Medicine Ball Hip-Thrust

An exercise that I know I talked about last year in relation to things that are both good baseline strength builders for more fancy stuff like the oly lifts, and also good preventative hip health/ flute and ham strength exercises is the barbell hip thrust.  Sometimes it’s called the hip bridge instead, which usually means your shoulders are on the floor, as opposed to a bench.  Those are the two commonly recommended variations – shoulders on floor, or the edge of a bench; I was first taught using a bench.  I prefer the bench, but it feels a bit precarious and I find the height of a standard bench to be a bit high and reduce my workload a little at the top of the movement.  Using the floor, on the other hand, means I lose more of the bottom of the movement at the point when the plates hit the ground with less of a range of motion.  Recently Casey was making use of our bench when it was time for my hip thrusts, and I was forced to get creative because I didn’t want to go with the annoying-to-me floor method.  And out of necessity, a solution that I find more effective than either was born with the help of a Dynamax med ball.

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This looks like the setup for a particularly unpleasant CrossFit Games Open workout, right?  Or the old-school Nasty Girls – things I really miss doing while I’m on the comeback train.

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But it’s actually my Goldi-locks solution to “bench is too high, floor is too low!”  It turns out “this medicine ball is juuuuust right.”  I prefer it not just in terms of height, but stability (and, ironically, in-stability at the same time – I’ll explain).  Because the med ball is both rounded and soft, it settle in comfortably and securely right between my shoulder blades – with the bench, I’m always struggling to find the sweet spot where my shoulders are firmly settled but I’m not tipping the bench.

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It’s more stable in terms of shoulder placement – but in terms of the work I can feel my stabilizing muscles getting while I perform the movement, far superior – I think not so much because of the roundness as because it places me at a much flatter angle, where the top of the movement is quite close to an inverted plank.

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I like that this is a much more comfortable way to perform the exercise and that it also seems to be adding to those all-important stabilization benefits; from now on this is how I’ll be doing all of my not at all awkward looking hip-thrusts!

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