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Why Exactly Are Barbell Hip Thrusts the Best Butt Building Exercise?

The glutes are quite a big muscle, and originate (where the tendon joins the muscle to bone) at the top of the back on the thigh muscle, and inserts into the lower back (again, where the tendon joins the muscle to the bone), this is sort of like where a promotional sign can be attached to a fence, where the fence is the bone, the cable tie is the tendon and the sign is the muscle). Some exercise, such as donkey kicks, only train the muscle from either the origin or the insertion point, so they lack recruitment of every single muscle fibre and therefore you are not getting the most 'bang for your buck' with these isolation exercises. With a barbell hip thrust, both the insertion point and the origin point of the muscle are activated, due to flexion at the knee and extension at the hip. This of course does mean that you may feel your hamstrings a bit more, as well as your lower back. Ideally you won't feel it in your lower back, but this is where knowing how to perform the exercise comes in handy. How To Perform A Barbell Hip Thrust 1. Getting the barbell onto your lap It is difficult to get the barbell onto your hips, especially when the weight is heavy or you don't have bumper plates, so here are a few ways: - Deadlift the bar and place the bar into the crease of your hips as you sit on the bench before getting into position - Uncomfortably roll the bar onto your hips, bring your knees up but keep your feet planted into the ground. (if you get cramp in your hips, this will be your hip flexors cramping up, nothing to worry about). Place your elbows on the bench above you and hoist yourself onto the bench to get into the start position. 2. Once you are in position (bar in the crease of your hips, shoulder blades on the bench, feet shoulder width apart or slightly wider and knees angled outward slightly.), lower your hips down to the floor, it doesn't matter too much if you can't touch the floor with either your butt or the weight plates. Keep hold of the bar with both hands to stop too much movement of the bar which would impair the exercise, try to squeeze and engage the glutes before you thrust. When you thrust up, make sure you drive your chin into your chest, this will stop your from overarching your back and will help you limit your range of motion which will help utilise the glutes and less of the lower back. During the exercise, your torso should move in one go, which means do not arch your back, because you will using your lower back too much. 'Feeling' Your Glutes Loads of people get frustrated when doing these as they can't feel their glutes working, which I understand, and it's very common. This is why my favourite method is the 5x5 method. Basically, you perform 5 sets of 5 reps with a specific weight. There aren't many reps to do so it makes the exercise easier, but there are at least 5 sets, and with a heavy enough weight, 5x5 will still feel difficult. Each time you can do 3-4 sets of 5, increase the weight by 5kg and perform the last 1-2 sets with a slightly heavier weight. Do this 2-3x a week, like you would any body part. How To See A Difference? Take a side view picture, each week, with the same shorts on and a crop top (for a woman) or no top (for a man) and notice the change in accentuation of your glutes, especially at the insertion and origin point. These really aren't too technical when you learn how to properly do them ;~)