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
But, the problem is,
you might not actually have access to a barbell. Especially if you’re
working out at home.
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
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 haven’t got a
barbell, ok, fair enough, not many of us have. But what equipment do
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.
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.
Just because you haven’t got a barbell doesn’t mean you can’t have weight plates.
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.
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.
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
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
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…
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 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.
This is a classic
argument between, well crossfitters and anyone else doing kettlebell
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.
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
In which case, there
is no point in doing a swing.
You may as well do
So, not a squat and bell to chest height only.
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...
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.
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
Yes, this one is a great alternative to the barbell hip thrust.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Let me know how you
get on and if you want workouts delivered straight into your inbox,
then sign up for my newsletter.
You’ll not only be the first to know about any updates and offers from me but you’ll also get a free eight week workout plan.