Last updated on November 13th, 2022 at 01:31 pm
I know many of you want to know if you can grow your glutes by only doing hip thrusts.
For starters, hip thrusts are typically viewed as the greatest glute exercises there is.
So, it makes sense that if you want to grow your glutes that you should be doing hip thrusts.
However, can you achieve optimal results by only using one exercise?
Let’s find out.
Can You Grow Your Glutes By Only Doing Hip Thrusts?
If you are new to training or returning after a long break then you can grow your glutes by only doing hip thrusts. As an experienced lifter you can certainly maintain your glute size and strength by only doing hip thrusts. However, the best results will always be achieved when you train your glutes across the three planes of motion. This includes vertical, horizontal, and rotational glute exercises.
Newbie Glute Gains By Only Doing Hip Thrusts
How your body reacts to exercise will differ due to various factors.
However, one thing we can be sure of is that the newer you are to exercising the better the results you’ll initially achieve.
There is something referred to as “newbie gains”.
This is where someone new to working out will experience significant size and strength gains in a short period of time.
But unfortunately, these gains won’t last forever and will eventually plateau.
With that being said, a newbie can build muscle and get stronger without adhering to usual training and nutrition protocols.
By this I mean that for most of us to gain size we will need to eat at a calorie surplus and regularly progress in terms of reps, sets, or weight on the bar.
However, when you’re new, as your body isn’t used to the training stimulus you’ll typically add muscle and size fairly easily.
The exact same can be said for someone who is returning to training after a long break.
But, much the same as the rest of us, after a month or two your gains will typically plateau as your body adapts to the training.
In this instance you can now consider yourself a more experienced lifter and will have to focus far more on nutrition and progression in the gym.
Nevertheless, for someone new to training (or just returning) you can definitely grow your glutes by only doing hip thrusts.
I will say that you should still adhere to progressive overload.
Therefore, you should aim to add reps or weight to your hip thrusts on a regular basis.
This of course will depend on what you’re specifically training for, i.e. strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance, etc.
But, the glutes do tend to respond very well to high rep hip thrusts.
So, in essence, you can typically go beyond what would normally be considered the rep range for strength or hypertrophy and still experience gains.
Therefore, I see nothing wrong with performing hip thrusts in sets of 20-25 reps.
You Can Maintain Your Glutes By Only Doing Hip Thrusts
Once you’ve been working out for a few months and your body has adapted to exercise things are a little different.
Basically, you’ll find it extremely difficult to see increases in strength or size without more of a focus on your nutrition.
I’m not saying that you can’t grow your glutes in a calorie deficit, but simply that it will be much harder as an “experienced lifter”.
So, in order to build muscle, grow a specific body part, or simply to get bigger, you will be required to eat at a calorie surplus.
If you think about this it makes perfect sense.
You want to gain size, which specifically means that you will need to gain weight in order to get bigger.
And of course, the easiest way to gain weight is to eat more.
However, this doesn’t mean that good nutritional values should go out the window.
So, even though you’re eating at a calorie surplus, this should still be through mainly whole, unprocessed foods.
Plus, you will need to increase your protein intake in order to build muscle.
With that being said, you can still maintain your current size, weight, and physique without a complete overhaul of your diet.
The exact same can be said for your glutes and only performing hip thrusts.
So, you can definitely maintain your glute shape and size by doing nothing more than hip thrusts as someone who trains regularly.
Once more, you should also focus on progression where possible.
The Glute Guy Hip Thrust Only Experiment
As an example, Bret Contreras aka “The Glute Guy” had his partner, Diana, solely focus on hip thrusts for 6 weeks.
Basically, due to her busy work schedule she couldn’t concentrate on her training as much as usual, but her main aim was to keep her butt.
Diana initially performed on one high-rep set of squats, deadlifts, and hip thrusts (20, 20, 25 reps respectively).
However, Bret then changed her training schedule to simply doing hip thrusts and banded side lying clamshells.
Diana only performed a total of 3-5 sets between both exercises, twice a week, for 6 weeks in total.
The results saw Diana maintain the size of her glutes, but interestingly her waist shrunk by half an inch during this period.
Here are the full details of Bret and Diana’s hip thrust experiment.
Glutes Grow Best By Hitting All 3 Planes of Motion
Now, even though hip thrusts are a fantastic exercise, they should never be the sole glute exercise you perform.
I’ll even admit that hip thrusts probably hit the Gluteus Maximus and Gluteus Medius better than any other exercise.
However, they’re not quite as effective at stimulating the Gluteus Minimus.
And this is the point, if you want a strong, round, firm, and bigger butt you should hit all 3 gluteal muscles on a regular basis.
This is best achieved by training the glutes through all three planes of motion.
Therefore, you’ll want to perform glute exercises that work vertically, horizontally, and rotationally.
In fact, going back to Bret and Diana’s hip thrust experiment you’ll note that they also added clamshells into the mix.
The clamshell is more of a rotational plane of motion exercise and focuses more on the Gluteus Minimus.
Therefore, the missing piece of the puzzle, the muscle that isn’t stimulated as well by hip thrusts.
However, you could even add another exercise that focuses more on the horizontal plane of motion.
In effect, the ideal glute workout that focuses mainly on hip thrusts could involve:
- Hip Thrusts
- Banded Lateral Walks
This way you can focus the majority of your workout on hip thrusts, while almost using lateral walks and clamshells as accessory exercises.
If you do this there is a much better chance of achieving some serious glute growth.
5 Tips For Better Banded Lateral Walks
So, as you can see, it is possible to grow your glutes by only doing hip thrusts.
However, in truth, glute growth by performing just one single exercise is more likely to be experienced by those new to training.
With that being said, as a seasoned lifter you should be able to maintain your glute size and strength just using hip thrusts.
Nevertheless, you’ll achieve far better results by hitting all three gluteal muscles, as well as performing exercises across all three planes of motion.
If you’re looking to grow your glutes in just 4 weeks then I’ve got just the thing for you. Brian Klepacki has created a workout program that specifically focuses on glutes. There is a total of 36 exercises and you’ll only need to perform eight 15-20 minute workouts over the course of a month. Find out more in my Unlock Your Glutes Review.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.