It's about time we stopped relying on the barbell hip thrust to build our glutes and started using other hip extension exercises to build muscle.


Because there are plenty of barbell hip thrust alternatives that you can add to your workout. 

To help, I've rounded up 10 of the best hip thrust alternatives to keep your glutes looking great and feeling strong. Best of all, you can do them in your home gym or a commercial gym.

Who doesn't want a great bum, right?

Below are 10 of the best barbell hip thrust alternatives around, and how to perform them. I recommend choosing 2-3 of these exercises and adding them to your glute workout. You won't regret it.

1. Body Weight Hip Thrust (Hip Thrust Alternative For At Home)

Woman Doing Body Weight Hip Thrust
This barbell hip thrust alternative doesn't require any equipment and can be performed pretty much anywhere such as:
  • Bedroom
  • Hotel 
  • Office
  • Park
  • Commercial gym
  • Garage gym
  • And many more...

What I love about this substitute for hip thrust is that you you can still get an excellent glute pump even though you're not using weight. I've used this movement as a high rep finisher for the end of my workout... And I couldn't walk properly the next day. 

Don't underestimate this one. 


  • Uses your body weight.
  • Ideal for beginners.
  • You can do it anywhere.

How to do it:

  1. Place your middle back on a bench. 
  2. Put your feet flat on the floor. 
  3. Fire your hips upwards, squeezing your glutes together.
  4. Hold for a few seconds.
  5. Slowly lower back to the starting position.

Tips From A Trainer!

This exercise can be done anywhere and with almost anything. If you want to add some weight using only household items, try filling a water bottle or jug and resting it on your lap. 

2. Dumbbell Hip Thrust

Woman Doing Dumbbell Hip Thrusts In The Gym

The dumbbell hip thrust is one of my favorite exercises because it isolates the glutes without involving other muscle groups.

Just like the barbell hip thrust, making it one of the best alternatives you can add to your workout. 

To perform this exercise all you need is a bench and a set of dumbbells, so you can pretty much perform this in any gym (home or commercial). 

While it's suitable for all abilities, beginners will love it as it's relatively simple and safe to perform alone. 


  • Great for beginners.
  • Massive glute burn.

How to do it:

  1. Put a dumbbell on your hips.
  2. Place your middle back on a bench or platform (like a step).
  3. Keep your feet flat and push your hips upwards, squeezing your glutes. 
  4. Slowly lower and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

If you have trouble stabilizing the dumbbell on your lap, drop the weight a bit. Since this exercise isolates the glutes, you don't need that much weight to feel the burn. 

3. Resistance Band Hip Thrust

Man Doing Resistance Band Hip Thrust

The resistance band hip thrust is very similar to the original exercise, with the only difference being that a band is used in place of a barbell.

If I was a beginner looking to increase my glute size and strength, this would be one of my go-to exercises.

It's extremely simple to set up and is unlikely to cause injury to you if performed incorrectly (unless you accidentally slap yourself with the resistance band... yeah, I've been there).

Add this substitute for hip thrust to your workout and feel the DOMS in your glutes for days.


  • Uses minimal equipment.
  • Perfect for beginners.

How to do it:

  1. Sit with your back against a bench or elevated platform. 
  2. Place a resistance band over your hips and tuck the ends around your feet. 
  3. Bring your legs closer to your body and keep your feet flat to the floor. 
  4. Push your hips upwards and squeeze your glutes. 
  5. Slowly lower to the starting point and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

For this one, it can be tough to get the resistance band in the correct spot. Place it under your heels or wrapped around your shoes for the most stable results. 

4. Cable Pull-Through

Woman Showing How To Perform Cable Pull-Throughs

A cable pull-through is a great way to work your posterior chain (lower back, hamstrings, and glutes).

While it's performed best using a cable machine, it can also be an excellent banded exercise to do if you're sitting in front of a computer all day or if you're in a hotel room on the road.

I've used this barbell hip thrust alternative with many clients as it's a great exercise to learn the hip hinge movement - which is something you NEED to know if you want big glutes.

Think of this as the same range of motion as when you are using a kettlebell.


  • Easy for beginners to learn.
  • Uses a wide range of motion.
  • Develops strong glutes.

How to do it:

  1. Set the cable machine pulley to the low position with a rope handle.
  2. Stand facing away from the machine and grab the handle with both hands.
  3. Bending forward, hinging from the hips.
  4. Slowly pull the cable through your legs pushing your hips forward and squeezing your glutes.
  5. Slowly lower and return to the starting position. 
  6. Repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

It may be difficult to nail the hip-hinge movement down for this exercise. If you have trouble, grab a resistance band and practice using it before moving to the cable machine. 

5. Barbell Good Morning

Woman Doing Good Mornings In The Gym

The barbell good morning is an excellent exercise that trains the hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors and hip flexors. 

It works your lower body through a wide range of motion, giving your hamstrings and glutes a MASSIVE stretch while under load. 

While it's a great substitute for hip thrusts, it's a difficult exercise to perform and I'd avoid it if you're new to weight liftin, instead try good morning alternatives. The last thing you want to do is perform it incorrectly and injure yourself. 

If you're new, you can also try the hex bar deadlift. 


  • Uses a wide range of motion.
  • Develops your entire posterior chain.

How to do it:

  1. Place a barbell on your back (resting on your traps). 
  2. Stand with your feet hip width. 
  3. Take a deep breath and hinge forward from your hips (maintaining a neutral spine). 
  4. Bring your body as close to 90-degrees as you can and return to the starting position. 
  5. Repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

This can be a difficult exercise for beginners. If you struggle to perform this movement, practice regular lightweight dumbbell deadlifts to warm-up your glutes and hip flexors. 

Learn More About The Differences - Good Morning Vs Deadlifts

6. Trap Bar Deadlift

Man Doing A Hex Bar Deadlift

The trap bar deadlift (also known as the hex bar deadlift) is a favorite of mine. I'm a BIG fan of this hip thrust alternative as it's easier to teach than the regular deadlift, making it better for my clients. 

The deadlift is a hip dominant movement which places most of the focus on your posterior chain such as your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. 

The hex bar deadlift is fantastic for your glute development and would make a good addition to your workout routine.


  • You can overload your glutes.
  • Low impact on your joints. 
  • Suitable for beginners.

How to do it:

  1. Load the trap bar with some weight. 
  2. Stand inside the trap bar with a hip width stance toes pointed forward. 
  3. Slightly bend your knees and hinge from the hips.
  4. Grab the bar's handles. 
  5. Maintain a neutral spine and lift the bar from the floor, pushing your hips forward. 
  6. Squeeze your glutes at the top and slowly lower to the starting position. 
  7. Repeat. 

Tips From A Trainer!

Kick your shoes off before you begin the hex bar deadlift. Most "gym shoes" are designed for running and not weight lifting. By removing the shoes, you'll feel more stable on the floor and will lift more weight.

7. Barbell Squat

Man Doing A Barbell Squat

Hip thrusts and barbell squats are both compound exercises that target the glutes.

However, hip thrusts activate your glutes and hamstrings more than squats do.

This is because squats are a knee dominant movement and target your quads more than the glutes and hamstrings.

While they do target the glutes (if you get enough depth), I wouldn't solely rely on them for glute development. 

With that said, they can still be a good addition to your glute workout when used in conjunction with other movements such as the trap bar deadlift, dumbbell hip thrust, and kettlebell swing.


  • You can overload your muscles. 
  • It's the KING of all exercises.
  • Develops your entire lower body.

How to do it:

  1. Set a barbell on a squat rack.
  2. Stand in front of the barbell. 
  3. Grab the bar with an overhand grip and step under the bar, resting it on your traps. 
  4. Take a deep breath and lift the bar from the rack. 
  5. Walk backwards two steps and place your feet in a hip width position. 
  6. Brace your core and lower your body by bending your knees. 
  7. Stop when your knees reach just below 90-degrees. 
  8. Push up to the starting position and repeat. 

Tips From A Trainer!

The barbell back squat is one of the king lifts at the gym. If you're new to squats, don't worry, use only the bar to start. If the bar is too heavy, try holding two dumbbells. 

8. Kettlebell Swings (Hip Thrust Alternative For At Home Without A Bench)

Man and Woman Exercising With Kettlebells

The kettlebell swing is one of the most popular exercises that gym goers perform. It develops your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. 

One of the reasons I've added this hip thrust alternative to the list is that it allows you to develop a lot of power in your hips. This is perfect for anybody who competes in sports such as football, wrestling, BJJ, boxing, baseball, basket ball, and more. 

I always add kettlebell swings near the end of my lower body workout. The main reason is that I love the fact it raises my heart rate and I can leave the gym feeling like I've killed it. 

Lacking a set of kettlebells or finding an exercise too tough isn't a dead end. Considering kettlebell swing alternatives can help diversify and adjust your workout routine to your needs.


  • Develops power.
  • Gets your heart pumping. 
  • Low impact on your joints.

How to do it:

To do a kettlebell swing, stand with your feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing slightly out. Hold the kettlebell with both hands in front of your body, keeping your arms straight. Bend your hips and knees, and swing the kettlebell between your legs.

Tips From A Trainer!

Kettlebell swings are an excellent compound exercise that work the whole body. Superset this movement with kettlebell thrusters for more intensity and glute power. 

9. Single Leg Hip Bridge

Woman Doing a Single-Leg Hip Bridge Exercise

The single leg hip bridge is a brilliant body weight barbell hip thrust alternative. And, it gives your glutes one hell of a burn; it's why my clients have a "love-hate" relationship with it.

If you're a beginner, using your body weight to train your glutes is a great way to develop your base strength.

My physiotherapist gave me this exercise when my glutes weren't firing correctly during certain exercises. Thankfully, it worked a treat and my glutes are stronger than ever. If you're looking to build bigger glutes, you can try to do these glute isolation exercises at home.

Add this substitute for hip thrusts to the end of your lower body workout, you'll love it.


  • Uses your body weight. 
  • You can do it anywhere.
  • Ideal for beginners.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees at 90-degrees. 
  2. Keep your feet flat and push your hips upwards. 
  3. Remove one leg from the floor and hold for time. 
  4. Slowly lower to the starting position. 
  5. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Tips From A Trainer!

Struggling with balance? Use your arms to create a stable base for this exercise. The wider your arms are, the more stable your body will feel. 

10. Glute Drive

Woman Doing A Glute Drive Exercise

The glute drive is an excellent glute machine which simulates the hip thrust movement. By using the machine, you can train your glutes without needing to worry about resting a barbell on your waist.

I'm a big fan of this barbell hip thrust alternative as you can feel a glute burn like no other from this machine. And, my clients LOVE it. 

It's also useful if you find placing a barbell on your hips uncomfortable, as the glute drive uses a belt to apply resistance to your hips.  

Even though you can perform the hip thrust exercise with no equipment, adding a glute drive bench to your home setup will allow you to increase the intensity of your workout by adding resistance.


  • More comfortable than a barbell.
  • Easy to set up.
  • Excellent glute burn.

How to do it:

  1. Add weight to the glute drive machine.
  2. Place your feet hip width on the foot plate.
  3. Fasten the belt around your hips. 
  4. Keep your feet flat and lift your hips upwards (squeezing your glutes). 
  5. Release the machine safety catchers.
  6. Lower your hips to the floor and pause. 
  7. Drive your hips up and return to the starting position. 

Tips From A Trainer!

Focus on the hip hinge movement rather than leaning backwards using your entire body. Your hips are the main driver for this glute exercise.

Muscles Used In Hip Thrust Substitutes

The hip thrust is a compound exercise that uses multiple muscle groups. The most important muscles used in hip thrusts are the glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

The glutes are responsible for extending the hip and are highly activated during the hip thrust, while the hamstrings are used to extend the knee and help activate the glutes.

Hip Thrusts are a fantastic exercise for balance and strength. If you're someone who spends a lot of time in a seated position or in front of a computer, hip thrusts are a great way to strengthen your glutes and core without putting any unnecessary stress on your lower back.

Let's take a look at some of the muscle groups activated during hip thrusts.

Gluteal Muscles

The hip thrust is perfect for strengthening the Gluteal muscles, particularly the Gluteus maximus. The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the buttocks.


Hip thrusts are a great way to isolate the hamstrings without putting a lot of pressure on the lower back. If you're doing the hip thrust correctly, you should feel it in your hamstrings and glutes, not your lower back.

Adductor Magnus

The Adductor Magnus is the muscle that runs along the inside of the leg from your groin to your knee. One of the best ways to activate it is by doing a variation of the hip thrust

Erector Spinae (Lower Back Muscles)

The erector spinae is a group of muscles that support the spine. The erector spinae comprises three different muscles, including the iliocostalis [1], longissimus [2], and spinalis [3].


The quadriceps are the large muscle in the front of the thigh. The quadriceps are used for many activities, such as running, cycling, and even sitting.


To get legs like Serena Williams, you need to do exercises that engage your calves. The hip thrust does just that.[4]

Most Common Mistakes When Doing Hip Thrusts

The hip thrust is incredibly effective when done correctly. However, there are some common mistakes that we see all the time, and if you are making these mistakes, you are not getting the most out of your hip thrusts.

Incorrect Foot Placement

When doing a hip thrust, it's essential to make sure that your feet are placed directly under your knees. If you place your feet too far back, it will make the exercise more quad-dominant, and if you place your feet too far forward, it will make the activity more glute-dominant.

Lower Back Is Not Neutral

This is a common mistake that we see people making while doing hip thrusts. They let their lower back come up during the exercise. It can be tough to target the right muscles if you're using this kind of form.

Coming Up On Your Toes

You should never come up on your toes when you're performing hip thrusts. Your weight should be on your heels, and your body should be in a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. If you find that your toes are rising off the floor, then you're in danger of hyperextending your knees.

Hip Thrust Questions Answered

Are hip thrusts necessary? Can you grow glutes without them?

No, you can absolutely grow your glutes without hip thrusts, but if you want to grow them faster, then hip thrusts are a highly effective exercise.

How many hip thrusts should I do a day?

As many as you can! The more hip thrusts you can do, the faster you'll see results. If you're new to this fitness routine, start with 3 sets of 20 reps twice per week and work your way up from there until you're doing 3 sets of 100 reps twice per week.

Why can't I feel hip thrusts in my glutes?

If you can't feel your glutes, you probably aren't doing hip thrusts correctly. Ensure you're using your hips and glutes rather than just "leaning backwards". 

Do hip thrusts make your hips bigger?

No, your hips won't get any bigger from doing hip thrusts. Hip thrusts are a great exercise for building glutes, but they aren't going to make your hips any bigger than they are currently.

What weight should you use for hip thrusts?

The weight you should use for hip thrusts will vary depending on your training experience and body. However, the general rule of thumb is to use a weight that you can do for 20 repetitions with good form, up the weight.


The hip thrust is one of the most effective glute exercises you can do, but it isn't easy to master. Besides, if you don't have a barbell at home, it can be challenging to get the reps in.

Whatever your fitness goals, it's essential to have a range of different exercises in your regime to keep things exciting as you progress along your fitness journey.

Read through the list above and add some of them to your glute workout. 






Lee Kirwin

Lee Kirwin

Lee has worked in the fitness industry for over 15 years. He's trained hundreds of clients and knows his way around the gym, including what you need for your garage gym. When he's not testing products, he loves weightlifting, Ju Jitsu, writing, and gaming.