Whether you're an athlete trying to increase overall explosiveness or a fitness fanatic trying to mold your dream booty, the single leg hip thrust is the perfect exercise for improving strength and size in the posterior chain. Read on and learn more hidden benefits behind this simple yet effective exercise as well as a how to guide and alternatives exercises.
Why The Single Leg Hip Thrust?
For your core, pelvis, and lower body to be stabilized, you need strong glutes. Without strong and stable glutes, you run a greater risk of suffering from problems such as knee discomfort and low back pain.
Additionally, having strong glutes helps you jump higher, run faster, and move better laterally. Strong glutes are essential for having overall adequate mobility in the mid and lower body.
An elite exercise such as the single leg hip thrust will both increase mobility in the glute region while increasing strength and stability to the muscle. The unilateral aspect of working one leg at a time will also offer injury prevention and help reduce any muscle imbalances you might have.
Single Leg Hip Thrust - How To:
1. To start the single leg hip thrust lean your back against a bench and sit on the floor. Lift your hips off the floor while keeping your upper back in contact with the bench. The bottom of your shoulder blades should be touching the bench. Feel free to place you hands on your hips or gripping the bench.
2. Lift one leg up and position it at a 90-degree angle. Your working foot's weight should be spread evenly across the entire foot. To create a stable foot stance when performing the single leg hip thrust, rotate your working foot into the ground.
3. To start the single leg hip thrust movement hinge at your hips. Let your hips lead the way with your chest. Maintain an engaged core and keep your glute muscle tense. The bottom of the movement should be a 45-degree angle created by your torso.
4. When thrusting upward, squeeze your glute and drive your working foot into the ground. To reach full hip extension, keep squeezing your glute as you raise your hips to the ceiling. Your pelvis should be level with your torso and knee. When at the top of the single leg hip thrust movement, pause for a second and repeat.
5. Continue for a desired amount of reps.
Single Leg Hip Thrust - Muscles Worked: Mainly glutes (a gluteus medius and gluteus maximus exercise) - additionally the hamstrings, quads, core and lower back.
Single Leg Hip Thrust - 5 Alternative Exercises:
Standard Hip Thrust - Great for weight bearing and explosiveness. Easy on the lower back compared to squats and deadlifts.
B Stance Hip Thrust - Similar to both the regular and single leg hip thrust, the b stance hip thrust is a hybrid stance that only partially uses the non working leg.
- Kas Glute Bridge - With an emphasis on time under tension, the kas glute bridge combines the explosiveness of the hip thrust with the glute isolation of the glute bridge.
- Fire Hydrant Exercise - Requires zero equipment and can be done anywhere. The fire hydrant exercises primarily works the outside glute muscles.
- Reverse Hyper Exercise - Great lower back and upper glute workout. No other movement quite like it!
Glute Pain Relief:
Glute pain can come from many different areas. A very come form of glute pain originates from tightness. Whether it's just basic wear and tear over time, an injury that causes the muscle to become tight, or overworking the area from exercises such as the single leg hip thrust, it's important to treat the area properly and with the correct intention.
Deep tissue massage and isolated stretching are awesome and easy ways to reduce pain and rid the muscle of trigger points that are causing tight muscles fibers. Effective trigger point release via deep tissue massage can be done by the hands of a trained physical therapist, massage therapist, chiropractor, or at home with a purposefully made tool like the QL Claw.
For some effective glute stretches, check out my post on 5 of the Best Glute Stretches for Pain Relief.
The QL Claw is a personally crafted tool made specifically for releasing trigger points deep in the muscle. Breaking up tight muscle fibers will free up a world of pain and get you feeling better in no time. Get your QL Claw today!
 Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019.