Dumbbell Hip Thrust With Perfect Form (& Common Mistakes)

Dumbbell Hip Thrust is an exercise that enforces our ability to extend the hips and build strength and muscle mass in the glutes! 

Let me show you step-by-step the correct dumbbell hip thrusts, their benefits, and the most valuable tips to make the most of it in your workout routine!

What Muscles Do Dumbbell Hip Thrusts Work?

dumbbell hip thrust muscles worked

As a compound exercise, it works several muscles, with the primary (dominant) muscles being:

  • Glutes & Hamstrings: These together are responsible for hip extension. Hip extension happens when you push/thrust your bum up.
  • Lower back muscles (Erector Spinae) are a group of muscles that run along the spine. It extends the spine and helps maintain proper form, posture, and core stability during dumbbell hip thrusting.

The Benefits Of Dumbbell Hip Thrust

They Grow Your Glutes

We have highlighted above that dumbbell hip thrusts are a fantastic exercise to grow your butt. 

I would add a little detail to make this statement more accurate: 

For those who are quad dominant, incorporating dumbbell hip thrusts into your workout routine can help maximize your glute growth by targeting the (post-chain) glutes and hamstrings more specifically

They can be especially beneficial if you rely heavily on your quadriceps during lower-body exercises like squats! While squats are often considered the best exercise for glute growth, they also heavily engage the quads, as research showed!

They Can Be Overloaded Safely

The position you perform a thrust in is safe for most people.

Unlike squats, this can give you the confidence to use a heavier weight!

They Have Many Variations and Progressions 

There are several ways of progressing a dumbbell hip thrust exercise, like increasing the weight or using bands in addition to dumbbells. On top of that, you can perform dumbbell hip thrusts in a single leg or with your feet elevated

To see more hip thrust variation and get some ideas on how you can play around with hip thrusts, read my article here.

They Can Be Done at Home

Dumbbells are portable and only require a little space in your house. You can get a pair of them cheap on eBay. 

They Help Maximize a More Natural Range Of Motion

This is because the dumbbells are not attached to a bar, so you can freely move your hips and legs with more control over the weight.

They Can Be Loaded and Unloaded Easily

Dumbbells are easier to pick up and control than barbells, which can also be more manageable for beginners. You can quickly, easily, and comfortably position the dumbbells on your hips, allowing for more stability and confidence. You can also ditch it off you when you are done.

How To Do Dumbbell Hip Thrust with Proper Form

Performing Dumbbell Hip thrust with proper form will allow you to feel your targeted muscles (glutes) working immediately! This way, you can gain maximum benefits and keep yourself injury free.

However, if you don’t do it correctly, you might find other muscles dominating, like your quads and hamstring, rather than your glutes. 

Let’s go through the proper form in detail!

How To Set Up Dumbbell Hip Thrust

how to set up dumbbell hip thrust
  • Put the bench horizontally.
  • Get the dumbbell over your hips by sitting on the ground with the dumbbell beside you. Tip your hip to the side, and get the dumbbell on your hips. (SEE PICTURE)
  • Lie on a bench resting the upper back across the bench (on the bottom of the shoulder blade), and lift your hips off the ground.
  • Make sure you are stable, secure, and comfortable in this position!
  • Step with your feet around shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your shin vertical the whole time!
  • Set yourself into the starting position by pushing your bum up!
  • Support the dumbbell the entire time with your hands so it doesn’t roll off your hips!

The Starting Position

proper dumbbell hip thrust form starting position
  • Now you are in a ‘bridge position’ with your upper back on the top of the bench and the dumbbells secure!
  • Tuck your chin down and tilt your pelvis posteriorly to achieve max glute engagement.
  • Brace your core, drive through your feet, and push your hips up while keeping your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • This is going to be your starting position!

The Lowering Phase 

how to hip thrust with dumbbell
  • Slowly lower your hips towards the ground (3-5 seconds), maintaining a controlled movement. (4)
  • As you do so, keep your head up and the torso tall.
  • Stop before your bum touches the ground!
  • Return to the starting position by thrusting your hips up! (5)
  • At the top of the movement, squeeze your glutes and pause for 3-5 seconds.
  • Repeat for the desired repetitions and sets, or follow my program below.


how to hip thrust with dumbbell 2
  • At the top of the movement, squeeze your glutes and pause for a second before lowering back down again.
  • Repeat for the desired repetitions and sets, or follow my program below.
  • When you finish, sit on the ground and tilt your hip to the side to ditch the dumbbell off your hip.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

Arching Your Lower Back

correct hip thrust form 1

This can happen when you’re pushing your buttocks too far up or not doing the hip thrust correctly ( lack of core engagement). The back muscles will compensate to maintain balance and stability, leading to excessive lower back arching.

Leaving Your Head Behind

correct hip thrust form 2

It is a common mistake to leave the head on the bench when lowering the hips. This can lead you to arch your lower back & can cause back or neck pain in the long term.

Placing the Feet Too Far Away From You

hip thrust foot placement

If your feet are too far, you will feel your hamstrings working more than your glutes. Maintaining proper form and a braced core in this position is also harder.

Bruising Your Hips

Dumbbells are less likely to leave marks, but it can happen with any type of weight! I recommend using bar pads or towels to make the lift more comfortable and avoid bruising or discomfort.

Using a Weight That You Can’t Lift

Switch to a lighter dumbbell if you struggle to control the movement and maintain proper form.

Positioning Yourself Too Far Forward

correct hip thrust form 4

If you are starting too far from the bench, you will push the bench away with your back, reducing your balance and stability.

Adding The Dumbbell Hip Thrust Into Your Workout Routine

You can incorporate dumbbell hip thrusts into all your leg workout routines. For example, I like splitting my routine this way:

  • Monday: Full Body
  • Tuesday: Lower body
  • Thursday: Upper Body
  • Friday: Lower Body
  • Sunday Conditioning

Two days lower body routine with dumbbell hip thrusts:

Day 1: 

  1. Kettlebell Swings: 2-3 sets / 15 reps / 30 seconds rest
  2. Deadlifts: 4 sets / 8 reps / 90 seconds rest
  3. (Superset) Leg Extension + Hamstring Curl: 2-3 sets / 15 reps each / 30 seconds rest
  4. Smith Machine Lateral Lunges: 3 sets / 12 reps / 30 seconds rest
  5. Dumbbell Hip Thrusts: 2-3 sets / 15-20 reps / 30 seconds rest

Day 2: 

  1. Dumbbell Hip Thrusts: 3 sets / 15 reps (Heavier) / 30 seconds rest
  2. Squats: 4 sets / 10 reps / 60 seconds rest
  3. Cable Kickbacks: 3 sets / 12 reps (each side) / 30 seconds rest
  4. Bulgarian Split Squats: 3 sets / 10 reps (each side) / 30 seconds rest
  5. (Superset) Abduction + Adduction: 2-3 sets / 15 reps each / 30 seconds rest 

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Alexandra Kovacsova
I'm Alexandra, a UK-based strength coach & rehab specialist. I help people prevent, treat, and resolve pain, improve their movement, and maximize their performance. I share my expertise through writing, offering relevant and scientifically supported content, and practical exercises. In my free time, I train for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and enjoy a honey oat latte at a local coffee shop.

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