Hip Thrust with Chains

How To Do A Hip Thrust with Chains
By Alli McKeeFebruary 19, 2016

Hip Thrusts With Chains

What is a hip thrust? The hip thrust with chains is a phenomenal exercise for improving the strength and development of the glutes, and for the overall function and health of the entire body. Strong glutes matter!!

Equipment needed:

You will need a chain for this hip thrust variation as well as a bench, box, step, or actual hip thrust bench. For shorter lifters, a lower bench/box/step works best.

Ability level:


Beginners should start out with bodyweight hip thrusts. Once they have mastered the form and mechanics, they can add a light chain.


Intermediate lifters should start out with a medium to heavy chain. If this feels too easy, additional resistance can be used. If you’re doing a lower body workout, you can use the hip thrust with chains as a warm-up to prepare your body for the compound movements, or you can perform this exercise after a squatting, lunging, or hinging exercise as part of a lower body superset. If you’re doing a full-body workout, you can pair the hip thrust with chains with an upper body pushing or pulling exercise. You can also use it at the end of the workout, as a glute finisher. Intermediate lifters might perform 2-4 sets of 6-12 reps of the hip thrust with chains, or can do up to 25 reps if the exercise is being used to really work the glutes hard at the end of the workout. You can also perform this exercise as part of a hip thrust workout.


Women who are comfortable with the hip thrust with chains may choose to use additional resistance. You can also make the exercise more challenging by pausing for a longer time at the top of the lift and really challenging the glutes concentrically, or performing negatives and lowering in 3-5 seconds, really challenging the glutes eccentrically. Or, you can place a resistance band above and below the knees when you are performing this exercise, and should press your knees out against the bands for additional resistance. You can also perform any of the above options while using a single leg.

Benefits of Hip Thrusts With Chains:

How a woman chooses to use the hip thrust with chains is highly dependent on her overall technical ability and experience, how much resistance is being used, the set/rep scheme used, where it falls in the workout, what it’s paired with, and what the rest periods are. This glute and hip exercise provides hip thrust benefits without requiring the use of a barbell, and can be performed anywhere, any time. In general hip thrusts with chain resistance can be used to do any or all of the following:

  • increasing glute strength
  • building muscle
  • improving aesthetics of the glutes (higher, rounder, firmer)
  • increasing speed and power by teaching optimal hip extension, which will be beneficial to running, jumping, and other sports specific movements
  • improved full body function and health as strong glutes positively impact the alignment and mechanics of the spine, pelvis, femurs, knees, ankles and feet
  • increasing performance in the weight room
  • increasing athleticism and sports specific performance
  • fat loss (if your diet and exercise routines are conducive to fat loss)

How to perform Hip Thrust With Chains:

  • Set yourself up so your shoulder blades, upper back, and elbows are resting on top of the bench, and your body is facing straight ahead. Your hips should be relatively close to the bench during the initial set-up.
  • Your feet should be about hip to shoulder width apart, and your feet can be angled out a bit if this is more comfortable.
  • Place a chain so it is in your hip crease.
  • Keep your shins relatively vertical or else your hamstrings will take over.
  • Before you start, take a deep breath into your belly (360 degrees of air around the spine) and brace your core (imagine blocking a soccer ball with your stomach). This will protect your lower back, and will give you greater ability to generate force.
  • Initiate the hip lift by driving through the heel and mid-foot and squeezing your glutes. Do NOT arch your lower back. This is extremely important.
  • At the top position, hold for a count or more as this will really utilize the glutes. It is imperative that you lock out by squeezing your glutes, not by arching your lower back.
  • During the lowering phase, go as low as you can while controlling the movement with your glutes.
  • For the duration of the exercise, it’s important to keep your rib cage tucked toward your hips (closing the space in your midsection) and keep your core braced. Do not allow your rib cage to lift or lower back to arch.
  • Make sure that your weight remains on the heel and mid-foot but keep your toes down, particularly your big and baby toe. This will dramatically improve your stability, and ability to perform this exercise.
  • Do not allow your knees to collapse in or fall outside of your feet.
  • Keep your neck in a neutral position as you lift yourself off the floor. Don’t allow your head to drop back.
  • Choose a resistance that allows you to do all of the above.
  • Reset before each rep.
  • This is how to hip thrust

Video Transcription: 

If you are looking for a transition from either a bodyweight hip thrust or the body weight glute bridge to a barbell hip thrust, but you not quite ready to put a big bar across your hips, you have a couple of options. One of my favorite ways to weight these is with chains and then also with bands. which I will show you in just a minute.  It’s the exact same setup. You are going to get down - again I am tall enough to sit down on the ground and still have my upper back on the bench though, you might not be, so you might have to adjust a little bit. I am going to put the chains in my lap, drape them across my lap, and come up to do my hip thrust. My feet are underneath me, you want your shins to be at about a 90 degree angle when you’re up in the hip thrust position. I’m going to release my breath, get my rib cage down, tighten my core and then I’m going to go. Big breath in, blow out. So that’s the hip thrust with chains, and now I am going to demonstrate with the band.



Want to learn more about the women’s health and fitness issues you care most about?

Get Access to Our Free 5-Day Courses

Find the most up-to-date and helpful resources for tackling body image struggles, pre- & postnatal training issues, and everything in between.

Whether you’re a health and fitness professional looking to level up your knowledge or a woman wanting to feel stronger, fitter, and more confident, get the advice you can trust from the experts at Girls Gone Strong.

About the author:  Alli McKee

Alli is a certified strength and conditioning specialist. She's contributed to and modeled for a number of major publications including Oxygen magazine and the New Rules of Lifting: Supercharged. You can find out more about Alli on her personal blog at www.allimckee.com.

More Resources

envelope-oclosechevron-upchevron-downbookmark-otwitterfacebookchainbars linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram