Women over 50 can get a fitter, firmer, rounder behind, along with a stronger core and legs, by doing barbell hip thrusts. Sharon Smith, 71, demonstrates.

Hip thrusts with a barbell aren’t just for young women. Older women can do these – and it’s not even necessary to use a free (loose) barbell.

You can get firmer, more uplifted glutes plus stronger legs and knees by using a tracked barbell.

More Benefits of the Weighted Hip Thrust

• Improved appearance of your behind
• Improved balance in everyday life
• Stronger hips

If you’re 50+, what has kept you from getting started with the barbell hip thrust?

Perhaps you simply don’t know how to get started. Maybe you believe this exercise is too difficult for “older” women.

But as mentioned, you’re going to see how this is done using a tracked barbell (aka Smith machine) with Sharon Smith (no relation to the machine’s inventor) showing you every step.

When these images were taken in 2019, Smith was 71.

The glutes of Sharon Smith, 71.

First, however, you need to get comfortable holding a bodyweight bridge. Below is what this looks like.

You should aim to get your body, from the knees to the shoulders, in a straight line — and be able to hold that position for one minute, as well as comfortably perform repetitions from flat on the floor to the bridge.


Once you feel comfortable with the basic floor bridge, you’re ready to start adding weight — in the form of a tracked barbell.

Setting up the Equipment

Shown below is a tracked barbell (Smith) machine. The bar’s center should have padding. You may use one of those bouncy fitness balls to lean against while thrusting, but our model prefers to use a “stepper” that’s used in step aerobics classes, with elevation from “risers.” Towels should be placed as shown.


Sharon Smith, 71, gets comfortably into position.


Now begin the hip thrust. Keep your feet flat on the floor; do not go up on the balls of your feet.


Make sure your body is square to the barbell. Exhale as you push up against the resistance.


Arch up as high as you can. If you can’t get your hips as high as shown here, then either the resistance is too heavy, or, you just have to give yourself more time to get more limber.

Other Guidelines for Women Over 50 Doing the Barbell Hip Thrust

Always inhale as you carefully, with control, return to the start position.

The hip thrust becomes even more effective when you can hold the top of the movement for two seconds.

If you’re already quite limber, make sure not to overextend your lower back at the top of the movement.

For optimal effectiveness, you need not extend any further than what is shown in the image depicting the peak of the movement.

Throughout the motion, keep your neck neutral, or you can tuck your chin in (as Smith is doing). But do not let your head drop back.

You’ll note that Smith is using a lot of weight! However, you should pay attention to her form, not the amount of weight.

A beginner over 50 should start with just the bar — no added plates. Gradually increase the resistance over time. Do not sacrifice good form for a heavy load (and “heavy” is relative; what’s heavy to you may be another woman’s warmup).

If you can’t complete more than six reps with proper form, the weight is too heavy for you.

The goal is to do eight to 12 repetitions with a weight load that makes the set challenging rather than medium effort.

Always lower yourself back to the starting point with control, taking about one to two seconds.

Women over 50 should not feel intimidated or confused about doing hip thrusts with a tracked barbell.

There’s no need to move on to a free barbell; the tracked version will do a wonderful job of improving your booty’s shape, making it rounder and firmer, plus strengthening your quads and hamstrings, core/lower back and even lower legs.

Sharon Smith has been in the fitness industry for 20+ years and specializes in the over-40 client.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: Freepik.com, pressfoto