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11 Best Hip Thrust Alternatives

What Is A Hip Thrust

A hip thrust is one of the most effective exercises for the lower body muscles. The technique is similar to the glute bridge one. However, the two main differences are equipment and range of motion. Hip thrust implies a barbell and allows a greater range of motion. Most experts recommend this exercise for strengthening glute muscles.

If you want to strengthen and enlarge your glutes and your hips and hamstrings, thrusts are also a great option. They can help everyone, from young athletes to those in their sixties and seventies.

What Muscles Does A Hip Thrust Work

The hip thrust is a compound exercise which means it helps to load many muscles at once. The glutes, including the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius and the hamstrings, are primarily worked during a hip thrust. 

Your quadriceps, core, and hip adductors will all be targeted too. Interestingly, hip flexor tightness, knee pain, and poor movement mechanics are symptoms of weak glutes. Regular practice of hip thrust may solve all the issues mentioned above. 

11 Best Hip Thrust Alternatives 

Banded Hip Thrust

The banded hip thrust is an excellent alternative to the barbell hip thrust since it targets the glutes and can be performed at home. To prepare the training site you need to fix a band over the power rack.

How to do this exercise:

  • Put a band around a power rack. And put the bench or box behind it.
  • Sit on the floor, placing a band around your lap.
  • Make sure the band is tight around your hips or just below them.
  • When you’re ready, raise your hips and lower your heels simultaneously.
  • Your chin must be tucked in at the top of the movement. This will help to keep your ribs down and your torso flat.
  • Come back to the starting position.

The band keeps the extra tension on the glutes. Also, it ensures you come up with a constant glute squeeze. You can start with a light band and change it to a thicker one as you get stronger.

Band Pull Through

What is the best alternative in the absence of a kettlebell or a dumbbell? There’s a chance that this exercise has the key. This exercise targets your glutes and hamstrings, resulting in an excellent workout for your posterior chain.

How to do this exercise:

  • The band may be set at a lower level. Grab it between your knees and take a few steps forward to form a resistance between you and the object.
  • Bend your knees just a little and keep your body centered.
  • Initiate the action by pulling your upper torso through.
  • You should feel the pressure in your glute and hamstring muscles as you extend to your hips and kneecaps.
  • Come back to the starting position.

Dumbbell Swing

Practical and simple, the dumbbell swing has many adherents both among beginners and pros. It improves strength, flexibility, and balance. Dumbbell swing helps to burn fat and build muscle in a short time. This exercise works the glute complex, hamstrings, quadriceps, deltoids, rhomboids, trapezius, and abs. 

How to do this exercise:

  • Begin with standing feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your spine straight.
  • Bend the knees a little bit, relying on the hips to support you. The desired results are a natural lower back arc and a delicate quarter bend. 
  • Put the dumbbell in front of you and grab it.
  • Begin the swing motion by moving the dumbbell between your legs.
  • Then, lift the weight forward. Make as many swings as you can. 

Be careful not to stoop or crouch. Initiate each movement with your hips muscles.

Trap Bar Deadlift

Do a trap bar deadlift to build the glute, hamstring, and back. They are easier on the lumbar spine than barbell deadlifts. That’s why these exercises are an excellent choice for those with back problems.

How to do this exercise:

  • Step into the middle of the trap bar. Your feet should be shoulder distance apart.
  • Grab the bar with both hands. Get your hips high, slightly bending your knees. The upper body must be almost parallel to the floor. Keep the back straight.
  • Push through your feet, pull the barbell up, and stand up.
  • Make reps. Push your hips forward, sticking your butt back every time. Remember, it’s not a squatting movement.

Single-Leg Banded Hip Thrust

Single-leg banded hip thrust provides the best glute isolation and helps to target muscles on each leg separately. The exercise works best for those who want to strengthen muscles on each leg or probably concentrate on the weaker one to load glutes.

How to do this exercise:

  • Grab some heavy dumbbells or a power rack with band pegs and a cushioned bench, step, or box to work out on.
  • Place a resistance band on the floor beside you.
  • Lie on your back on the ground and straighten your legs.
  • Face the cushioned apparatus behind you and rest your upper back on it.
  • Move your feet closer to your glutes, 
  • Cross the band across your lap and fasten it to the other band peg.
  • Ensure the band is tight around your hips or just below them.
  • Raise your non-dominant leg by the hip joint when you’re ready.
  • While pushing the heel of your dominant foot down, raise your hips.
  • When your hips are completely extended or somewhat hyper-extended, you should stop for a while.
  • Come back down to the starting stance.

Kneeling Squat 

The kneeling squat is one of the most effective and safe exercises for lower body muscles. If you can’t practice ordinary squats for some reason, this move is just what the doctor ordered. 

How to do this exercise:

  • Get into the kneeling position. Keep your head held high while tucking your pelvis below you.
  • Sit down onto your calves, maintaining a neutral spine. When working out, hold your back naturally straight.
  • Be sure to maintain the same posture with your feet, legs, and back. Come up. The pelvis should be the source of movement. Feel the tension in your gluteal and thigh muscles.

Barbell Glute Bridge

This exercise aims to load hip extensors and make your rear end rounder and stronger. Barbell glute bridge will also help you practice other moves like squats and deadlifts. If you have tight hamstrings, don’t start this exercise without stretching.

How to do this exercise:

  • Lay down on the ground. Keep your back flat.
  • Bring your heels close to the glutes. The bar should lie on the tighs. Hold the bar going about shoulder width.
  • Go up by pushing through your hips and flexing the glutes.
  • When you are at the top of the movement, extend your hips forward. Make sure that you reach hip hyperextension.
  • If you feel hamstrings start to take over during the exercise, push through your toes a little more on your feet.
  • Come down to the starting position. 

If the bar hurts you during exercising, put some pad under it.

Stiff Leg Deadlift 

This exercise is great for isolating and loading the hamstrings. However, you are going to fatigue your lower back as well. While practicing stiff leg deadlift, you should feel a stretch in your hamstrings.

How to do this exercise:

  • Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend over and grab the barbell with the shoulder-width grip.
  • Come up. Retract your shoulder blades and lockout your knees as you stand up.
  • Lower the bar, keeping your legs straight.
  • Drive through your heels as you start to feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Pull flexing your hamstrings and glutes to bring the bar back to the starting position.

Glute Drive

The exercise is suitable for those who train at gyms or have a glute drive machine at home. Glute drive machines activate the gluteal muscles almost equal to that of the barbell hip thrust. The equipment is effortless to use. 

How to do this exercise:

  • Get in the machine and buckle yourself up. The best thing about the glute drive machine is you know exactly where to place your hands and feet. 
  • Push your hips up in a controlled motion, feeling the tension in your glutes and hamstrings.
  • Come back to the initial position.

Sumo Deadlift 

Sumo deadlift targets the hamstrings and hips, the glutes, and the lower back. The workout method ensures that your lower back is not put under unnecessary stress.

How to do this exercise:

  • Take a wide posture while approaching the bar.
  • Decide on how you want to hold the barbell. An overhand grip or a switch grip are both acceptable.
  • Grab the barbell as you lower your torso. Maintain a high center of gravity and extend your knees. Make sure you’re keeping your core firm when you’re working out.
  • Lift the barbell. Initiate the movement with your hips. 
  • Return to your starting point. Put the bar back down to the ground in a controlled motion.

Glute-Ham Raise

This exercise is often called one of the best ones for hamstrings and glutes. Glute-ham raise takes hamstrings through their full range of motion. By adding this exercise to your workout, you can work the hamstrings both at the origin, ischial tuberosity, and all the way down.

How to do this exercise:

  • Set the footplate in a suitable position. It would be best if you were in plantar flexion or calf raise against the footplate. 
  • Cross your arms in front of your chest. Keep your hips extended (straight) and knees bent.
  • Bend down with your upper body. Straighten your knees and push yourself out. Bend your hips while keeping your back tight. Go down as far as you can. 
  • Come back up to the starting position. 

 If you don’t have a particular machine, you can use a barbell to fix your feet and some soft padding to comfort your knees. 


There are few workouts as beneficial to the lower body as a hip thrust. It primarily targets the whole glute complex and hamstrings. Another good news is that the exercise has many variations. Each athlete can choose an alternative for their individual goals and fitness level. For example, try a kettlebell swing if you need a compound movement, strengthening both your glutes and upper body. And glute-ham raise is the best for those who want to take glutes and hamstrings through a full range of motion.