Finding the correct glute exercise that works for you can be difficult. From fire hydrants to Bulgarian split squats, it's difficult choosing which glute exercise is going to give you the best results. Two exercises that have separated themselves in improving glute strength though isolation and muscle building are the glute bridge and hip thrust exercises. These two exercises target all the glute muscles in a way no other exercises does. Being a similar movement, the glute bridge and hip thrust have many similarities and also a few differences. The only question now is; "Which One Is Better?". Continue reading for an analysis on the two exercises as well as their similarities and differences.
Glute Bridge vs Hip Thrust - Similarities:
It's no secret that exercises like the squat, deadlift, lunge and hamstring curl can get old. While growing your glutes may seem like a chore in the gym, exercises like the glute bridge and hip thrust are designed specifically for isolating the glutes and increasing size and strength. If you are looking to build buns of steel, both the glute bridge and hip thrust are great exercises.
Similarities in the glute bridge vs hip thrust:
- Both movements hinge at the hips
- Both exercises involve contracting the glutes and thrusting upward
- Both the glute bridge and hip thrust can be done in different variations
- Both exercises work the same muscles in the posterior chain
- Both should be incorporated
Glute bridge muscles worked: Gluteus medius, maximus, and minimus, hamstrings, lower back. Emphasis on gluteus maximus, hamstrings, and lower back.
Hip thrust muscles worked: Gluteus medius, maximus, and minimus, quadriceps, hamstrings, lower back. Emphasis on gluteus medius, gluteus maximus, and quadriceps.
If you suffer from deep buttock pain or pain at top of buttock crack when sitting, both the glute bridge and hip thrust are great exercises for reducing and preventing future pain.
Glute Bridge vs Hip Thrust - Differences:
When dissecting the glute bridge vs hip thrust, people will try and make assumptions about the two exercises. Many people think they are the same exercise and will all the same benefits. While they have a lot of the same benefits and similar range of motion, the glute bridge vs hip thrust also differ in many small but significant ways.
Differences in the glute bridge vs hip thrust:
- Glute bridge is on the ground with a flat back supported by the ground, while hip thrust is done only with the upper back elevated on the bench or box.
- Quadriceps play larger role in hip thrust movement
- Hip thrust has larger range of motion
- Glute bridge isolates the glutes more when contracting
- Hip thrust gives more explosive opportunity
- Hip thrust can typically withstand more weight
The glute bridge has been found to correlate more with runners while the hip thrust has been found to have a more positive impact on powerlifters and athletes that play high intensity sports (football, basketball, soccer, hockey).
The hip thrust is more effective in building strength and muscle because of the more extended range of motion and explosive potential the exercise has to offer. Another reason is the exercises ability to load up weight in various forms (barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, med ball).
The glute bridge on the other hand is so valuable because of its convenience of requiring no equipment while the hip thrust requires a box/bench for back support. The glute bridge is not only an effective muscle and strength building exercise but also an awesome glute activation exercise. Many athletes use the glute bridge to "wake up" and "activate" their glutes before performing their sport.
Glute Bridge vs Hip Thrust - Variations:
The glute bridge vs hip thrust debate is tough because of all the variations each exercise has to offer. Exercises such as the hyperextension machine exercise kas glute bridge and b stance hip thrust are both great variations for the two exercises. The kas glute bridge is combines the slow and controlled movement of the glute bridge with the set up and weight-bearing aspects of the hip thrust. To learn how to effectively complete the kas glute bridge exercise, check out the video below.
Glute Bridge vs Hip Thrust - Deep Tissue Pain Relief:
Sore and tight muscles in the glute and low back area are very receptive to pain. The best way to find relief is through targeted deep tissue massage to the muscle. A deep, soothing deep tissue massage will release glute pain of its constant muscle tension while giving back mobility to the muscle. A great tool for this is the QL Claw. The QL Claw is equipped with a hook that will reach deep into your muscles and release those annoying trigger points. The QL Claw is not only designed for the glutes but also the low back and psoas. Get your QL Claw today and start living pain free!
 Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019.