Author Archives: Bret

About Bret

I'm a blogger, author, personal trainer, CSCS, lifter, and PhD student. I love the field of strength and conditioning and teaching others about strength training and biomechanics. My blog is at www.BretContreras.Com.

The Block Pull: My New Favorite Exercise

Block pull

Today, I set another PR. This time it was with the 3″ block pull. Many powerlifters prefer to pull off of 4″ blocks when they perform block pulls, but I like 3″ more.

Since I started following the 2 x 4 template (which I will release on Monday), the block pull and the front squat have become my favorite exercises. I feel that they’ve definitely contributed toward building my powerlifting total.

The block pull is not the same as a rack pull. It just feels different. I never liked rack pulls much. But I freakin’ love block pulls. Some lifters are much stronger off of blocks than they are off of the ground, some lifters are equally as strong, and some are weaker off of blocks. The blocks do tend to keep you in better position, and they don’t beat you up as much as deadlifts from the floor, so they help keep you fresh. Here’s a video me pulling 585 lbs.

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It’s My PR

Yesterday, I front squatted 295 lbs, which was a personal record (PR) for me. I was very happy about this.

I know of high school athletes who can front squat 315 lbs x 10 reps. That doesn’t concern me. I don’t care what anyone else is doing; I care what I’m doing.

Some lifts will come very easy for you. For me, these include variations of deadlifts, chins, pulldowns, rows, hip thrusts, back extensions, swings, and curls.

Other lifts will not come very easy for you. For me, these include variations of squats and presses.

In the gym, I’m a posterior chain badass and an anterior chain sissy. This doesn’t stop me from pushing myself as hard as possible on my squats and presses. Slowly but surely, they’re creeping up.

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Who thinks CrossFit needs a Glute WoD?

Crossfit is undeniably one of the biggest trends in the fitness industry at the moment. In just a few short years, it has acquired a large influence over the way that coaches carry out strength and conditioning.

One of the central tenets of CrossFit is that their approach is the best way of achieving elite-level results. But very few CrossFit WoDs (workouts of the day) include specific gluteus maximus exercises, like hip thrusts, barbell glute bridges, pull-throughs or horizontal back extensions. While they do tend to perform sled pushes and American-style kettlebell swings, it’s just not the same, not by a long-shot. When I started integrating specific glute work into my training, my clients immediately saw huge results in terms of glute development, strength, and power.

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protein-shake

Why You Don’t Really Need a Post-Workout Protein Shake

By Eirik Garnas
www.OrganicFitness.com

Everyone who’s been lifting weights for some time have inevitably heard – and most likely bought into – a lot of the gym talk and magazine wisdom surrounding training and diet. Besides learning that eating every other hour and completely destroying each muscle group once a week is the optimal way to go for muscle growth, new strength trainees usually hear about the “anabolic window” that opens up after a workout and the boost in protein synthesis and muscle growth that occur if you consume fast-absorbable protein directly after your last set. It doesn’t matter whether you’re hungry or not, just getting it down is the priority. While some trainees cling on to these notions for their entire lifting career, those who start reading research and evidence-based information quickly learn that a lot of the general beliefs about training and nutrition are either inaccurate or outright harmful. But, while a lot of the myths in the fitness community are quickly dismissed by these smart lifters, the majority still hold onto their post-workout protein shake. Getting enough protein into your body is clearly essential if you want to maximize muscle growth and strength gains, but does it really make a difference whether you get some of these essential building blocks into your body directly after training or not?

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