The hip thrust is a popular exercise used by many people in the gym.
Its popularity has increased in recent years thanks to the likes of Bret Contreras, who invented the exercise back in 2006.
Since then, Bret has extensively researched the activity of the gluteus maximus during the hip thrust and his findings have shaped the way the gluteal muscles are trained by many.
But, do hip thrusts help you jump higher? Yes, hip thrusts are a proven method to help increase vertical jump. Hip thrusts work the glutes which are the leading muscle group involved in jumping higher. A previous study with hip thrust as the primary lift, participants increased their vertical jump by an average of 5% after 5 weeks.
I’m going to talk about whether or not hip thrusts can help you jump higher and how you can plan the hip thrust into your routine to gain this potential benefit.
Why Hip Thrusts Help You Jump Higher?
Hip thrusts are an effective exercise to build strength and grow muscle in the glutes.
The gluteus maximus is involved in hip extension, hip abduction, hip transverse abduction, and hip external rotation. All of these movements are important in sports as they are required for sprinting, jumping, side to side agile motions, and twisting.
Hip Thrust Alternatives: The Best Ones
Therefore, by strengthening the gluteal muscles, you can achieve a higher and more powerful jump. Here are some of the main reasons why.
1. Increased Ability to Generate Force
The ability to generate force in a single instant is essential to an explosive high jump. You’re going to need to generate a high level of force to jump higher, and performing heavy hip thrusts will help you do so.
Focus on training in the lower rep range with a higher weight so your glutes start improving in strength and power.
2. Increased Rate of Force Development
How quickly can develop force depends on the rate at which your muscles contract after receiving a signal from your brain to do so. This ultimately determines how explosively you can jump.
As your rate of force development improves, you can produce a large amount of force in a shorter amount of time, which I’d key to your jumper ability.
When performing the hip thrust, it’s important to focus on explosiveness thrusting your hips up with each rep. You want to train your glutes to be strong, but also powerful.
3. Improved Muscle Recruitment
With the majority of modern-day jobs involving employees sitting in a chair pretty much all day, many people’s glutes are becoming ‘dormant’.
In other words, they’re not activating as much as they should be doing. Many people also lack the ability to engage their glutes while walking around due to poor movement patterns.
By practicing heavy hip thrusts, you can begin to wake your glutes up. It enables you to strengthen not only the muscles themselves, but also their connection to your mind.
In other words, you’re strengthening the mind muscle connection. This is also important for jumping.
Your gluteus maximus is one of the powerful muscles in the body, so when you’re able to recruit the gluteal muscles prior to jumping, there’s no doubt that your jump will be much higher.
4. Increased Strength
You can easily overload the glutes in the hip thrust.
Personally, I find this exercise one of the easiest lower body compound exercises to stack a bunch of plates onto the barbell. This makes it perfect to help you build muscles in the glutes, and increase power and strength in these muscles.
This will translate nicely into your jumps, by enabling you to generate much more powerful and forceful movements.
5. Increased Tendon Thickness
Your gluteus maximum has tendons that run from the pelvis and sacrum and insert into your upper femur. These tendons are key to enabling you to move powerfully. Without them, you would not be able to jump very high!
They store all of the elastic energy that gets released when jump off the ground.
By training with heavy hip thrusts, and focusing mainly on the eccentric (lowering) part of the movement, you can increase the thickness and strength in your tendons. This will enable them to store more elastic energy so you can jump even higher.
6. Improved Coordination
As hip thrusts are a compound exercise, you are required to use multiple muscles groups and joints at the same time. This can improve your total body coordination, something that is key to a great vertical jump.
Studies That Prove Hip Thrusts Help You Jump Higher
So, we’ve established how hip thrusting can increase your jumping performance, but are there any studies that support this or prove this?
The answer is yes!
There have been many studies that look at how resistance training affects sports performance. Luckily, with the hip thrusts increasing in popularity, more researchers are starting to study how exercise can be beneficial for athletes.
Before we get into, I want to mention the force-vector theory, as some of the studies I’m going to mention refer to this.
The force-vector theory states that the hip thrust is expected to elicit greater improvements in horizontal jump performance than vertical jump performance because it is a horizontally loaded exercise.
Here are a few of the studies that I have found.
Study 1: Hip Thrusts and Vertical Jumping
This first study looked at whether a horizontally-loaded exercise such as the hip thrust would result in better improvements in horizontal jumping abilities compared to vertical jumping. Pre and post testing looked at vertical squat jump, vertical countermovement jump, horizontal squat jump, horizontal countermovement jump and hip thrust 3 repetition maximum (3RM).
They found that, after a 14-week hip thrust program, the participants improved their vertical jump by 6% and their 3RM by 33%. but there were no differences in magnitude between the horizontal and vertical jumping improvements. This goes against the predictions of the force-vector theory, and their vertical jumping height improvements may be due to hip extension abilities, as this is key to a good high jump.
Study 2: Hip Thrusts and Jump Height After 6 Weeks
Bret Contreras, who I mentioned at the start of the article, underwent a six-week long study that looked at whether regular hip thrusts could improve jump height performance. Each participant was randomly assigned to train front squats or hip thrusts as part of a six-week training program. His findings showed that hip thrusts did, indeed, improve jumping performance, likely because the exercise places mechanical demands on the hip and knee extensors and targets the posterior chain.
Study 3: Hip Thrusts vs Vertical Exercises
This next study compared vertically-loaded exercises (loaded and unloaded vertical jumps, and half squat) to horizontally-loaded exercises (hip thrust) to see which one provided the most benefit to top-level sprinters.
They found that the hip thrust was associated with the maximum acceleration phase of the sprint. This acceleration is exactly what you need to perform an explosive jump.
Study 4: Hip Thrusts and Knee Extensors/Flexors
This study was interested in seeing whether different training protocols improved body composition, and strength and power performance in adolescent soccer players.
They measure jumping, speed, change of direction, endurance, sprint ability, maximum strength, and speed-endurance both pre and post training.
Their findings revealed that lifts incorporating a hip thrust movement resulted in increased strength in both knee extensors and flexors.
How To Train Your Hip Thrusts So You Can Jump Higher?
So, we’ve looked at the research. Let’s discuss how you can train your hip thrusts to help you jump higher. This way, you can head to the gym and try these different hip thrusts techniques and slowly improve your vertical jump.
If you want to grow muscle and improve any aspect of your training or sports performance, you need to be consistent. I recommend training hip thrusts twice a week to see maximum results.
By this, I don’t mean super heavy hip thrusts both times. I mean one heavy strength session (4-6 reps) and one lighter, technique-focused session (8-12 reps) each week.
If it’s is impossible for you to squeeze in two hip thrusts workouts into your week, aim to do them at least once a week and try to incorporate a range of reps within your sets.
By regularly practicing the movement, your strength will improve, your glutes will grow, and your technique is going to get better and better.
Train in Strength and Hypertrophy Rep Ranges
If you want to gain strength and grow your glutes to get a higher jump, you need to work in the right rep ranges.
Focus on reps between 4-6 and 8-12 for optimal gains. Generally, a higher muscle equals a stronger muscle, so you will find that your glutes will grow as you start lifting heavier weights.
Focus On the Eccentric
As I mentioned above, the elastic energy that is stored in your tendons is released when you jump up off the ground. You can train your tendons to store more elastic energy and release this energy very quickly by focusing on the eccentric part of your hip thrusts.
You can emphasize the concentric part of the movement by slowing down the second half (lowering phase). Accelerate the bar explosively up to the top of the rep and when you return it to the starting position, slow it down to a 3-4 second eccentric.
Increase Your Range of Motion
You should always aim to achieve the largest range of motion in any gym-based exercise.
By doing so, your muscles can grow stronger through the whole range as opposed to just a small part of the range. You will also see better hypertrophy when you don’t skimp out on the range of motion.
With that being said, if you’re training around an injury, and your trainer has suggested you only do partial reps for certain exercises, please listen to them. We don’t want any further injuries!
Track Your Progress
I always recommend keeping track of your metrics in all of your workouts. This way, you know where you’re improving and whether your current training program is working or not.
You don’t have to write everything down in a notepad. You can use your Notes app on your phone! This is what I do and I find it much easier to keep track of my workouts this way.
Make a note of your sets, reps, and the weights you used. You can also write down if you focused on slowing down the eccentric phase of your exercises as well.
Tracking your progress is a great way to look back and see how much you’ve improved. It also enables you to adapt your training to suit your goals.
Hip Thrusts Training Program for Jumping Higher
If your goal is to get a higher, more explosive jump, your training program needs to reflect that.
The tables below summarize an example of two four-week programs that you can use to stimulate hypertrophy and improve strength in your glutes to increase your jump height. Following the programs below will ensure you get in both the heavy low rep sets and the lighter high rep sets.
|Week||First Workout||Second Workout|
|1||4 x 8-12 50% 1RM with three second eccentric phase||4 x 8-12 reps at 60% 1RM|
|2||4 x 8-12 reps at 60% 1RM||4 x 8-12 50% 1RM with three second eccentric phase|
|3||4 x 10 reps at 65% 1RM focusing on explosive movement||4 x 8-12 reps at 60% 1RM|
|4||4 x 8-12 reps at 60% 1RM||4 x 8-12 50% 1RM focusing on explosive movement|
|Week||First Workout||Second Workout|
|1||4 x 4-6 reps at 80% 1RM||4 x 6 reps at 55% 1RM|
|2||4 x 4 reps at 70% 1RM focusing on explosive movement||4 x 3 60% 1RM with three second eccentric phase|
|3||4 x 4-6 reps at 80% 1RM||4 x 6 reps at 55% 1RM|
|4||4 x 3-5 repsFirst set at 80% 1RMSecond set at 85% 1RMThird set at 90% 1RMFourth set at 95% 1RM||4 x 3 60% 1RM with three second eccentric phase|
Other Ways to Jump Higher?
It’s not just hip thrusts that can help you achieve a higher jump. There are so many things you can do alongside them, both inside and outside of the gym. Of course, any exercise that stimulates hypertrophy and strength gains in your lower body will benefit you in jumping higher. However, the following exercises are particularly helpful because they focus on powerful and explosive movements that will translate better to high jumps.
- Plyometric exercises such as squat jumps, split squat jumps, and box jumps
- Power focused deadlifts and squats (focusing on explosive movement)
- Kettlebell swings
Frequently Asked Questions
Although both of these exercises involve pushing a weight using your hips in a horizontal path, they are slightly different. The main difference is that in the hip thrust, your upper back is resting on an elevated platform. In a glute bridge, you are lying flat on the floor. Generally, because of the elevation, you can get a wider range of motion in the hip thrust compared to the glute bridge.
Most people will benefit from hip thrusting. Athletes, powerlifters, bodybuilders, fitness models. Even somebody who just wants to get into the gym, burn a few calories, and get a good pump. Unless you’re pregnant or you’re currently working around an injury that is preventing you from placing anything heavy on your hips, you’re probably okay to do hip thrusts. If you’re unsure, please consult your doctor or personal trainer.
Any exercise that involves lifting a heavy weight comes with potential risks. However, by practicing proper form and sticking with a weight that you can safely lift will minimize your chances of an injury. The most common cause of injury in the gym is somebody either doing an exercise with poor form or too much weigh
Whether you’re a competitor or you’re just interested in getting a higher jump, the hip thrust can definitely help you.
Incorporating them into a great training program that focuses on all aspects of strength and power generation will contribute to an increase in the height of your vertical jumps without a doubt.
Expect to start seeing results after 6-8 weeks of regular hip thrusting.