For Tabor, it's all about those hip thrusts. She explained that a deadlift can feel daunting because, if it's done improperly or with too much weight, your back can carry a lot of the load. "But with the hip thrust, you're supported, grounded on the floor; your back doesn't take the load; your butt, hamstrings, and quads get worked — and it feels really safe for newbies," Tabor said. "On top of that, this move hits your glutes like no other." Specifically, during the hardest part of the move — when your glutes are shortened — your butt is forced to carry the weight. It can also work your hamstrings and quads, depending on the placement of your feet.
Tabor noted that there are a lot of variations on the hip thrust. You can also increase the weight and decrease your reps to focus on strength, or do the opposite, carrying less weight in order to pump your hips for more reps. Here are the basics to get you started.
- Set up a sturdy bench — 18 inches is ideal. If it's too high, it can be hard to set up and get the lift off the ground. If the bench is too short, you don't get as much range of motion.
- Once you have your bench set up, grab a barbell (a 20kg Olympic lifting barbell is best) with plates on either side (large ones are key, as they enable the bar to roll over your thighs). If you don't have a barbell, some hand weights will do.
- Set your back on the bench, with the edge just below your shoulder blades. If you lift your arms up and bend the elbows, you should feel the blades on the edge of the bench.
- Rest your butt on the floor, with your knees bent and your feet on the floor about two feet in front of you. If your feet are too close, the move will feel too quad-heavy, and if they're too far away, it will be very hamstring-focussed. Your feet can be around a foot apart, dependent on the version of thrust you use.
- Brace your core. As you drive your heels into the ground, squeeze your glutes, lifting your hips up to full extension (meaning your hips are even with your knees).
- With control, lower back down to the ground. This is one rep.