Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts

How’s it going fitness peeps? I’ve got some great articles, videos, rants, and before/after pictures for you to check out. Just keeping you in the know!

Arnold Dancing

Quick Announcement

I have a surprise announcement. My fiancee Diana and I just bought a house in Phoenix! Here are some pics below.

House

It’s one block away from my twin brother Joel and his wife Angie. It has a 4-car garage, which I’ve obviously converted into a gym/lab. As soon as I’m finished setting it up, I’ll film a video of the new lab. It’s going to kick some serious ass. I absolutely hate moving, but I love this new place. Needless to say, I’ve been very busy, which explains my absence on social media lately and my reliance on guest articles. I’ll be back to full speed very soon though.

Good Articles

Here are some great recent articles to read, written by various colleagues.

One of the Best Scientific Articles About Life I’ve Ever Read: The Fermi-Paradox

Do any of you wonder like I do about other life forms out there in the Universe? With so many stars and so many galaxies, why haven’t we been contacted yet by “aliens”? I stumbled across THIS article on The Fermi-Paradox yesterday, and I found it to be absolutely fascinating.

Milky-Way-1023x1024

Coregasms: Potential Mechanisms

My friend Dean Somerset and I are trying to get to the bottom of the biomechanical/physiological mechanisms behind exercise-induced orgasms (coregasms). Click HERE to complete a quick survey about them.

weight-training-for-women

Exercise Science: What is it Good For? 

In THIS article, Greg Nuckols does a great job of discussing the importance of Exercise Science.

New Study on Protein Overfeeding

In THIS article, Brad Schoenfeld critically analyzes a new study on protein overfeeding.

7 Principles of Exercise Selection

HERE, Menno Henselmens lists his 7 principles of exercise selection.

Should You Externally or Internally Rotate Your Shoulders at the Top of a Snatch? 

I was always taught to externally-rotate, but the Chinese weightlifters and also Klokov feel that you should internally-rotate. Very interesting discussion! Click HERE and HERE to read different perspectives on this issue.

dmitry-klokov-snatch

Sprinting: Hamstrings in the Air and Glutes on the Ground

Some of you may recall that in THIS blogpost, I reasoned that hamstrings are more critical in the air for hip extension torque, whereas glutes are more important when on the ground. I recently stumbled upon THIS study which lends further support. Here’s a quote from the abstract:

Hamstrings load was found to be greatest during terminal swing for sprinting. The hamstrings contributed the majority of the terminal swing hip extension and knee flexion torques, whilst gluteus maximus contributed most of the stance phase hip extension torque. Gastrocnemius contributed little to the terminal swing knee flexion torque. Peak hamstrings force was also substantially greater during terminal swing compared to stance for sprinting, but not for walking and jogging.

usain

What You Can Do About Those Puny Arms of Yours

HERE Lou Schuler wrote a great article about genetics and arm training. I’m grateful that Lou reached out to me for this one.

9 Essential Strength Benchmarks for Women

HERE Patrick Striet wrote a nifty article on strength benchmarks for women. I’m appreciative that Patrick requested my input.

Interview With Kiefer 

Kiefer recently interviewed me on his Body IO FM podcast and we had an excellent time. Click HERE to listen to it.

Podcast

List of Inventors Killed by Their Own Inventions

I recently stumbled upon THIS Wikipedia article. If I’m ever found dead in my garage, stapled to my Hip Thruster apparatus from overexertion, please make sure I’m added to the list.

Hip Thrust

Interview With Eric Helms

HERE is a great interview with natural bodybuilder and researcher Eric Helms.

Why You Should Hip Thrust: The Awesome Exercise That, For Some Reason, Nobody Does

THIS article by James Fell was very well-received. He did a great job on this! Thanks to James for reaching out to me for insight.

Expert Tips for Healthy Travel

In THIS article, several fitness experts (including myself) chime in to provide you with tips for healthy traveling. Thanks to Will Owen for requesting my input.

5 Steps for Dealing With Anterior Pelvic Tilt

HERE is a great article by Eirik Garnas on training for reducing APT.

Jen

3 Things Entrepreneurs Already Know About Fitness Even if They’ve Never Done a Single Workout

HERE is an interesting article by Charles Staley. Charles is a fabulous writer.

New Strength & Hypertrophy Info from Chris Beardsley

HERE is a free eBook from Chris on strength development research, and HERE is a free video on hypertrophy development research.

Training-for-Strength-3D

30 Day Napping Challenge: Do You Have What it Takes? 

This made me LOL. I don’t know who made it, but well done!

Nap

Good Videos

Here are some great recent videos to watch.

My Guru is Better than Yours

This dude recorded this video 2 years ago, but it’s still hilarious.

Dogma is Dead

Here’s Layne Norton talking science.

How to Squat With Team Lilliebridge

The Lilliebridges are legendary in the powerlifting community but I’ve never heard them speak before. Papa Lilliebridge is very knowledgeable and respectful. Good stuff!

905 lb Deadlift

Here’s Christopher Spegal busting out a 905 lb deadlift.

Kim Valentine Powerlifting Training

Here is 97-lb Kim doing 280 lb squats, 320 lb deadlifts, and 160 lb bench presses.

Facebook Rants

Here are my Facebook rants over the past few weeks:

I lifted at a commercial gym today, and while I love much of the equipment, training glutes is never the same as it is at The Glute Lab. There wasn’t a convenient place to hip thrust, there were no bar pads for bb glute bridges, there were no bands for band hip thrusts, there were no heavy kettlebells, and the back extension machine was crummy and wasn’t conducive for tall guys. I did my front squats and rack pulls which are great, and I could have done some db walking lunges and American deadlifts, but I never feel like I train my glutes thoroughly unless I add in barbell or band hip thrusts, or weighted back extensions. Single leg hip thrusts are okay, but just not the same. I tried cable pull-throughs, but I find them far inferior to hip thrusts. I wish all of you had your own glute lab – building glutes is much easier this way! #GluteGuyProblems 

Glute Training Feedback

Below is some glute training feedback from around the web. I sincerely appreciate all of you women and men who take the time to write me, tag me, and post pictures. It makes it all worth it!

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Hey Bret, here’s yet ANOTHER booty testimonial! I have ALWAYS had a flat ass, and was never really “proud” of it. After a few years of heavy glute bridges, hip thrusts and GHRs, my toosh is a different breed!! Another girl mentioned this as well, but now I feel comfortable being at a lower weight (117lbs) AND a higher weight (126lbs) because either way my new curves compliment me. Thanks again for all you do, and as a trainer myself, I have ALL my clients doing some sort of glute variation, male or female! Thanks again!! – Jess

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Any here is my progress. The first pic is before even lifting but i have progressed (slowly) since the last time i reached you. Hope you keep helping women, as I know you will! – Barbara

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Hello! I just want to thank you for all the great info/articles/wisdom you share with us. I’ve always struggled with gaining muscle, especially in the gluteal area. I’ve always been weak. Well, following people like you, the Strength Guys, Layne Norton, to name a few, have encouraged me to keep strength training and training smarter!

About 6 months ago, I finally saw an MD for my chronic low back and hip pain. Both he and my chiropractor told me to discontinue squats and deads, which brought me to tears (I know: baby!). I have decreased disc spaces at L-4/L-5 and L/5/S-1 and lumbar scoliosis. So, I backed off for a while, tweaked my form, began again with LIGHTER weights, and taking it slow. I’ve added Bulgarian Splits, hip thrusts, and glute bridges to the routine, and I’m getting stronger, with less lower leg pain/tingling. So- thank you for your encouragement, even though you have no clue who I am! Sincerely, Samantha

Hi, I wasn’t sure if I should upload my transformation for obvious reasons, but I wanted to show all of you especially slim girls that you can build nice glutes, even if you have got flat bum. The first pic was taken in March 2013, I was doing different program at that point (I was 4 weeks into doing it and then I took photo). The second one was taken in September 2013. I was working out only my legs and glutes 3- 4 times a week at home using only dumbbells (no cardio). From November 2013 to April 2014 I got really busy and worked out only once or twice per week. In April I started adding hip thrusts and bridges with dumbbells after reading the book SC. The dumbbells were only 5kg each but it made a difference looking at third pic that was taken in May 2014. I’m going to join the gym soon and looking forward to see even better results using heavier weights. – Iwona

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I just wanted to touch base and thank you for all of your glute research!!! I implemented every single aspect from your books and my glutes will now hit the bikini stage 4.5 inches larger, and my legs 2 inches smaller, with my waist sitting somewhere around 24-25. I am sending you a picture, please pardon the torn up gym floor (posing in heels in that space). It isn’t glamorous but the sweat and results go hand and hand! Hip Thruster Fan for Life!! I can’t wait to add heels to the equation! POWW!!! Cheers, Gina

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G’day Bret, Just wanted to contact you to let u know I have been working on my gluteus for months and months, a few weeks ago ( 3 to b exact ) I discovered and started working on your list of lower body progressions and believe I have had more progression with glute strength and activation within the 3 weeks compared to the previous many months
Thanks so much for the info :-) Vickie

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Random Thoughts

How’s it going fitness peeps? I’ve got some great articles, videos, rants, and before/after pictures for you to check out. Just keeping you in the know!

What’s this trainer doing by the way – spotting her shoe?

Good Articles

Here are some great recent articles to read, written by various colleagues.

What Exercises do More Harm than Good?

In general, I don’t like telling people not to do various exercises. Exercises are tools, and each tool is useful depending on the situation. Nevertheless, I found THIS article by Alexander Cortes to be very well-written, and I can tell that he’s highly experienced.

Supplemental Strength

Powerlifters, do yourselves a favor and check out THIS article and video by Dave Tate.

Ask the Experts Volume 2 – Neglected Muscle Groups and Training Tools

I chimed in on THIS article by Chris Slone.

Strength Physio Podcast

In case you missed it (I shared this in an earlier post), HERE is a podcast I did with Chris Lendrum. Physical therapists, you should subscribe to this podcast.

10 Commandments of Physiotherapy

HERE are Adam Meakins 10 commandments of physical therapy. Adam isn’t afraid to stir up the pot.

Insufficient Sleep

Greg Nuckols shares another great blogpost pertaining to the importance of sleep HERE.

Deadlifts Destroy Your Spine

In case you missed it, HERE is an article that Tony and I teamed-up on regarding the efficacy and danger of deadlifts.

The Real Reason You Still Have Back Pain (And What to Do About It)

Armi Legge wrote an excellent blogpost HERE on back pain.

Ladies, What is Your Goal?

HERE is a passionate article by Emily Soccolinsky that I appreciated.

Spurious Correlations

THIS website is hilarious. Correlation does not imply causation! This site will help you realize that. Correlations are certainly important and a component of science, but longitudinal research is needed to show cause and effect.

US spending on science, space, and technology correlates with Suicides by hanging, strangulation and suffocation

US spending on science, space, and technology correlates with Suicides by hanging, strangulation and suffocation

Type I and Type II Errors Simplified

Below is a hilarious pic from THIS website to help illustrate type I and type II errors in research.

Type-I-and-II-errors1

Do You Even Mobility?

HERE is a very comical flowchart by Todd Hargrove. If you’re submerged in the physical therapy scene, then this will undoubtedly make you LOL. I’m not posting this to knock any approaches out there, but folks must admit that this is funny.

Physiology is Fascinating

The point of sharing THIS article on NO Boosters is simply to point out that physiology is complex. Research reports averages. Anyone who conducts research knows that there are large interindividual responses to various stimuli. Doctors know this, as should physical therapists, personal trainers, and strength coaches.

Shoulder Quadrants

Here’s a good pic showing the shoulder quadrants:

Shoulder

Stu Phillips on Protein Metabolism

HERE is a nifty little interview by Shelby Starnes and John Meadows with Stu Phillips on protein metabolism.

Good Videos

Here are some great recent videos to watch.

Are Athletes Really Getting Faster, Stronger, Better?

Below is an intriguing video by David Epstein. I have David’s recent book too and am a big fan. I don’t agree with David’s premise, but I don’t have the time to respond as it would take me a great deal of time to provide a counterargument to this talk. Nevertheless, it’s very intriguing and I’m sure you’ll love it.

Golfer Jonas Blixt Training

I highly enjoyed watching THIS video (embedded below). Very innovative training. The Hip Thruster makes a couple of appearances too! Sweet.

The History of the Universe in 150 Seconds

Below is a badass video detailing the history of the universe. This took 8,000 computers working for 5 years to create. See THIS blogpost, based on THIS published article and THIS project, for details.

Dan McKim Sets Scottish Hammer World Record

Two weeks ago I attended the CSCCa conference. I hadn’t met Dan McKim, but I spent two days with him working the Sorinex booth. Dan is the world champion in the Highland Games, and he and I hit if off instantly when we discussed training. He recently set a world record in the Scottish Hammer Throw. Check it out below. Total badass!

Pete Rubish Deadlift Assistance Training

Here is Pete Rubish performing some of his favorite deadlift assistance lifts. This dude pulls over 800 with no belt! Notice that he employs exercises that hit flexed range hip extension (Bulgarian split squats) and end range hip extension (bb glute bridges and 45 degree hypers).

Facebook Rants

Here are my Facebook rants over the past few weeks:

In my professional setting, I choose to associate with scientific individuals. One simple litmus test I use to determine if an individual is scientific is noting whether or not the person will change their stance on a particular topic given sufficient evidence. If they will, then they’re my kind of people!

During pull ups and chin ups, pay attention to lumbopelvic-hip mechanics. A little “English” is acceptable, but try to minimize lumbar hypertension/anterior pelvic tilt and swaying at the hips by thinking of the exercise as a “moving plank.” This increases the challenge for the core and the upper body muscles.

For the first time in several years, I decided to download and examine my list of newsletter subscribers. I was surprised to find that dozens of professional sport coaches, elite/Olympic athletes, and research professors subscribe to my newsletter. I guess that means I’m doing something right!

When you perform push-ups, consider squeezing the glutes and abs into a posterior pelvic tilt and holding that throughout the duration of the set. While it’s not necessary, it will prevent lumbar extension and anterior pelvic tilt from creeping in, which are typical patterns of form deterioration during the push-up. It will also provide a training stimulus for the core musculature and make the movement more challenging for the upper body muscles, thereby giving you more bang for your buck.

Whenever I’m at the airport, I’m reminded that my mission is far from complete. The world is in need of more glute development.

Glute Training Feedback

Below is some glute training feedback from around the web. I sincerely appreciate all of you women and men who take the time to write me, tag me, and post pictures. It makes it all worth it!

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Thanks Bret.  That explains it.I just want to say that the fitness world on the ‘Net is a maze of conflicting misinformation but you (and Nia) stand out as beacons of reason and common sense.Keep up the good work! – Dave

So let me take a second and say how much I love your stuff…..I mean your blogs!  😉 It changed the way I worked with my swimmers, and the rest of my clients. I have been saying since January…this is the year of the Butt! Both theirs and mine. And I’m 60… And I’ve made improvements. Thanks for all you do! Linda

I love how strong my glutes have become. It’s like what ever I do, I can always count on them. They protect my back, whether I’m doing heavy DL, squats, sprinting and so on. It is an amazing feeling when you feel all that strength you have gained from heavy lifting transferred into a lot of power when sprinting or doing other athletic stuff. I have never felt something like this before, even though I’ve been lifting for a while. But now I hip thrust, that is the main difference and of course this well thought through Get Glutes program. What is amazing is that my daughter’s sprint group has now incorporated barbell glute bridges and hip thrusts into their strength program. People who don’t lift, don’t know what they that are missing out on! – Irene

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Hi Bret, here is my picture of before/after booty that I’ve achieved from using programs in your book Strong Curves.

As you can see, I had no butt at all. Thanks to my Asian genetics. I was like most women that thought doing hours of cardio or lots of HIIT would give me a body that I want but I was dead wrong. Besides, I was suffered from a chronic lower back pain. Too much cardio even do more harm than good to me. Then when I started lifting weight in year 2012, I focused solely on just squats, lunges and deadlifts to build my butt. Still, they didn’t improve much like I thought it would. 

UNTIL, I found your site and bough Strong Curves book. I finally learned how to fire up my glute properly and added hip thrust and glute bridge to my routine. Those 2 exercises gave me such a remarkable result. I got compliments from both men and women. Now I can say bye-bye to my pancake bum and my chronic lower back pain.

It has been a year since I started my booty-building journey and I will keep going and spreading glute gospel. Thank you so much Bret & Kellie for taking your time to write a book and awesome articles. More women (& men too!) need to do hip thrust. Ann

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Thank you Jesus for Bret Contreras – Edith

I just wanted to share my progress with you! These pics are one months progress, after making heavy hip thrusts a staple part of my training programme. I’m competing for the first time in UKBFF bikini this October, so glutes are obviously very important! But I am pleased to be seeing progress! Thanks Bret

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Nikki

Hey Bret, I hope this note finds you well. First, I just wanted to thank you for always putting such great information out there, love your positive page & knowledgeable information. I purchased your Glute book several months ago & I have been working with Layne Norton as my nutrition coach since January 2013. Layne recommend that I add Squats & deadlifts to my Leg training program since this was an area I could not seem to develop & a team mate suggested I purchase your book & incorporate Hip thrusts as well.

I had an incredible 8 month off reason reverse diet accompanied by some insane PRs thanks to my CARBS & HIIT cardio, I am a reformed low carb 1-2 hours cardio bunny…anyway during my last elevated hip thrust session, I hit a new PR of 275lbs, I weigh 140 & I accomplished this while getting ready to hit the stage next weekend. YOUR BOOK has CHANGED MY LIFE & MY GLUTES which I truly believed was a helpless case…. I am 7 weeks away from my 50th birthday, a proud wife & Mother of 3 beautiful children..I am blessed. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I could lift my butt, especially at my age, its never too late..NEVER & I’ve still have work to do….I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon…sorry for the long winded story, just wanted to say THANK YOU, from the bottom of my Heart & GLUTES…lol…keep sharing & doing what you Love, your changing lives everyday…you changed mine…& I’m constantly turning people on to your page & recommending your Glute book..Take Care…I’ll be listening, Lisa…btw pic of left May 2013 2 days b4 my show, pic on right 7 days out..a balanced life is a happy life…Love my Elevated Hip Thrusts – Lisa

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Random Thoughts

How’s it going fitness peeps? I’ve got some great articles, videos, rants, and before/after pictures for you to check out. Just keeping you in the know!

Good Articles

First, I’ll post some articles by me, then by various colleagues.

Male Glutes

Ladies, are you satisfied?

Articles by Bret Contreras

I’ve been a busy little bee. Directly below are ten different articles/podcasts I wrote/recorded for other expert’s sites over the past couple of weeks.

Bigger, Better Glutes: Master the Hip Thrust

THIS is my best article to date on hip thrusts. Check it out on TNation!

Squats versus Hip Thrusts: Which is Better? Eric Cressey’s Site

THIS article was a slam dunk on Eric Cressey’s site. For glute development, should you squat, hip thrust, or do both?

Strength Defined on Ben Bruno’s Site

In THIS article I discuss my definition of “strong” and list numerical indicators of strength.

Strength is Corrective on Dean Somerset’s Site

In THIS article I tell my story and discuss the differences between my situation and my control’s situation (twin brother).

Pimp Your Program Design on Tony Gentilcore’s Site

HERE I discuss program design and list some important considerations when planning your training.

Interview With Sean Hyson

Sean asked me some excellent questions at THIS link.

Results-Based Program Design on Jon Goodman’s PTDC Site

HERE I list a simple program design strategy for personal trainers to help them achieve better gains with their clientele.

Interview With Chad Waterbury

In THIS interview, Chad asks me some great questions about strength training.

Programming the Deadlift on Jordan Syatt’s Site

In THIS article, I discuss programming considerations pertaining to the deadlift; the trickiest exercise of all.

Interview With Scott Rawcliffe

HERE is an hour-long podcast that covers a lot of ground. Scott asked me a wide variety of questions and conducted a very nice interview.

Articles by Other Folks

Haters

Haters Gonna Hate

HERE Jason Ferruggia wrote an incredible article on haters. Cliff notes: don’t pay them any attention, as they’re not your competition. They sit around and hate all day long on the internet, which explains their lack of success.

Training Frequency and Strength

Click HERE to see how training frequency affects strength gains. Chris Beardsley does an incredible job sifting through the research as usual.

It’s All in the Hips

THIS article discusses the importance of the glutes in running.

Minimalism isn’t Always the Optimal Way

Greg Nuckols wrote an excellent article HERE on assistance lifts and strength development.

Nick Tumminello Interview

HERE is a nice interview with Nick by Scott Rawcliffe.

The Belt and the Deadlift

In THIS article, Mark Rippetoe has some interesting thoughts pertaining to deadlifting and belts. I prefer to wear mine way up high, but I’d like to experiment with his suggestion

Hilarious Dave Tate Rant

HERE is a very comical rant about dieting by Dave.

Contest Prep With Dani Shugart – All About the Glutes!

In THIS article, Dani discusses her contest prep and gives a shout-out to Strong Curves.

The Workout Log

THIS isn’t an article; it’s a product (training log). My buddy Rob got it off of Amazon and it’s really cool. Thought I’d share the link in case some of you like what you see (not an affiliate link).

Eating Clean

TC Luoma wrote an awesome article HERE on clean eating versus orthorexia.

Belfies: Butt Selfies

I’d never heard this term before. HERE are 11 celebrity belfies.

The Importance of Sleep for Strength Training

Greg Nuckols wrote an excellent article on sleep HERE for strength training. Get your z’s!

Speed Training

Joel Smith interviews Mike Young about speed training HERE, and Mike delivers!

Bodybuilding vs. Powerlifting Type Training: Which Builds More Strength and Muscle?

Bradley Schoenfeld discusses the implications pertaining to his latest published training study HERE.

Tracy Anderson’s Men’s Only Method

Here’s what you’ve been waiting for! Tracy Anderson’s men’s only method. I keed, I keed. THIS is pretty bad, I’m not gonnna lie.

If You Want to Know About Glutes, Listen to the Glute Guy

Go ahead, call me a glute snob. I just hate lazy writers who make things up. If you’re going to write about something, do some freakin’ research.

THIS article is very poor. The glutes are not primarily fast twitch. There are two studies to date on the topic and both show that the glutes are a fairly even mix of fast and slow twich. Simple “rehab” type movements for high reps can indeed help with hypertrophy. Going half way down in a squat doesn’t get you half the glute activity; you can get equal activation if you use the same relative loading. Step it up Dalton, you’re a professor.

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Science

This guy Henk Kraaijenhof is smart as a whip. Click HERE to gain some insight as to what HRV does and does not tell you.

Interview With Stu Phillips

Stu is also smart as a whip. Check out THIS interview he did for Erik Ledin on sports nutrition and hypertrophy training.

Graded Exposure

Physical therapists – make sure you’re following Todd Hargrove. HERE he discusses the mechanisms behind the efficacy of graded exercise.

Good Videos

Here are some great recent videos to watch.

Yohan Blake Training Clips

Check out Yohan, one of the top 3 fastest sprinters in the world, lifting weights. Just like Usain Bolt, he makes sure to strengthen end-range hip extension strength and relies upon a mixture of machine and free weight training.

4 Girl Chair Trick

This is pretty cool! My Get Glutes girls could do this with 225 lbs in their laps!

NFL Acceleration: Upright After 8 Steps

Check out Jadeveon Clowney’s blistering 40 yard dash for the NFL combine. Notice that he’s upright very quickly. NFL, rugby, and soccer guys reach top speed at around 20-30 meters and are upright very quickly, in contrast to sprinters who exhibit more forward lean and reach top speed at around 60 meters.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaEgrAB0QXM

The Great Gatsby – Young and Beautiful 

I finally got around to watching The Great Gatsby and loved the movie. I read the book in high school and even watched the 1974 movie starting Robert Redford. I didn’t remember most of it, but watching it this time around left me fairly upset. Gatsby committed a huge blunder in life; you’re supposed to go after a woman who loves you for your true self. Anyway, the acting was fabulous, as was the song below. I may or may not have listened to it 5 times in a row.

Derrick Blanton Gives the Glute WoD a Try

Below is Derrick busting out our recommended Glute WoD, which left his glutes cramping and on fire!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MKYa8rJY9k

UFC Jon Jones Busting Out Barbell Glute Bridges

Check out badass fighter Jon Jones doing bb glute bridges! Seems like glute training is finally starting to catch on with athletes. For example, HERE is badass Olympic weightlifter Mohamed Ehab hip thrusting a lot of weight.

Hormone Myths With Layne Norton

In the video below, Layne Norton discusses common hormonal myths associated with strength training. 

Ray Williams 904 lb Squat With No Wraps

Here’s a new world record; a raw 904 lb squat without knee wraps!

Facebook Rants

Here are my Facebook rants over the past few weeks:

I love squats and deads as much as anyone. However, they don’t maximize core muscle activation. Not in the rectus abdominis and not in either of the obliques. Any strength training expert who claims that they do has clearly never experimented with electromyography. Ab wheel rollouts, for example, absolutely crush these two lifts in ab/oblique activation, which makes sense considering that core stability is vector specific. Squats and deads resist trunk flexion, which is primarily carried out by the posterior trunk muscles (erectors), while rollouts resist trunk extension, which is carried out by the anterior trunk muscles (abdominals and obliques). Bottom line – include a variety of exercises to maximize performance, strength, and hypertrophy. One or two exercises can only do so much.

Habits are everything in health & fitness. You must get on a routine and stick to it religiously. Be realistic about your routine and don’t be overzealous, as this leads to failure and frustration. From time to time, you’ll fall off the wagon. When this happens, get right back on without dwelling over it – experiencing guilt only makes matters worse. Mind your strength, conditioning, nutrition, sleep, stress, support system, and outlook – they all feed off of each other.

Sometimes it’s very beneficial to go to the gym and do “light” sessions with the sole goal of honing technique. I did this with back extensions two weeks ago, goblet squats last week, and band hip thrusts this week. I didn’t go heavy and I didn’t come anywhere close to failure, but I used impeccable form and felt the right muscles doing the job. You can also do this in your warm-up. These sessions can be incredibly productive as they help build the foundation for future success. You may find that you experience an “aha” moment and say to yourself, “so that’s how this exercise is supposed to feel…”

Two different professional sports teams ordered Hip Thrusters last week. I hope this trend continues. In my opinion, every professional sports facility should have several Hip Thrusters, and hip thrust variants should be prioritized in terms of emphasis in program design.

When I was 16 years old, I got in a very bad car accident and my low back was all jacked up. I couldn’t play sports or even walk correctly for an entire year. I assumed that I’d be plagued with a bad back for my entire life, especially after the doctor informed me that I had the youngest case of severe disc degeneration he’d ever seen. This was undoubtedly unrelated to the car accident, but still very frightening to hear at the time. 21 years later, I deadlifted 600 lbs. This was yesterday, and today my back feels no pain or soreness whatsoever. Strong muscles are great, but a strong mind can help you overcome almost anything. Stay positive and determined!

If you want to be your best at demonstrating maximum strength, then you need to be performing maximum singles. As a young lifter, I recall not feeling like anything heavier than a load that I could lift for at least 5 reps did much for me. This is because I was very inefficient at maxing out at the time. These days, I’m so proficient at lifting heavy weights that anything over 5 reps feels like cardio to me. While you can definitely get strong by sticking to medium rep ranges, if you want to reach your maximum strength potential, then heavy singles, doubles, and triples will be of great benefit to you. It takes time to get good at heavy lifting, so stick with it. Mix in high rep work (13-20 reps) and medium rep work (6-12 reps) along side the heavy low rep work (1-5 reps); no need to only stick to one rep range in your training.

I like stretching, it makes me feel good. Many of my clients do yoga, which I support. That said, if a certain stretch doesn’t feel right, nix it or modify it so that it isn’t problematic. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve advised lifters who were experiencing certain joint issues to stop stretching, only to be notified a week later that the issue went away once they stopped stretching. Bottom line – your stretching could be doing more harm than good, so be aware. Definitely don’t be afraid of stretching, but learn the difference between good pain and bad pain.

Some things can only be learned in the gym. And some things can only be learned in the lab. Bridging the science with the practice of strength training will yield the best results.

When deadlifting, think of “leg pressing” the bar off the ground. Once the bar passes the knees, think of “hip thrusting” the bar to lockout. Then think of “Romanian deadlifting” the bar down eccentrically until it passes your knees.

Americans take over 5,000 steps every day. People are extending their hips literally thousands of times every day via walking, standing from a chair, and climbing stairs, not to mention during cardio and recreation.

Yet all you have to do is visit a busy public place such as an airport or mall to witness the horrific state of affairs we’re in in terms of glute development. Athletic glutes are the rare exception, not the norm. If simple “hip extension” was the solution, nobody would experience glute atrophy or inhibition, and everyone would possess impressive glutes since everyone performs tons of hip extension repetitions on a daily basis.

Obviously there’s more to it, and the glutes require more activation, good cueing, and progressive overload via faster speeds and heavier loads over time for optimal functioning.

Glute Training Feedback

Below is some glute training feedback from around the web. I sincerely appreciate all of you women and men who take the time to write me, tag me, and post pictures. It makes it all worth it!

Hi Bret, I must say your book has made me stronger in one week with the hip thrusts and some of the other training exercises that i can do at home. My butt is on FIRE! I actually seen a change in how my butt looks and I can FINALLY do some TRX pistol squats easier, my running feels stronger!! So I know it is working. I could not figure out with all I was doing why i was so weak in my glutes. Doing lunges, squats climbing Camelback Mtn like a nut every week was not doing anything! I can finally feel my glutes waking up now, getting stronger and changing!

I will be 49 next week and I honestly feel keeping my glutes strong as I age will be key to functioning well. Best, Kim

Bret, just saw your post about pro sports teams utilizing the hip thrust in their program design. Just wanted to share that I’m currently interning with a pro hockey team and I recently convinced my boss to start utilizing them in our own programming. Once the players got past the fact that it looks like they’re humping a barbell, the began to love it! A few of them were concerned about the exercise throwing them into lumbar hyperextension, but again, that was cleared up once they actually tried the exercise. We’ve even had one player start doing them on a daily basis because he says that it’s helping decrease his back pain! Keep doing your thing, Bret. Really admire your work! – Patrick

Christine

 

Bret, I just wanted to drop you a line to day THANK YOU!!! Because of your program, I now measure 45 inches in the hips and 28 inches in each thigh! I can hip thrust 405lb easily!!! My squat strength has increased to 355lb. I have been asked to become personal trainer at the Air Force base gym!! The attached picture is from about 3 weeks ago.

Glutes

I’m still working on my body but your plan has been the only plan that could give me these types of results! Bret, your research matters and your plan works! I have gained healthy mass and I don’t look too cut up or manly. The mass gives me the womanly curve I desired. Women stop me in the gym and on the street and want to know what I’m doing (or what plastic surgeon did this) and I tell them no surgery needed–just read Strong Curves! Thank you again; you’re the best:) Jessica

I didn’t anticipate showing off my booty at my wedding, but a gust of wind came up at the all-important “you may now kiss the bride” moment! At 40 years old, I’m pleased that everything under my dress looked good enough for an unexpected unveiling. Thank goodness for Strong Curves! – Renee

wedding

Bret, I wanted to show you what YOU did for me. I met you exactly one year ago (on my birthday) at the AZ training lab and ever since, my lower body lifts have been completely different!!!! Not until I really started playing with a mix of power and hypertrophy did I see a significant difference (6 months ago). Your techniques, studies, input, and hands-on demonstration really made a huge impact on me. I can never say thank you enough, you are helping so many people and I am blessed to have come across your page!!!! – Deanna

Glute

I’d been experimenting with different programs until I started focusing on IF (Intermittent Fasting) and training big lifts and lots of core work, but no cardio! After discovering Bret’s blog, I learned a lot about biomechanics and his invaluable training advice. I then added Bret’s Hip thrust and glute bridge (and also Strong Curves), I saw a remarkable transformation in my glutes and legs very quickly – these results will put a smile on any Asian girl’s face! Thanks Bret and you are truly amazing!

Nicci

Hello, Bret! I hope you see this! I wanted to write and tell you how much the Strong Curves workout has helped me. I am 11 weeks into it and took pictures yesterday. It astounds me the difference in my backside, despite losing virtually NO scale weight. But more importantly, it was almost a therapeutic tool for my upper body.

I have been struggling with pain from an old shoulder/chest injury and slightly compressed disks in my spine. I love the “old school” lifting and a 5-day split, so starting your program with a bit of back each of four workout days and just one set of shoulders a week was new for me. I was so injured that I had to go really light on upper body moves in the beginning, but your methods managed to bring the volume down enough that my body began to heal and much of my pain has abated. I feel confident now to move on into my next phase of training without fearing injury from picking up bigger pieces of iron.

Thank you so much for taking the time to write the book and share your acquired wisdom and glute secrets with the rest of the world. It has helped me immensely! Nancy

Nancy

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Random Thoughts

How’s it going fitness peeps? I’ve got some great articles, videos, rants, and before/after pictures for you to check out. Just keeping you in the know!

Good Articles

FREE E-BOOK: Training For Hypertrophy

Click HERE if you’d like a free review of the literature pertaining to training studies examining hypertrophy. I hope you appreciate Chris Beardsley – he puts out the best sports science information on the internet!

eBook

The Science of Gluteus Maximus Training

THIS isn’t an article; it’s a video. By me. You will like it.

BretContreras

Research Process Pitfalls

Most people haven’t the slightest clue as to what goes into publishing a study. Click HERE to read some of the pitfalls associated with publishing.

The Ten Richest Fitness Gurus

Click HERE to see who the ten richest fitness gurus are. Pretty sad state of affairs, but marketing trumps scientific knowledge any day of the week in terms of financial gain.

Personal Training Quarterly

HERE is the first PTQ edition – if you’re an NSCA member, click on the link for free access.

Old School Smarts

I thoroughly enjoyed THIS article by Bryan Krahn.

Good Videos

Derrick Kendall Squats 1,005 lbs

No big deal…

Hip Thrust Plyos

Not quite sold on these yet. I used to do something like these off the Skorcher four years ago (see HERE). Dominic makes them look so fluid and athletic, but many individuals would jar their lumbar spines via hyperextension when attempting these. Give these a try and let me know what you think.

Chris Duffin Deadlifts 405 x 40 Reps in 60 Seconds

Absolutely Insane!

Leroy Walker Inclines 500 x 10

Is this real life?

Fake Supersized Muscles

Say what you will, but you gotta admire the honesty.

Here’s to the Crazy Ones

I learned of this from listening to Steve Jobs’s biography. Such a brilliant ad! I vaguely remember it from 1997 but hearing about it in the audiobook made it more fascinating.

Facebook Rants

Here are my Facebook rants since the last random thoughts post.

Lifters can sometimes be quick to blame an exercise for causing pain and discomfort. Often, the fault is not on the exercise itself, but on the way the exercise is being performed or the way the training regimen is designed. Proper technical form is paramount, as is optimal recovery.

Two different Exercise Science students have recently forwarded me the notes from their Biomechanics courses to alert me that their professors are incorporating content from Chris Beardsley and my work awww.StrengthandConditioningResearch.com. It’s great to see educators expanding their course material to include content from a variety of sources and not just textbooks as it leads to better learning.

Finding the right personal trainer can sometimes be challenging, since many trainers attach themselves to a particular school of thought. Depending on your goals, their methods may or may not be ideal for you. For example, if your goal is to optimize glute shape, but your trainer doesn’t incorporate the best glute building movements into your program, you’ll likely be disappointed in your results. I recommend that you express to your trainer your desire to perform those movements, and if your trainer is close-minded and bull-headed, replace them with one that prioritizes your progress. The exercises you perform heavily influence whether or not you reach your goals. Dozens of www.GetGlutes.com members have informed me that their progress took off once they ditched their trainers and implemented Kellie Davis and my system (in addition, they spent less money in the process).

Personal trainers: If you find yourself dreading a particular client (maybe they’re toxic/negative, or they don’t respect you, or they’re overly flaky or uninvested), don’t be afraid to fire that individual. Not only will this clear up room for a more ideal client, it’ll also lift a weight off of your chest and reduce anxiety/stress.

I have a dream that one day people across the globe will be more concerned with their glute development. I have a dream that one day people will not be satisfied with flat buttocks. I have a dream that one day people will take matters into their own hands by strengthening their gluteal muscles. I have a dream that one day people will join hands and perform hip thrusts, squats, lunges, deadlifts, and back extensions together in harmony. Let glutes grow from the mountaintops of Italy. Let glutes grow from the forests of Brazil. Let glutes grow from the reefs of Australia. Let glutes grow from the skyscrapers of New York. And when this happens, we will display greater athleticism and incur fewer injuries. Glutes at last, glutes at last, thank resistance training, we have glutes at last!

The benefit of a relentless work ethic is that I’m now friends with top researchers and equipment manufacturers around the world. I often know of cool things in strength & conditioning and biomechanics far in advance of everyone else. Six years ago, nobody knew of me. I was just a man with a training studio who’d strip down into his undies at night to perform self glute EMG experiments. Now, I’m mixing it up with the bigwigs and have amassed an amazing following of readers. Hard work + passion can make dreams come true.

Proof that every exercise in the gym is functional – seated leg curls would make you better at this real world movement. Click HERE.

Glute Training Feedback

Working to build more mass on dat ass (that rhymes!) Been doing weight hip thrust on a weekly basis and squatting only on alternate weeks. I mentioned this before. I’m doing so because hip thrust stimulates the glutes more than squats. I’m not saying squatting doesn’t work! It does. But there is more stimulation in the glutes when I do the weight hip thrust. At the moment I’m only at 295lbs x 10 for hip thrusts. Even with padding my pelvis are so freaking bruised from that weight. Aiming to hit 315lbs without breaking my pelvis (kidding). – Melissa

Melissa

Hi Bret,
A quick note to thank you. Your articles and instructional videos have revolutionized my training. I’ve been lifting in a haphazard way for some years but have really gained in confidence and skill since following your advice and programs. I train by myself, which makes it a little more intimidating heading into the weights area with the big guys (I’m a 5’3, 53gk, 41-year-old woman), but today a trainer came up to me and said it was great to see someone train so hard, big weights with barbell hip thrusts. He was impressed, and I felt pretty proud. Couldn’t have got this far without your help. 
PS: Since glute training I have eliminated my lower back pain, which was a welcome surprise!
Big thanks!
Cara

Hi Bret! I wanted to share with you my progress. I know this is showing a lot but this was the best way to see what progress I actually made! On the left I dieted down over the summer and over the year I lost 10% body fat total in 6 months. I lost what butt I had which I guess, now that I look back, was mostly from fat! The right picture is me after a 4 month heavy lifting/bulking winter phase AND 2 months of reducing caloric intake again, and I’m currently trying to get leaner. It looks like with your strong curves principles that I have added a lot of glute and leg muscle! I’ve been weight training for over a year now but I find that applying your knowledge & thorough research on the glutes (especially the best ways to activate them for hypertrophy) paired with good healthy eating has produced results I never ever thought I’d see on my own body! I’m 5’0 and my glutes/hip measurement went from 35 to 38! I cannot thank you enough and for all the articles, studies, research, and really helpful resources you have put out there for all of us women who thought that transforming our backsides was a futile endeavor. I recommend you and your works to all those who’ve taken interest in my new lifestyle and want pointers on how I did it. Thank you thank you!! – Jenina

Jenina

Bret, I started following some of your video advice on building stronger glutes as part of my marathon training and it is the first time that a trainer’s advice hasn’t caused some tangental injury. Your exercise videos demonstrate what are apparently the proper forms for glute bridges, hip thrusts and more. The result has been stronger glutes and core; an improvement in my running time–a comfortable 11 minute mile down from 13; ITBS I used to get on long runs disappeared; and at 44, my posterior seems to get noticed in even my baggiest of pants (which I kind of like, this getting noticed). I recommend your videos and advice without hesitation. Frank

Ok, the one on the left is from a year ago when I was going to Bar Method classes and doing a bottom load of cardio. I was about 122lbs. I had ZERO definition. The one on the right is after working your program the past 8 weeks and 125lbs. I started in November but because of an injury, took a break about 1/2 way through December. I started up the Gluteal Goddess 12 week plan again the beginning of the year and this is my progress so far. I normally have a pancake ass so even though this isn’t where I want to be, it’s way better than where I started thanks to you!  Can’t wait to see the results another 8 weeks from now. Thank you for constantly educating me! On top of helping me build my booty, you’re making me a better trainer for my clients! – Julie

pic

Bret, gotta admit bro, when I stumbled across your stuff I thought you were crazy. I decided to give it a shot tho and started doing hip thrusts, band hip rotations, goblet squats, and back extensions. Three months later, my deadlift has increased by 55 lbs, I split two pairs of jeans, and I’m hitting home runs just about every other at-bat with my company softball team. I’m trying to get my lifting partners to get on the thrusting train but they’re resisting. You’ve got a good think going dude, keep it up. – Bryce

Randomness

Alan Aragon Coming to Toronto on June 14

Canadian peeps – my friend Alagon is putting on a seminar. I vouch for him 100%. Click HERE to learn more.

move-toronto

Dan Green Workshop April 19th in Tempe, AZ

Click HERE if you’re interested in attending a Dan Green (world record raw powerlifter) seminar at Revolution Training Systems. Dan is a freakin’ badass, and he’s very down to Earth and knowledgeable.

dan green

Six Blind Men and the Elephant

Physical therapists, massage therapists, and sports medicine personnel – you gotta admit, this is pretty funny!

Six Blind Men