If you're looking to add some serious mass to your backside, you're probably no stranger to the hip thrust. But in order to keep your glutes growing, you need to continuously challenge them. Manipulating the eccentric and isometric portions of a hip thrust can take your booty burn to the next level.
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The Ultimate Hip Thrust Hack
Adding weight to an exercise isn't the only way to make a move more challenging. Strategically timing your reps is one sure-fire method to get more burn out of your hip thrusts. During your next leg day, try this hip thrust hack:
- Begin seated against a box or exercise bench, the edge of the bench aligning with the bottom of your shoulder blades.
- Roll a barbell onto your lap and bend your knees, placing your feet flat on the ground.
- Keeping your chin tucked and neck straight, push your hips up toward the sky for a one-second count until your body forms a line from knees to hips to head.
- Hold at the top of the motion for one second, squeezing your glutes.
- Reverse the motion slowly, lowering your hips back toward the ground for a three-second count.
Why This Works Wonders for Your Butt
Your muscles can perform either eccentric (muscle lengthening), concentric (muscle shortening) or isometric (muscle holding) contractions, according to the University of California San Diego. Similarly, exercises have a concentric, isometric and eccentric portion.
Imagine a dumbbell biceps curl: Lifting the dumbbell toward your shoulder is the concentric contraction, pausing and squeezing the biceps at the top is the isometric part, then extending your arm is the eccentric.
Manipulating the different portions of the exercise can increase the challenge. Your muscles are actually stronger when they lengthen and move eccentrically, says K. Aleisha Fetters CSCS. However, if you're not slowing down the descent of your hip thrusts, it's possible you're missing some of the muscle-building benefits.
"Increasing the duration of the eccentric phase is a simple way to up the challenge on the eccentric side, so that you're triggering change from beginning to end," Fetters says.
Slowing down the eccentric part of your exercises can also help reduce the risk of injury. "By keeping everything strong and engaged through the eccentric portion, your spine and joints stay stabilized, and you're in charge of the weight, rather than the weight being in charge of you," Fetters says.
Additionally, holding the isometric portion at the top of your hip thrusts is another way to increase the time under tension, which is the gold ticket to muscle growth, Fetters says. The longer your muscles are under tension, the more they work.
It also eliminates the momentum you use during the exercise, making sure it's really your muscles lifting the weight. So, as you push the barbell up toward the ceiling, squeeze your butt to fire up your glutes.