Best Barbell Hip Thrust Alternatives For Your Booty

Barbell hip thrusts are highly effective, but are there other options that provide similar results? If your goal is to work those hips in the gym and grow your booty, keep reading.

Your glutes, quads, and core muscles will all get to flexing when you do barbell hip thrusts. But there are so many other exercises that target all of those muscle groups and more. Dive into this article so you can learn all about the best hip thrust alternatives out there!

How Do You Define a Barbell Hip Thrust?

Looking for a solid lower-body strength exercise? Enter the barbell hip thrust. It’s a powerful movement that works the muscles all over your lower body (when done correctly). 

Do a barbell hip thrust by resting your upper back on a bench with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Position the barbell across your waist, then thrust your hips up toward the ceiling. The barbell’s weight creates the resistance necessary to benefit from this exercise.

The highest point of the barbell hip thrust is when your hips are all the way up, and your glutes are flexed. At this point, your knees should make a 90-degree angle. Then, lower back down and repeat.

good barbell hip thrust alternative exercises

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What Muscle Group Does It Work?

The main target of this strength exercise is your glutes. That includes the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius. But as you perform the thrusting motion, your hamstrings also get activated. 

At the same time, your hip adductors, quads, and core work to stabilize the movement. Your calves must work, too, as stabilizers for the lower legs.

That’s not all! Your erector spinae muscles, which run along the spine, are activated as you extend and flex your spine during hip thrusts.

Benefits of the Barbell Hip Thrust

Barbell hip thrusts are popular for several reasons. Check out these benefits!

  • Adaptable to different strength levels: No matter how strong you start out, you can alter the barbell hip thrust to fit your needs. Start with the lightest barbell or even your body weight to begin building strength, then work your way up.
  • Improve posture: This exercise helps relieve lower back pain by strengthening the glutes.
  • Great mobility: Working out the hip extensor muscles, which you do with hip thrusts, improves your mobility and helps you with daily activities like walking or climbing stairs.

Barbell Hip Thrust Alternatives

Cable Pull-Throughs

You might know this exercise as a glute pull-through. It works your entire backside, from the hamstrings to the glutes and lower back.

Mastering cable pull-throughs supports your efforts with deadlifts and squats. By building your glutes, they’ll even support your efforts with activities like running and jumping.

Start in a standing position facing away from the cable machine with the pulley at the lowest possible height. Hold the cable handle with both hands, with your legs and hips bent. 

Keep a neutral spine and slowly stand, using your hips to pull the weight forward.

Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell swings incorporate a bit of balance along with strength and endurance. They’re a fun exercise to do that involves more movement than other strength exercises.

Usually, they’re done in higher reps. They’ll boost your heart rate during the exercise while helping you gain muscle in your glutes  Besides leg muscles, they work on core and grip strength.

Hold the kettlebell in both hands by its handle. Start in a strong stance with your feet spread hip-width apart and your arms holding the kettlebell straight out in front of you.

As you drop the kettlebell downward with your hands, remain in control of it. Use your core, glutes, and legs to stabilize the swinging momentum of the kettlebell as you swing it down and back up to shoulder height.

Resistance Band Hip Extensions

Resistance bands work wonders during strength training exercises. They’re versatile, and you can start with any level of resistance and work your way up. Using them for hip extensions is simple and effective.

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Start in a standing position with the band around both ankles. Place your hands against a wall or sturdy chair for support. Extend a single leg back while keeping the leg straight, with the resistance band at the heel.

You should feel a flex in your glutes and hamstrings. Focus on tensing your core for stabilization, squeezing your glutes, and keeping your leg straight for the best results.


You’ll work a whole assortment of muscles when you deadlift. This power move is a major staple in many people’s weekly gym routine because of all the muscles it targets. Glute, hamstrings, trapezius muscles, core, and back, to name a few.

Deadlifts will offer great support for your quest to improve your hip thrusts. Get your barbell ready and place it at your feet in front of you. The movement involves grabbing the bar with your feet hip-width apart, then standing while focusing on pushing your hips forward to lift the bar. 

The hip-hinging motion is quite similar to hip thrusting, but the weight is distributed differently since your hands support the bar. Do them slowly and deliberately and slowly work up your weight.

Stability Ball Hip Thrust

It’s possible to do the hip-thrusting motion on more than just a workout bench. If you replace that bench with an exercise ball, it adds more balance practice into the mix. 

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Start by getting your exercise ball ready next to you. Scoot your lower back on top of it by sitting in front of the ball and leaning back until your glutes rise off of the ground. 

You may hold weight or simply use your body weight. Do multiple repetitions of hip thrusts, just as you would on the bench. Focus on keeping your whole body and core strong and sturdy to prevent movement.

Common Glute Mistakes

As you get into these glute workouts, you have to keep your eye on a few things. The last thing you want is to get hyped about a new workout routine and then get injured, so read on to understand which mistakes to avoid.

Bending the Spine

You need to keep your spine neutral while working the glutes. When your spine is neutral, it’s at its strongest. It’s able to use all of the bones, ligaments, and supporting muscles best when it’s not curved out of the neutral position.

No Core

Keep your core engaged at all times while you work on hip thrusts or any other glute exercise. Engaging the core helps support your whole body’s stabilization and prevent injuries. 

Extending the Knees Past the Toes

When you’re squatting or lunging in any form or fashion, don’t let those knees reach all the way over your toes. Instead, adjust how your knees bend so they stay behind the toe line.

Falling Into the Same Routine

Your glute and hip workouts need variety. Using a range of exercises, stretches, and calisthenics is best to keep your body on its toes. It’ll help you flex every muscle and stay loose. 

Don’t just fall into a workout routine of doing hip thrusts every day or once a week. Add lots of variety to your exercise schedule and watch those muscles get stronger!

Hip Thrust Alternatives Help With Booty Boredom

If you have any limitations or concerns about doing hip thrusts or your gym is just so busy that you can never seem to get a free bench, try these alternatives. They’ll target similar (or the same) muscle groups so you can keep meeting your strength goals!

Want more exercises to work your lower body? Check out this primer on heel elevated goblet squats to keep the burn going.

barbell hip thrust alternatives