7 Best Barbell Hip Thrust Alternatives For Bigger Butt

Updated on  February 27, 2023
William Toro

Published By:  William Toro

Fact Checked by: Bridget MacDonald, RDN

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Hip thrust is one of the best exercise to target gluteus maximus, the biggest muscle in the hip. But at the same time hip thrusters also targets your hamstrings and quadriceps.

If you are looking at exercises which targets same muscles as barbell hip thrusters. Then here are listed below. 

7 Best Alternatives To Hip Thrusters

  1. Kettle Bell Swings
  2. Cable Pull Through
  3. Stiff Legs Deadlift
  4. Donkey Kicks
  5. Trap Bar Deadlifts
  6. Banded Hip Thrusts on Knees
  7. Frog Hip Thrusts

1. Kettle Bell Swings

This one is the easiest workout, even for beginners and is a great alternative for someone looking to tone glutes. 

Equipment needed: Single Kettlebell

How To Do: 

Kettlebell swings are a great way to build strength, power, and endurance. Here are steps on how to do them correctly:

1. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart.

2. Grip the kettlebell and hold it close to your chest.

3. Keep your chest up and back straight as you swing the kettlebell between your legs.

4. Drive your hips forward and snap your arms up, straightening your arms and using the power of your legs and hips to swing the kettlebell up to chest height.

5. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the swing, and let the kettlebell swing back between your legs and repeat for desired number of reps.

It’s important to keep your core tight and back straight throughout the entire exercise. Doing so will help you avoid injury and ensure that you are getting the most out of your workout.

Benefits of Kettlebell Swing : This exercise will not only strengthen the glutes, but also work on your core and also help you burn calories.

Muscles Worked on by Kettlebell Swing : Gluteus maximus, Quads, Hamstrings and Core

Pro Tip

Don't forget to squeeze your butt, when you bring kettlebell to your chest height. 

2. Cable Pull Through

Cable pull through works exactly the same as hip thrusts and workout the same muscles of the glues apart from working out posterior chain muscles. 

Equipment Needed: Cable Machine

How to do Cable Pull Through: 

Cable pull through exercises are a great way to target your lower body muscles, such as your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Here’s how to do them:

Step 1: Attach a rope or cable to a low pulley on a cable machine.

Step 2: Stand behind the machine, facing the weight stack, and hold the rope between your legs with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

Step 3: Keeping your back straight and chest up, bend your hips and knees slightly, and drive your hips back.

Step 4: As you drive your hips back, pull the cable through your legs by squeezing your glutes.

Step 5: Hold the cable at the end of the exercise, and slowly return to the starting position.

Step 6: Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions.

Muscles Worked on Cable Pull Through: Gluteus Maximus, Hamstrings, apart from erector spinae (muscle around spinal cord).

3. Stiff Legs Deadlift

Its a variation of regular deadlift exercise, it not just work great on hamstring but also on same muscles as hip thrust exercise. 

Stiff Leg Deadlift with DB

Equipments Needed: Barbell or dumbbells.

Performing stiff leg deadlifts is again a great way to strengthen the posterior chain muscles such as the hamstrings and gluteus maximus. Making it one of the best atlernative to barbell hip thrusts.

How to perform stiff leg deadlifts:

Step 1: Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart and holding a barbell or dumbbell in front of your thighs.

Step 2: Bend your knees slightly before hinging your hips back and lowering the barbell to the ground. Keep your back flat and also keep your core engaged.

Step 3: You have to allow the barbell to move as close to your shins as possible but without touching them.

Step 4: Drive your hips forward, extending your knees and returning to the starting position.

The benefits of performing stiff leg deadlifts include improved hip mobility, increased strength and stability in the legs, improved posture, and strengthened posterior chain muscles. Additionally, this exercise can help protect against common lower back injuries.

Muscles Targeted by Stiff Legs Deadlifts: It also targets gluteus maximus and hamstrings. Thus training posterior chain muscles. 

4. Donkey Kicks

Donkey kicks is one exercise which can be done on cable machine or even without cable machine, some gyms have donkey kick machines. But if you are doing this at home you can do it with resistance band tying it to you ankle. 

Donkey Kicks on Cable

Equipments Needed: None or Cable Machine

To perform a donkey kick,

1. begin by getting into a tabletop position with your hands and knees on the floor.

2. Then, lift your right leg up and back, keeping your knee bent and foot flexed.

3. Straighten your right leg up and back as far as you can while keeping your core engaged and your back flat.

4. Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly lower your right leg back to the starting position.

5. Repeat the same movement on the left leg.

Muscles Worked on by Donkey kicks: Its a great for strengthening your gluteus maximus, hamstring, and core muscles. They also help to improve hip mobility. It more of an isolation exercise than other hip thurst alternatives.

5. Trap Bar Deadlifts

Trap Bar Deadlifts

Trap bar deadlifts are a great way to strengthen your lower body and core muscles. 

How To Dro Trap Bar Deadlift: 

Step 1:  start by positioning yourself in the middle of the bar with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Step 2:  Keep your back straight and your core tight. Then, grasp the handles of the bar and drive your feet into the ground while keeping your chest up.

Step 3: Finally, extend your hips, knees, and ankles to stand up all the way and lock out your hips at the top.

The trap bar deadlift targets a variety of muscles, including your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, core, and traps. It is a great exercise for developing strength, power, and muscular size.

6. Banded Hip Thrusts on Knees

This works exactly same as hip thrusts but they are performed in kneeling position. Banded hip thrusts on knees is also a great way to improve lower body strength and improve hip stability.

Equipments Needed: Restistance Band

How to do Banded Hip Thrusts on Knees:

Step 1: Place a mini band (or large elastic band) around your waist, just above your hips, touching hip bones.

Step 2: Sit on your knees, keeping your back straight.

Step 3: Place your hands on the floor for support and Push your hips back and up, squeezing your glutes and keeping your abs tight.

Step 4: Slowly lower your hips back to the starting position.

Step 5: Repeat this exercise atleast 10-15 times for three sets.

Doing banded hip thrusts on your knees is an excellent way to strengthen your lower body and help stabilize your hips. Make sure to keep your form correct so you don't injure yourself.

Muscles worked on with Banded Kneeling  Hip Thrust: Glutes Maximus and quadriceps. 

7. Frog Hip Pumps

Frog hips pump targets the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus apart from quad muscles. Making it a great addition to your hip thrust alternatives. 

How to do Weighted Frog Hip Pumps:

Step 1.  First start by lying flat on your back and join the sole of your feet and by bending your knees.

Step 2: Place your hands flat on the ground behind you or hold a weighted dumbbell or weighted plate on your hip

Step 3: Now, press your hips up towards the ceiling until your hips and knees are in a straight line. 

Step 4: Hold this position for a few seconds, and then slowly lower your hips back to the starting position.

Step 5: Repeat this motion atleast 12-15 times, or until you feel a burn in your glutes.

Muscles worked by frog hip thrust: This works by working on the muscles of the glutes which are otherwise not much worked on in other hip thrust alternatives like gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. 


Don't forget to create tension in your muscle, its best to go for higher reps while performing all the above exercises. Target minimum of 12-15 reps for each set. And last 4 reps for maximum muscle tension.

FAQs in Relation to Best Hip Thrust Alternatives

What's Better Than Hip Thrusts?

Hip thrusts works on glutes by activating hypothrapthy. Thereby helps increasing the size of your glutes and making them bigger. 

Any workout which targets your gluteus maximus like cable pull through, donkey kicks, trap bar deadlifts, stiff legs deadlifts, hip thrust on knees , kettle bell swings is as good as barbell hip thrust exercise.

If you alterante between them then they are always better than doing solely barbell hip thrust.

Can You Build Glutes Without Hip Thrusts?

Yes, it is possible to build glutes without hip thrusts. There are a variety of exercises that can be used to target the glute muscles such as squats, lunges, and step-ups.

These exercises can be done with or without weights depending on your fitness level and goals.

Additionally, bodyweight exercises like bridges and donkey kicks can also help strengthen the glutes while providing an intense workout.

With proper form and technique, these exercises will help you achieve strong and bigger glutes without needing to do hip thrusts.

Are Barbell Hip Thrusts Necessary?

No, Barbell hip thrusts aren't necessary but incorporating them in your workout can always help as they strengthen the glutes and hamstrings, which can improve posture and reduce lower back pain.

They are also good at increasing the size of your hips since they directly target glutes.

But if you dont like barbell hip thrust you can always do alternative exercise as above which get the same job done. 

They also increase overall power output during exercises like squats and deadlifts. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide if hip thrusts should be included in their workout routine or not based on their own goals and needs.


In conclusion, the best hip thrust alternatives are barbell glute bridges, single leg glute bridges, donkey kicks, banded kneeling hip thrusts and step ups.

Each of these exercises can be done with minimal equipment and will help you strengthen your hips while still getting a great workout. With these exercises in your routine, you'll be able to get the same benefits as traditional hip thrusts without having to use any extra weight or machines.

So if you're looking for an effective way to work out your hips without using heavy weights or machines then try out one of these best hip thrust alternatives today.

You can also look at adding some creatine with pre workout in your supplement, which can help you not only lift extra but also increase your muscle mass.

William Toro

William Toro ‧ CPT & Nutritionist

William is a certified personal trainer from NASM, he has also been a rehab physiologist for sports persons. He has more than 15 years of experience training people. And has featured in multiple publications like FoxNews, CNBC, Bustle, and other. 

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