The Hip Thrust exercises has become a lot more popular and for good good reason.
For the longest time everyone resolved to do squats to build lower body. While the squat is a great exercises it mostly targets the quads, the large muscle group in the front of the thigh.
For function and overall lower extremity development, you also need to train the backside of the legs, the posterior chain. Most exercises tend to favor the hamstrings, the large muscle group in the back of the thigh. The hamstrings are important, but you also need strong glute muscles to have good performance of your legs and get a balance between the front and the back of the leg.
Glutes are king
This is where the hip thrust exercise comes in, as you can really target the glutes. Since your knees are bent during this exercise, the hamstrings are not in a good set up to be very effective and therefore the glutes get worked hard. And that is what we want
However, before you start loading up a barbell with a lot of weight, make sure you can perform a bridge movement without pain or difficulty. Also if you have a history of back problems or hip difficulties, do a regular bridge first before starting the hip thrust
Hip Thrust: Step 1
Place you upper back on a bench and place the bar over the crease of your hips. You can place some padding on your groin if needed. Place your feet hip width apart
Hip Thrust: Step 2
Bring the weight up, by driving through the heels and squeezing the glutes. Keep your ribs down and your core tight and press up until the head/shoulders/hips and knees are aligned in a straight line
What About bands around the legs?
By placing a resistance bands around the thighs, just above the knee, and making sure you push your knees apart as you thrust up you can further emphasize the glutes. So I add this as we progress with the exercise, not right away.