If you’re in the market for bigger and stronger glutes then the Smith machine hip thrust is exactly what you need.
This powerful machine-based glute builder is one of the fastest ways to get your glutes into shape, but only if you use the correct form and keep doing it consistently.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to treat your glutes to a thorough workout with this gem;
- Place a step-up box or bench at the entrance of the machine. A box is recommended for short people, while a bench would work better if you are taller.
- Attach a balance pad or a squat sponge to the bar for extra support and protection.
- Press your upper back into the bench and step your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Flare both of your feet out around 15⁰ to rotate your hips externally. This helps increase glute activity.
- Place the bar at the crease of your hips. You may have to experiment a bit with the position of the bench until you find the one that suits you most.
- Grab the bar with your hands just slightly wider than the diameter of the bar pad.
- Extend your hips, tighten your core, depress your ribcage and tuck your chin to un-rack the bar.
- Stretch your glutes to lower the bar, then thrust your hips forcefully to reverse the motion when you get to mid-air.
- At the top of the rep, squeeze your glutes as hard as possible, ensuring you do not hyperextend your spine during the lockout.
- Keep your glutes tensed as you lower the bar back to the starting position.
- Do 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps each.
WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE SMITH MACHINE HIP THRUST WORK?
As you probably know, the Smith machine hip thrust fires up your glutes.
However, to reap the maximum benefit of this exercise as a glute builder, you have to use the full range of motion because it is only then that the gluteus maximus will be maximally tensed.
When you do a Smith machine hip thrust, your hamstrings play a role in stabilizing your body.
You can increase their activation by stepping away from the bench, which also helps take some pressure off your knees.
Since the rectus femoris muscle of the quadriceps group crosses both your hip and knee joints, you’ll notice a significant amount of quadricep engagement in this movement.
This is because the rectus femoris extends the knee and flexes your hips, unlike the other muscles within the quad muscle group.
The only problem is that it is almost impossible for it to perform these functions properly at the same time.
So to work it effectively, you must extend your hips and knees simultaneously, which is exactly what you do at the top of the movement.
BENEFITS OF THE SMITH MACHINE HIP THRUST
EASY TO SET UP
Few people enjoy loading heavy-weight plates onto barbells; it is a cumbersome process that gets you tired before you even begin your workout, which could be very demotivating.
But the good news is that you don’t have to worry about any such laborious process when setting up the Smith machine for a hip thrust.
Since the bar is already set to an elevated position, all you need to do is slide weight discs onto it, and voilà, you’re all set and ready to roll!
ROUNDER, BIGGER GLUTES
It’s undeniable how good a job the barbell hip thrust does building your glutes.
However, performing thrusts on a Smith machine allows you to focus solely on your glutes since the bar is stabilized, which ultimately improves their effectiveness.
The fact that it is relatively more stable than most other variations of the hip thrust makes it one of the best options if you want to improve your mind-muscle connection.
MORE HIP EXTENSION STRENGTH
Because of its stability, the Smith machine makes it easy to lift more weight than you would with a barbell hip thrust. This can help increase your hip extension strength.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE SMITH MACHINE HIP THRUST
SMITH MACHINE DONKEY KICKS
If your goal is to stretch out your glutes so much that you’ll have difficulty sitting down afterward, then the Smith machine donkey kick is for you.
As much as it focuses on your glutes, it also fires up your hamstrings and to a lesser extent, your quadriceps.
Here are the steps you need to follow to do it properly;
- Place an exercise mat under the machine bar.
- Set the safety catches of the machine to the lowest position and place the bar on top.
- Get on all fours as if you were about to perform a kneeling push-up.
- Straighten your back and keep your gaze on the floor beneath you.
- Position the arch of your foot under the barbell. At the starting position, there should be a 90⁰ angle between your lower and upper leg.
- Take a deep breath in, and then push the bar upwards as you squeeze your glutes. Stop only when you cannot contract them any further.
- Pause at the top, then lower the bar slowly until you return to where you began.
- Do 12-18 reps for 2-5 sets.
SMITH MACHINE HIP THRUST MISTAKES TO AVOID
STARING AT THE CEILING
It’s never a good idea to stare up at the ceiling while doing this exercise.
Looking up will likely force your pelvis to tilt anteriorly, which may put a lot of pressure on your lower back and cause you pain.
Instead, tuck your chin in and look forward to protect both your lower back and neck muscles from strain.
FAILING TO WARM UP
Like most glute exercises, the Smith machine hip thrust relies heavily on a strong mind-muscle connection. This is easier to achieve when your muscles are adequately activated before you begin.
So try some warm-up exercises to “wake up” those muscles a few minutes before you start this movement.
The squat is not all there is to build your glutes. There are so many other powerful glute builders and the Smith machine hip thrust is just one of them.
This exercise stands out among glute workouts because it allows for a stronger mind-muscle connection, making it easier to focus entirely on your muscles for the best results.
Add it to your glute routine and you will have zero regrets!