Whether you want to run faster, jump higher, kick harder, lift heavier, or just look your best, a strong and powerful posterior chain is a must. The posterior chain is the collective term for the muscles on the back of your body, specifically, your hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and erector spinae.
Of all the exercises you can do for your posterior chain, the hip thrust is one of the most popular. There are several ways to perform hip thrusts, including with a barbell, resistance bands, or just your body weight.
Now you can add B stance hip thrusts to your list of butt-building exercises. Also known as kickstand hip thrusts, this exercise bridges the gap between bilateral (two-legged) and unilateral (single-legged) hip thrusts.
B Stance Hip Thrusts – Muscles Worked
B stance hip thrusts are a compound exercise. That means they involve two or more joints working together and several different muscles. The main muscles developed by B stance hip thrusts are:
Known as the glutes for short, this is the largest and potentially the most powerful muscle in the human body. The main function of the glutes is hip extension. The glutes are basically your butt.
Located on the back of your thighs, the hamstrings flex your knees and work with your glutes to extend your hips. There are three muscles in the hamstring complex: the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus.
The abductors are a group of muscles located on the outside of your hips and thighs. They are responsible for moving your legs out and away from the midline of your body, which is a movement called abduction. The abductor muscles are the gluteus minimus, medius, and tensor fascia latae. During B stance hip thrusts, the abductors work to stabilize your hips and knees and prevent them from falling inward.
Located on the inside of your thighs, the adductors draw your legs in toward the midline of your body. During B stance hip thrusts, the adductors stop your knees and hips from falling outward. The adductor muscles are the longus, brevis, and magnus.
Core is the collective term for the muscles of your midsection. These include the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, obliques, and erector spinae. These muscles contract inward to create intra-abdominal pressure, which supports and stabilizes your spine during B stance hip thrusts.
How to Do B Stance Hip Thrusts
Get more from B stance hip thrusts while keeping your risk of injury to a minimum by following these guidelines:
- Sit on the floor with your back against a sturdy exercise bench. Bend your legs and place your feet flat on the floor.
- Move one leg forward and pull your toes up, so you’re resting on your heel. This is your kickstand or helper leg and not the main focus of the exercise.
- Drive your supporting foot into the floor, pushing through your heel to maximally engage your glutes and hamstrings. Push your hips up until your thighs and abdomen are roughly parallel to the floor.
- Lower your butt back to the floor and repeat for the desired number of reps.
- Switch sides and repeat, doing the same number of reps on the other leg.
- Rest and hold a barbell across your hips to make this exercise more challenging.
- Experiment with the position of your kickstand leg. The further you move away from your supporting leg, the harder the exercise becomes.
- Increase glute activation by putting a booty bandaround your knees and pressing your legs outward against the resistance offered.
- You can also do this exercise while lying flat on the floor or with your back against a stability ball instead of a bench.
B Stance Hip Thrust Benefits
Can’t decide if B stance squats deserve a place in your lower body workouts? Weigh up these benefits and then decide!
- An excellent posterior chain exercise – most athletic movements involve your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back working together. Running, jumping, kicking, lifting, and throwing are just a few examples. B Stance hip thrusts are an effective, safe exercise for this all-important muscle group.
- Very lower-back-friendly – unlike exercises like Romanian deadlifts and back extensions, B stance hip extensions place very little strain on your lower back. As such, this is usually a very good exercise for anyone dealing with back pain.
- Target one side of your glutes at a time – everyone has muscle imbalances, which are often made worse by doing too many bilateral or two-limbed exercises. B stance hip thrusts emphasize one side of your glutes at a time and can help identify and fix any left-to-right strength imbalances you might have.
- Bridge the gap between two-legged and one-legged hip thrusts – a lot of training programs suggest that to make hip thrusts harder, you should simply switch from the two-legged version to doing them with just one leg. However, for many exercisers, this is too big a jump. B stance hip thrusts emphasize one leg at a time, but you can still use your other leg for assistance, making them a useful transition exercise.
- A good way to make hip thrusts more challenging without adding weight – if you can do 20-30 two-legged hip thrusts, you probably need to progress to a more demanding exercise. However, the standard recommendation of doing them with a barbell may be impractical, especially if you train at home. Kickstand hip thrusts are more demanding but require no additional weight or equipment.
While B stance hip thrusts are a mostly beneficial exercise, there are also drawbacks to consider:
You’ll need good knee, hip, and core stability to do them properly – putting more weight on one leg will cause the load to shift, destabilizing your knees, hips, or core. If uncorrected, this could lead to injuries.
Avoid this problem by checking the alignment of your knees, hips, and spine and correcting it where necessary. It’s also worth mentioning that stabilizing your knees, hips, and core will increase total muscle engagement for a more effective workout.
7 B Stance Hip Thrust Variations and Alternatives
B stance hip thrusts are a highly effective posterior chain exercise, but that doesn’t mean you need to do them all the time. There are several variations and alternatives you can use to keep your workouts productive and interesting:
1. Kickstand Romanian deadlifts
Like hip thrusts, Romanian deadlifts can be done with one or two legs. Like B stance hip thrusts, this exercise bridges the gap between the bilateral and unilateral versions. Also, it makes it easier to balance so you can focus more on the exercise and less on not falling over!
- Stand with your feet together and with a kettlebell or dumbbell in your left hand. Move your right foot 12 inches back and rest your toes on the floor. This is your kickstand leg and is used for balance. Bend your left supporting leg slightly for better stability.
- Hinging from the hips, lean forward and lower the weight down toward the floor, taking care not to round your lower back.
- Stand back up and repeat.
- Swap arms and legs and repeat for the same number of repetitions.
- Primary: Gluteus maximus, hamstrings, erector spinae.
- Secondary: Core.
- Much easier to balance than with regular single-leg Romanian deadlifts.
- An excellent exercise for fixing left-to-right strength imbalances.
- A good way to learn and master the hip hinge.
- Use your kickstand leg less and less as your balance improves.
- This exercise works best with moderate to high reps with medium to low weights.
- Experiment with holding the weight in your opposite hand or using two weights at once to see which you prefer.
2. Single-leg back extension
Contrary to its name, the back extension is just as much a glute and hamstring exercise as a back exercise. Done using one leg at a time, this staple gym move becomes an excellent bodyweight posterior chain exercise.
- Climb aboard the machine and place your hips on the leg pad. Put one foot on the footplate, and rest your other leg on top of it.
- Put your hands behind your back (easiest), across your chest (harder), or on your temples (hardest).
- Hinge forward from your hips and lower your upper body down toward the floor. Get a good stretch in your hamstrings without rounding your lower back.
- Drive your hips forward into the leg pad and raise your body back up, so your shoulders, hips, and knees form a straight line. Do not hyperextend your spine.
- Continue for the prescribed number of reps and then switch sides. Do the same number of reps on both legs.
- Primary: Hamstrings, gluteus maximus, erector spinae.
- Secondary: N/A
- An effective bodyweight posterior chain exercise.
- An accessible exercise; most gyms have a back extension machine.
- A straightforward way to make back extensions more challenging without using additional weight.
- Bend your working leg slightly for comfort and to protect the knee joint.
- Make this exercise more challenging by holding a barbell, dumbbells, or a weight plate.
- Take care not to round your back. While some rounding is unavoidable, excessive spinal flexion could lead to injuries.
3. Cable pull-through
The cable pull-through is a popular assistance exercise in many powerlifting programs. Targeting the glutes and hamstrings, this exercise is relatively lower back-friendly, which makes it an appropriate alternative to B stance hip thrusts.
- Attach a rope handle to a low pulley machine. Stand with your back to the weight stack, feet astride the handle.
- With your abs braced and shoulders down and back, bend down and grab the handle with both hands. Stand up and take a couple of steps forward to tension the cable.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and hands in front of your hips. This is your starting position.
- Push your hips back and lean forward until you feel a deep stretch in your hamstrings. Keep going until your hands travel behind your knees. Do not allow your back to round. Maintain a neutral spine throughout, and that includes your upper back and neck.
- Drive your hips forward and stand back up, locking your knees and tensing your glutes as you reach the top of your rep.
- Hinge forward again and repeat.
- Primary: Gluteus maximus, hamstrings.
- Secondary: Erector spinae.
- Lots of tension on the glutes and hamstrings at the end of every rep.
- A very accessible exercise, as most gyms have a low pulley machine and rope handle.
- Relatively little stress on the lower back – even if you lift heavy weights.
- Use two rope handles to extend your range of motion.
- Drive your heels down and back to maximize glute and hamstring engagement.
- Remember that most of the movement should take the form of a hip hinge; do not allow your lower back to round.
4. Kettlebell swing
Most glute and hamstring exercises are done with a slow, smooth tempo. While that’s a good strategy for building muscle and strength, it’s not so useful for building explosive muscle power. Kettlebell swings are done more quickly, which not only makes a nice change of pace but will also increase posterior chain power and speed.
- Hold your kettlebell in front of your hips using an overhand grip. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, toes turned slightly outward. Brace your core and pull your shoulders down and back.
- Bend your knees slightly, hinge forward from your hips, push your butt back, and lower the kettlebell down between your knees.
- Drive your hips forward and swing the kettlebell up to shoulder level. Keep your arms straight.
- Using your abs and lats, swing the kettlebell back down and hinge at your hips again.
- Transition immediately into another rep.
- Primary: Glutes, hamstrings, erector spinae.
- Secondary: Core, mid traps, and rhomboids.
- An explosive exercise that helps build muscle power and speed.
- Done for high reps, swings are an excellent conditioning exercise.
- An excellent movement for athletes from all sports.
- Imagine you are jumping forward with each rep to maximally engage your glutes and hamstrings.
- Take care not to round your back at the bottom of each rep. Flex your hips and not your spine.
- Pull your shoulders back and together at the top of each rep to protect your glenohumeral joints.
5. Stability ball hip lift and leg curl
You don’t need a lot of equipment to build a strong, muscular posterior chain. In fact, you can get a great glute and hamstring exercise using nothing but a stability ball and your body weight for resistance. This exercise involves hip extension AND knee flexion, making it a very functional glute and hamstring exercise.
- Lie on your back with your legs straight and feet resting on a stability ball. Place your hands on the floor by your side for balance.
- Push your heels into the ball to lift your butt off the floor, so your body is straight.
- Next, bend your legs and curl the ball in toward you. Push your hips up to the ceiling as you roll the ball in.
- Push the ball away so your legs are straight, and then lower your hips back down to the floor.
- That’s one rep – keep going!
- Primary: Gluteus maximus, hamstrings.
- Secondary: Erector spinae.
- A low-tech move that’s perfect for home exercisers.
- Very lower back-friendly.
- Good for developing balance and coordination as well as muscle strength and endurance.
- Pull your toes up toward your shins to maximize posterior chain muscle engagement.
- Do this exercise with one leg for a (much) more intense workout.
- Use a smaller diameter ball to make this exercise harder.
6. Reverse deficit lunge
Lunges are mostly viewed as a knee-dominant exercise that emphasizes the quadriceps, which are the muscles on the front of your thighs. However, when you step backward off a step, your glutes and hamstrings are much more involved.
- Stand on a 6” platform with your feet together and arms by your sides.
- Take a large step back and, keeping your front shin and torso upright, bend your legs and lower your rear knee down to within an inch of the floor.
- Push off your back leg and bring your feet back together.
- Do all your reps with the same leading leg and then switch sides, or alternate legs rep by rep as preferred.
- Primary: Gluteus maximus, hamstrings.
- Secondary: Quadriceps.
- No additional equipment is required – just a suitable step.
- A knee-friendly alternative to forward and walking lunges.
- Takes your muscles through a larger range of motion than regular lunges.
- Hold dumbbells to make this exercise more challenging.
- The higher the step, the larger the range of motion, and the more demanding this exercise becomes.
- Lean forward slightly to increase posterior chain engagement.
7. Kickstand squat
You can use the B stance or kickstand method on most bilateral exercises. It puts more weight on one leg, so you can overload your muscles without resorting to heavy weights. For example, you can do kickstand squats for your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.
- Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Move one foot back, so it’s about 12-inches behind the other. Place your toes on the floor so you can use your rear foot for balance but won’t be able to put a lot of weight on it.
- Bend your knees and squat down until your front thigh is roughly parallel to the floor.
- Stand back up and repeat.
- Rest a moment, swap legs, and then do the same number of reps on the opposite side.
- Primary: Quadriceps.
- Secondary: Gluteus maximus, hamstrings.
- An excellent way to make bodyweight squats more challenging without using barbells or dumbbells.
- Very lower-back-friendly.
- Good for spotting and fixing left-to-right leg strength imbalances.
- A useful exercise for improving balance.
- The closer your back foot is to your front foot, the easier this exercise will be.
- Make balancing a little easier by raising your arms in front of you as you descend.
- You can also do this exercise with dumbbells held down by your sides or a kettlebell in front of your chest, i.e., goblet kickstand squats.
B Stance Hip Thrust Glute-Bustin’ Workout
B stance hip thrusts are a great exercise, but you’ll get more from them if you incorporate them into a balanced lower body workout.
Here’s a B stance hip thrust-based workout to try. Do it 1-2 times per week to build a strong, muscular lower body.
But before you begin, make sure you spend a few minutes warming up to prepare your muscles and joints for what you are about to do. Start with 5-10 minutes of cardio followed by dynamic mobility and flexibility exercises for your hips, knees, and lower back.
|1||B stance hip thrust||3||12-15 per leg||60-90 seconds|
|2||Kickstand Romanian deadlift||3||10-12 per leg||60-90 seconds|
|3||Kettlebell swing||2||15-20||60-90 seconds|
|4||Reverse deficit lunge||2||10-12 per leg||60-90 seconds|
|5||Kickstand squat||1||10-12 per leg||60-90 seconds|
|6||Stability ball hip lift and leg curl||1||12-15||60-90 seconds|
Read more about warming up for strength training here.
B Stance Hip Thrust FAQs
Got a question about B stance hip thrusts? We’ve got the answers to the most common queries and concerns about this awesome lower-body exercise!
1. How many times per week can I do B stance hip thrusts?
You can do B stance hip thrusts 2-3 times per week. More than that, and you’ll probably start to get bored of them. Also, remember that your muscles only really adapt to your workouts when you are resting. So, for best results, you should avoid doing B stance hip thrusts two days in a row.
2. How many reps of B stance hip thrusts should I do? How many sets?
In general, you can do anywhere from about 6 to 35 reps per set to build muscle. So long as you take your sets to within a couple of reps of failure, your workout will be productive. That said, if you specifically want to get stronger, lower reps with heavier weights are generally best.
In terms of sets, you should be able to get good results from 2-4 sets. If you feel you need to do more, you may not be taking each set close enough to failure, or you may be resting too long between each one. More sets do not necessarily mean better progress. So, rather than trying to see how many sets you can do, see how few you need to achieve the results you want.
3. Do I have to use weights with B stance hip thrusts? If yes, how much?
The great thing about B stance hip thrusts is that they’re a little harder than regular two-legged hip thrusts. As such, you may not need extra weight to fatigue your muscles. That said, if you can comfortably do 20-30 reps per set, they may not be challenging enough for you, and you need to find ways to make them more intense.
For example, you can make the transition from B stance Hip thrusts to single-leg hip thrusts, or you can add an external load. Ways to do this include resting a barbell across your hips or using a resistance band.
As to how much weight you should use, that’s impossible to say. It depends on how strong you are, your preferred rep range, and how much weight you have available.
Remember, providing you take your muscles close to failure, the number of reps performed doesn’t actually matter all that much. However, for building brute strength, lower reps and heavier weights are generally best.
4. Do powerlifters do B stance hip thrusts?
If powerlifters use hip thrusts, it tends to be the two-legged kind. They do them to increase glute and hamstring strength for a better lockout during squats and deadlifts. The two-legged version provides a more stable base, so heavier loads can be used.
Powerlifting is a strength sport, and the winner is the person who lifts the most weight in the squat, bench press and deadlift. As such, powerlifters do most of their training with heavy weights and low reps.
B stance squats are more popular with people looking to increase glute size rather than build Hulk-like strength!
5. Do I have to do B stance hip thrusts to build a better butt?
While B stance or kickstand hip thrusts are a good exercise, they are far from compulsory. Some people may prefer to do hip thrusts with a regular stance or choose an entirely different exercise for their glutes and hammies.
Ultimately, there are dozens of great glute exercises to choose from, and you should pick the exercises you enjoy and feel the most. If you think B stance hip thrusts are a good fit for your goals, then there is no reason not to do them. But if you don’t like them or can’t really feel them working, you should pick a different movement.
But, before making up your mind, try B stance hip thrusts for yourself and see how you get on with them. You won’t know if they’re the right exercise for you until you try them.
6. Which is better – B stance hip thrusts or single-leg hip thrusts?
When it comes to comparing two exercises and trying to choose between them, the right one is invariably the exercise that suits you best. If you are strong enough to do single-leg hip thrusts and enjoy them, you can include them in your workouts.
But if you aren’t quite strong enough to do the single-leg version, B stance hip thrusts may be a better choice.
So, try them both and see which option works best for you. And remember, in a few months, you may find that single-leg hip thrusts are best as you’ll be stronger and better equipped to do them, even if you prefer the kickstand version now.
7. What diet should I follow to get the most from B stance hip thrusts?
The right diet depends on your training goals. To build muscle, you need a calorie surplus, which means you need to eat more than your body needs to maintain your current weight. These calories will be used to fuel your workouts and muscle growth.
In contrast, if you want to lose fat, you need to eat fewer calories and create a deficit. This will force your body to burn stored body fat for energy.
It’s beyond the scope of this article to give you a diet to follow, but you can learn how to write your own perfect diet plan for your body composition goals here.
B Stance Hip Thrusts – Wrapping Up
B stance hip thrusts are a great way to train your glutes and hamstrings. They’re halfway between two-legged and one-legged hip thrusts and deliver a good workout for late beginner and early intermediate exercisers.
Of course, they are just one of a great many posterior chain exercises you can choose from and are by no means compulsory. So, try them for yourself and see if you like them.
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