Kate Upton Nailed a Glute-Building Exercise Variation You'll Want to Try
Kate Upton's Instagram followers know she means business when it comes to working out. The supermodel has shared all kinds of physical feats on the social media platform, often posting videos of gym workouts with her trainer Ben Bruno. Most recently, Bruno shared a clip of Upton crushing a set of eccentric single-leg hip thrusts, despite facing adorable distractions from her dog, Norman.
In the video, Upton demonstrates what Bruno called "one of the best glute exercises you've never tried" using a barbell with weight plates designed to look like donuts and pizzas. Watch Bruno's video of Upton crushing this glute-building move with Norman by her side below, then find out how to complete the exercise yourself at home.
How to Do a Single-Leg Hip Thrust
A. Start in a seated position with upper back against the edge of a workout bench, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor close together.
B. Rest the barbell on hips with a pad in between to act as a cushion.
C. Press through feet to lift hips until roughly parallel to the floor. Squeeze glutes at the top, and brace core to avoid arching low back.
D. Raise one foot off the ground with a slight bend at the knee. Pause.
E. Keeping foot lifted, slowly lower hips back to starting position, taking 2 to 3 seconds to lower down with control.
Do 6 reps on one side, then repeat on other side
To better understand why this glute exercise is so powerful, you'll want to know the difference between the eccentric and concentric portions of an exercise. The eccentric part of an exercise focuses on lengthening the working muscles, but this often requires resisting gravity (as Upton shows by slowly lowering the barbell toward the floor rather than slamming it back down). "Eccentric contractions can also literally make your muscle fibers grow, making the muscle itself physically longer," Ally McKinney, ACSM-certified personal trainer at Gold's Gym and GOLD'S AMP coach previously told Shape.
This differs from the isometric and concentric portions (the other types of movement that make up all strength-training exercises). The isometric portion of an exercise involves holding still or pausing mid-movement to thoroughly engage muscles. Think: high planks, wall sits, pull-up bar hangs. Finally, the concentric part of an exercise focuses on contracting the muscles, such as the upward motion of a bicep curl or sit-up.
While Upton takes things up a notch with single-leg reps, all variations of hip thrusts have major benefits. In addition to the obvious perk of strengthening your glute muscles, they also target the hamstrings and recruit the core. Plus, hip thrusts help improve hip mobility, since they require a wide range of motion. "Start by working through the range of motion of the hip thrust without weight. Get comfortable there. Then add weight, this will help you build strength within the new-found range of motion," Grayson Wickham, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., founder of Movement Vault, a mobility and functional movement program previously told Shape.
Whether you plan to try this single-leg hip thrust yourself or just want to feel inspired by Upton's fun-hearted fitness vibes, everyone will get a laugh out of watching Norman trying to get in on the action in the second video of the Instagram carousel. Enjoy!