“During hip thrusts I feel my quads more than my glutes, is this normal?”
If this is the case then you have most likely got your feet in the wrong place! In a perfect world, your shins need to be directly under your knees when you come up into a hip thrust position and knees should push out (see third image)
Feet too far back
You might feel a lot of quads if you're doing them this way
Feet too far away
You may feel a lot more hamstrings
Feet just right
Get them glutes!
Personally placing a heavy band around the knees for you to abduct (push against) as you hip thrust would be a good tool to use.
If you don’t know how to engage your glutes this is also another issue affecting the movement pattern, as-well as too much weight on the bar.
“Should I be feeling hamstrings when I train my glutes?”
It depends what exercises you are doing, in an RDL your hamstrings will fire up on the down phase (eccentric) but when you come back up (concentric) you will be able to squeeze your glutes at the top and get them involved here.
Don’t forget as mentioned earlier - every muscle works together and they are equally important for function. If you were to solely train glutes it would be very hard to find exercises that won’t engage other muscles like your quads, lats, calves and core at some stage.
Let’s look at some exercise examples:
GLUTE DOMINANT EXERCISES:
Hip thrusts, upright hip thrusts, glute bridges, hip abduction exercises, kickbacks, hip external rotation exercises (useful for performance and advanced rehab methods), posterior pelvic tilt movements.
QUAD DOMINANT EXERCISES:
Squats, split squats, step-ups, single leg movements and knee extension movements (i.e. leg extension machine).
HAMSTRING DOMINANT EXERCISES:
Deadlifts, good mornings, back extensions, reverse hypers, swings, straight leg bridges (these hurt!!!), knee flexion exercises.
BUT, ALL LEG MUSCLES ARE USED TO PERFORM THEM AND ASSIST WITH THE STABILITY, RANGE AND PERFORMANCE ASPECT OF THEM.
SO just to clarify, if the exercise targets the hamstrings too it’s not a bad thing since the hamstrings are part of the posterior chain (back portion of the human body), they tie into the glutes so they will be working.
If your quads were firing in a hip hinge movement pattern where you want to feel glutes and hamstrings then this would be a problem.
“Can I grow my glutes without growing my legs?”
Short answer: No
Long answer: No, because all our muscles are connected if they weren’t we’d be walking around like the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. It is so important that we train all muscle groups because you will get a better result overall. If you were just to train your GLUTES you would be very limited to exercises.
I feel like this notion came about because of the celebrity status of the Kardashians in particular Kim K.
Whilst I believe each to their own, I wouldn’t recommend these women as your ‘fitspos’ they are far from the definition of health and beauty standards IMO.
Please note I think these women have created the lives and beauty standards they want to uphold which makes them happy and I’m happy for them for that.
BUT I would encourage you to look up to different women who are strong, smart and inspire you to invest in your health and fitness. Some women I like to follow are
“Can I tone and firm my booty without putting on weight?”
YES! But let’s not forget “tone” is simply muscle increasing and body fat dropping. SO by getting fit, in shape and healthier overall your body and muscles will look far better too.
“Can you get rid of "hip dips?”
Short answer: No
Long answer: No because this mostly comes down to genetics. Again, I think this notion of hip dips has derived from social media.
Hip dips are more or less in relation to your PELVIS which would make more sense as why some women have larger hip dips than others.
No exercise can ‘reduce’ this. In fact exercising may make them appear more prominent because of the muscles you are working around the pelvic region.
Ladies there is nothing wrong with “hip dips”. If you want them to change you will have to lose body fat and only then you might see differences.
“I can only feeling one of my glutes, I can’t feel the other one!”
This IS a problem. If you can’t feel one glute, rest assured you’ll probably run into lower back and lat pains and problems. If you cannot engage one of your glutes you have to work on this. You can do some exercises like clams, banded glute bridges, banded abductions - you have to squeeze that muscle everyday until you feel it and everyday onwards until you don’t even have to think hard about squeezing it.
If we look at this diagram, you can see how the GLUTE MAX ties into the back muscles. Left side connecting with the right and the right side connecting with the left. The anatomy of this is incredible and we are lucky as humans to be able to see this.
So not being able to activate and feel one of your glutes will create problems to other areas of the body.
READ my GROWING GLUTES article for how to train your glutes and what to eat if you missed it!