Alternative to Barbell Hip Thrust: Love Your Butt With These 6 Moves

No barbell at home? Don't worry, you can still get a strong, gorgeous bum with these 6 alternative to barbell hip thrust moves.

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Do you want a more rounded bum?

Maybe a bigger bum? Or one that’s more pert?

If you do and you’ve searched for a workout plan, then chances are you’ve come across the barbell hip thrust exercise.

It is definitely a good one for targeting those gluteal muscles and making them stronger.

But, the problem is, you might not actually have access to a barbell. Especially if you’re working out at home.

Because, let’s face it, they’re not that cheap and when you start to add in all of the weight plates, they’re not that easy to store.

So, what do you do then?

What do you do if you can’t do a barbell hip thrust?

Well, never fear, I’ve got a few alternatives for you.

You can still have a gorgeous bum if you can't or don't want to do barbell hip thrusts. Try these 6 alternative to barbell hip thrust.

Alternative to Barbell Hip Thrust: A Quick Word About Equipment

You haven’t got a barbell, ok, fair enough, not many of us have. But what equipment do you have?

Whilst you don’t need any equipment to have a good workout, and build a lovely pert bottom, yes, there are body weight exercises that do a very good job, if you’re serious about strength training getting a few weights would be a good idea.


Dumbbells are an obvious choice. They’re smaller. They’re cheaper. And they’re much more versatile.

If you can, I’d go for adjustable ones. They’re much more compact than having to buy different weights.


This would be my suggestion. I love kettlebells and everything about them.

They are so versatile. They are hundreds of exercises you can do with kettlebells.

Again, if possible go for adjustable ones. It will save you a lot of space in the long run.

Resistance Band

These are a really cheap, and space efficient way of getting a strength workout done.

You can throw them in your bag for a workout at the park.

Weight Plates

Just because you haven’t got a barbell doesn’t mean you can’t have weight plates.

Household Stuff

If you really can’t get any kind of weights, then look around your house for something heavy. Even a few heavy things chucked in a bag.

You’ll be surprised how quickly it adds up.

Alternative to Barbell Hip Thrust: Training Your Bum

Three reasons to do a bum workout. They can reduce lower back pain, they can reduce knee pain and they give you a lovely looking bum.

Your ultimate goal maybe to have a pert, round, peachy bottom. And that’s great.

But, training your bum is actually very important, above and beyond how it looks. So, even if you love them way your bum looks, spending time on glute exercises is still a really good idea.

Your bum has two really important jobs.

First one, to keep you upright. If your bum isn’t strong, it can’t do this job properly. Which means other muscles will start to take over. I’m talking about your lower back here.

But, the problem is, your lower back muscles aren’t as big as your gluteal muscles. Which means they’re going to get tired and they’ll start to hurt. Hello lower back pain.

The second important job of your bum is to move you forward. Walking, running, jumping, anything that propels you forward, your bum is involved.

Again, a weak bum means it can’t do this job properly. And again, other muscles and joints are going to take the strain. Painful knees anyone?

So, don’t just think training your bum is about aesthetics. It’s not. It’s really, really important.

Ok, now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get onto what other exercises you can do.

Alternative to Barbell Hip Thrust #1: Kettlebell Swings

The kettlebell swing is one of the best exercises for working your bum and your hamstrings. Make sure you do it properly.

This has to be the ultimate exercise to build strong glute muscles.

If I had to choose just one exercise to work your bum, it would be the swing. I don’t have to be limited to just one, so I won’t, but it is that good.

It works all of your gluteal muscles, the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus. And it really develops their power. Their explosive power.

It’s all to do with the hip hinge and firing the bell through your legs with your hips and your bum.

It is such a powerful movement.

Now, not everyone you see doing a swing will be doing it properly. And if you’re not doing it properly you won’t be getting the benefits.

So, some of the common mistakes I see with the kettlebell swing…

  • It’s a hip hinge movement not a squat.

If you see anyone bending their knees into a squat position when they’re swinging, they’re not doing a kettlebell swing.

In fact, I’m not sure what exercise they’re doing.

There will be a slight bend in your knees, but it will be very slight.

The bend comes from your hips.

Your torso bends towards the floor and you push your bum back.

That is the way you’ll get maximum fire from your glute muscles and your hamstrings. Remember, they’re the muscles that should be working.

  • The bell goes to chest height and not overhead.

This is a classic argument between, well crossfitters and anyone else doing kettlebell work.

Your arms should not be involved in lifting the kettlebell when it’s swinging. The swing is predominantly a lower body exercise, your arms are holding the bell. That is it.

If your bum and hamstrings are powerful enough to thrust the bell overhead, then great. But, I really doubt they are. They’re not with most people.

So, your upper body muscles will start to take some strain. And they’re not as big as your bum and your hamstrings. Your bum is the largest muscle on your body. Which means they’ll get injured.

The classic argument, or retort to this is, go to choose lighter weights. Weights that are light enough to lift the bell overhead.

But, less weight means your bum and your hamstrings aren’t getting the work out they need to be challenged. Remember, they’re a lot bigger than your shoulder muscles. They need a lot more weight than your shoulder muscles.

In which case, there is no point in doing a swing.

You may as well do something else.

So, not a squat and bell to chest height only.

Alternative to Barbell Hip Thrust: Body Weight Hip Thrust Alternatives

As I mentioned earlier, you don’t need any equipment to get a posterior chain workout done. It’s all about choosing the right exercise and doing them in the right way to build muscle and strength.

A few body weight alternatives to the barbell hip thrust are...

Alternative to Barbell Hip Thrust #2: Glute Bridge

A glute bridge is the same movement pattern as a hip thrust so it works very similar muscles.

Also known as the hip bridge, this is a great hip thrust alternative, as they both use very similar muscle groups.

The main difference is that you’re lying on the floor and the hip extension comes from raising your bum above your heart, rather than in line with the rest of your body.

The trick with this exercise is to do it slowly.

Raise your posterior chain off the floor vertebrae by vertebrae. Hold at the top for a second or two and then slowly return back to the starting position.

Alternative to Barbell Hip Thrust #3: Bulgarian Split Squat

A Bulgarian Split Squat works your posterior chain and your core. A great alternative to a hip thrust

This is another great exercise that can be done without any equipment. Although if you have weights, feel free to use them. Dumbbells or kettlebells would work here.

One leg is raised on a table, bench or chair behind you.

Then you sink down so your front knee is bent to, about, 90 degrees, and your back knee is hovering just above the floor.

Because one leg is raised off the floor your core muscles are working overtime to keep you balanced.

Yes, this one is a great alternative to the barbell hip thrust.

Alternative to Barbell Hip Thrust #4: High Reverse Plank

A High Reverse Plank works your glutes and hamstrings just like a hip thrust. It's a very effective alternative.

For this one think high plank, so your on your hands, not your forearms, and reverse it.

To get into position sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of your and your hands on the floor by your side.

Lift your bum off the floor, coming onto your feet.

Keep lifting your bum until your body is in a straight line. Or, as straight as it can be depending on your range of motion.

Hold there.

Pro tip for this one...keep your shoulders away from your ears and your shoulder blades back and down.

Don’t sink. You should keep a neutral spine and also keep your neck in a neutral position. Keep your spine and neck in a neutral position.

This is also a really good stretch for the hip flexors.

This one is not easy. No isometric exercise is. But stick with it. It will come and you’ll be able to hold it a bit longer each time.

Alternative to Barbell Hip Thrust: Alternative Exercises Needing Equipment

Ok, so we’ve covered what I consider the best hip thrust alternative, that would be the kettlebell swing. And we’ve covered the body weight alternatives you can do if you haven’t got any equipment.

I briefly wanted to mention two more exercises that you can do as an alternative to the barbell hip thrust.

They need equipment, but not much equipment.

One is the banded hip thrust, and the other is the single-leg Romanian deadlift.

Alternative to Barbell Hip Thrust #5: Banded Hip Thrust

This is very much like traditional hip thrusts, the key difference being you use a resistance band instead of a weighted barbell.

As resistance bands don’t take up much room and aren’t that expensive, they’re much more accessible than a barbell.

To do it, sit with your knees bent, feet on the floor back resting against a bench, chair, sofa, etc. Loop one end of the resistance band around one foot, the other end around the other foot.

Rest your mid back and shoulders on whatever it is behind you and lift your bum off the floor slightly. Make sure the resistance band is running across your hips. It should sit in your hip crease.

Then thrust your hips upward as you would in a normal hip thrust.

Alternative to Barbell Hip Thrust #6: Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

A single leg Romanian Deadlift is a great alternative to a hip thrust. How do you do them?

Lastly, but by no means least, is the single leg romainan deadlift.

This can be done with a kettlebell, or two, a dumbbell, or two, or a resistance band. Probably not two, but I’m up for the challenge to make it work.

If you’re using one weight, make sure it’s on the same side that’s moving. If it’s on the other side you’d be too unbalanced and you’d probably fall over.

If you’re using a resistance band, loop it under your foot and hold the other end with both hands.

To do the exercise, in a standing position, feet hip width apart, engage your core.

Lift one leg behind you as you bend forward bringing your torso toward the floor. Stop when you’re roughly parallel with the floor, your hips are at 90 degrees and your leg is straight behind you and then, powerfully bring yourself back up to a standing position.

Alternatives to Barbell Hip Thrust: 6 Alternatives for you to try

So, if you haven’t got a barbell, or you just want to switch up your workout routine a bit, there are 6 different exercises for you to have a go at.

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Are Barbell Hip Thrusts Necessary?

Barbell hip thrusts are a very good exercise for strengthening your glute muscles and your hamstrings. But, they are not the only way.

There are alternative exercises that have the same outcome.

What are the alternatives to barbell hip thrusts?

Any exercise that promotes hip extension would be considered an alternative to a barbell hip thrust.

These are the ones I think are most effective...

  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Glute Bridge
  • Bulgarian Split Squat
  • High Reverse Plank
  • Banded Hip Thrust
  • Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

Do I need lots of equipment to do the alternatives to barbell hip thrusts?


Half of the exercises I’ve suggested as alternatives to the barbell hip thrust are body weight alternatives.

The other half needs minimal equipment.

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