by Bret Contreras October 31, 2012
I feel that this post is one of the most important blogs I’ve posted. I’ve gone to great lengths on this blog to showcase videos of hip thrusts, instructional videos explaining proper form, and reasons why the hip thrust is beneficial to glute hypertrophy and athletic performance. However, I’ve never posted a blog showing typical progressions with my clients and training partners.
Perhaps my favorite strength & conditioning book of all time was Charlie Francis’s The Charlie Francis Training System (not an affiliate link). I especially loved how Charlie provided actual training journal excerpts from his sprinters and showed loads, sets, and reps performed by Ben Johnson, Angela Issajenko, etc. He loved power cleans, half squats, bench press, and the reverse leg press (an end-range hip extension exercise sort of like the pendulum quadruped donkey kick but performed from a standing position) for strengthening exercises. This information is invaluable for strength coaches because it provides real-life, meaningful data that the coach can take into consideration when training his or her athletes.
Below I’m going to give you 3 scenarios – an advanced male lifter with no prior hip thrust experience, an experienced female with no prior hip thrust experience, and a beginner female with no prior hip thrust experience.
1. Charles Staley
The first is Charles Staley. Most of you will know who Charles is as he’s been writing about strength training for many years now. He and I have been training together for the past 4 months, and I convinced Charles to start thrusting. Charles is a lot like me in lifting mechanics – he’s all hips. He squats and pulls with his hips and doesn’t get his knees into the equation much. So I knew he’d progress fast at these. What I didn’t know is that within 13 sessions he’d outperform me in the hip thrust! His progression is definitely out of the ordinary, but this is characteristic of somebody who (like Charles) has a ton of powerlifting and weightlifting experience (so they have strong hips) but just isn’t familiar or coordinated with the hip thrust motion and mechanics. Only listed are his top sets. He usually did 2-3 sets each session.
June 29: 65×10
July 6: 95×10
July 9: 135×10
July 23: 155×10
July 31: 175×10
August 6: 195×10
August 13: 225×10
August 18: 285×10
August 27: 335×8
September 19: 400×3
September 26: 425×3
October 3: 505×3, 285×5
October 10: 515×3, 555×1
Sammie is my strongest female client. But she started off just like the rest of my girls – using 105 lbs. She had been training and had a pretty good foundation. Within 4 months she was doing 335 x 5. There were various sessions where I placed hip thrusts on the backburner for a while and focused more on other lifts such as kettlebell deadlifts or lever squats. I’ve found that, like many really athletic types, Sammie either has it or she doesn’t. Some days she’s strong as ever and other days she’s burnt-out a bit. Whereas as a lifter I’m very consistent, Sammie’s strength is more variable. Finally, there are a lot of gaps here because Sammie was a bad girl and missed some workouts and didn’t always keep track of her sessions in her journal. Looking over this, I feel that had I been more on top of things I could have had Sammie hip thrusting 335×5 much sooner – perhaps within 10 weeks rather than 17.
May 16: 105×15, 105×18
May 22: 105×22, 105×19, 105×15
May 25: 175×10, 165×15, 105×30
May 29: 195×10, 195×10, 105×30
June 5: 50×30, 50×30, 50×30 (fast)
June 6: 50×30, 50×30 (fast)
June 11: 105×25, 105×20
June 25: 105×30
July 24: 135×20, 135×20
July 27: 135×20, 135×20, 135×20
August 3: 125×25, 125×25
August 7: 155×20, 175×20
August 14: 175×20, 195×15
August 17: 225×10, 225×10, 105×40
August 21: 245×10
August 24: 155×20, 195×10, bw x 100
August 28: 215×15, 245×12
September 4: 245×12, 265×8
September 6: 245×9, 245×12
September 11: 195×8, 285×12, 335×5
September 15: barbell glute bridge 225×20, 225×20
September 20: 255 x10, 205×20
September 25: 315×6, 225×20, 105×42
October 2: 245×16, 245×15, 285×10
October 4: 285×10, 335×5
October 9: 335×6, 370×2
October 16: 245×20, 245×15
October 25: 285×10, 335×5
October 30: 285×12, 335×5
Carrie is a 40 year old woman who I just started training last month. She hasn’t regularly attended a gym in ten years, and initially her squat and deadlift patterns were very poor (they’re decent now after I’ve spent 6 weeks with her). But I started building up her hip thrust right away and she’s seeing good glute hypertrophy results already.
September 11: 50×12, 50×12
September 13: 45×15, 75×8, 95×4
September 18: 95×5, 95×5, 95×5, 45×20
September 20: bwx30, 25×30, 45×20 (low back sore from prior deadlift session)
September 24: 75×20, 75×20
September 26: 95×10, 95×10, 95×10
October 1: 95×12, 95×12
October 3: 115×8, 135×3
October 8: 105×12, 105×12
October 10: 135×5, 135×5
October 15: 135×8, 135×6
October 17: single leg hip thrust bw x 15, bw x 15
October 23: 135×10, 135×10, 105×15
October 29: 155×6, 155×6, 105×20
I hope that these logs help coaches, trainers, and lifters in seeing actual loading progressions used with my clients and training partners. As a lifter and a coach, I love seeing these sorts of data, and I hope that you do too! Witnessing how strong Charles and Sammie got in such a short amount of time has been an eye-opener for me.
My former client Steve Hammond got 585×3 within a couple hard months of training:
And Kellie Davis progressed quickly as well. Here she is doing 315 x 4, and looking back I think we could have gotten here within 4 months of hard training.
As you can see, people can get very strong, very quickly at this exercise. The glutes are the powerhouse of the human muscular system!
The post Actual Hip Thrust Loading Progressions Spanning Multiple Months appeared first on Bret Contreras.
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