Hip Thrust Superior to Deadlift for Gluteus Maximus Recruitment

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The gluteus maximus is an essential muscle for daily and recreational activities, but is often found to be weak among patients with musculoskeletal pain.   In our Boulder Physical Therapy practice we frequently find hip weakness among patients with low back, hip, knee, and ankle pain.  Improving gluteus maximus strength improves movement patterns, dynamic alignment, and tolerance for daily or sport activities.  Bridging and deadlifts are commonly utilized exercises designed to train the gluteus maximus, but new research highlights the value of a less utilized exercise.

Andersen and colleagues analyzed the muscle performance of trained weight lifters during three exercises: the hip thrust, deadlift, and hex bar deadlift.  The authors reported the best recruitment of the outer hamstring during the straight bar deadlift, but no differences were noted for the lumbar paraspinals.  Surprisingly, the best gluteus maximus recruitment was found during the hip thrust compared to either the straight or hex bar deadlift.  

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