The posterior chain is an important part of the body that includes different muscles, among which are the gluteus maximus, the biceps femoris and the spinal erectors of the spine.
Hip extension exercises such as the traditional deadlift (with straight bar) and its variants (example: with hexagonal bar), as well as hip thrust ( hip thrusts ), are exercises commonly used by users of gyms whose objective is to strengthen and / or develop these muscles.
Comparison between the three exercises
If we analyze the ascending movement (concentric phase), as well as its lower and upper part (the whole movement divided in two), we find the following:
- Gluteus major : the hip thrust induces a greater activation compared to the deadlift with hexagonal bar and the traditional deadweight in the upper part of the movement and in the complete movement.
- Femoral biceps : it is more activated in all parts during the traditional deadlift compared to the deadlift with hexagonal rod and hip thrust.In the lower part of the movement, the activation of the biceps femoris is greater with the traditional deadweight (the one that activates it most) and the deadweight with a hexagonal bar, in comparison with the hip thrust.
In the upper part of the movement, its activation is greater for the traditional deadweight compared to the deadweight with a hexagonal bar, and higher for the hip thrust compared to the deadweight with a hexagonal bar.
- Spinal erectors : there are no significant differences in the activation with one or the other exercise.
In summary, the traditional deadlift is clearly superior in the activation of the biceps femoris compared to the deadlift with hexagonal bar and hip thrust, while the hip thrust provides maximum activation of the gluteus maximus.
The knowledge of the greater or lesser muscular activation of the gluteus maximus, the biceps femoris and the spinal erectors of the spine in these three exercises will help when it comes to the selection of exercises in our training routine.
Take advantage of each of them based on your goal.