How to Barbell Hip Thrust + Dealing With Creepers at the Gym

On the heels of my last post, My Favorite Booty Building Exercises, today I'm taking a deeper look into my favorite move of them all, the barbell hip thrust!

Why You Should Barbell Hip Thrust

We talked about this in my last post, but I'll just reiterate that having strong glutes is super healthy. It can help improve athletic performance and reduce risk of injury. The barbell hip thrust is a great way to target the glutes specifically, so if you are interested in growing your glutes without growing your legs, this movement should definitely be in your routine!

Hesitations About Barbell Hip Thrust.

Hip Thrusting is an awkward movement, especially if you're doing it at a public gym. The benefits of the movement, however, far outweigh the awkwardness. I've been doing barbell hip thrusts in the gym for years. Yes, I've gotten weird stares and inappropriate comments -  watch the video below to hear more about how I handled an awkward hip thrusting experience. The bottom line is this, the barbell hip thrust is a great movement and you deserve to be strong and healthy. Get comfortable with the movement by watching videos online, reading blogs, and practicing in private and then strut your ass into that gym and do it. Don't let someone else's insecurity hold you back from becoming your best self. Maybe bring a supportive friend along the first couple times you perform it in the gym or hire a trainer for a session or two for moral support. If someone makes an inappropriate comment/gesture, REPORT THEM!

How to Set Up for the Barbell Hip Thrust

Before we get into the movement, lets talk about how to set up for the barbell hip thrust. First and foremost you will need a sturdy bench. If your bench is even the least bit wobbly, I recommend using two benches and setting them up in a T shape like the picture below. 

barbell hip thrust

You will want to set the barbell up parallel to the bench. It's important to use weights that are tall enough to allow you room to roll the bar over your thighs. Even if you aren't using a lot of weight, make sure you use the taller weight plates to set up. 

In the picture above you'll notice I have a pad around the bar. This is really important. You'll want some sort of support between you and the implement to protect your hips. If you do not have a bar pad you can fold up a yoga mat to use between your hips and the bar. 

how to peform the barbell hip thrust

To perform the movement, step your feet under your knees. I like to point my fee out slightly, but you don't have to. It's important to note that you should maintain a neutral spine throughout the entire movement, including your neck. Next, brace your entire body and drive down through your feet to lift the hips. Be careful not to overextend your back. Keep your body braced as you lower the hips.

Check out the video below for more instructions and to see the movement in action!

My Favorite Booty Building Exercises

Today we are talking about my favorite training topic - how to grow your booty!

Having a firm, round butt is definitely the "in" thing these days, but that's not the only reason you should do it. A firm, round booty = strong glutes, and strong glutes are super healthy! This article  does a nice job of explaining why. Basically, your glutes are responsible for stabilizing your pelvis and moving your hips. When they are weak, it can lead to tightness in the hip flexors and pain in the low back. No bueno. 

Before we get into the movements, let's talk about my top 4 tips for growing a booty

My Top 4 Tips for Growing a Booty

1.) Be Patient and Consistent

Growing any type of muscle takes TIME. - it definitely doesn't happen over night! You will need to train regularly and for a few weeks before you start noticing changes. 

2.) You Need to Eat

In order to grow your glutes, you have to feed your glutes! This doesn't mean you have to pig out 24/7, but you may need to eat more calories than you were previously in order to support your booty in it's quest to build. Timing is important too. I recommend eating a small meal consisting of a healthy carb and lean protein before and after you train.

3.) Genetics Play a Role

Genetics are a real thing and this is something you should be aware of as you seek to alter your physique. This article from says it best: Although you can change physical appearance with diet and exercise, your genetically determined body type regulates pre-exercise-program body composition and fitness outcomes. According to the American Council on Exercise, mesomorphs are naturally muscular and hypertrophy quickly, endomorphs possess a round shape with greater fat distribution and ectomorphs are thin and linear. Although endomorphs may require fat loss for visible muscle definition and ectomorphs may gain less mass than a person with a mesomorphic body, all individuals benefit from strength training.

I tell you this because I don't want you going down the trap of compare and dispair, okay? 

4.) Stop Playing, Lift Heavy

If you want to put on muscle mass, you need to lift heavy. Period. Keep your reps in the 5-8 range and find a weight that is very challenging by the final 2-3 reps.

This is probably a good place to tell you that alignment and form are super important, especially when heavy weights are involved. If you are new to weight training, i highly recommend hiring a personal trainer who can teach you to perform these movements properly and safely. If you are local, I offer personal training consultations in the Harrisburg, PA area.

The Movements

In my latest YouTube video I take you through my favorite booty-building exercises. I've also listed them below with hyperlinks to instructional videos. Enjoy!

Single Leg Glute Bridge

Weighted Glute Bridge

Sumo Deadlift (or any deadlift variation)

Single Leg Deadlift with Landmine

Barbell Hip Thrust

Students of STUDIO B - Karen Beall, krb ceramics

At STUDIO B, our students are some of the coolest people around. Their professions, stories and backgrounds have inspired us to start a new series, Students of STUDIO B. Each month we will highlight a member of our community who is up to really cool things.

We are kicking off the series with Karen Beall owner of krb ceramics.

Karen and student in class "Wine Coolers"

Karen and student in class "Wine Coolers"

SB: Tell us a little about yourself and your business:

KB: I am an artist and my artwork incorporates sculptural forms derived from small, often overlooked species from the natural world. Much like a scientist, I collect and study fungi and plants to serve as sources of inspiration. At times my artwork also comments on environmental themes. I recently set up a ceramics studio in my home and after years of teaching at Lebanon Valley College I've started to teach children and adults in my own studio. I offer weekly Saturday classes for children and project-based classes for children, teens, and adults. My my ceramic artwork and provides information about the classes. I also have a features all of my artwork.

Children in Saturday morning class

Children in Saturday morning class

SB: When did you start practicing yoga at STUDIO B and what was your goal when you started? 

KB: I started practicing yoga at STUDIO B in Fall 2016 because I wanted to work towards becoming more peaceful, focused, relaxed and flexible.

SB: What is your favorite part about yoga at STUDIO B?

KB: My favorite part of Studio B is the getting to know yoga community and the teachers...and the location!

Karen’s artwork “Nature’s Recyclers”

Karen’s artwork “Nature’s Recyclers”

Karen, Thank you for participating and for being a part of the community at STUDIO B!!

P.S. You can find some of Karen's work at our Annville studio!

Weekend Recap - Teacher Training

Happy Monday : ) I am here today with a weekend recap...Teacher Training style.

Yoga Teacher Training is much different than other forms of fitness certifications. While many personal training and group fitness certs can be completed in a day, a weekend or even a one-time test, becoming a Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance requires completing a 200 hour program with a Registered Yoga School.

I am currently co-leading one of these programs with Pat O'Connell over at Yoga on Chocolate. Our program consists of eight, 23-hour weekends over a six month period. So what could we possibly do for 23 hours in a weekend? That's what I'm sharing today!

Every weekend has the same structure, but the details vary. Here is a look at Weekend 7 of the 2016-2017 Training!

Friday Evening - Practice, Assisting Workshop and Discussion

Last weekend's training started on Friday at 5pm. We briefly discussed what's been happening since the last time we were together and covered housekeeping stuff for the weekend ahead. At 5:30pm we took a Vinyasa Flow class together followed by a quick break. 

After break we led the group through a hands-on assisting workshop. Assisting is intimidating, so many new teachers shy away from it, but it is also powerful and something that sets a great teacher apart from a good teacher.

We ended the evening with a discussion of the book we read between weekends, The Heart of the Soul by Gary Zukav and wrapped up at 9pm.

Saturday - Meditation, Practice & Anatomy

Saturday morning started bright and early at 8am with student-led group meditation. Participants were asked to share how their meditation practice is going overall - what's working, what's not, how they feel during and after, etc. We also discussed various tools for meditating and teaching meditation. 

The Teacher Trainees practiced with the 9:30 class while I assisted them. It had been a long time since I assisted an entire class so it was a great refresher for me! After class we had a quick break followed by a session on Bandhas and Pranayama before we broke for lunch.

After lunch we spent the rest of the afternoon practice teaching. We are getting close to the end (just one more weekend left!) so the TT's are getting anxious to get more practical experience.

yoga teacher training

Saturday ended at 5pm. No matter how we do it, Saturday is a LONNNG day! By this point our bodies are beat and our brains are fried.

Sunday - Meditation, Practice,  Anatomy & Practice Teaching

On Sunday we met again at 8am, but this time at STUDIO B, Harrisburg. We began with a student-led meditation and discussion. Lucky for me, the student chose a guided meditation that included a trip to the beach! After meditation I taught and the TT's joined the 9:30 class. Despite being exhausted, the group brought a ton of energy to class that I was so grateful for!

After class we discussed the ethics and business of yoga then broke for lunch.

The afternoon was spent on Anatomy and more Practice Teaching. We took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and took things outside, something we haven't been able to do all training.

One topic we didn't cover this weekend that we normally spend a good bit of time on is Personal Development/Goal Setting. This is a powerful component of the training where we focus on ironing out who we are, what are purpose is, aligning our lives around our purpose and creating visions and goals. 

The next time we meet will be graduation weekend. I am so excited for this group of Trainees to start sharing their light and love with the world in the form of yoga. They are all going to be such excellent teachers and I can't wait to see how they manifest their unique talents and gifts.

What Will You B?

Setting goals and creating intentions play a big role in my life. I say all the time that the biggest impact yoga has had on me is that it's taught me to wake up and live life on purpose. Part of that involves spending time every day reflecting on my actions and decisions, thinking about my goals, evaluating where I'm at, where I want to go and how I'm going to get there.  And while I do this pretty much daily, the end of the year marks a special time to evaluate and plan in a bigger-picture kind of way.

Last year on New Years Day I wrote a blog post, Setting Intentions....for 2016 and Beyond, where I declared 2016 was going to be ridiculously amazing. Exactly one year later I can proudly say, it was. And not just because I said it was going to be, but because I took the time to think about what it would mean for the year ahead to be "ridiculously amazing," what that required from me and how I'd go about making those things happen.

2016 was a really great year for me. I accomplished my long term goal of becoming a full time business owner when I resigned from my comfy, full time job in May. I spent the summer enjoying the summer. That meant lots of time outside and near water, the best tan I've ever had, and quality time with my niece and nephew. I opened a second studio, another long term goal off the list, led a yoga & fitness retreat, and stepped deeper into my role as "teacher" by co-leading a 200hr teacher training. I strengthened existing friendships and partnerships and got to know some new and really interesting people. I unapologetically said goodbye to what and who was holding me back and sucking my energy. I also strengthened my relationship with myself. And while I continue to be flawed and make mistakes, I understand my flaws much better and feel better equipped to navigate the year ahead. As I look back on the list I created at the end of last year, I can honestly say I achieved everything I wanted to and more, which includes getting closer to some of my loftier, long term goals.

I don't typically share my specific goals on a platform like this, but I will share that I don't have any huge goals for 2017. I don't want to do anything new or additional. I want to do what I'm doing now, but better. My goals for the year ahead revolve around being a better, stronger and more confident person, teacher, student, mentor, mentee, business owner, friend, wife, etc. I've spent the past few weeks getting clear and specific about what that means and how I will accomplish those things.

If you haven't yet, I invite you to spend some time reflecting on 2016. What worked? What didn't? What would have made it better? What small, attainable changes can you make right away? What big, lofty goals can you start working towards? How can you show up more? For yourself and for others? I suggest you write these things down on paper. If you just think about them, you'll probably continue to just think about them. Put pen to paper, make a plan, create actions steps, then take action. 

At STUDIO B, our catch phrase is, "What will you B?". So I'll end this post by asking, in 2017, what will you B?