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Smith Machine Hip Thrust Variation Guide

The Smith machine hip thrust is a popular and effective exercise for targeting the gluteal muscles, providing a stable and beginner-friendly alternative to traditional barbell hip thrusts.

This exercise not only strengthens the glutes but also improves hip extension, which is essential for athletic performance and daily activities such as walking and climbing stairs.

Utilizing a Smith machine for hip thrusts when you lack access to a hip thrust machine makes for an ideal substitute!

Additionally, the fixed bar path of the Smith machine ensures proper alignment during the exercise, minimizing the risk of injury and promoting optimal muscle activation.

This guide will teach you exactly to perform this exercise.

Understanding the Smith Machine Hip Thrust

The Smith Machine Hip Thrust is a popular, effective exercise that targets the gluteal muscles and helps in improving lower body strength and stability. In this section, we will explore why hip thrusts on the Smith Machine can be beneficial, along with the muscles they work.

Why Hip Thrusts On The Smith Machine?

The benefits of the hip thrust make this an intriguing exercise, but if you don't have anything but a smith machine, you can still make this happen. Even on the smith machine hip thrusts are an excellent exercise for activating and strengthening the glutes. Using a Smith Machine for hip thrusts has several advantages:

  1. Beginner-friendly: The fixed path of the Smith Machine helps in supporting and assisting the body as it lifts the additional resistance, making it easier for beginners to learn the movement and proper form.
  2. Safety: The adjustable safety stops allow the user to set the desired height for the exercise, decreasing the risk of injury.
  3. Accessibility: Most gyms have a Smith Machine, making it more accessible for those looking to incorporate hip thrusts into their routine.

Comparing Smith Machine hip thrusts with barbell hip thrusts, the former offers additional stability and control, allowing the individual to focus more on targeting specific muscles.

Smith Machine Hip Thrust Muscles Worked

The primary muscles targeted by Smith Machine hip thrusts are:

  • Gluteus Maximus: The largest and most powerful gluteal muscle responsible for hip extension.
  • Gluteus Medius: The middle gluteal muscle that aids in hip abduction and stabilization.

In addition to the gluteal muscles, Smith Machine hip thrusts also engage several secondary muscles:

  • Hamstrings: The muscles at the back of the thigh that work together with the gluteal muscles in hip extension.
  • Quadriceps: The muscles at the front of the thigh that assist in hip extension and knee stabilization.
  • Core Muscles: The stabilization of the spine during hip thrusts engages core muscles like the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques.

Read More: Hip Thrust Muscles Worked

In conclusion, the Smith Machine Hip Thrust is a highly effective exercise to target the glutes and surrounding muscles, helping improve lower body strength, stability, and athletic performance.

Considering its various benefits and accessibility, incorporating this exercise into your workout routine can be an excellent choice for both beginners and advanced trainers.

Proper Form and Technique

Setting Up for a Hip Thrust

To properly set up for a hip thrust on a Smith machine, follow these steps:

  1. Adjust the bar height on the Smith machine to be just below hip level.
  2. Position a bench perpendicular to the Smith machine, ensuring it is stable and not too far from the bar.
  3. Sit on the ground with your back against the bench, placing your shoulder blades on the edge of the bench.
  4. Position your feet shoulder-width apart with a slight outward angle, and ensure the bar is resting on the crease of your hips.
  5. Use padding or a bar pad to ensure comfort and prevent injury.
  6. Hold the bar with your hands at your sides, and ensure your feet are fully planted on the ground.

Executing the Movement Correctly

Follow these steps for the proper execution of a Smith machine hip thrust:

  1. Engage your core and tuck your chin to maintain a neutral spine.
  2. Extend your hips to unrack the bar, allowing it to move vertically on the Smith machine.
  3. Slowly lower your hips down, maintaining control, until they are just above the ground.
  4. Forcefully press your hips upward, engaging your glutes and driving through your heels.
  5. Your quads should be parallel with your torso at the top of the movement, with your glutes fully contracted.
  6. Hold this position briefly before slowly lowering your hips back to the starting position.
  7. Repeat the movement for your desired number of repetitions.

Read More: How To Use The Hip Thrust Machine

For variations such as the single leg hip thrust or banded Smith machine hip thrusts, follow the same setup and execution steps with the appropriate modifications (lifting one leg or using a resistance band around your knees).

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Be aware of these common mistakes when performing Smith machine hip thrusts:

  • Improper foot position: Ensure your feet are properly placed to maintain stability and engage the correct muscles. Incorrect foot placement can lead to poor form and potential injury.
  • Lack of core engagement: Keep your core engaged and maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement to protect your lower back.
  • Rushing the movement: Perform the hip thrust with control, focusing on the contraction of your glutes rather than relying on momentum.
  • Incomplete range of motion: Lower your hips until they are just above the ground, and fully extend your hips at the top of the movement to engage all the target muscles effectively.

By following this guidance on proper form and technique, you can safely and effectively perform hip thrusts on a Smith machine for optimal glute and lower body training.

Incorporating Hip Thrusts into Your Routine With The Smith Machine

Incorporating hip thrusts into your workout routine using a Smith machine is an effective way to build and strengthen your glutes and lower body muscles. This weight-training equipment allows for more control and stability when performing hip thrusts compared to using free weights. Here are some key points to get started:

Setting up the Smith Machine for Hip Thrusts:

  1. Adjust the Machine: Begin by adjusting the safety hooks on the Smith machine to the appropriate height, so that the barbell is at hip level when you position yourself underneath it.
  2. Bench Setup: Place a bench or pad horizontally behind the Smith machine, so you can rest your shoulder blades on it while performing the exercise.
  3. Feet Position: Your feet should be hip-width apart, with your toes pointing slightly outwards, and knees in line with your toes.

Performing the Hip Thrust Workout on a Smith Machine:

  1. Position Yourself: Sit on the floor with your back against the bench, and position your shoulder blades at the edge of the bench. Make sure the barbell is resting on your hips, with a pad or towel for added comfort.
  2. Starting Position: Hold the barbell slightly wider than shoulder width, and release the safety mechanism, allowing the bar to move freely. Brace your core and keep your back straight.
  3. Upward Movement: Press through your heels and engage your glutes, lifting your hips towards the ceiling. Maintain a neutral spine and avoid overarching your lower back. The barbell should move vertically, following the guide rails of the Smith machine.
  4. Downward Movement: Slowly lower your hips back down to the starting position, fully controlling the descent.

Sample Hip Thrust Workout Using a Smith Machine:

You can incorporate the Smith machine hip thrusts into your lower body workout with the following example routine:

  1. Warm-up with bodyweight hip thrusts (1-2 sets of 10-15 repetitions)
  2. Smith machine hip thrusts (3-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions)
  3. Leg press machine (3-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions)
  4. Lunges (3 sets of 12-15 repetitions per leg)
  5. Romanian deadlifts (3-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions)
  6. Leg curls (3 sets of 12-15 repetitions)

By adding the Smith machine hip thrusts to your workout routine, you'll efficiently target your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and hip adductors with proper form and technique. The controlled movement of the machine helps reduce the risk of injury and ensures consistent progress in your strength training journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are effective alternatives to the Smith machine for hip thrusts?

There are several hip thrust machine alternatives that all provide similar benefits. Some popular options include using a barbell, dumbbells, or resistance bands. Additionally, you may also perform bodyweight hip thrusts or use a leg extension machine to target similar muscle groups.

How does the hip thrust on a Smith machine compare to using a barbell?

Hip thrusts using a Smith machine and a barbell are quite similar in terms of the muscles worked, targeting the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. However, the Smith machine provides more stability and control, ideal for beginners or those with balance concerns. On the other hand, barbell hip thrusts require additional stabilization, potentially engaging more stabilizer muscles and possibly offering more transferability to other activities.

Read more: Hip Thrust Machine Vs. Barbells

Can you target glutes effectively with Smith machine hip thrusts?

Yes, Smith machine hip thrusts effectively target the glutes, along with the hamstrings and lower back muscles. By providing stability, the Smith machine allows you to focus on engaging your glutes throughout the movement, and you can easily adjust the weight resistance to suit your fitness level and goals.

What are some tips for performing hip thrusts on an angled Smith machine?

When performing hip thrusts on an angled Smith machine, it is essential to adjust your body position to accommodate for the angle. Position your shoulder blades on the bench and place your feet hip-width apart on the floor, with your knees slightly below the bar. When lifting and lowering your hips, ensure you maintain alignment with the machine's angle, moving your hips in a straight line that follows the path of the Smith machine's bar.

How can you overcome a Smith machine that is too high for hip thrusts?

If the Smith machine is too high for hip thrusts, one solution is to place a sturdy platform, such as a step riser or an additional weight plate, under the bench to raise its height. This will help you position your shoulder blades on the bench more comfortably. Alternatively, you may use a longer or smaller bench or consider other exercise variations that work the same muscle groups but do not require the same height adjustments.

Can banded hip thrusts be integrated with Smith machine exercises for increased resistance?

Absolutely. Banded hip thrusts can be combined with Smith machine exercises to increase resistance and recruit more muscle fibers. To perform banded Smith machine hip thrusts, simply wrap a resistance band around your hips and the Smith machine bar, positioning the band just above your knees. This added resistance challenges your glutes and hip stabilizers, making the exercise more effective for muscle growth and development.

What Is the Best Hip Thrust Machine?

We're glad you asked. We have a guide specifically created to help you find the best hip thrust machine or close variation that meets your needs no matter who you are!

Next article Hip Thrust Machine Foot Placement For Best Results

About The Author

Matt Gemkow, the author of this content section at Select Fitness USA, boasts more than 15 years of fitness experience. He started out in sports and athletic training for many years and has since 2014 transitioned into heavy-weight training and bodybuilding. As a result, he has become one of the most experienced fitness equipment experts out there, and a valuable source of information.