Glute Strength Goes Mainstream as Al Roker Hip Thrusts on the Today Show

If Dwayne Johnson grunting his way through a set of hip thrusts on Instagram last week wasn’t enough proof that glute strength is going mainstream, wait until you see none other than Al Roker strengthening his butt on the Today Show this week.

NBC invited trainer Ben Bruno to the set to demonstrate “the secrets to a strong lower body.” Bruno is highly regarded in the world of strength and conditioning and is well-known for his love of glute-dominant lower body work. His Instagram is filled with his clients performing hip thrusts, sled drags, landmine squats, and trap bar deadlifts, and many of them are celebrities like Jessica Biel and Kate Upton, whose 200-pound hip thrusts we highlighted in our roundup of surprisingly strong Hollywood actors.

Right off the bat, Bruno tells Al Roker and Dylan Dreyer they’re doing his “favorite butt exercise,” the hip thrust. They perform them without a barbell, but Bruno nonetheless provides some important form tips for the movement like keeping your eyes straight ahead making sure you don’t arch your back so that the pressure stays on the glutes, not the lower back. Check out the full clip below.

After they work the glutes, the hosts go on to, well, work their glutes even more, with stability ball leg curls (using a ball engages both the glutes and the hamstrings) and finishing up with walking lunges — he recommends lunging slightly to the side to further engage the glutes.

While this workout took place on morning television, if you add some weight to the hip thrusts and lunges you’ll find this is actually a very effective and worthwhile glute workout for almost any athlete.

And in case you missed the memo, glute strength is critical to almost every aspect of fitness. A strong posterior can support the spine, improve posture, reduce knee pain, increase speed and strength, improve muscle recruitment from the rest of the body… just ask NFL linebacker James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who was seen thrusting 675 pounds last week.

Basically, the glutes are your engine. Keep ’em fine tuned.

Featured image via TODAY on YouTube.

Nick English

Nick English

Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.

After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.

No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?

Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.

At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.

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