilize your body and lift safely.

It also works your lower back as you hip hinge, which can help provide support to your spine as well as flexibility. 

Dumbbell Hip Thrust Benefits

1. Boosts athletic performance

Incorporating the dumbbell hip thrust or its variations can help boost your athletic performance. Whether you are a runner or a basketball player, strengthening your hips and glutes is crucial. It will also help increase your power, endurance and overall form in other movements of the sport. 

2. Increases the size of the glutes

Undoubtedly, the most common reason the hip thrust is performed is to increase glute muscle mass. By incorporating progressive overload, you will create damage to your muscle fibers which in turn, when combined with proper nutrition and recovery, will lead to growth. 

Not only that, but introducing a new stimuli such as this movement will also shock the muscles and help benefit muscle gains.

3. Decreases overall risk of injury

The dumbbell hip thrusts can help reduce the overall risk of injury. This is because with strong glutes, you will not feel as much pressure on your lower back or hips and your overall lower body will be strengthened. This is very important whether you are an athlete or an average gym-goer. 

How to do the Dumbbell Hip Thrust

Equipment:

For this exercise, you will need one dumbbell.

Setup:

a) To set up, you will need a bench or some surface to elevate yourself to position against just beneath your shoulder blades when you are sitting down. Make sure it is secured or against a wall so that it doesn’t move as you perform the movement. 

b) Engage your core, tuck your chin in and look forward.

Action:

a) Draw your knees in and extend your hips up so that your knees are at a 90 degree angle. For further glute engagement, keep your toes slightly pointed out. 

b) Now, reverse the motion as you return to the starting position and squeeze your glutes.

c) Maintain tightness in your core at all times and repeat!

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Recommendation:

If you are new to the dumbbell hip thrust, choose a light weight to begin and complete 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps.

If you are more comfortable with the form, grab a pair of heavier dumbbells and complete 8-10 reps for 3-4 sets. 

Dumbbell Hip Thrust Mistakes

1. Not doing the dumbbell hip thrust with full range

Many lifters will avoid going full range in order to lift heavier. However, you will not engage your glutes if you do not go all the way down. As you go back down, control the weight until your shins are vertical. 

2. Placing feet too far too forward

Placing the feet too far forward is a very common mistake with beginner lifters. When you do this, you are engaging primarily your hamstrings with very little glute engagement.

Therefore, you should keep your feet in a manner that when you extend, it should make a 90 degree angle. 

3. Hyper extending the lower back at the top of the lift

Once you lift the weight up, avoid hyper extending the lower back. This can lead to serious injury and also create less tension onto the glutes. 

Instead, keep your chin tucked in to avoid hyper extending and only extend until your back is neutral. There should not be any arch. 

Dumbbell Hip Thrust Variations

1. Bodyweight Hip Thrust

The bodyweight hip thrust is a great variation of the dumbbell hip thrust, especially if you are a beginner. If you want to focus on your form, then give this one a try!

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2. Barbell Hip Thrust

The barbell hip thrust is the next progression to try once you have mastered the bodyweight hip thrust. If you are looking to go heavier, then this one's for you. 

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3. Single Leg Hip Thrust

The single leg hip thrust can help you train each leg individually. Using the same form as the dumbbell hip thrust, lift one leg off the ground and complete the same movement. For advanced lifters, try adding a dumbbell to add extra tension.

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Dumbbell Hip Thrust Alternatives

If you enjoyed the dumbbell hip thrust, check out these alternative leg and glute exercises to improve your lower body training and glute development. 

1. Glute Bridge

The gute bridge is a challenging and interesting exercise as it engages the glutes while also activating your quadriceps muscle. This form of thrusting also allows you to add more weight to the barbell.

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2. Stiff Leg Deadlifts

The stiff leg deadlift is very similar to the Romanian deadlift. It focuses on your hamstring activation as well as hip flexion.

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3. Cable Glute Kickbacks

The cable glute kickback is a great isolation exercise as it engages only your glutes. You can perform with the cables or even with just your own body weight.

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Yara Mersi
Blogger at Anabolic Aliens