The hip thrust is a staple exercise for building your glutes.
But, does the hip thrust make you just higher? Yes, hip thrusts have been shown to increase jump performance by 3.4-6% after 6 weeks of training. Hip thrusts recruit the glutes, which play a pivotal role in vertical jumping. By strengthening the gluteal muscles and tendons (in addition to eccentric training), a higher jump can be achieved.
Using the hip thrust to your advantage in order to jump higher requires some key considerations.
In the article below, I’ll cover the following:
- Why hip thrusts can enhance your jump performance
- 3 studies that prove hip thrusts increase your vertical jump
- How to train your hip thrust to improve your jump height
Time to increase your vertical!
This article is an extension of my article Do Squats Make You Jump Higher? (Yes, Here’s Why & How), open up a new tab to read it next!
Why Can Hip Thrusts Enhance Your Jump Performance?
Similar to training the powerlifting movements to prepare for a powerlifting meet, jumping is a sport skill that can be improved with specific training to help you jump higher.
That said, many coaches exclusively use squats to help their athletes jump higher — neglecting hip thrusts much of the time.
Let’s explain why hip thrusts deserve more attention and praise.
1. Hip Thrusts Help You Enhance Your Rate Of Force Development (RFD)
The speed at which you can develop force — or your measure of explosive strength — is the rate at which your muscles contract after receiving the signal from your brain to initiate movement.
When your RFD improves, your ability to muster up a larger amount of force in a shorter duration gets better. To accomplish this in the first place, you employ two methods:
- Resistance train
- Incorporate plyometrics
Takeaway: When performing the hip thrust, try your hardest to accelerate the barbell upwards as fast as possible. Having a high intent to move quickly will enhance your rate of force development more than just going through the motions will.
2. Hip Thrusts Help You Increase Your Force Production
Along with improving your ability to quickly display force (your RFD), you need to be able to generate a great deal of absolute force in a single instant.
Increasing the amount of force you can produce largely comes down to effective resistance training, with the primary intent of improving your maximal strength. Driving up your 1-rep max strength (even if it’s an estimated 1 rep max) proves that you can generate greater amounts of force.
Takeaway: Including the hip thrust in your training will drive up your lower body strength. Since a vertical jump requires significant hip extension, the hip thrust also has a greater likelihood of strength transfer due to the exercise specificity.
3. Hip Thrusts Improve Your Tendon Thickness (And Strength)
Every muscle in your body has a component that connects it to bone, these are called “tendons”.
For instance, your gluteus maximus (your largest glute muscle) has tendons that originate on the back of your pelvis and sacrum, and insert on the side of your upper thigh bone.
Besides connecting your muscles and bones to allow for movement to be produced, tendons also have the ability to impact your vertical jump. They do this by storing elastic energy, much like a rubber band does when it’s stretched.
In a nutshell, your hip and knee tendons lengthen when you squat down before jumping upwards. As they lengthen, your tendons start storing elastic energy and this gets released as you jump upwards.
Increasing the thickness of your tendons by resistance training creates stiffer tendons. Stiffer tendons have a greater potential for storing elastic energy, which will allow you to jump higher.
While general resistance training will accomplish this, you can enhance your tendon adaptation response by doing eccentric training. Placing additional emphasis on the lowering phase of your squats (eccentric squats) and deadlifts (eccentric deadlifts) are common ways to incorporate eccentric training.
Takeaway: Exaggerating the eccentric phase of the hip thrust will create thicker and stronger tendons that can store more energy to help you jump higher.
3 Studies That Show Hip Thrusts Increase Your Vertical Jump
Since many sports require jumping, there’s been countless research on the impact of resistance training on jump height.
While much of the research focuses on squats to improve jumping performance, research that explores the link between hip thrusts and jump height is growing.
Here are three studies that support the idea that hip thrusts can help your vertical jump.
Study #1: 14-Week Hip Thrust Program Increased Vertical Jump By ~6%
In a study by Fitzpatrick et al (2019), they examined whether a horizontally-loaded exercise like the hip thrust would result in better results for the horizontal jump than the vertical jump. While subjects improved their vertical jump by about 6%, there was no difference in magnitude between horizontal and vertical jump improvements.
For jump height performance, it’s known that there are markedly greater associations with concentric peak power in the hip joint, than those seen in the knee and ankle joints. The improvements in the subjects’ jump heights are thought to be due to the importance of hip extension as it closely relates to jump performance.
Study #2: 6-Week Hip Thrust Program Improved Jump Height By 5.4%
In a study by Millar and colleagues (2020), it was demonstrated that the hip thrust improved the vertical jump of female high-school soccer players. Researchers did this by programming the hip thrust twice per week, with one day acting as a “strength” focus where subjects lifted with a standard tempo. During the other session, they were instructed to focus on moving the barbell explosively — as fast as possible on the upward phase.
While the strength training certainly must have helped subjects achieve improvements in their vertical jump height, the inclusion of power training can’t be ignored. Recall that rate of force development (RFD) is highly responsive to resistance training that is performed with the intention of accelerating the barbell as fast as possible. The “explosive” session done by subjects likely played a key component, as a result.
Study #3: 6-Week Hip Thrust Program Raised Jump Height By 3.4%
In a study by Contreras et al (2017), it was shown that a 6-week hip thrust program had a small improvement in jump height performance. Subjects were randomly assigned to a front squat or hip thrust group, where they performed 4 sets on 2 separate days — spaced at least 72 hours apart.
When looking at the jump height improvements from the hip thrust, researchers claim that, “These outcomes are likely due to the ability of the hip thrust to place mechanical demands on the hip and knee extensors.” (Contreras, 2017). Even though the hip thrust works the posterior chain in a horizontal plane, it still produces improvements in vertical plane tasks.
Ever wonder if hip thrusts can improve your squats? I wrote a complete guide on this topic.
How To Train Your Hip Thrust To Improve Your Jump Height
After having examined the research that shows hip thrusts increase vertical jump performance, let’s overview a practical and detailed approach of how to use hip thrusts to jump higher.
Here are my 5 recommendations to correctly programming the hip thrust for maximal vertical jump improvements:
1. Hip Thrust Twice Per Week
Training the hip thrust at least twice per week will help you generate the adaptations required.
Hip thrusting twice per week will provide two key benefits: (1) you’ll get more practice with the movement to gain proficiency, and (2) you’ll be able to accumulate enough training volume to provide the strength and muscle adaptations that you need.
That said, I would advise that you avoid hip thrusting heavy twice per week.
Instead, make one workout a “strength” focus where you perform sets of 4-6 reps with fairly heavy loads. In your other workout, shift to a “hypertrophy” emphasis by incorporating sets of 8-12 reps to help you amass higher volumes.
2. Chase Strength And Hypertrophy Gains
All other things being equal, a bigger muscle is a stronger muscle.
If you add 10 pounds of muscle and lose 10 pounds of fat (effectively becoming more muscular, while staying at the same bodyweight), your potential capacity for becoming stronger increases because you have more contractile tissue from bigger muscles. As a result, building strength and gaining muscle are not mutually exclusive — they can actually happen simultaneously.
To accomplish this, I’d suggest that you focus predominantly on hypertrophy in the first 4-6 weeks of your program. After this period of emphasis on creating larger muscles, you can target strength adaptations for 4-6 weeks.
Later on, I’ll give you a sample hip thrust program that you can follow.
If you can’t feel your hips while hip thrusting, then be sure to check out my other article where I give you 9 tips.
3. Track And Improve Multiple Metrics
Keeping a detailed log of your training metrics (sets, reps, load) and aiming to improve these over time is critical to your success.
Instead of just focusing on linear progression by lifting more weight (load), here are some other ways to track your progress:
- More total reps per week, with the same weight
- Same reps & load, but in a shorter time frame
- Using the same weight, with a slower tempo (eccentric-focus)
- Using the same weight, with a faster bar speed (concentric-focus)
If you’re not tracking your workouts and the key training metrics I’ve listed above (total reps, training time, tempo), then you’re missing out on many opportunities for progress that aren’t solely about adding more weight to the bar over time.
If you’ve ever wondered what the differences are between hip thrusts vs deadlifts, then check out my complete exercise comparison guide.
4. Incorporate Eccentric Training
As you recall from earlier, your tendons will strengthen in response to eccentric training and this can help you jump higher.
Performing one workout per week with an eccentric focus can assist you in building thicker tendons that can store more elastic energy. Although the absolute load on the bar won’t be as heavy as your “strength” training session, you’ll still have to work hard to maintain a consistently slower tempo for every repetition.
In practice, I’d recommend you accelerate the bar as fast as possible for the ascending phase and have a 4-6 second lowering phase for your hip thrusts.
Need a replacement to the hip thrust? Check out my article on the Best Hip Thrust Alternatives.
5. Increase Hip Thrust Range Of Motion
Try to use the largest range of motion you can whenever possible to maximize hypertrophy.
Strength is a task and is specific to the range that it’s trained. Because of this, I recommend using the range of motion needed to perform to competition requirements or your own personal lifting standards.
That said, hypertrophy training benefits from using a greater range of motion because it stimulates larger amounts of muscle fibers. In turn, you’ll be more likely to gain additional muscle mass than if you stick you the same old range of motion you always use.
Sample Hip Thrust Training Plan For Improving Your Vertical Jump
All things considered, how do you apply all of these 5 components?
Here’s an 8-week hip thrust program that should be able to increase your vertical jump — just remember to test your jump height before the program, and after you complete it.
Note: The percentages that are listed are based on your 1 rep max. Ensure that you have an accurate picture of where your 1 rep max is prior to starting this program.
Hypertrophy Phase: Week 1-4
Note: The “5-sec” duration for the slow hip thrust refers to the duration of the lowering phase.
|HYPERTROPHY PHASE||Day 1||Day 2|
|Week 1||Hip thrust – 3 sets of 10 reps @ 60%.||Slow hip thrust (5-sec) – 4 set of 5 reps @ 62.5%.|
|Week 2||Hip thrust – 3 sets of 8 reps @ 62.5%.||Slow hip thrust (5-sec) – 4 set of 4 reps @ 65%.|
|Week 3||Hip thrust – 4 sets of 10 reps @ 65%.||Slow hip thrust (5-sec) – 4 set of 5 reps @ 67.5%.|
|Week 4||Hip thrust – 4 sets of 8 reps @ 67.5%.||Slow hip thrust (5-sec) – 4 set of 4 reps @ 70%.|
Strength Phase: Week 5-8
Note: Aim to move the barbell as fast as possible for your “Explosive hip thrust”
|STRENGTH PHASE||Day 1||Day 2|
|Week 1||Hip thrust – 4 sets of 4 reps @ 80%||Explosive hip thrust – 5 set of 3 reps @ 60%|
|Week 2||Hip thrust|
1 set of 3 reps @ 80%
1 set of 2 reps @ 82.5%
1 set of 1 rep @ 87.5%
1 set of 3 reps @ 82.5%
1 set of 2 reps @ 87.5%
1 set of 1 rep @ 92.5%
|Explosive hip thrust – 5 set of 2 reps @ 62.5%|
|Week 3||Hip thrust – 4 sets of 4 reps @ 85%||Explosive hip thrust – 5 set of 3 reps @ 65%|
|Week 4||Hip thrust|
1 set of 3 reps @ 85%
1 set of 2 reps @ 87.5%
1 set of 1 rep @ 92.5%
1 set of 3 reps @ 87.5%
1 set of 2 reps @ 92.5%
1 set of 1 rep @ 97.5%
|Explosive hip thrust – 5 set of 2 reps @ 67.5%|
According to the research included above, training with the hip thrust can improve your vertical jump performance in as little as 6 weeks.
Using conventional strength training methods and incorporating eccentric training will give you an advantage in improving your jump height. Additionally, driving up your rate of force development and maximal strength via resistance training and moving weights quickly will almost undoubtedly enhance the height of your jumps.
About The Author
Kent Nilson is an online strength coach, residing in Calgary (AB). When he’s not training, coaching, or volunteering on the platform at powerlifting meets, you’ll likely find Kent drinking coffee or enjoying his next Eggs Benedict. Connect with him on Facebook or Instagram.