Most Overrated Glute/Butt Exercises – Hip Thruster

The Hip Thruster is one of the most popular exercises in the fitness industry today.

Today, I rang in on the detriments of doing such a limited exercise for extended periods of time.


Oh, yeah, flex that cervical. Thrust those hips. Yep. Ahhh! Yeah. Can feel those glutes just getting that development. Forget about trying to develop your glutes through things like walking and running when you can just do some arbitrary lift that’s designed to fatigue them for no particular purpose. Oh yeah, you know what, I’m not going to lie. That was, that was quite the glute burn there.

Quite the trivial glute burn. Hello, I’m Naudi Aguilar of Functional Patterns and today I’m going to be discussing the hip thruster. It’s a very popular exercise and it shouldn’t be that popular. It’s actually quite dangerous. I myself used to do hip bridges. I have a video that I put up maybe about six, seven years ago regarding an anterior pelvic tilt. You can research it. And I was doing a supine bridge. Guess why I stopped doing that specific exercise. Because it didn’t, it was actually creating more problems than it was helping.

And the main thing I want you guys to focus on here, right, positionally, for one, you can’t make this exercise right. Anytime you see somebody doing a hip thruster, you’re going to see them involved in some kind of a cervical flexion, but the main thing that I want you guys to think about is that every time you are finishing the extension phase, when you are at the supine point here, when you finish the extension phase, what are your knees in? They are in a knee flexion. You’re in a constant knee flexion, meaning that you actually never move into a full hip extension. How does this correlate to functional movement in reality? If I am going to drive myself from hip flexion into hip extension, what does that invariably going to lead me to? A knee extension happening with hip extension. Pretty much what I mean guys, that when I do this motion here where I drive my hips forward like this, my knee should not be flexed. Is it to say that this is always going to be a useless motion? That the supine bridge is always going to be bad? No. What I will say is that if you’re going to do a supine bridge, you should really begin to ask yourself that at some point while you’re doing a supine bridge, when that function is going to override it, when you need to have knee extension with hip extension.

These are why if you guys have read my book, “The Power of Posture,” or if you guys bought my 10 week course, you guys will start realizing why I started doing this thing called a standing bridge. I called it a standing bridge because my intent with the standing bridge was to teach human beings how to associate tension with their glutes and their quads together, so that way they would be replicating the dynamics that you would find most typically in a person’s movement. I’m not completely bashing the hip thruster. Actually I am bashing the hip thruster, but putting that much weight on your hips bilaterally, I really want you guys to consider what you’re going to do to yourself. Anytime you’re doing any heavy bilateral lifting, anytime that you induce trauma on a body and you isolate the muscles outside of what the evolutionary process tells us that the muscles needed to be adapted for, is going to lead to some problems.

Okay, so think about it this way. The glutes operate through myofascial segments, myofascial force transmissions that correlate greatly, shouts out to anatomy trains, that correlate greatly to the contralateral glute, right? So if you look at this right shoulder here and you look at this left butt cheek here, you’re going to see that these muscles are supposed to connect with one another. What happens if they don’t connect with one another and then you traumatize the muscles of the glutes without the lats. And what’s even scarier is when you traumatize the glutes on this side without the abductors on the opposite side or the contralateral side. Well you end up having these problems that you see with everybody who tends to do a lot of hip thrusters. You have this knee external rotation. You begin to notice that the knees begin to rotate outward in this fashion. Okay?

Now, what is constantly maintaining an external hip rotation going to do? It’s going to completely ruin your gait cycle. So you might be one to go off on a barbecue with your family, no puns intended, but you might go on a barbecue with your family and you might strain a hamstring when you decide to go out for a sprint.

Why might that begin to happen? Because for one, your body has no idea how to use its glutes because you only specialize those glutes while you were doing a hip thruster, a back squat or a deadlift. Let’s just be real here guys. If we’re talking about functionality in relation to human physiology, to human characteristics, the hip thruster has nothing to do with that. Very rarely are you going to find yourself on your back humping the sky. It’s just not going to be happening that often. It’s not to say that you shouldn’t have the capacity to do that. I think your body should have the mobility characteristics to do that, to get yourself off the ground, whatever. If you’re doing Jujitsu and you need to bump somebody off with you, I’m not saying that it’s completely wrong.

What I’m saying is that you’re not going to fix any of your problems through a supine bridge, and I think based upon the fact that you see the people in the strength and conditioning community not solving people’s movement dysfunctions, you can tell that those hip thrusters aren’t doing anything to solve basic things like an anterior pelvic tilt, anterior pelvic shift, the kyphosis, a scapular wing, a scapular tip. You’re not seeing any of these dysfunctions being addressed by these people. Instead, what are they doing? They’re exacerbating their problems. And I’m trying to forewarn you guys that if you continue to keep doing things like this, within time you’re going to exacerbate those problems.

Just one last thing to point out, the hip thruster is yet another sagittal plane, bilateral lift. What does that mean? Right? You’re still operating in this point of motion. Both legs are operating like this. How should they be operating? Right? If I’m going to work this glute, typically most of the day while I’m walking or if I’m going to run or do something with my body that’s functional and what I’m designed to do in nature, if I’m going to walk or run, guess what I’m going to do? I’m going to engage this glute and reciprocate that with this hip flexor complex. On the right side, I’m going to engage this glute and I’m going to reciprocate that with this latissimus dorsi on this side. There are contralateral reciprocations that need to be accounted for and then there’s also going to be times where I’m gonna find myself doing an ipsilateral reciprocation, especially when I’m doing a hip hike where my lats are going to reciprocate that glute on an ipsilateral function.

So when we think about how the glutes are supposed to work, it’s not going to work through a sagittal plane load. It has to be worked in some way that’s gonna pay respect to the gait cycle and this is just yet another lift that does not respect the human gait cycle and it’s pretty obvious when the founder of this exercise or the ones that pushes it the most, his body’s falling apart, but I’m not going to get into who this person is, but I’m going to say that when they’re straining their hamstrings after just doing a short sprint playing I think softball or kickball or something, that’s not speaking well as to what their training is doing for them.

You have to start asking yourself, what’s your training really doing for you? Are you trying to fulfill some kind of cultural tendency and get validation from culture or are you trying to get some kind of natural tendency where it’s like, well, you know what, I got to go do something physically with my body today. Hopefully I don’t herniate a disc or tear a hamstring or pull a hamstring. Right? We have to ask ourselves, what are we training for?

I myself tend to incline myself towards natural validation. I want to have good health, good physiology, and I want to have a good relationship with gravity myself. But maybe I’m crazy for thinking that way. I tend to think that other people are, I think in future civilizations are going to look back at our civilization and be like, no, you guys were crazy for doing, you guys were stupid for doing the things that you were doing, not just crazy, you were stupid, because you knew better and you chose not to do better, so you were making a stupid decision and for me, I’m trying to not make stupid decisions with my life and I’m trying to become wise. There’s a lot of info out there, but there’s not much wisdom out there. I’m trying to give you guys a little bit of that wisdom, so you don’t end up like my dumb ass injuring myself following traditional training protocols and fortunately I learned. But hopefully you don’t end up like other people who are following traditional protocols, getting hurt and then just repeating that cycle over and over again. Trying to break the cycle here, guys.

Anyways, hope you guys found this video to be informative, if not entertaining. I will see you guys in the future with yet another one. This is Naudi Aguilar at Functional Patterns, reminding you to think intentionally and not habitually. Take care.



  1. Lorenzo August 22, 2017 at 9:40 am - Reply

    I find your videos very instractive. Thanks.

  2. Kortney May 22, 2018 at 4:53 am - Reply

    Enjoyed this vidoe. What would be a more functional method of training the glutes that steers away from the thrust?

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