Why the Hip Thrust on the Smith Machine Is Essential for Men Over 40

hip thrust Smith machine

The hip thrusts help men over 40 move better and reduce back pain. 

The hip thrust is a superior exercise that targets the lower body. Rows and deadlifts primarily engage the posterior chain muscles, while hip thrusts specifically concentrate on strengthening the lower back, hip joints, and glutes. This focused approach enhances the muscles and mechanics in these areas and significantly reduces injury risk. Moreover, it cultivates strength and power for rigorous workouts and everyday tasks.

This article explores the advantages of using the hip thrust Smith machine for bodybuilding. It highlights the benefits of this exercise, particularly for men over 40 looking to build muscle. The guide offers a detailed, step-by-step tutorial on performing the exercise correctly and effective alternatives to enhance mobility for this age group.

Why Performing the Hip Thrust Is Crucial for Men Over 40

The hip thrust is an isolation movement that works your glutes, lower back, hamstrings, quads, adductors, and hip joints. It also activates core muscles like the abs and obliques, which help with stability during the exercise.

This exercise can be done with a barbell on a bare floor or a bench. Moreover, resistance bands can help with more gains, improving tension in the targeted muscles. However, doing the hip thrust on a Smith machine provides support and stability, which can help older men who want to focus on the targeted muscles without the stress of balancing free weights.

The hip thrust on a Smith machine is also helpful because of the muscles it targets. Anybody over forty with a desk job can tell you how hip mobility and lower back pain can be an immense problem while training. Since this routine primarily works on your hips and glutes, it allows older men to move better and reduce hip and lower back tightness. Of course, it’ll help you run faster and jump higher for improved athletic prowess, too. 


The hip thrust on the Smith machine requires a flat bench and your preferred weights. For proper form, beginners should start with light weights. Below is a step-by-step guide highlighting how to do the hip thrust on a Smith machine.

  1. Place the flat bench perpendicular to the Smith machine and adjust the bar to the height that allows your hands to reach it when sitting on the floor.
  2. Load the bar with weight plates and add a bar pad. This will help ease discomfort when performing the exercise.
  3. Next, sit on the floor with your back against the bench. Ensure your feet are driven flat on the floor shoulder-width apart, and your knees are bent. This is your starting position.
  4. Brace your core and keep your back straight. Unhook the bar and carefully place it on your hips.
  5. Begin the hip thrust by driving through your heels. Slowly push the hips upwards and squeeze your glutes. At the peak of this movement, your body should form a straight line with your knees and shoulders.
  6. Slowly lower your hips back to the starting position, making it one rep.
  7. You can perform this movement for as many reps as you desire. When you finish the exercise, hook the bar back to the rack.


The hip thrust on a Smith machine is a strength training exercise that works your hips, glutes, core, and lower body muscles. It’s very effective for improving your hip-hinge technique and a foundation for other exercises, such as bent-over rows and deadlifts. Below are more benefits of performing this exercise.

Strengthens the Glutes & Hips

This exercise primarily targets the glutes, lower back, and hip extensions. This study shows that hip thrusts could better activate your glutes than back squats and split squats (1). Hip thrusts on a Smith machine build and strengthen these muscles and joints while recruiting other secondary muscles like the quads, hamstrings, adductors, and core. 

Activates Core Muscles

When done right, the hip thrust on a Smith machine places constant tension on and activates core muscles. Core muscles help with proper form and equal load distribution throughout the body. They also reduce the chance of injuries and improve body posture.

Better Joint Mobility & Movement 

Performing this exercise works the hip joints as much as the targeted muscles. Regularly doing the hip thrust on a Smith machine strengthens these joints and muscles, increasing the range of motion and making movement easier. This is crucial for men over 40 who want good movement and mobility. 

Carryover to Other Exercises

This exercise works similar muscles to squat exercises (2). It works the core and lower body muscles, improving your form and making it easy to transition to other exercises like deadlifts. 

Safer & Reduces Chances of Injuries

Doing the hip thrust on a Smith machine provides more stability and allows you to focus more on the targeted muscles, increasing your mind-muscle connection. The stability and support of the Smith machine will enable you to train your muscles effectively without worrying about hurting yourself during workout sessions. 

Alternatives to the Hip Thrust on the Smith Machine

The hip thrust on a Smith machine is an effective isolation exercise for building strength and muscles in your lower body. However, as effective as this exercise is, experts have advised integrating other workouts that build similar muscles to avoid a training plateau. Below is a list of exercises to get the most from your workout sessions.

Cable Pull-Through

Cable pull-throughs are excellent cable exercises that work similar muscles with the hip thrust on a Smith machine. This exercise stresses the glutes and hamstrings, which induces muscle hypertrophy. For men over 40, the cable machine also offers stability, allowing you to focus on the targeted muscles.

Hyperextension by Erin Stern

Hyperextensions are isolation movements that can be dangerous, but when executed well, they do the job effectively, targeting the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. Hyperextension is a bodyweight exercise, but for more resistance, you can use weights plates, dumbbells, kettlebells, or resistance bands for more gains. The video above showcases two-time Figure Olympia champ Erin Stern performing them. 

Sumo Squat with a Kettlebell

Sumo squats using kettlebells are a weight training exercise that builds glutes, quads, hamstrings, and adductors. Using a wider stance for this exercise primarily focuses on the glutes. It also strengthens and builds the hip and knee joints, which help with better mobility for men over 40.

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  1. Williams, M. J., Gibson, N. V., Sorbie, G. G., Ugbolue, U. C., Brouner, J., & Easton, C. (2021). Activation of the Gluteus Maximus During Performance of the Back Squat, Split Squat, and Barbell Hip Thrust and the Relationship With Maximal Sprinting. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 35(1), 16–24. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000002651 
  2. Plotkin, D. L., Rodas, M. A., Vigotsky, A. D., McIntosh, M. C., Breeze, E., Ubrik, R., Robitzsch, C., Agyin-Birikorang, A., Mattingly, M. L., Michel, J. M., Kontos, N. J., Frugé, A. D., Wilburn, C. M., Weimar, W. H., Bashir, A., Beyers, R. J., Henselmans, M., Contreras, B. M., & Roberts, M. D. (2023). Hip thrust and back squat training elicit similar gluteus muscle hypertrophy and transfer similarly to the deadlift. bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology, 2023.06.21.545949. https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.06.21.545949
Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.