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. Why?

Because barbell hip thrusts are not for everyone. Some people find that their knees hurt while doing them. Others can't do them at all because of back problems. Plus, not all of us have time to hit the gym every day, and some don't have a barbell at home.

Although the barbell hip thrust is a great exercise, it isn't the only way to build a killer butt.

We've rounded up 10 excellent hip thrust alternatives (barbell hip thrust substitutes) to keep your glutes looking great and feeling strong.

1. Body Weight Hip Thrust

Body Weight Hip Thrust

One of the best exercises for your glutes is the hip thrust, but you can also do them at home, without any equipment. Simply place your shoulders on a bench and have your feet on the floor. Keeping your feet flat on the floor, lift your hips up until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.

Rinse and repeat for 12 – 15 reps.

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

dumbbell hip thrust

The dumbbell hip thrust is one of our favorite exercises because it isolates the glutes without involving other muscle groups. To perform this exercise, you'll need a bench and a set of dumbbells. Place the bench on the floor and sit on the end of it with your legs out straight in front of you.

With your upper body resting on the bench, place the dumbbell in your lap and thrust upwards in a controlled motion. Check out this video for tips.

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.

Required Equipment - 8 Best Cheap Adjustable Dumbbells

3. Resistance Band Hip Thrust

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.

Laying flat on the floor with your knees bent, place the band across your thighs, pushing the band into the floor. Drive your heels into the floor and lift up.

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

Cable Pull-Through

A cable pull-through is a great way to work the back. 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.

Set the cable machine pulley to the low position and stand facing away from the machine. Bending forward at the hips, slowly pull the cable through your legs, raising to a stand, squeezing your glutes on the way.

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

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

Good Mornings

The barbell good morning is an exercise that trains the hamstrings and glutes in conjunction with the spinal erectors and hip flexors. This exercise is performed by standing on two feet and bending forward at the hips in a motion similar to a curtsy. The barbell is held in both hands at the back of the head.

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

trap bar deadlift

Not only is the trap bar deadlift one of the best ways to strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. It's a great way to improve your core strength as well.

To start, stand in front of the trap bar with your feet hip-width apart and your toes slightly pointed out. Bend at the knees and grab the bar with your hands slightly outside of your legs. Keeping your back flat, lift the bar off the ground by pushing through your heels and extending your hips.

Tips From A Trainer!

One thing I highly recommend you try with this exercise is switch up your grips. Most trap bars come with many different hand-holds. Try a wider or narrower grip to hit different parts of your body.

Further Reading - Trap Bar Deadlift Benefits

7. Barbell Squat

Barbell Squats

Hip thrusts and barbell squats are both very similar exercises that are perfect for targeting the glutes.

However, hip thrusts activate your glutes and hamstrings more than squats do. This is because squats use the quads more than the glutes and hamstrings, and is why squats aren't the best exercise for glute building.

To do a barbell squat, you'll need a barbell, a squat rack, and a weight. Stand in front of the squat rack and grab the barbell with an overhand grip. Step forward so that the barbell is resting on your upper back. Squat down until your knees are bent to 90 degrees.

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

Kettlebell Swings

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 an overhead press for more intensity.

9. Single-Leg Hip Bridge

Single-Leg Hip Bridge

A great alternative to hip thrust is the single-leg hip bridge.

Laying on your back with your knees bent, keep one foot on the floor while lifting the other directly in front of you at a 45-degree angle. Perform the hip thrust as you would usually.

You must keep your knee and foot flexed to ensure that your hips are at maximum flexion and your glutes are firing.

Tips From A Trainer!

Make sure you perfect your balance before doing a full set. The best way to do this is to start slow.

10. Glute Drive

Glute Drive

To perform a glute drive, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then, raise your hips, and using your glute muscles only, drive your hips up into the air. It's important that you drive your hips up and not your back.

While you can perform this 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.

Tips From A Trainer!

If you don't have a glute drive bench, focus on squeezing the hell out of your glutes. Trust me, you'll feel the burn!

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, longissimus, and spinalis.


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.

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?

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?

You probably aren't doing hip thrusts correctly. People make a few common mistakes when doing hip thrusts that prevent them from feeling it in their glutes. First, it's essential that you're using a full range of motion and not just going up and down.

Do hip thrusts make your hips bigger?

The answer is no. You 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 now in terms of sheer volume.

What weight should you use for hip thrusts?

Every single person is different and will have different load capabilities based on their body composition. However, the general rule of thumb is to use a weight that you can do for 20 repetitions with good form. If you're a beginner and can't get at least 20 reps, you need to use a lighter 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.


Last Updated on March 23, 2023