8 Effective Hip Thrust Alternatives 

8 Effective Hip Thrust Alternatives 

The hip thrust is a helpful exercise for bodybuilders, weightlifters, and athletes who want to build lower-body strength and power. A hip thrust alternative is an exercise similar to the traditional hip thrust that can be performed with only a few pieces of equipment and tax the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, hamstrings, quadriceps, core, and hip adductors. 

The hip thrust is essential for athletes to build lower-body power to work on movements like sprinting and jumping. This exercise is also helpful for beginner weightlifters who want to work on their lower body strength without using heavy pieces of equipment. 

The hip thrusts can be performed with just the bodyweight and a bench or can be done solely on the floor using no equipment. It is recommended to start with a bodyweight hip thrust alternative before adding any weight.

To make this exercise harder, this exercise can be used with varying equipment, such as a barbell, dumbbell on the hips, cables, or resistance band. These more advanced alternatives include the trap bar hip thrust alternative, the barbell hip thrust alternative and the kettlebell hip thrust alternative.

Beginners can use a bodyweight hip thrust alternative to still build total-body and lower-body strength and power. For advanced users, athletes can try a kettlebell hip thrust alternative, the barbell hip thrust alternative, or the trap bar hip thrust alternative for more significant gains. Not to mention, users can try hip thrust alternatives at home if they cannot get to the gym to still see the same results.  

1. Cable Pull Through

The cable pull-through is an effective hip thrust alternative that focuses on the hamstrings and glutes. This exercise is helpful for beginners who do not want to do a barbell hip thrust but want to work the hamstrings and posterior chain for use during jumping and sprinting.

Alternatives to the cable pull-through included the kettlebell swing and stiff leg deadlifts. One mistake to avoid with this exercise is bending your arms. Users can prevent this mistake by locking out their elbows and hinging at the hips. 

The toughness of this exercise is a 4 out of 10 since users will have to learn the hip hinge movement before performing this more advanced version.

2. Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings are a hip thrust alternative that builds lower body power and explosiveness by targeting the hamstrings and glutes in a forceful movement. This exercise is beneficial for athletes who want to improve either jumping or sprinting potential.

Alternatives to the kettlebell swing include the single-arm kettlebell swing, single-arm kettlebell Romanian deadlift, and two-arm kettlebell deadlift. One mistake to avoid during this exercise is to round your back. Users can prevent this by keeping an upright chest and squeezing their glutes at the top of the motion. 

The toughness of this exercise is a 5 out of 10 since it can lead to injury if done improperly. 

3. Stiff Leg Deadlifts

Stiff leg deadlifts are a hip thrust alternative that works the hamstrings primarily, with the erector spinae, gluteus, and gastrocnemius also getting a good workout. This exercise is helpful for weightlifters who want to build their posterior chain and athletes who wish to increase their speed and power. 

Alternatives to the stiff leg deadlifts include the single-leg Romanian deadlift, Romanian barbell deadlift, single-leg kettlebell deadlift, and traditional barbell deadlift. One mistake to avoid during this exercise is to round your back. Individuals can avoid this mistake by keeping a firm grip on the barbell and straight arms. 

The toughness level of this exercise is a 4 out of 10 since it can sometimes be considered more manageable than the traditional barbell deadlift since you do not need as much range of motion.

4. Smith Rack Donkey Kicks

The smith rack donkey kicks are a hip thrust alternative that focuses primarily on the gluteus medius and Maximus. Since this is on track, this is an easy-to-use exercise that is suitable for beginners.

Alternatives to the smith rack donkey kicks include the resistance band donkey kicks, single-leg glute bridge, two-leg glute bridge, and reverse lunge. One mistake to avoid during this exercise is not to set up properly. Two tips to avoid this mistake are to have a spotter help you set up and to place your foot at the proper spot on the bar. 

The toughness level of this exercise is a 4 out of 10 since it can cause a problem if your foot slips off of the bar. 

5. Kneeling Smith Rack Hip Extensions

The kneeling smith rack hip extensions is a hip thrust alternative that works the erector spinae, obliques, gastrocnemius, gluteus maximus, and gluteus medius. This exercise is helpful for athletes who want to build power and for bodybuilders who need to increase the size of their lower back.

Alternatives to this exercise include single-leg kneeling hip extension on a bench, donkey kicks on a mat, and bird dog exercises. One mistake to avoid with this exercise is extending your back. Two tips to avoid this mistake are to squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement and to prevent arching your back. 

The toughness level of this exercise is a 4 out of 10 since you are supported through the smith track the entire movement. 

6. Good Mornings

Good mornings are a hip thrust alternative that works the lower back, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius. This exercise is beneficial for lower back health. 

Alternatives of this exercise include the stiff-legged deadlift, bird dog exercise, lower back extension on a machine, and plank. One mistake to avoid with this exercise is going to offer down with the barbell. Users can avoid this by only going to a 90-degree angle and keeping their back flat. 

The toughness level of this exercise is a 5 out of 10 since it requires some hip mobility. 

7. Deadlifts

Deadlifts are hip thrust alternatives that work the hamstrings, gluteus, and upper back. By holding the barbell and going through an athletic movement, users can build their lower body strength and power. The Deadlift is suitable for athletes and bodybuilders who want to increase their leg muscles.

Alternatives of deadlifts include dumbbell deadlift, single-leg deadlift, single-leg Romanian deadlift, and the leg press machine. Users need to avoid rounding their back during this movement. Users can prevent this mistake by keeping their back flat and their chest upright. 

The toughness level of this exercise is a 5 out of 10 since the user will have to get the proper form before adding any weight. 

8. Bulgarian Split Squats

Bulgarian split squats are a hip thrust alternative that works the quadriceps, glutes, and hips. This exercise is excellent for building single-leg power and strength for athletes.

Alternatives of Bulgarian split squats include reverse lunges, barbell forward lunges, single-leg leg press, and single-leg glute bridge. One mistake to avoid with this exercise is standing too close to the bench. Users can prevent this mistake by having a spotter set them up correctly and keeping their chest upright during the motion. 

The toughness of this exercise comes to a 6 out of 10 since it requires more single-leg strength than the typical hip thrust or deadlift. 

What to know about Hip Thrust alternatives?

Hip thrust alternatives are great options for beginners who need to scale back on the exercise or for advanced users who want something more challenging. 

Which Hip Thrust alternative is beginner friendlier?

The hip thrust alternatives that are great for beginners include the Cable Pull-through, Smith Rack Donkey Kicks, and Good Mornings.  

Which Hip Thrust substitute is better for strength?

The hip thrust substitute that is best for strength includes the stiff leg deadlifts, deadlifts, and Bulgarian split squats. 

When should an athlete use Hip Thrust alternatives for exercise?

An athlete should use a hip thrust alternative if they are focusing on another muscle to a higher degree, such as the hamstrings or glutes. Athletes should use the stiff leg deadlift to build their hamstring strength for sprinting, the deadlift for back and glute strength, and the good mornings for the hip hinge movement. 

Can Hip Thrust alternatives replace Hip Thrust?

Hip thrust alternatives cannot fully replace the benefits of the hip thrust exercise, but they can target the same muscle group and similar movement patterns. 

What are the Hip Thrust Variations?

There are numerous barbell hip thrust variations for optimal performance. 

  1. Bodyweight hip thrust
  2. Dumbbell hip thrust
  3. Banded hip thrust
  4. Single-leg hip thrust
  5. Single-leg dumbbell hip thrust
  6. Single-leg banded hip thrust
  7. Smith machine hip thrust
  8. Barbell glute bridge
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