8. Hip Thrust
The hip thrusters are arguably the best exercise for the gluteus maximus. It elicits much more muscle activity in the gluteus maximus as a barbell squat or deadlift and that’s primarily because 4 unique characteristics of this exercise:
The hip thrust is primarily a hip extension movement
The hardest part of the hip thrust is at the top, which means more activation at full hip extension (ie. top of the movement where body is in straight line)
The hip thrust retains a bent knee throughout, which keeps the hamstrings out of the movement
The exercise only involves a small amount of knee movement
The hip thrust also involves less loading on the spine than barbell squats, as the barbell is not placed on the back but on the front of the hips. This makes the hip thruster very useful for people who are rehabilitating an injury.
How to do it:
Begin seated on the ground with a bench directly behind you. Have a loaded barbell over your legs at your hips. To save your hip bones, I would suggest using a pad on the bar. Next, lean back against the bench so that your shoulder blades are near the top of it.
Begin the movement by driving through your heels, extending your hips upwards through the bar. Your weight should be supported by your shoulder blades and the heels of your feet. Extend as far as possible, then reverse the motion to return to the starting position.