James Harrison is probably the most reliable pass rusher on the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the glimpses of his training regimen that he posts every few days to Instagram provide some great insight for strength coaches and fans alike.
While he posts a lot of squats and bench presses, this week his workout routine is raising a few eyebrows. That’s because he’s performing one of the most fantastic exercises for glute strength: the hip thrust. With what looks like 675 pounds. For at least 6 reps.
Of course, this movement is seldom seen in your standard gym. But although it might draw some funny looks, it’s a fantastic exercise that isolates and works all three glute muscles (maximus, medius, and minimus) and creates maximal activation at the terminal hip extension.
Popularized by strength coach Bret Contreras, CSCS (who has an actual PhD in the hip thrust from Auckland University of Technology), the hip thrust is an excellent way to build your butt, reduce knee pain, support the spine, and improve speed and strength, powering you forward and helping you harness the force from other muscles.
Contreras has been seen thrusting over 700 pounds, and we’ve also noticed celebrities like Kate Upton performing the exercise and, just last week, none other than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson himself.
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Fun warmup activating glutes and hips before destroying legs. 5 second hold at the top, squeezed, with resistance bands above the knees using 225lbs. Gotta warm up properly due to all my sexy lower body injuries from years of wrestling and football (two L4 & L5 low back disc ruptures, five knee surgeries, torn Achilles, tore both my quad and adductor from my pelvis and repaired three hernias all in one lovely emergency surgery). Lots of fun pain, but we fight thru it and come back stronger and better. Plus this exercise showcases the relentless power in my thrust game which is my jam when we practice making babies. 😉💪🏾🦍 Who wants extra cheese on their pizza? Because I got endless amounts with that last paragraph. Bottom line/ do your warm ups. They're critical. #LegDay #BattleScarred #WarmUps #AkaBabyMakers #TheDungeon
If you’re interested in giving it a try, here’s a clip from Bret “The Glute Guy” Contreras breaking down the fundamentals in extreme detail and pointing out the most common mistakes you should avoid.
No newbie to the exercise, Harrison was also seen thrusting 528 pounds (240 kilograms) last March, showing he’s built some serious thrusting power over the last year.
At 39 years old, Harrison has had a longer career on the field than most linebackers in the NFL, and last season alone he started seven games and had five sacks. We’re just wondering what he’s going to lift on his 40th birthday.
Featured image via @jhharrison92 on Instagram.