If you’re wondering how to do hip thrusts at home without a bench I have a number of alternatives for you.
The hip thrust is a fantastic exercise and one that will work your glutes like no other.
However, not all of us have access to a gym or perhaps you simply prefer working out at home.
And of course, this makes performing hip thrusts that much harder, especially if you don’t own a bench.
So, allow me to reveal the various possibilities for hip thrusting without a bench in the comfort of your own home.
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How to Do Hip Thrusts at Home Without a Bench?
There are a number of ways to do hip thrusts at home without a bench. The easiest method involves supporting your upper back against a couch or a bed. Then again, the stairs provide a way to elevate your upper body. You can of course use a Swiss ball or even an aerobic step with risers if required. If you feel as though none of these things will work then glute bridges (back flat on the floor) will still give your glutes a great workout.
1. Do Hip Thrusts Against a Couch or a Bed
The most obvious choice to hip thrust at home without a bench is to use a couch or a bed.
Both provide adequate cushioning for your upper back and shoulders, so you’ll typically find this more comfortable than a bench anyway.
Additionally, in most cases, a couch or bed will be placed against a wall, which means you won’t have to worry about a bench sliding around when you do hip thrusts.
With that being said, whether you can use a couch or a bed will very much depend on where you usually workout.
I guess this is absolutely fine if you train in your bedroom or front room, but this may not be particularly wise when using heavy barbells.
This is also why many people have a specific “workout room” at home.
Perhaps in your basement, a converted garage, or maybe you even workout in your garden when the weather permits.
In all these cases the thought of dropping a barbell or dumbbells doesn’t seem so bad.
But, this is definitely something that you don’t want to do in the main rooms inside the house.
So, if you feel you can use a couch or bed, that’s all well-and-good.
However, if you feel this isn’t a viable option, I have some more hip thrust alternatives for you.
2. Do Hip Thrusts Against the Stairs
Another option would be to perform hip thrusts against the stairs, the bottom step to be more precise.
This clearly won’t be as comfortable as a couch or bed, so you should place a pillow or some cushions on the bottom step.
Then again, this may not be a viable option for you, depending on the design of your home.
I know for a fact that I can’t perform barbell hip thrusts on my stairs.
This is simply because the staircase in my home is against a wall.
However, I have often used dumbbells, weight plates, and a sandbag.
This allows me to pile on some decent weight for my hip thrusts without the need for a barbell.
So, room permitting, the stairs are definitely a great alternative to a bench.
3. Use a Swiss Ball to Do Hip Thrusts
I have personally also performed hip thrusts on a Swiss ball (yoga/Pilates ball).
I actually found this to be a great substitute for a bench, and quite often it has been my preference to use a Swiss ball.
For me, I like the fact that a Swiss ball doesn’t provide a stable surface, which means that my core has to work that much harder.
With that being said, there is also the safety element to consider when it comes to using a Swiss ball for hip thrusts.
You can typically perform just about every exercise on a Swiss ball that you would usually do on a bench.
So, as an example, the dumbbell chest press and seated overhead press are fantastic exercises.
Plus, the fact that you really have to activate your core while sitting or lying on a ball just adds to the effectiveness of the exercises.
However, with either pressing exercise if you happen to lose your balance you can simply drop the weights down to your sides.
So, in effect, there is some form of safety when using a Swiss ball for pressing exercises.
But unfortunately, you get no such luck when it comes to using a barbell.
Basically, if you lose balance and fall off the ball then you’re taking the barbell with you.
This of course is extremely dangerous and may cause a serious injury.
So, this is something that you should keep in mind if you’re going to use a Swiss ball to hip thrust.
I guess this also comes down to how much weight you’re going to use.
But, I certainly wouldn’t want to be hip thrusting several hundred pounds on an unstable surface.
Hip Thrusts on Stability Ball
4. Use an Aerobic Step & Risers
You can of course invest in an aerobic step and some risers.
In fact, this is probably the best option for most of us in the gym environment anyway.
I’ll explain why using an aerobic step is probably better than a bench in just a moment.
However, if you’re looking to create your own home gym and fill it with equipment then an aerobic step is a great buy.
In fact, you could use a step as a replacement for any exercise where you typically use a bench.
You also have the option to buy risers with your aerobic step, which allows to effectively increase the height of the step.
Basically, when it comes to performing hip thrusts the height that your upper back and shoulders are elevated will play a huge role in how much you get out of the movement.
And this is unfortunately an option that you don’t generally get with a bench.
In truth, you need to find the perfect height for YOU individually, and once you have you’ll notice how much better hip thrusts work for you.
And it is for this reason that I prefer an aerobic step with risers over a bench.
5. Use Glute Bridges as an Alternative to Hip Thrusts
If nothing takes your fancy here then you can always perform glute bridges instead of hip thrusts.
A glute bridge takes you through exactly the same movement pattern as hip thrusts, but your upper body isn’t elevated.
So, you are still definitely working your glutes to great effect.
I guess it’s just how we’ve become used to using both exercises.
More often than not, glute bridges are typically performed with just body weight, or even as a warm up.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t perform glute bridges with added weight.
Then again, hip thrusts are generally performed with a load, while being viewed as more of a strength or hypertrophy movement.
With that being said, I once more state that glute bridges can definitely be done with weight, and they will provide an awesome glute workout.
Hip Thrust vs. Glute Bridge
6. A Bench isn’t Ideal For Hip Thrusts
Now, I mentioned a moment ago my preference for using an aerobic step over a bench.
This simply comes down to the height of the bench and the fact that I’m not exactly the tallest guy in the world.
Most benches are generally between 17-18 inches in height.
However, this is actually higher than what the vast majority of people should be using to hip thrust.
In fact, I know many people hate performing hip thrusts, but simply go through the motions because they know it’s such a great exercise.
But, this “hatred” is often caused because they haven’t found the optimal height for their body to hip thrust from.
For the vast majority of people approximately 14 inches is the ideal height to hip thrust from.
So, you can already see that a standard gym bench is already too high for most people.
For those of you who are shorter, 12 inches would be a better height.
I would also recommend using a 12-inch platform if you have long legs but a short torso.
And if you’re particularly tall then around 16 inches would be ideal to hip thrust from.
So, in effect, a standard bench is probably too high for just about every single person to hip thrust from.
The main issue is that you won’t be able to use posterior pelvic tilt during hip thrusts if the bench is too high.
And unfortunately, this will usually mean that you feel hip thrusts in your lower back or your quads.
Therefore, even if you do have a bench at home, you would probably be better off using one of the above alternatives for hip thrusts.
So, as you can see, there are quite a number of ways to hip thrust at home without a bench.
The most obvious solutions would be to support your upper back and shoulders against a couch, bed, or the stairs.
However, if none of these seem like a viable option then you could look at a cheaper alternative to a bench.
A couple of great ideas would be to use a Swiss ball or an aerobic step with risers (if required).
With that being said, even if you have access to a bench this probably isn’t the best option to hip thrust from.
In reality, a bench is too high for the vast majority of people.
If you’re looking to take your glute training to a new level then I have just the thing. This is a 4-week workout program, which involves training twice a week, and using a total of 36 glute-specific exercises. Perfect if you want a stronger, rounder, and firmer butt. You can discover 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.