How To Do Hip Thrusts At Home Without a Bench

It’s time for some booty workouts!

Let me show you some hip thrust variations at home, how to do them safely, and what you can use instead of a bench!

What To Use Instead Of A Bench?

There are various furniture and equipment that you can use at home instead of a bench, including:

  • Chair, Your Bed, Couch, Stairs: similar to a bench, these alternatives can support your back during the exercise. 
  • Swiss Ball: using an unstable, wobbly surface like a Swiss ball requires more muscle activation in the core to maintain balance, which can increase muscle engagement and overall strength gains.
  • Resistance Band: bands can add an extra challenge to your exercises; they are also small and portable, suited for home workouts!

Household Items As Weight Substitutes

Several household items can be used as substitutes for weights, including:

  • Backpack: You can fill the pack with books, stones (if you don’t mind), or anything that can make it heavier.
  • Water bottles & Milk jugs: How heavy you want the jar to be will depend on how much water you fill the jar up with.
  • Resistance bands: It’s light, portable, and practical. It is a must-have household training tool. 
  • Kettlebells or Dumbbells: Using weight can increase the intensity of the exercise. KBs and DBs do not require a big storage space in your house.

Hip Thrust Variations At Home Without A Bench

Using these different variations of hip thrusts allows you to add variety and challenge to your home routine without needing a bench. Additionally, it can meet your fitness level and target your glutes differently.

1. Standard Hip Thrust Body Weight/ Weighted

The standard hip thrust is a strength exercise performed at the gym using a barbell or other weights. However, you can easily perform it with or without a barbell and bench at home. 

Doing hip thrusts has several advantages:

  • Because of the starting position, it’s safer than squatting with a bar.
  • You can build explosive power for your sport, so you can jump higher and sprint quicker!
  • Increased bone density means no more broken bones (or at least fewer)!
  • Stabilizes the pelvis, which helps you to balance better in weight-bearing positions.
  • It can be done anywhere, with or without weights!

The standard hip thrust also serves as the foundation for most home variations I will share below. While there may be exceptions (I will also show you), mastering the correct technique for the standard hip thrust is essential for building a good base.

hip thrust at home without bench

How to:

  • Start with your upper back just below your shoulder blades. Choose a height that allows your knees to be bent at around 90 degrees (knee height).
  • Place your feet around the hip to shoulder-width apart.
  • Focus on squeezing your glutes without overextending your lower back.
  • Keep your core braced throughout the movement.
  • Hold the top position for 2-3 seconds to maximize glute activation.
  • Lower your hips down slowly and then push back up powerfully.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps and sets, aiming for a controlled yet explosive movement.

You can also reach out for the household items I mentioned earlier for some weight. I chose a backpack to increase the intensity and perform the exercise weighted!

weighted hip thrust at home without bench

Fill a backpack with your desired weight, and you’re good to go!

2. Hip Thrust On The Ground (Glute Bridge)

This variation starts by lying on the ground with your knees bent and pushing your bum up. It is also the foundation of most bridge alternatives I will discuss below.

The bridge is a beginner-friendly exercise that works the same muscles as the hip thrust (Glutes, Hamstrings, Lower back, Core) but to a lesser range of movement.

It doesn’t require any equipment, so you can do it anywhere, which makes it a great home alternative without a bench.

There are some fantastic benefits of doing bridges at home, including:

  • Glute activation: Glute bridges can fix gluteal amnesia, which can cause knee and hip pain, which is also very important in the weight room!
  • Suitable for warm-up: Use glute bridges as part of a RAMP warm-up to mobilize and prepare your body for the workout ahead! Especially the muscles you will use in a lower body workout!
  • Beginner-friendly: Glute bridges are simple and often used in rehab. They’re an excellent choice for beginners or those returning from an injury.
  • Add weight: As you progress, you can add weights to challenge your body further.

Although glute bridges are a great alternative to hip thrusts, they offer less range of motion, which can limit potential glute gains. So, I don’t recommend completely replacing/torso-elevated hip thrusts with glute bridges. Instead, try incorporating variations of both exercises to achieve optimal progress.

hip thrust alternative at home

How to:

  • Start by lying face up on the ground.
  • Place your feet around the hip to shoulder-width apart and your feet close to your bum for higher glute engagement.
  • Squeeze your glutes up without overextending your lower back
  • Hold the top position for 2-3 seconds.
  • Lower your hips down slowly and then push back up powerfully.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 10-15 controlled reps.

3. Hip Thrust With The Feet Elevated

During hip thrusts, elevating your feet on any equipment/tools I mentioned above can increase the range of motion and activate the glutes even more. This position also challenges your core and hamstrings.

To increase the demand for stability, use a Swiss ball. This can make your workout more challenging.

elevated hip thrust at home

How to:

  • Lie face up on the ground 
  • Place your feet on a chair/step while keeping your knees bent
  • Take a breath in and thrust your hips up
  • Squeeze the glutes on top to feel them working to a higher degree
  • Hold for 3-5 seconds and start lowering back to the starting position
  • Complete 3 sets of 20 reps 

4. Staggered Hip Thrust 

This hip thrust stance is a great way to emphasize one leg while having stability and balance! By maintaining this stance, you will also feel more work on the glutes and less on the lower back.

staggered hip thrust

How to:

  • Begin by assuming the position you would go with a regular hip thrust.
  • Slightly stagger one foot so that the heel of that (front) foot is even with the toes of the other foot.
  • Thrust up to your maximum range of movement while maintaining a neutral spine.
  • As you lower down, ensure your staggered foot does not move out of position.
  • To thrust back up, push through the leg closer to your bum. This means the “neutral positioned” leg does all the work, resulting in a supported unilateral movement.
  • Repeat for 2-3 sets of 12 reps on each side.

Alternatively, you can start on the ground while focusing on the same technique I mentioned in these bullet points.

staggered glute bridge

5. Frog Hip Thrust & Bridge

This hip thrust variation targets the gluteus medius (side hip muscle). Strengthening that muscle can increase hip stability and prevent injuries. 

frog hip thrust

How to:

  • Lie down face up with your back supported on a chair/step/stairs (torso elevated)
  • Keep the soles of your feet together
  • Spread the knees out wide
  • Thrust up by squeezing your glutes while also maintaining the foot position
  • Hold 3-5 seconds on the top to feel the glutes working
  • Complete around three sets of 20 reps

For beginners, starting on the ground for this exercise is advisable as it allows you to concentrate on your technique. Although it may result in less glute activation due to a reduced range of motion, it is beneficial for individuals who experience lower back pain as it prevents overextension of the spine.

frog glute bridge

To safely perform the exercise, follow the bullet points provided above.

6. Single Leg Hip Thrust & Bridge

This variation can help you correct side-to-side muscle imbalances, as the weaker leg has to work harder to complete the exercise.

How to:

  • Lie on a chair with your back, head, and neck supported.
  • Lift one of your legs off the ground straight up (you can slightly bend it, too, like in the top picture).
  • Have your foot down the floor close to your glutes/bum (increases glute activation).
  • Thrust your hips up to your maximum range of movement without overextending your lower back.
  • Lower your hips back to the starting position.
  • Complete 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps on each leg.

Starting on the ground and lifting one leg towards the ceiling can make this variation easier. It’s also helpful for those with gluteal amnesia, a condition where you can’t feel your glutes working.

single leg glute bridge

This exercise activates the muscles and can increase glute activation when lifting weights, reducing the risk of injuries while lifting.

7. Hip Thrust With Banded Abduction

This hip thrust exercise without a bench targets the glutes and the outer thighs. You are also isometrically strengthening the glutes (holding the bridge position) while pushing your knees out against the band, which makes this variation unique.

hip thrust with banded abduction

How to:

  • Grab a band and put it around your knees.
  • Lie on the ground or bed (1).
  • Squeeze the glutes up and hold the top position.
  • Once you reach your maximum range of movement (2) (without compensating and arching your lower back), push the knees apart (3), and hold for 3 seconds.
  • Then while keeping the hips up, bring them back to the starting position (2)
  • Repeat for 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps the abduction (pushing out and in)

8. Wall Thrust

The wall thrust offers a big range of movement, requiring more glute engagement, similar to the foot-elevated hip thrust I showed you above.

How to:

  • Lie down on your back 
  • Walk up the wall (or place it on a resistance band or chair) and keep your knees around 90 degrees
  • Keep your chin tucked, core braced 
  • Take a breath in and thrust your hips up
  • Squeeze the glutes on top to feel them working
  • Hold for 3-5 seconds and start lowering back to the starting position
  • Complete 3 sets of 20 reps 

If you would like to increase the workload on your hamstrings, start with your bum further away from the wall, as shown in this picture:

9. Kneeling/Standing Banded Hip Thrusts

Completing resistance band kneeling thrusters can help improve explosiveness. The movement involves a rapid extension of the hips and knees, translating to increased power and speed in other athletic movements. 

You can adjust the band’s tension by increasing or reducing the distance between you and the attachment point. 

banded kneeling hip thrust

How to:

  • Attach a long band to stable furniture or another object.
  • Wrap the other end of the band around your hips.
  • Hinge at the hip while maintaining good posture and a neutral spine (hold onto something to keep your balance if needed).
  • Push your hips forward against the resistance, squeeze your glutes, and hold for 3-5 seconds before returning to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 15 reps.

Try this standing variation below to increase the demand for balance and stability further. They both work your glutes and can be done at home without needing a bench!

standing band hip thrust

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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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