How to Set Up for Hip Thrusts — Without a Hip Thruster

Every time I post a video of me doing hip thrusts, I always get questions about what equipment I’m using, where I got it from, and how I set up for hip thrusts without a hip thruster.

I filmed a video yesterday afternoon explaining everything in detail, and then noticed that Bret Contreras had just written up Anatomy of the Perfect Hip Thrusting Station. Great minds think alike, eh?

Think of this post as a complement to Bret’s. Since many of us don’t have access to a hip thruster, you may find the information below quite useful.

To start, here is what a typical hip thrusting set looks like in my garage gym:

You’ll notice that I’m not leaning up against a bench – this is because the typical bench is simply too high for me. So what in the world am I using?

(Note that the brands that I use are not the same ones that Bret recommends and that is perfectly okay.)

Steppers: Often used for aerobics, but I use them for things like step-ups and of course, hip thrusts. Stacking them four high (not including the lid) is the perfect height for me. I am 5’2″ for those of you needing reference. You can grab them here.

Mats: You’ll notice that I often place a yoga mat against the steppers, especially when I’m performing heavy hip thrusts. This is simply to protect my back because otherwise the stepper will dig into me, which kind of hurts. Honestly, any kind of yoga mat will do. Grab this one if you need a recommendation.

Bar pad: I’ve been using the Hampton extra thick bar pad to protect my hips and have been loving it. Just make sure that the opening faces up, not down, so the bar doesn’t slip through the pad while you’re thrusting (you’ll see what I mean once you try this). This doesn’t seem to be easily available for purchase online anymore, so my next best recommendation is the squat sponge.

Long bands: I get mine from I purchased a small single band package around three years ago and they’ve been holding up great.

Mini-bands: The ones that I use are from Flex Active Sports and I got them off of Amazon.

Bar pad and mini bands -- and chucks!

Bumper plates: This is more for those looking to set up a garage gym, but the colorful plates you see in my videos are from Gopher Performance. I’ve had them for a year and they have been great. The only thing I didn’t love about them was that when they arrived, every single plate was coated with what seemed like a thick layer of grease, which was a true pain to get off. You might be better off purchasing from Rogue Fitness, because I know their quality is always fantastic. But who knows – maybe the grease on bumper plates is the norm?

Here’s a video of me walking through all the equipment:

So there you have it! Now you know how to set up for a hip thrust without a hip thruster and without a bench.