WHAT DOES THE HIP THRUST TARGET?
The hip thrust exercise is a unique form of hip extension. It targets specifically the gluteus maximus and a little of the hamstrings and quads, however, it is a glute dominant exercise. It is a popular choice of glute exercise form for women as they can train glutes intensely, without targeting or growing the quads.
HOW TO GROW THE GLUTES USING HIP THRUSTS?
Growing the glutes with this exercise is a combination of increased weight resistance, reps, recovery and of course, diet. You can train your glutes as hard as you want, however if you’re not consuming enough carbs and protein to allow your muscles to physically grow then you will struggle and plateau; your body will breakdown your muscle to supply glucose for energy as opposed to the food you consume which I know personally can be quite depressing. Check out our Nutrition blog to learn more about diet and meal plans.
HOW DOES IT GROW THE GLUTES & WHY IS IT A UNIQUE GLUTE EXERCISE?
The hip extension can effectively target the glutes with high weight resistance along with a decent rep range. Simply put, type-2 fibres muscles in the gluteus maximus are where the potential for growth resides, and they respond only to heavy weights (at least 75% of your maximum one-rep range). This is because you need to create micro-muscle-tears, which are the target for activating protein-synthesis resulting in muscle hypertrophy (muscle gain).
WHAT REPS & WEIGHT SHOULD I DO FOR GLUTE GROWTH?
Moderate reps of 8-12 with 30-60 seconds sets is suggested to be an optimal time for the muscle to be stimulated to create micro-tears. Concentric (lifting) of 2 seconds and eccentric (lowering) movement for 2 seconds again, with a 2-4 second hold at the top.
Why is this range critical?
When the set lasts longer than a few seconds and the weight of resistance is relatively heavy (that 75% max 1-rep range) the body is forced to rely on the glutes (the larger muscle in this contraction rather than the hamstrings or quads). When the body focuses the weight on the glutes it causes more micro-tears because the glutes are quite literally the main muscle physically holding the resisting weight. This will also help those who struggle to feel the mind to muscle glute activation.
Why do I feel numb in my glutes after doing those high weight reps?
The numbness/soreness is an indication that yes, you have activated those glutes as well as possibly caused micro-tears and this usually means that your body is flooding the muscle with blood to start the recovery process. This is when consuming BCAA’s and a protein supplement would be a good time, however if you haven’t finished your training session, hold off on the protein until post workout.
WHY IS MUSCLE TEARING IMPORTANT FOR GROWTH?
The longer the tension the greater the tear; the greater the tear the potential for greater muscle growth. This is called hypertrophy. This doesn’t necessarily mean you create new muscle, but it does generate new proteins to build and recover from that muscle tear, placing more proteins on the tear to build up and make stronger each time you create a tear. It’s important to track the weight and reps that you are pushing so you can track your progress. Hypertrophy in the muscle can be optimised when you apply the same to your training, meaning increasing the weight every 2-3 weeks.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT WEIGHT RESISTANCE IS BEST TO START?
A moderately challenging weight or 75% of your max 1-rep weight. Personally for me (female 21- 62kg-178cm tall), I can thrust a 110kg bar for 1 or 2 reps, but for moderate reps I do between 70-85kg then if I were to implement a progressive overload method. I would start with 60kg and make my way up to 95kg by the 4th set. So, when it comes to your weights it’s really up to what you can do, especially for an exercise with a tendency to be performed incorrectly resulting in lower back pain. Make sure you start with just the bar and see how many you can do with that, perfecting your form and activation and slowly increase the weight and make sure you are constantly engaging your glutes.
If you’re a beginner, make sure you perfect your form with the bar first, then increase the weight slowly making sure you are constantly engaging your glutes.
If you have done hip thrusts before but struggle to feel the activation, start increasing the weight and track both the weight and reps. Start implementing the hypertrophy training method and also be sure to fuel yourself! Only then will you see the results!