Set Up

  • Getting set up properly… Make sure that you have a solid weighted bench behind you and the bar of the smith machine resting as close to your hips as is comfortable. Lots of people also find that they need to place a pad underneath it so that the bar doesn’t cause too much discomfort.

  • If you’ve never done this kind of hip thrust before… It’s a good idea to do it a few times without any extra weight on the smith machine bar. This allows you to get used to the way that it feels, and the range of motion. Otherwise, have the bar all ready to go with some weights.
  • Use the bench… The next step is to lean back into the bench so that the bottom of your shoulder blades are resting on the edge of the bench. As you lift your upper back will therefore be supported by the bench.
  • Place your feet… Sitting with your shoulder blades against the bench, extend your legs out straight in front of you hip width apart. Then bend your knees placing your heel roughly where your knee has just been when your legs were extended. This is the position where you can now start to take the weight and do hip thrusts (you may need to adjust your feet slightly to find a comfortable position).

  • Push and extend… Now you need to push upward with your hips and raise the bar so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. At this stage, it’s important to plant your heels on the floor and use them to drive upwards. Your shoulder blades should also be pressed into the bench and supporting your weight and the weight of the bar.

  • Return the bar… The downward movement should be done in a slow and controlled manner. It should be done in one movement and the bar should be returned to the starting position. You can do as many reps as you are able.

Things to remember.

  • Spinal position: You are aiming to keep a straight spine throughout the movement, hinging with your hips, so be mindful not to arch your spine as you lower the bar.

  • Squeezing your glutes at top of the movement & lower with control to maintain tension in the muscle throughout for maximum muscle growth.
  • Neck position: Look down your body to your knees as you perform hip thrusts to avoid putting tension in the neck.


  • Barbell hip thrust: Great for working on stability once you’ve mastered them on a smith machine, as the bar will move more freely it engages more of the body’s smaller stabilisation muscles but you may have to lower the weight while you adjust.
  • Dumbbell glute bridge: If the smith machine is feeling like too much or isn’t available, a great alternative is to place a dumbbell across your hips, shoulders braced on the floor and push up to a diagonal.
  • Glute bridge: A great way to start from scratch and build your confidence in the hinge movement.


  • Improving your posture by increasing your body’s stabilisation and decreasing unnatural pelvic alignment.
  • Improving athletic performance by being able to generate more power, agility, speed and strength.
  • Decreasing injury risk by taking pressure off other muscles during movements e.g. lumbar spine, hips or knees.
  • Decrease back pain through stabilising pelvis and hip joint movements.

For any further help with this exercise just grab one of the team on the gym floor!