What Muscles Do Hip Thrusts Work?

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Whether you go to the gym or you exercise at home, there are a wide variety of exercises that you can do. Sure, many people love focusing on their upper body. Yes, we all like looking at our guns in the mirror. However, something that many people neglect is their lower body and legs. Here, we are talking specifically about the hips and thighs.

However, there are of course people who do focus on this area of the body. If you ever go to the gym, you might see somebody leaning on a weight bench with their shoulders, with a barbell on their hips. You’ll see these people thrusting up into the air, moving the barbell upwards with their hips. This is what is known as a hip thrust.

You lay on your back with your shoulders supported by a bench or other object, so your shoulders don’t touch the ground. You are then forced to raise the barbell up into the air using nothing but your hips and your core. Some people use only a little bit of weight, and some people put a whole lot of weight on that barbell.

Whatever the case may be, hip thrusts are a great form of exercise with many different benefits. Today, we want to take a closer look at exactly what benefits hip thrusts have for you. So, what muscles do hip thrusts work?

How to do a Hip Thrust

Before we talk about what muscles hip thrusts work out, let’s first take a quick look at exactly how to do one. First, you’re going to want to find yourself a weight bench. Preferably, you want something that is a little bit padded.

You’re going to be supporting most of your weight with your shoulders on that bench, so a bit of padding is going to help. You want to sit against the bench with your behind on the ground, and your shoulder blades resting on the bench. You want your back to be rested on the bench, just below your shoulder blades or at your shoulder blades.

You want everything below your shoulder blades to be hanging off the bench. Then, you want to take a barbell, starting with a lightweight, and put it on your hips. Also, make sure to keep your knees bent with your feet flat on the ground at shoulder width.

Then, you are quite literally going to thrust your hips up into the air so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.

Thrust upward as high as you can go, hold this for a couple of seconds, and then go back down. If you want to increase the difficulty of this exercise, don’t let your behind touch the ground in between reps.

What Muscles Do Hip Thrusts Work?

If you are wondering what muscles hip thrusts work, these muscles are mainly in your upper legs. Generally speaking, the two muscles or muscle groups that get to work out the most by doing hip thrusts are your glutes and your hamstrings.

Specifically, your gluteus maximus, your gluteus medius, and your hamstrings are the three muscles that are going to take the most punishment here.

This is because your glutes and hamstrings are going to be doing most of the work. Your glutes and hamstrings are going to push that barbell up into the air and then stop it from crashing back down to the ground. However, these are not the only muscles that hip thrusts will work.  

Yes, the rest of your legs are going to be doing some work here too. So, you can expect to feel it in your calves, as well as in your quadriceps, just a little bit. No, your calves and quadriceps won’t be worked out quite as much as your glutes and hamstrings, but a little bit is still better than nothing.

There is still more to it than that as well, because your core is going to be worked out as well. It takes a lot of core strength, specifically in your abdominals and oblique muscles, to keep that barbell in the air. At the end of the day, when it comes down to it, everything from your midsection down is going to be exercised by the hip thrust.

General Benefits of Hip Thrusts

Let’s take a quick look at all of the different benefits that you get from doing hip thrusts. As you are about to see, this is a really great form of exercise.

1. Muscle Growth

One major benefit that you get from doing hip thrusts is that they help to grow your muscles. Yes, this is something that we have already established. However, you really shouldn’t underestimate all the different benefits of muscle growth.

At the very least, you can rest assured that your legs, your midsection, and your core, are going to get much stronger. With more muscle comes more strength. However, there are then many other benefits that you get related to muscle growth.

What Muscles Do Hip Thrusts Work

2. Weight Loss

Another indirect benefit that you get from doing this exercise is that you will lose more weight. The fact here is that the more muscle you have, the less weight you will keep on, at least generally speaking. This is because maintaining muscle takes more calories than maintaining fat.

Therefore, the more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you will burn on a regular basis. The more calories you burn on a regular basis, the more fat you will shed, or at least the more weight you will keep off. Therefore, although it isn’t an indirect benefit, this exercise will still help you lose weight in the grand scheme of things.

3. Increased Endurance

Something else that you might appreciate about this exercise is that it helps you increase your endurance, particularly in terms of running. If you want to run a lot and be on your feet all day long, you need to have strong leg muscles.

As we have established, this is a fantastic exercise to help develop your leg muscles. The stronger your legs are, the faster and longer you will be able to run for.

4. Being Able to Jump Higher

Yet another benefit here, although it’s not something that many talk about, is that doing hip thrusts will allow you to jump higher.

Now, we don’t know exactly how useful this benefit is for you specifically, but it is a benefit nonetheless. Simply put, the stronger your legs are, the higher you’ll be able to jump.

5. Better Balance

Yet another benefit that you will get from doing this exercise is better balance. The stronger your leg muscles get, the better you will be able to balance.

This is something that can be extremely important especially in your old age. As we age, our ability to balance tends to decrease. However, by doing exercises such as hip thrusts, you can negate this slow decline from happening.


Hip thrusts help to exercise many of the muscles in your legs. This in turn leads to many other benefits for your body.

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