We recently called the Hip Thrust the most important exercise you're not doing.
Popularized by Bret Contreras, a.k.a. the 'Glute Guy' (that's him demonstrating the move in the above video), the Hip Thrust is a glute exercise designed to improve your strength, speed and power by teaching optimal hip extension.
What is "optimal hip extension," and why should you care about it? It's all about the power in your glutes, which are among the most powerful muscles in your body. The glutes are designed to extend the hip or pull the leg behind the body.
If your glutes are underdeveloped, your speed, power and strength are all compromised. That means you'll have weaker Squats and Deadlifts as well as slower 40-Yard Dash times and lower vertical jumps than you could have otherwise.
Aren't those the things you're trying to improve?
And even if you're not interested in athletic performance, the Hip Thrust is one of the most effective exercises for building a better butt.
While in a nutshell, the exercise involves little more than placing a loaded barbell on your pelvis and thrusting, the reality is a bit more complicated than that.
This article provides a detailed look at the exercise and is a great read for those new to the movement.
Once you've mastered the basic movement, don't be afraid to challenge yourself with the weight.
"The biggest problem I have seen with the Hip Thrust is using weight that is too light. Your glutes are strong; you need to lift heavy. Some of the female athletes I train can thrust more than 250 pounds for 10 reps—and that's only 75 percent of their max. It should also be noted that you can expect slight bruising if you do not use a pad," says Chris Hitchko, CSCS and owner of ShowUp Fitness.