When looking at success and failure in sports, many athletes find their downfall comes from a lack of strength. Researchers and coaches often evaluate an athlete to be "strong enough" when they can Back Squat twice their body weight. For a 200-pound athlete, that would be a 400-pound Squat. However, for many athletes, this number is difficult to achieve.
Along with practicing the actual exercise (back squatting), what is an efficient and effective assistance exercise to help an athlete increase this number? A recent study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences looked at how the Barbell Hip Thrust can effect Squat max and found some very intriguing results.
Let's break down this study and give you the meaningful takeaways.
No Experience With Barbell Hip Thrust
The participants in this study were 20 college male baseball players.
The participants were randomly divided into two groups—a hip thrust training group and a control group. The hip thrust training group added the Barbell Hip Thrust movement to a regular baseball training regimen. The control group only performed the regular baseball training regimen.
None of the participants had previous experience with the Barbell Hip Thrust exercise, yet all had at least one year of experience with Squat training. The Squat movement was removed from all participants' training regimen one month before the start of the study. Participants were tested on their Squat max and 3-repetition Barbell Hip Thrust max both before and after the 8-week study. Here's how the hip thrust group progressed:
Improved Squat Strength in 8 Weeks
After eight weeks participants in the Hip Thrust group saw significantly greater improvements in their Squat strength and their 3-repetition Barbell Hip Thrust max than the control group.
The Hip Thrust group saw a 31 percent improvement on average in their Squat strength after the 8-week regimen. No significant differences were seen between the two groups for Vertical Jump height, Standing Long Jump distance and 30-Meter Sprint time. "The improvement in Squat strength highly correlated with (an increase in 3-rep Barbell Hip Thrust max)," the authors write.
For context, the Hip Thrust group saw their average Squat max go from about 185 pounds before the study to about 237 pounds after the study. That's an increase of over 50 pounds. On the other hand, the control group saw their average Squat max go from about 193 pounds before the study to about 197 pounds after the study.
The Best Squat Assistance Exercise You're Not Doing
For athletes looking to increase their Back Squat strength, the Hip Thrust can be a very effective assistance exercise. In the present study, the group performed no Back Squat training during the duration of the study, yet still found a huge increase in Back Squat strength.
If you are struggling with strength in your sport and would like to increase your Squat max, adding the Barbell Hip Thrust to your training regimen could be a smart move. Want to know how to perform the move? Read our full guide on the Barbell Hip Thrust.
Photo Credit: miljko/iStock
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