One of My Favorite Glute Builders

The fastest, strongest, and most powerful athletes in the world have one thing in common: strong glutes. It doesn’t matter how much you can bench press, or if you can knock off pull-ups with a 70-pound kettlebell hanging from your waist. The highest levels of athletic prowess necessitate super strong glutes.

That’s why the deadlift, kettlebell swing, and lunge variations should be programmed into any training plan. However, sometimes those exercises aren’t enough. There are plenty of guys out there who have a big squat but relatively weak glutes. Their nervous system created a motor pattern that would emphasis the low back and hamstrings to make up for the weakness. This glute weakness sets them up for a low back or hamstring injury while limiting their ultimate strength and development.

Glute aficionado, Bret Contreras, has probably contributed to glute training more than anyone else. He’s spent plenty of time in the lab measuring muscle activity in every glute exercise you can imagine. Contreras found that the hip thrust produces some the highest level of muscle activation of all the movements he tested.

The hip thrust with a barbell is a fantastic exercise that will strengthen and develop the glutes. If you have the right equipment, and if you do the exercise correctly, it’s one of the best glute builders out there.

However, some people don’t have access to a barbell and plenty of 45-pound plates. Other people find that the exercise is too uncomfortable as the huge load presses into their pelvic bone – even when using thick padding. When that’s the case, one of my favorite alternatives is the glute bridge performed against a strong resistance band.

Compared to the barbell hip thrust, there are a few advantages of the glute bridge with a resistance band. First, it’s more comfortable to perform since there’s less compression force against the pelvic bone. Second, the required equipment is more economical. A pair of heavy dumbbells and a few strong resistance bands is cheaper than buying a full Olympic barbell set, and it takes up less space. If you’re a personal trainer who goes to a client’s home, you can easily throw everything you need into the back of your car.

The barbell hip thrust and glute bridge with a resistance band are both terrific exercises. It’s just a matter of which exercise suits your available equipment and comfort level.

I sent the following video to Bret Contreras awhile back to get his feedback and he gave the exercise “two thumbs up.” My clients thrive on this exercise, so give it a try.

Stay Focused,

3 thoughts on “One of My Favorite Glute Builders

  1. Very cool! Great looking exercise and one that is easily attainable for the average at home, work-out person. I’m going to try it with 2 Kbs as anchors. Thanks, Chad. Always terrific stuff coming on your blog.



  2. Hi Chad,
    great article. Whilst I’m here, I just wanted to say how much I’m enjoying the HFT package, which I bought when you first released it a month or so ago. I’m doing the version without the rings, so I bought the Fat Gripz as per your recommendation and they totally smoked me! I feel strong though… stronger than I’ve felt in a long time… and it’s a “real” strength, not merely “gym strength” with no applicability outside the training room.

    Workouts are fast, recovery is excellent. The latest version of the Waterbury diet is also superb; I feel more alert and energised through the day and I am far more in tune with my body, knowing what is right or wrong to eat in the evening feast. The excess fat is melting off.

    I know you have a number of high profile clients, and professional athletes, and I know you didn’t *have* to write this book, but I wanted to say thank you from the average guy who wants to get into killer shape. The embedded videos are a great touch and I could even read the books on my cellphone so I was thoroughly impressed on a recent long train ride home. I must also add that your sense of humour comes across excellently in your writing – definitely don’t change that. 🙂

    Thank you for consistently sharing your knowledge with us all and please keep up the fantastic work.


    CW: Thanks a lot, Ham! It’s comments like yours that make all the work worthwhile.

  3. Great article as always! Would’ve never thought of this… So what kind of set/rep scheme would you recommend for this exercise? And how many times a week?

    CW: My typical recommendations apply, depending on your goal. For pure strength do a lower volume (5-3×3), for hypertrophy/strength go for 6-8×5.

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