Best glute exercise for stronger buttocks: hip thrust or squat

Who complains of having round and plump buttocks? Looks aside, the glutes are important for any activity. Whether walking or sitting comfortably on a toilet seat, your glutes work hard to keep your hips and lower back stable. You can strengthen your glutes by exercising. Among so many exercises for the glutes, two names often appear. One is the squat and the other is the hip thrust. In fact, many people wonder if hip thrusts are better than squats for strengthening the glutes. Read on to find out which exercise is best for the glutes.

Health Shots reached out to fitness expert Varun Rattan to determine if hip thrusts would be helpful or if squats would work for strong glutes.

Hip thrusts are perfect for engaging your glutes! Image provided by: Shutterstock

What is a hip thrust?

If you’re looking for a strength training exercise that primarily targets the glutes, go with the hip thrust. Those looking to build strength, power, and size in their glutes often opt for hip thrusts, Rattan says.

How to perform a basic hip thrust?

• Sit on the floor with a bench directly behind you.
• Have a loaded bar on your legs. You can put foam on the bar if you want to reduce the discomfort caused by this exercise.
• Bring the bar directly over your hips and press your shoulder blades against the edge of the bench.
• Cross your feet and extend your hips vertically. Your weight would be supported by your upper back and feet as you ascend. Then return to the starting position.

The expert says that when doing this exercise for the glutes, your chin should be tucked in and you should look forward, not up. This would help maintain a neutral spine. Your feet should be flat on the floor and about shoulder-width apart, and your knees should not collapse or stick out. You must drive on all your feet, not just your toes. Be sure not to overextend your lower back at the top of the movement.

What is a squat?

A squat is one of the fundamental movements that mainly targets the quadriceps, adductors (inner thighs) and glutes. Looks like you are sitting and standing.

squat exercise
Squats are quite easy to perform and effective. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How to do a squat?

• Stand with your toes pointing slightly outward. The width of the stance varies depending on a person’s anatomy.
• Keep your back straight and contract your body, as if you were about to receive a punch in the side of the stomach.
• Lower yourself by bending your knees and pushing your hips back as if you were sitting on a chair.
• Lower your body as low as possible.
• Push off your feet to return to the starting position.
• Maintain a stable posture throughout the movement.

Rattan says you need to warm up and stretch before performing squats to avoid injury. You can start with bodyweight squats or use a chair for support if you are new to this exercise. Make sure you don’t round your back or let your knees droop.

If you’re ready for more, you can also try squat variations!

1. Goblet Squat

Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell close to your chest as you perform the squat.

2. Front Squat

Rest a barbell across the front of your shoulders as you perform the squat.

3. Sumo squats

Widen your stance and point your toes considerably outward to target your inner thighs.

4. Jump and crouch

Explosively jump upwards from a squat position.

Hip thrust vs squat for glutes

When it comes to glute hypertrophy, hip thrusts and squats are effective exercises, says the expert. But they target muscles in slightly different ways, which may influence their effectiveness depending on your goals.

Squats work multiple muscle groups, including the glutes, quads, adductors, and core. This means they can help improve overall lower body strength and stability. However, the glutes are not the primary muscle group used during a squat. On the other hand, hip thrusts primarily target the glutes, with secondary involvement of the hamstrings, lower back, and quads. This glute isolation could make hip thrusts more effective for people specifically looking for a bigger butt.

Both exercises are effective at increasing the thickness of the gluteal muscles, but there are differences in their effects on maximum strength. While performing squats results in greater improvements in maximal squat strength, hip thrusts result in greater improvements in maximal hip thrust strength.

Squats and hip thrusts can be effective against enlarged glutes. So you can safely include both exercises in a glute development routine.

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