In the fourth instalment of our lower body stabilisation series of exercise tutorials, we feature the Barbell Hip Thruster - AKA Barbell Hip Thrust. Somewhere along the line we started calling it the Hip Thruster, to differentiate it from the most common versions of the Hip Thrust.
The Hip Thruster is a progression from the Barbell Hip Bridge, and we have added the mini resistance band around the knees which adds another level of complexity from the standard verions of this exercise. Again, this exercise may be best used in a structural balance training phase.
This exercise is just as controversial as its little brother, the Hip Bridge, equally loved and hated by strength coaches worldwide. However we have the same specific reasons for using it with beginners to strength training - to teach these athletes how to efficiently recruit as much of their posterior chain musculature as possible through the hip extension movement pattern.
The main difference between the Bridge and the Thruster is that the athlete has the shoulders and torso elevated from the ground (on the bench). This creates a slightly different recuitment pattern from the Bridge, and it also increases the range of motion - both of these factors result in more total muscle fibers being recruited through the movement potentiating greater strength gains in the more advanced hip extension lifts (eg: squat and deadlift).
As with the Hip Bridge, be sure to keep the lumbar spine neutral (not hyper-extending the lower back) while keeping the abdominals braced hard. Make sure you are forcing the knees outward against the resistance band to fire as much of the gluteus medius fibers as possible. Keep the head in a neutral position, not flexing or extending the neck and lead the movement by driving the head back and down towards the back wall and the floor.
Special thanks to Unknown sponsored BJJ athlete Cooper Burnham, and videographer Teresa McNair.