Grill the Guru I: Charles Poliquin

Today’s Grill the Guru episode features Charles Poliquin. If you don’t know why I’m grilling gurus, CLICK HERE to read why. My colleagues deserve a level playing field and how can anyone compete with someone who simply fabricates stories? Without further adieu, here you go:

Three Reasons Why I’m Grilling Poliquin

REASON ONE: Over the past month, a few of Charles’ underlings have emailed me to inform me that Charles has been telling them that barbell glute bridges and barbell hip thrusts don’t work and that they’re dangerous for the lumbar spine. These informants are PICP-certified coaches (Poliquin’s certification), and they’re emailing me to notify me about what Charles is saying and to let me know that they’ve been prescribing them to clients with great success, defying their cult-leader’s orders.

Sidebar 1: Charles likes to take pot-shots at other trainers and fabricate stories. In THIS post from a while back, Charles, presumably talking about Mike Boyle, said the following:

Recently, one functional-training guru has been promoting back split squats for athletes, but the back foot is placed on a platform that is much higher than either Spassov or I recommend. The result is that this type of squat places the lower lumbar vertebrae in extreme hyperextension, which should provide chiropractors with many new clients.

Sidebar 2: Here’s some more b.s. on box squats:!

My Response to Charles

1. Charles, apparently you don’t realize that everything “experts” say about other “experts” gets back to them. For instance, the instant another expert criticizes me in an interview or in a forum, I receive several emails from mutual fans. Times are a changin’, and I don’t think the internet is going to continue tolerating arrogant cult leaders. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but social networking is helping to create a huge fitness community and it’s not as easy these days to hide. Give up the act broseph!

2. It seems that you can’t stand when other coaches or systems get attention. You resort to bashing the coaches’ methods and making up shit about the method being dangerous. Charles, I’ve been prescribing box squats for years and nobody hurts themselves if you teach them properly. Many of my strength coach friends will attest to this as well. I’ve been employing Bulgarian split squats for years with a higher box than you propose and nobody hurts themselves. Many of my strength coach friends will attest to this. And I’ve been employing hip thrusts and bb glute bridges for years and nobody hurts themselves as long as you teach them properly. Many of my strength coach friends will attest to this. If you’re such a good trainer, why can’t you figure out how to coach these lifts properly like we have?

3. Charles, have you changed your mind and apologized to your readers for being wrong when THIS STUDY came out? If it’s too hard for you to grasp, I’ll spell it out for you – the back squat placed more loading on the spine and the hips than the box squat. I find it amusing that you didn’t review the study on your blog (cherry-picking).

3. Your own certified trainers are ignoring your advice and using good judgement by employing methods you denounce. If this were me, I’d be embarrassed. Doesn’t this tell you something?

4. I highly doubt that you’ve ever gotten under a barbell and thrusted the weight up. You seem like a guy who does endless curls so he looks good in his t-shirts but doesn’t give a shit about glutes. If you did, you’d probably start doing hip thrusts. At any rate, if you’ve never spent a month getting stronger at a particular exercise, don’t talk about it – you lack expertise.

5. My clients don’t hyperextend their spines when thrusting heavy weight. If a client does this, wouldn’t this indicate that dysfunction exists and therefore be something you wanted to fix? Isn’t this indicative of weak glutes? You’re okay with your athletes having weak glutes? Newsflash – just like you can teach someone to keep the core stable and move at the hips in a deadlift, you can teach someone to move at the hips and keep the core stable in a hip thrust. Athletes deserve a coach who has high expectations.

6. Do cult-leaders even know that they’re cult-leaders? Do you want your trainers to think critically or to accept your word as gospel? I’m really curious – are you really seeing powerlifters whose hips are screwed up from box squats? I prefer to hear from Louie Simmons, Dave Tate, or Joe DeFranco on this – guys actually employing the exercise. Are you really seeing athletes being sent to the chiropractor from Bulgarian split squats? I prefer to hear from Mike Boyle on this – someone actually employing the exercise. One of my colleagues trains hundreds of athletes per week and they all perform Bulgarian split squats with their rear foot on a bench, and none of them have ever gotten hurt. This jives with my experience too. If hip thrusts and bb glute bridges were dangerous, more people would be posting on forums talking about their injuries – it’s not happening. Nobody hurts themselves with properly taught box squats, Bulgarian split squats, or hip thrusts…so I presume you’re just making this shit up. If so, that’s pretty pathetic.

7. In THIS article you promote lumberjacks and pull-throughs, yet hip thrusts and bb glute bridges, which involve the same motion while allowing for more stability and heavier loads (which you claim is important in THIS article), don’t work? Be consistent with your logic.

8. Don’t you have researchers working for you? How come I, a one-man army, can find so many faults with your articles? I have a document I keep titled, “Questionable Articles.” On this document I paste the links of articles from other experts that I happen to disagree with. Half of the links belong to you and your team. If you’d like to learn something I can send you the links and point out your errors. Step it up Team Poliquin.

REASON TWO: A couple of weeks ago, Charles posted this video:!

Flash forward to 8:54, here are Charles’ words:

You have a trend in the last few years for functional movement patterns and multiple direction patterns, blah blah blah. And if you look at it, anyone who espouses that A) never got strong, B) could never get anybody stronger, and C) never made anybody better in the sports field.

I presume that when you spoke of multi-directional patterns that you were referring to me (load vector training)? I’m unaware of any other coach who has been as outspoken about directions/vectors as me, so I’m pretty sure I’m right about my assumption. And with the functional movement patterns I presume you’re talking about Gray Cook and perhaps Mike Boyle again?

My Response to Charles

1. I espouse functional movement patterns and multiple directional patterns, and I’m pretty strong. In fact, I just received word from my University that I still own the record for the highest hip extension torque ever recorded on the isokinetic dynamometer, and we’ve tested dozens of professional athletes including many of the world’s best rugby players. My other joint torques were very high compared to the athletes as well. I can deadlift 565lbs and hip thrust 500 lbs as a natural lifter. My twin bro lifts weights (squats and deadlifts) and my hips are 5″ bigger around than his, proving that I walk the walk. So you’re wrong about statement A.

2. I espouse functional movement patterns and multiple directional patterns, and I’ve gotten plenty of clients incredibly strong, and much if this is due to methods I learned from Louie Simmons and Dave Tate. After 2 months of training my client Karli, she was sumo deadlifting 225 x 5, she started at 155 x 5 (below is the video). So you’re wrong about statement B.

3. I espouse functional movement patterns and multiple directional patterns, and I’ve gotten people better on the sports field. In fact, using mostly Westside Barbell Club techniques, I trained a hockey player for 2 months and got him a pro contract. This was his third year trying out, the previous two years he was incredibly weak. But I put 50 lbs on his weighted chin, 50 lbs on his bench, 80 lbs on his low box squat, and 190 lbs on his deadlift in 8 weeks. He was crushing players during his try-outs and playing at his all-time best. I just ran into him the other day and he let me know that to this day he’s never been in such good of shape. I’m sure I could find hundreds of other coaches who espouse functional movement patterns and multiple direction patterns who would share similar stories. So you’re wrong about statement C.

4. Are you suggesting that athletes shouldn’t get strong in multiple direction patterns and should only get strong in the sagittal plane? If so then I think you’re an idiot. I agree that the primary emphasis should be placed on getting stronger at bench, squats, deads, chins, military press, and rows. But it’s not very hard to add in some hip thrusts, cable hip rotations, slideboard and hip abduction work, half-kneeling cable anti-rotation presses, etc. Failure to do so doesn’t optimize the athlete’s strength/power, especially their agility and rotary power, and it might predispose them for injury if they lack hip stability in certain directions.

5. Why does getting strong have to be limited to one direction? You go ahead and get your athletes strong in just the axial direction. The coach who gets his athletes strong and powerful in the axial, anteroposterior, lateromedial, and torsional vectors will outperform your athletes.

6. Are you suggesting that you don’t care about functional movement patterns, meaning that you don’t care if your athletes can initially do things like the bodyweight squat, lunge, hip hinge, bridge, push-up, etc.? You don’t want to check their ASLR or shoulder mobility before you start training them? I sure do, and I feel sorry for your athletes if this is the case.

7. Why are you afraid to name names? If you disagree with someone, confront the person like a man, like I’m doing in this post.

REASON THREE: Just recently, Charles posted a blog about glute training HERE. The title is, Glute Training Made Simple.

In the article, the two exercises that Charles recommends for glute development are the full squat and the glute ham raise. Here are the highlights:

Charles provides this quote:

As you might suspect, the single best exercise for developing the glutes is the full squat – and this is evidenced in the gluteal development of Olympic style weightlifters.

Then he mentions research from the Caterisano 2002 study.

Then he suggests the wide stance squat as an alternative squatting method.

Then he recommends the glute ham raise.

Then he provides this quote:

…the glute ham raise is a more natural movement than the isolation exercises that are often featured in glute-training fitness videos.

My Response to Charles

1. Based on what your henchmen have told me, I suspect that this article was your way of trying to appear like you’re the expert on glute training. I think that you are jealous of my success and this was an attempt to take attention off of me and onto you. And you couldn’t even mention barbell hip thrusts or barbell glute bridges by name…you tried to plant seeds in your reader’s heads so they’d dismiss loaded bridging by thinking they’re non-functional and dangerous. If so, that’s incredibly pathetic. Seriously.

2. I now have a huge team of coaches, trainers, and lifters who have seen far better results in terms of gluteal development from weighted bridging and thrusting than they have with squatting. At any rate, let’s delve deeper.

3. I’m calling out you and your team of researchers right now. Let’s see if you guys have any integrity and biomechanical sense. Please answer me the following:

a) Are the muscle moment arms of the hip extensors consistent throughout the hip flexion/extension axis? If not, which hip extensors have the best leverage down low in a squat versus up high?

b) Is maximum voluntary contraction of the gluteus maixmus consistent throughout the hip flexion/extension axis? If not, where are the glutes activated to the greatest degree – in hips flexed positions or hips extended positions?

c) Is hip extension torque in a squat consistent through the hip flexion/extension axis? If not, where do the hips receive the highest torque?

d) Which exercise requires more hip extension torque on the hips – the hip thrust or the squat?

e) Which exercise activates the glutes to a greater degree – the hip thrust or the squat?

f) Which exercise places more mechanical tension on the glutes – the hip thrust or the squat? (You’ve been a HUGE proponent of TUT, rightfully so, so which exercise puts the glutes under more TUT?)

g) Which exercise creates more metabolic stress on the glutes – the hip thrust or the squat?

h) Based on these answers, which is likely better for gluteus maximus hypertrophy – the hip thrust or the squat?

i) What is the gluteus maximus EMG of the glute-ham-gastroc raise? Better yet, what is the role of the gluteus maximus in a glute ham raise?

j) If you take the knee flexion component out of the ghr, hold onto a heavy db, and simply perform a heavy back extension, now what is the glute activation?

k) What would create more hip extension torque, a ghr or a heavy back extension?

l) Based on these answers, which is likely better for gluteus maximus development – the ghr or the weighted back extension?

4. If you and your team don’t know the answer to these questions, I’d be happy to help you out and provide the answers. But then you’d have to admit that you don’t have all the answers and your guru status would be shattered.

5. Oly lifters have good glute development from squatting but there’s a world of women out there who squat, lunge, and ghr yet still have poor glute development. Only when they get strong at hip thrusting can they really achieve their maximum glute potential. Furthermore, Olympic lifters have excellent back development. Does this mean that the power clean is the best back exercise? Couldn’t the weighted chin or bent over row be better?

6. Have you ever performed a set of hip thrusts? If so, what was your experience? What weight did you use? Did your glutes cramp up or get a burn? If so, kudos. If not, and if you felt it all in your low back, this means you have dysfunction and you need to fix it (just like if you couldn’t deadlift without flexing your spine, it would indicate dysfunction that you needed to fix). And if you haven’t tried them, then why are you telling your trainers they’re dangerous?

7. Please re-read the Caterisano 2002 (squat depth/EMG) study critically and tell me what the major flaw in the study design was. There’s a really big flaw and I want to see if your team can spot it.

8. Why are you recommending wide stance squats – I thought you said that box squats were bad for the hips. Wouldn’t wide stance squats then be bad for the hips? Please be consistent with your b.s.

9. Based on EMG and torque analysis, the ghr is a good hamstring exercise, not a good glute exercise. Take a look at the picture in your article of Mary Pier performing a ghr. If you want to maximize torque loading on the hammies you need to place the foot plate higher in relation to the pad. This is simple trigonometry. Better yet, elevate the rear of the ghd so you start the movement with the body slanted downward. This creates more average knee flexion torque throughout the movement.

10. How is the ghr movement more natural than the bb glute bridge or bb hip thrust? I am of the belief that the bb gb and bb ht is more natural than the ghr. It’s just loaded bent leg hip extension; that’s all.

11. So let me get this straight – you’re a proponent of isolation training as long as it involves the arms (all sorts of curls, etc.), but not when it comes to glutes? At least the arms get worked in a full range through compound lifting (bench, chins)…the glutes don’t get worked in a full range when squatting. Furthermore, the core can limit what people can squat or deadlift. For these reasons, it makes even more sense to perform targeted glute training, especially considering the higher joint torques and levels of muscle activation. If you can’t understand this then I can’t take you seriously as a scientist. It means you’re trying to be a guru and not a good practitioner. Be consistent with your rationale.

12. Since you made fun of people who can’t get strong, and my hip extensors are stronger than yours, does this make me automatically right (logical fallacy but I’ll take it)?

13. I challenge you to a contest. Take your five best before/after pictures of people you’ve trained in terms of results in gluteal development. I’ll take my best five and we’ll compare who’s seen better results. Are you up for it?

14. Your article, Glute Training Made Simple, could have been much simpler, if that’s what you were going for. Here’s what you could have said: Obtain a double bodyweight hip thrust for ten reps and you’ll most likely be pretty damn pleased with your glutes.

15. There’s a science to glute training and we’ve made tremendous progress in this aspect of sports science in the past few years. Your failure to acknowledge this progression doesn’t advance the field. If you want average results, just squat and ghr like you proposed. But if you want to maximize the drivers of hypertrophy (mechanical tension and metabolic stress), then bb glute bridge and hip thrust like crazy. Still squat, deadlift, lunge, etc., but make damn sure to emphasize bridging and thrusting strength.

Past Gems

Charles, you have a lot of people who look up to you and trust you for top notch information. Would you like to address any past gems that are highlighted in THIS article from Dr. Fred Hatfield’s site and highlighted below?

After several weeks of performing external rotator cuff work I prescribed, he power snatched 286 pounds for 3 reps. In fact, working these muscles also helped his pressing strength, because after six months of training he increased his incline bench press, using a 3-inch-thick bar, from 285 pounds to 525!” (find this quote HERE)  I’ve never been able to raise anyone’s incline press 240lbs in 6 months from focusing on shoulder external rotation. I’m pretty sure it was the incline presses you prescribed, not the external rotation imbalance.

“I realize how anabolic food is every time I go teach in the Dominican Republic. Last time I taught a Biosignature Modulation course in the DR, the students took my body fat Monday morning. I was at 8% and weighed 198 pounds.

Now, there’s no such thing as grain-fed in the DR; they can’t afford it, so cows eat grass. And if you eat a mango over there you have to eat it over a sink because it’s so juicy. The eggs too are far more anabolic. They’re orange and full of omega-3s, like all eggs naturally were thousands of years ago.

A DR avocado tastes like butter it’s so rich in nutrients. Eating avocados over here is like eating fiberglass once you’ve had a DR avocado. It’s like having sex with Pamela Anderson then having to have sex with Rosie O’Donnell.

Anyway, five days later, after eating only Dominican Republic foods, I weighed 209 at 6% body fat. My business partner came to finish the seminar, took one look at me and said, “What happened to you?!” (find this quote HERE) This is probably the most outrageous claim ever made in the field of S&C by any expert. You’re saying that due to the process of anti-oxidation, you gained 13 lbs of lean mass and lost 3 lbs of fat in 5 days from eating secret Dominician food?

I don’t think that you that you could pull this off with a starved and malnourished former Mr. Olympia hooked up to an IV with a steady course of amino acids, EFA’s, anabolic steroids, growth hormone, IGF-1, insulin, and thyroid hormone coursing through his veins 24 hours a day. Maybe so, but definitely not with a natural lifter with a reasonably healthy diet. I don’t think 5 days of the healthiest of foods could put on half a pound of muscle mass while concurrently shedding half a pound of fat, but certainly not 13 lbs of muscle gain and 3 lbs of fat loss. A bodybuilder juiced to the gills hopes to achieve that in a solid year of doing everything right.

“I have routinely seen 2-10% gains in strength 24 hours after such treatments (referring to deep connective tissue massage).” (find this quote HERE) In what exercises? Could I get a week’s worth of massages and then finally bust out a 600 lb deadlift? I think not, and I don’t think you’ll find any research to support this to the slightest degree.

“…approximately 40 percent of the power for sprinting and jumping comes from the glutes and 25 percent from the hamstrings.” (find this quote HEREI’ve read around 300 papers on sprint and jumping biomechanics and related topics and am friends with some of the world’s top researchers in this area…in fact a brand new study was released on the topic last week. The glutes are important but not that important in sprinting, the hamstrings are incredibly important, as are the hip flexors and other muscles. The quads are more important in jumping. Your percentages are definitely off.


Charles, please leave glute training to those of us who intensively study glute biomechanics and those of us who have actually worked hard to increase their glute size and have seen great results themselves and with their clients.

Furthermore, please stop making shit up and accepting dysfunctional glutes – clients and athletes deserve better than that.

If you don’t like the barbell glute bridge or the hip thrust, simply admit that you don’t like them. But don’t say that they’re dangerous when they’re not. I think I’ve trained 400 people in the past 6 years and nobody ever hurt themselves hip thrusting. Teach them proper form and it’s one of the safest lower body lifts around.

Last, quit acting so cool and pretending you’re better than everyone. You’re a personal trainer, not a celebrity.

If you clean up your act, I’ll lay off you. But in my experience, standing up to bullies stops them dead in their tracks. But I’d be happy to continue my grilling. I have around 10 articles waiting to critique. And I’d be more than happy to have a recorded debate with you.

If you’d like we can discuss the role of the external rotator during the incline press and the transfer of dynamic rotator cuff work on incline press performance, the benefits and drawbacks of antioxidation on muscle hypertrophy, the value and limitations of massage as it pertains to strength gains, and the biomechanics of sprinting, in addition to the biomechanics of glute training and the dangers of box squats, hip thrusts, and Bulgarian split squats.

I’d be happy to arrange for a colleague (we can find a neutral party) to record a podcast where you and I discuss these topics. I’ll even be nice. My guess is that I won’t hear back from you and your team.

I decided to film this video where I discuss some of the things I talked about in this blogpost.

* FYI: I’ve been training a group of 6-8 figure/bikini competitors and each session we do three sets of hip thrusts. The girls are getting stronger every single week, and nobody ever gets hurt. I filmed a video and will post it next week, showing how easy it is to hip thrust heavy with good form.

291 thoughts on “Grill the Guru I: Charles Poliquin

  1. Neel

    I was looking forward to this blogpost. I enjoyed it very much, especially because I was misled by some of his (and other coaches’) non-scientific theory/technique/nonsense in the past. So thank you.
    Also, before you posted this, I assumed you were smart because your conclusions seemed sensible. However, having really had a chance to see your thought process (ie, the section titled “Reason Three Violations”, item 3), has given me fairly solid proof that you’re actually an intelligent person.
    I look forward to the rest of this series. Keep up the good work.

    1. Bret Post author

      Thanks Neel. I’m not trying to make this a regular thing. There are a couple more guys I might grill but not to the extent I grilled Poliquin. Cheers, BC

      1. philip


        Loved the article.

        You should look at Cosgrove for the next one if you have not already, he has been stealing stuff from ian king and Lyle Mcdonald for years.

  2. Greg

    Dear Bret,
    Can I send you a private message? Would be great to share a couple of stories with you that I think you’d find amusing.
    Great post.
    Kindest regards,

  3. Jess

    Awesome awesome awesome article… Not only was it FINALLY addressing some of this BS but it was engaging AND funny! Good job, keep em coming.

  4. Will Arias

    Spot on, Bret! Finally somebody had the cojones to demonstrate with facts how the some GURUS have no intelligent answers to scientific evidence. It doesn’t matter if the guru in mention is a sacred cow such as Mr Poliquin. All we are humans. All we make mistakes. All we need to keep trying until we get it right. The advantage these days is you can take short cuts by learning from the best in the industry. I wish twenty years ago were more Gray Cooks, Nick Hortons, Craig Liebensons, Mark Buckleys, Ulrik Larsens, Paul Taylors, Mark Ripppetoes, Robert Yangs, Dan Johns and Bret Contreras. That could saved me lots of mistakes. Today all this guys are available with a simple click on the keyboard! My point is that having access to knowledge is priceless, saving time and injuries in the process of pursuing reliable and proven methods of training (We don’t need to reinvent the wheel but we can make it better). Learning about S&C doesn’t mean getting “married” with a single philosophy or following blindfolded a “leader”. C’mon, Brain washing is for weak fanatics! We can learn from the best in the industry and take the more useful beats of each one of them in order to create our own foundations as a result. The sun provides its light to all of us. Thanks, Bret, not just for being one of my mentors but also for walking your talk.
    Finally, probably you saw it already but i’d like to share with your readers the following link that explains in a funny way how pathetic and absurd “guru” obsession can become:
    Ah, maybe in another twenty years time, Mr Poliquin will find out that “Box Squats” are actually “not too bad after all”, as probably its the amount of time he probably needs to recognise that “nobody is getting injured”. Oops!
    My respects from Melbourne. Bye for now. Will

  5. Bruce

    What a article!

    Poliquin has had good success with clients but boy does he talk some shit, i remember his t nation articles where he boasts ridiculous stuff so good on you Bret for calling him out.

    I think you missed out tho he’s not a strength coach anymore just someone who tries to sell “essential” supplements (which happen to be reaaaaally expensive )so maybe thats why he doesn’t know what the glute bridges.

  6. Will Levy

    Bret, interesting stuff. I’ve followed your writing for a couple of years now, and am a big fan of your work. Yours remains one of my few “can’t miss” blogs, and I love receiving your research review each month.
    Following Mike Boyle has coincided largely with that same timeframe, and to an even greater extent than yourself, obviously due to the fact he has a heap of published content, and I’ve purchased heaps of it.
    Being ‘newer’ to the industry (6th year) Poliquin’s heyday was a bit before my time, yet I’ve dusted off and read one of his old books, many older articles, and still check into his site from time to time. I feel he’s lost his way a bit of late, pushing too heavily into his supplement marketing and just generally looking for world domination, by I respect the contributions he made to the industry.
    I guess I’m just stating that I’m familiar enough with the work of yourself and the key players mentioned, and I’m in your corner here. I also box squat, RFESS, and hip thrust myself and with clients where suited.

    But, just playing Devil’s advocate, here’s my thoughts when I read this:

    Mike Boyle has spoken about his dislike of box squats too. Quick version was heavy load, hard box, spine wedged between = bad. He didn’t go quoting research on it either, but I value his opinion for his wealth of experience. As I said, I still box squat, but I keep that in the back of my mind.
    Nick Tumminello – who I also follow and respect immensely, and I’m aware has been prone to bouts of accusations for being contrarian – mentioned his thoughts on RFESS of the standard height for the rear leg – a bench – being too high for most, too, and resultantly creating lumbar hyperextension in some.
    Again, I do RFESS, as do my clients whom it suits, but I have that thought process in mind too now, despite him not quoting any research on the matter.

    I remember watching that 9 minute vid by Charles a few weeks ago.
    You say you presumed he was referring to the likes of yourself re multi-vector training. I could well be wrong, but I never suspected that being the case until you mentioned it here. I automatically thought he was referring to, to make a blanket term, the Gary Gray crowd. In the environment I work in, I’ve been exposed to a fair bit of the work by GG, Michol Dalcourt etc. who utilise that branch of “functional training” which is very much based on 3D movement – but actually moving in all planes of motions – and using ‘reaches’ and ‘drivers’ etc. This is no knock on those guys or that crowd, as I find them incredibly smart and continue to learn from them, and I think there’s a place for that type of training, but I also tend to agree that I’ve never seen them or their clients as getting very strong, and I never had a lot of success with it either.
    I never picked up on the idea that Charles was taking a swipe at the likes of your work in loading different vectors.

    For a guy who is so big on looking at the science and applying logic, I feel your comment #4 of Reason 1, regarding Charles looking good in his t-shirts didn’t fit well. I was instantly reminded of Tim Henriques’ most recent T-Nation piece and the definition of an ad hominem.

    This is absolutely no knock on you Bret, and I’ve only commented on maybe 10% of the content here, the rest of which I can’t fault. And, I’m very much looking forward to your next piece in this series. And I’d LOVE to listen to that podcast if it eventuated! This is just some hopefully constructive feedback from one of your readers on what is undeniably a controversial piece, to either consider or disregard as you please.

    1. Nick Tumminello


      Thanks for watching (and mentioning) my RFESS video!

      I think the BIG (overall) point Bret is addressing is that WE (Performance U) don’t make any absolute claims for what we do. We just say “here’s why we don’t (or do) choose to take this particular approach.

      In other words, in our videos (like the one you mentioned) we don’t claim that our way is “THE way”, we just share “OUR way.”

      We don’t claim to have the lock down on knowledge of to have the answers. All we can do is share the concepts & techniques that we’ve found to work best for us.

      Best of luck with your training!
      Coach N

      1. Bret Post author

        Another big thing to consider – Nick and I solve things by getting on the phone with one another and we always understand each other’s points. We don’t bad-mouth each other as we have mutual respect. Something which Charles lacks for anyone else it seems.

    2. Bret Post author

      Will, didn’t think about all those other guys such as Gary Gray, Dalcourt, etc. Good call. But based on what I’m hearing from emails from guys who know Poliquin, I think he was talking about me (could be wrong though). Either way, why say these things? Really, nobody who focuses on patterns and directions has EVER gotten stronger, gotten anyone else stronger, or gotten an athlete better? That’s absurd.

      I agree I resorted to ad hominem and other logical fallacies in my post, I made assumptions, etc. Perhaps I should have toned it down and avoided this. Thanks!

      1. Will Levy

        Nick and Bret, I appreciate the replies.
        Of course I don’t claim to have any clue what’s happening behind the scenes via email etc. these are just my initial thoughts.

        My reference to Gray, Dalcourt etc. wasn’t to say they don’t get athletes better, I think they’ve given us a valuable addition to training, but what they’ve bought to the table usually fits as assistance work, or even just warm ups, as it entirely movement focussed and doesn’t lend itself well to much loading. My experience has been that these trainers completely forego the big lifts in favour of the smaller “functional” stuff, whilst I view it as something to complement the big stuff, hence my stating I’ve never seen them get anyone strong.

        Very much looking forward to seeing how this one plays out!


  7. Asif

    Dear Bret,
    You made my day! Kudos to you man for standing up to that jerk.
    I’ll tell you about my experience with Mr.Poliquin. I am an avid follower of many of the Fitness Gurus online guys like Craig Ballantyne,John Romaneillo,Jason Ferrugia,Joe dowdell,Brad pilon….
    Once Mr. Poliquin posted an article Promoting the view about Increased protein absorption in the body post Workout,to which i posted him a query that there are other fitness experts who disagree with this viewpoint and i gave the reference of Brad Pilon. Mr.Poliquin got agitated and pulled Brad pilon down completely and also remarked at me that i better get it! (his theory) I instantly knew that he is an Insecure-coward!
    As a fitness Trainer myself i have always questioned the ideas behind a certain approach from all those experts i mentioned earlier and they have been very supportive,courteous & Kind.For Example Joe Dowdell, He always takes the time out to answer my queries! But that wasnt the case with Mr Poliquin He was RUDE,and as you rightly said Being a Coward, Being Arrogant and Cocky, Being an Internet Bully! Only because i informed him that there are other Experts who disagree with the Theory he is promoting,he went crazy at me!Lol
    Anyways i Disliked Poliquins Facebook page.

    I salute you Bret Contreras!

  8. Ines Subashka

    Hey, Bret!

    Great post! I think that you are really right about the gutes and the hip thrusters. I love hip thrusts! I used to do deep squats, lunges and stuff like that, but I suffered from anterior tilt and my glutes got weaker. When I started incorporating more hip thrusts and one legged-deadlifts, I managed to fix the deisbalance between the anterior and the posterior chain. I vote with both hands about hip thrusts. And as you said, if you perform them properly, they can’t lead to an injury! :)

  9. Shaine

    You always say you’re humble but I totally disagree! I watched your interview with Nick Horton and man I gotta say you talked about yourself like you were hot stuff…almost bragging. That’s the opposite of humble. I appreciate that you have scientific evidence but please don’t act like you’re humble when you’re not. A real humble person, wouldn’t feel the need to brag or call out people who are not worth their time.

    1. Bret Post author

      I’ve heard this from a few people and can’t really see it. Maybe I’m not that humble but I don’t make it a point to throw every other trainer under the bus, which can’t be said for Poliquin. I’m sure over time I’ll become more humble though, I appreciate you speaking your mind.

      1. Carlo Buzzichelli

        I must say that Bret is one of the most humble (and intelligent) guys I have met in the field; when he asks me for critics I know I can speak freely because he can handle it and make the best out of it.

        Whoever gets an advantage by denigrating other people, then must not be surprised if they react.
        Just like Bret reacted to Charles’ denigrations.

      2. norman

        I don’t see it either, Bret. I’ve read many of your articles and watched your videos but I have never seen you as someone who likes to brag.

        In fact, in the Nick Horton interview, if memory serves me right, you said something like ‘my glutes have come a long way.’ To someone who cannot understand, this may come out as bragging but in reality, it is a very humble statement (‘I am not genetically blessed and therefore had to do the work’).

        More power!

    2. Joe Berne

      This statement is both wrong and slightly absurd (that a “real humble person, wouldn’t feel the need to brag or call out people who are not worth their time.”) Bret’s trying to do a service to the community – showing, in as clear and as objective a way as possible, that another “guru” who publishes information that people use in their programming is full of crap. That has nothing to do with humility – Bret’s trying to save us from bad advice that might get us hurt at worst or, at best, keep us from achieving our athletic goals. That’s not a lack of humility, that’s a surplus of compassion. Only a selfish jerk would see these facts, understand what’s going on the way Bret does, then keep it to himself. As far as whether Bret comes across as humble in person I couldn’t care less.

  10. Pedro Correia

    YOU ARE THE MAN! Seriously, many thanks for this post, thanks for exposing his inconsitencies. I now understand why you never refer Poliquin on your posts. I normally read his blog and I find it very useful from a science-based point of view, obviously he has access to a lot of good references and, of course, the support of a team behind him.
    I would like to hear what he has to say about this.
    All of us who care about the science in the field of sports performance, ftness, strength & conditioning, should be very appreciated for the work you’ve been doing so far. Thank’s a lot for your time and dedication on making the science advance in this field.
    My best regards,
    Pedro Correia

    1. Bret Post author

      I’ve actually given Poliquin props for certain things and I’ve posted many of his articles on my good reads lists and FB Fitness page over the years. And I’ll continue to do that if I like what he writes. But he needs to be more human and quit trying to posture up.

  11. Lee Fulham

    I’ve actually had many of my posts removed from his site in the past. On an occasion where he negates something, then months later when people have “forgotten” the article and says something contradicting. The one that really irritated me was when he singled out a Poliquin fan on his site who simply asked for advice regarding some books he read, Poliquin replied with something along the lines of “Why don’t you keep your nose out of other peoples business” and “Do your own f***ing research”. Seems a bit much right? But the ‘Poliquin Army’ defended his words saying it was “brilliant humour” and “Charles does it again, great banter”. Anyway, needless to say, that post got deleted. There are more, but it bores me to write it.

    Anyway, with response to your friends’ views on the video, it definitely won’t be harming your reputation in the slightest, if anything, it will gain more followers. You’ve stated that you’re very humble, you admit when you may have been wrong or when there’s an area of research you don’t know. A good coach is always willing to learn new information and will never be afraid to keep on learning.

    I’m grateful for the articles you post and the references to go with it. Keep up the good work, Bret.

  12. pete

    well, we sit in gyms, looking mirrors, and compare our gluts, its amazing how men are turning into fashion victims and losing their innate connection to Nature..”size of your arse” is irrevalent in Nature, all Native cultures were extremely long lived, no gyms, extreme strength, excellent muscular leaness..

    I find it amazing that all these white guys, get together, and say…”this is fitness..look at my bulky arse, biceps, thighs calves..check me out in the mirror”..its ridiculous..its not fitness, because as soon as you have to go out on the farm, and WORK all day, you lose all the bulk, get lean, fast, and of course, have functional strength, not gym strength..gym strength is all Ego, simply by observing all the photos on all these sites, of bulky guys, posing with their bulky bodies..its really quite sad..Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price, the revised edtion..suggested gyms, no ”training” just extroadinarily real fitness, by understanding what real health is..understanding and observing and surviving in Nature..and you can do it in the just have to let go of your insecurity..and fear..after all, that is why most ”body builders” become ”huge”..fear of knowing..themselves…Nature and yourself is waiting, just let go of the fear of finding..yourself..competition is Ego..

      1. pete

        This is exactly what I am talking about, not addressing the issues, and hiding from the issues raised..with sarcasm..and you know what they say about ..sarcasm..?

      1. pete

        I ”represented” my school in 7 different ”sports”, ,so your question doesnt answer the issues raised,,your question is competitive, and that is what I am talking about..competition is survivalistic in Nature, it doesnt exist for money, in a fictional environment, with non functioning bodies, that only ”work” in unnatural arenas, that present themselves as a group of people that all follow the same guidelines, is not doesnt fit into guidelines, health..fits into Nature..and Nature isnt competitive..but survivalistic…health based..

        1. big dog

          By “represented” your school in 7 different “sports”, do you mean you were voted biggest super fan in your high school yearbook. And why is sports in quotes, as if they would not normally be considered sports? Math league and Geography club and gym capture the flag are not sports. Sorry Butt BRO

          1. pete

            Again,obvious, sarcasm, insecurity and competitiveness,not addressing the issues raised..I highlighted , because I now realise it was a complete waste of time..sports are a huge distraction from the real issues..corruption, Ego, and the taking of childrens health..

      1. pete

        Suggest you stop using Gov stats for your basis to gain knowledge, and actually observe..the Okinawons, Hunzacutt, Chinese hill tribes, all Native cultures before Sugar and refined foods, and a great book..Nutrition and Physical Degeneration the revised Edition by Dr Weston A Price…awesome knowledge from a man who seeked why we in the 1930’s were of such poor heal-th and getting worse..If you think we are healthier and living longer now..that 100 years ago..I really have nothing more to say, Its just way to obvious..

  13. Jordan Syatt

    Hey Bret,

    Thanks for this post! You answered many previous questions of mine.

    I know this might seem like an awkward request considering the point of this post, but would you mind providing the answers to each of the questions you asked Charles to respond to under “Reason Three?”

    They were fantastic questions and I went through 1 by 1 answering as best I could, but I would like to double-check and test my own knowledge.

    I know you’re very busy so I’m sorry to bother you but I’d really appreciate that information.

    Thanks Bret!


    1. Bret Post author

      Jordan, I will do that in a future blogpost…I want to have references to support them. Glad you didn’t skip over that part my man! – BC

  14. tommytattoo

    Thank you Brett… Charles passed through my neighborhood a few years back (ask Patterson and the T-nation crew about Poliquin), and essentially he is every bit the arrogant asshole in person as he comes across via the web. A money hungry, back stabbing snakeoil salesman.

    1. Dan

      Simply not true,or though I do not agree with everything he says, I found him to be quite the opposite, very generous and humble.

  15. Domenic

    A year or so ago I ended up in an arguement with poliquin over pushups. His stance was that they were completely worthless and in his words were “for little girls” all of his lackeys cheering him on. Good article.

  16. Raúl García Kidd

    I am from the Dominican Republic and i eat grass fed meat everyday twice a day, avocados in a weekly basis and all that food and i don`t think i am having sex with Pam Anderson! Yisus! 13 lb of lean mass!…Not even in my wildest dream and believe me, P. Anderson was on those dreams when i was a teenager.

    Sorry about my english!.

  17. Ty WAll

    Wow. I’m excited that this article is real. I feel like theres been a lot of dancing around the idea of calling out names of other coaches in the industry for some time (by many others) but you finally did it. With good reason and in full force. I’d very much like to hear Poliquins response. It is quite disappointing that such a smart man stays so closed minded on such issues, a true shame. Thibadeau actually mentioned a few weeks ago, on the topic of Poliquin, that he said there has been nothing new in the S&C industry since 1988.

    Again, thanks for this. I look forward to this series and the discussions that follow. It needs to be done.

  18. Frank

    What’s funny is that his claims about nutrition/health and supplements are even more outrageous and pseudoscientific than his claims about training.

  19. Taleen

    While I do like some Poliquin-isms…THIS IS AMAZING!!! (CAPS NECESSARY). Keep grilling and long live the glute bridging and hip thrusting!

  20. Steve Hammond

    (12:05)”If you study the history of Poliquin, you’ll realize that there’s this pattern of tall tales & guruism” – Boom –

  21. Chris B.

    Really enjoyed this Bret. Can’t forget when he took his bodyfat from 6% to 2.8% by taking 360 grams of Vitamin C per week.

      1. Phil

        Brett its logical. You take that much vitamin C and all you’ll do is crap continuously. You’ll lose heaps of weight.

  22. Lyle McDonald

    And here’s a total number of fucks that Poliquin and his PICP cult dipshits will give: 0.

    You just gave him fantastic publicity, Bret. He’ll go on selling useless supplements and bullshit Biosig to the masses and that’s the reality of this industry. People want to believe in magic and Poliquin gives it to them in spades.

    Anyone who will buy that Colombian avocados let him gain 3.4 lbs of muscle while losing 2.7 lbs of fat in 3 days or that Vitamin C infusions took him to 2.43% body fat with no change in diet isn’t interested in facts. So stop wasting your breath.


    1. Bret Post author

      I don’t know, you’re probably right, but I can’t imagine that it won’t phase at least some of his henchmen.

      1. Tom

        Lyle, I must disagree slightly here. The work you do and the effect of posts such as this one have a huge impact. Trainers who possibly should know better or who are inexperienced are truly greatful to the work of guys like you two who highlight the nonsense put out by Poliquin and others.

        There must be hundreds/thousands who would get ripped off by guys like this who don’t thanks to those like yourselves. This is a relatively easy access industry and not all are knowledgeable enough to spot the BS and trained to think critically.

        So thanks and well done to both I say.

        1. Meg

          Tom I could be one of them!!So confusing who you should and shouldn’t listen to some times!..I have only been a trainer for 2 years and I do refer to Charles Poliquin a lot. I guess as a trainer it comes down to common sense, research, trial and error and instinct.I was a bit baffled when I read about the glute bridges as I have been doing them following an injury and having just got into power lifting. Not soley because of this I am sure but I doubled my squat PB today and my arse is looking great:). I am sure there is still information that I will follow of his and his associates along with your selves. I have just learnt that taking one persons word as gospel is not a good idea and I will be digging a bit deeper into any information that I read from now on and then making my mind up! Thank you for the eye opener..

    2. Matt

      I can’t speak on Bret’s behalf, but I’ve personally learned never to publicly debate with someone with the intention of changing that person’s mind. I’ve even gotten into it with Mr. Contreras himself but had no hopes of changing his mind either. The best we can hope for is that other people will read and digest the information and form a slightly different perspective on the topic. I do it for the lurkers, and I imagine Bret (again hate to speak on anyone’s behalf) doesn’t expect Charles and his followers to say “Holy shit balls I was so wrong in so many ways” but rather a great many people not heavily invested in Poliquins ideas will read this article and perhaps be a bit more skeptical than they would have been otherwise.

      In other words, not wasting his breath in the least if you ask me. Except for the fallacious points and attacks of course.

    3. Guy

      In fact Kim Goss has just personally emailed me to contend what was said in the interview because I posted the video on my Move Perform Facebook page. I think this has crawled under their skin. Let’s see if it has changed them? Ha!

  23. nathan

    Controversy is good for both parties. I think you’re not going to have any trouble taking on any comers because almost from Day 1 you’ve approached these subjects with an open mind and methodical manner. That’s a credit to you.

    Probablly the tone of your spots could be a tad more professional and you could make even stronger points by avoiding the ad hominem–but then again it makes it fun to read.

    When you’re done with your PhD will you make Charlie P call you Doctor?

  24. Jamo Nezzar

    Respect…love it! He had it coming, Charles needs to remember we always learn from each other ..I’m a big fan of your work Bret and you are a genius! Anyone that I met coming from Poliquin institute puts down other people work and most of them are JUICED UP TO THE GRILL BODYBUILDERS pushing his supplement line as well as putting down functional training! IF you ask them to bend down and touch their toes they won’t be able to never mind whipping their asses!

  25. Jini Cicero

    You make excellent, excellent points here. In my opinion, arrogance, in any field will make a fool out of you and will ultimately be your downfall. I’d like to say there’s no room for egos in science but few will hear me-except maybe you. When you can show results, and have an injury-free record to back it up, little more needs to be said.

    When you call someone on their B.S. and you have the science to back up your assertions, they’re toast.

    “…Please be consistent with your b.s.” –hysterical.

  26. Arthur

    My God, this is powerful stuff. Fair fucking play Bret. I’m glad you addressed a lot of these issues because with the reputation Charles has it is easy for a lot of people (including myself) to blindly follow what he says. Also, what do you know about what he is referring to in this video?
    it seems dodgy to me. Thanks.

  27. Erik


    You had a lot of great things to say here – some strong, scientific counters – that’s respectable. Great information presented.

    But you dilute your message with the whiny baby attitude here and all your ad homimens against CP. You could get the same message across with more professionalism without the juvenile name calling.

      1. Bret Post author

        Fair enough. I know you’re right but that’s hard for me to do with bullies, deep-down I want to give them a taste of their own medicine (which doesn’t make it right…I know).

        1. Michael Terry

          Disagree. Many, many people only respond to a strong tone. Those are the same people who find Charles Poliquin persuasive. You will only convert them by fighting fire with fire.

          Folks who see through tone can see through Bret’s just as well as Charles’.

    1. Tina

      Agreed. 3 of us, all strength coaches read this together (we are not avid followers of any Guru) and thought you could have made your point much more professionally. To us it sounded like your ego was bruised and you take things way to personal.

  28. Jay

    “* FYI: I’ve been training a group of 6-8 figure/bikini competitors and each session we do three sets of hip thrusts. ”
    Oh how I hate you. Might it be possible to have slow motion, VERY up close videos of this? I don’t know, perhaps 2 hours worth or so?

  29. John Bauer

    This was a great way to start my Saturday! I recently watched a CP video where he seemed to propose that taking about 10lbs of supplement pills before during and after the workout was optimum. I’m not even mentioning some of the benefits he spouted about some of these “supplements”. Great work Bret. I look forward to the next one.

  30. Ted

    Bret, I compliment you on having the balls to do what a lot of trainers and coaches would have loved to do themselves but never really dared to.

    I could write a book as big as the Bible about what I personally dislike about Poliquin. I will just list a couple quick points (only my opinion):

    – At first, I was very impressed with Poliquin’s writings. The more I learned, the more I lost respect for him and his teachings.

    – His Terms and Conditions are hilarious:
    “If you would like to link another Web site to this Site, you may only do so if you obtain prior permission from Poliquin Performance.”

    – His structural balance systems looks good on paper but in reality it is mostly useless numbers.
    Is his own body “balanced”? His arms are big and he shows them off every chance he gets, but I have never seen his legs.

    – For quite a long time he did not follow academic standards. Look at the following blog post and make sure to read the comments carefully. One user asked for references (which should have been posted in the first place) and s*** got real:

    – I posted a comment on one of his youtube videos but it never got posted (they have to be activated). LOL

    – Where are the pics of those speed skaters whose legs made Tom Platz’s look like Woody Allen’s? He said he worked with those.

    – I don’t think he understands the concept of cardio.

    – “6. Don’t argue with Charles.
    Charles knows what he is talking about—if he doesn’t’ feel 100 percent confident about a topic he won’t talk about it. He has research and experience to back everything up. By the middle of day two you will believe that this man knows what he’s talking about, not only from extensive professional experience but from research that supports his principles.
    There will always be another opinion out there that contradicts Charles’s protocols, and it will probably be accepted by the mainstream health and fitness community and perpetuated by the media. That doesn’t matter. That is why you are attending Biosignature. You know that the media and mainstream are wrong and misguided and you want to know the truth. If you want to argue with Charles don’t come to Biosignature.”

    – His students sure love to circle jerk.

    Nick Tumminello, if you are still reading the comments: You are awesome!

    1. Bret Post author

      Wow! Thanks for the contributions. One point of contention – I actually love Charles’s structural balance stuff (though the numbers aren’t useful IMO, it’s great to think about).

      1. Ted

        Thanks for the reply, and you are very welcome.

        I do agree that having a balanced muscular system is fundamential, but I personally find his approach of quantification useless. Numbers can be an indicator and obviously a tool for measuring. But setting too strong a focus on numbers alone can be quite detrimental in my experience.
        Some time ago I assisted a PICP coach (level 1, so he knew the basics of structural balance in the upper body).
        He assessed the client and cared, in my opinion, too much about the numbers. I told him about the problems I could tell existed by analysing the client’s walking pattern, breathing and lack of mind-muscle connection. But for him, unless the numbers were off, all was fine.
        Maybe it was just him, I cannot generalize that way, but I was shocked at his lack of understanding the human physiology.

        Some things cannot be quantified for broad masses, which is where strength training stops being a science and turns into an art.

  31. Erik Blekeberg

    A lot to comment on but, I will keep it simple because this has been on my mind lately. I see more people mentioning benefits of box squatting and benefits of full squatting. I coach the full squat and use box squatting when my boys have knee injuries that prevent them from safely flexing the knee to that degree. I have my reasons for this and have measureable performance gain from both but, I can only truly attribute that to the fact that both groups are training a squat motion and gains from baseline are about equal across groups. Now, this is purely anecdotal and no research methods were in place so, I don’t claim this as science at all but, my question is really where is the research comparing deep squats to box squats with regards to the improvement in speed and/or power? I would love to read them.

    1. Bret Post author

      Hasn’t been studied. But one study recently showed that deep squats transferred more to VJ than partial squats. Would make for a very good study. One study showed that OL transferred slightly better to performance than PL.

      1. Carlo Buzzichelli


        I don’t remember the title of that study, but if it is the one I read, the OL transferred better because the OL group either had lower average load or unloaded more (can’t remember) than the PL group before the final testing. I remember that it was obvious that the PL group members had been re-tested after an insufficient undloading period.

        I tried to look for an email where I commented that study, before posting this, but I couldn’t find it. Sorry if I can’t be more specific.


    1. Bret Post author

      Haha! Good call. Funny how the reverse hyper transfers to performance but not the hip thrust. So straight leg prone hip extension transfers but not bent leg supine hip extension. And what about the lumbar ext? Be consistent!!!

  32. Mike Young

    Great post Bret. Excellent. I’m interested to see the continuation on this series. I’m especially curious to see whether you address some of the folks that appear to be in your inner network who are clearly gurus as well. I remember reading your post about how to be a guru and thinking that many of the people you frequently speak highly of (and even you in some cases) definitely meet many of the qualifications for guruism. I’m sure you know who I’m referring to.

    In fact, while I really do enjoy reading your blog and appreciate your scientific approach I’d likewise be interested on a little self-reflection on some of the cherry picking and excessive claims you (rightly) hammered Poliquin on….for example, why the disconnect between extra weight room developed glute strength and running speed?; why haven’t we seen improvements in sprint performance among elite athletes with the use of the hip thruster? why hold up the sprint studies that find horizontal force application as important and seemingly poo-poo others that find vertical more or equally important…isn’t that cherry picking? Or ignoring or glossing over the methodological issues and clearly different kinematic data of the horizontal force studies (borderline anomalous stride lengths, slow speeds, faster turnovers, etc).

    I could go on but you get my point. If you’re going to do this then please don’t just ‘grill’ those gurus who might have attacked you and then give a free pass to those gurus who you share a financial interest with.

    Please don’t take this as attacking. You are one of the few in the online S&C community that I read regularly and I appreciate the thought, time and effort you put in to your work. I just want this to be done right because otherwise it’s not really about ‘grilling’ gurus…it’s about defending your reputation when attacked and overlooking guruism elsewhere. If that’s what it is but then you should probably state that.

    1. Bret Post author

      Hi Mike, first off I want to say that I have much respect for you. I feel that you are one of the good guys and that your stance isn’t so absolute that you won’t “flow with science.”

      I’ve been meaning to reach out to you for several reasons, and this is funny. I feel that you (and Elite Track) do the same thing.

      I’m working on a review paper of sprinting forces and would like to see if there’s anything I’m missing in support of vertical forces…we have Mann’s book and Weyand’s data from 2000, right? I don’t think there is anything else, right?

      I do not disagree with these guy’s data, just their conclusions. And now there are like 8 articles in support of horizontal force. To me the data is pretty compelling, but we do need more research so I am not 100% confident in my conclusions.

      I did point out methodological issues in my interviews with Morin and Brughelli, but I am of the opinion that we can still learn from this data (I know you feel that due to the tether, differences in kinematics, etc. that it can’t be used).

      But trust me – there will be no cherry-picking! I am extremely intrigued by the sprinting forces debate and would never cherry pick in a research paper. As for my blog, of course I’m going to lean toward what I feel is the answer (just as you do on your blog), but I still try to be unbiased (more so now than I used to be).

      At any rate, Morin is conducting an overground study to essentially critique his own treadmill study and see if results are duplicated or not. Then the data will really be able to point us in the right direction. So until then, you and I can agree to disagree.

      But I still highly respect you and I know that both of us are willing to change our views based on what we learn.

      I would also like to let you know that I wish I was more accepted in the sprint community. I can learn a ton from you guys about training sprinters, etc., and you guys have expertise that I’ll never have.

      But I do feel hip thrusts transfer better to speed than squats and this is what I want to do my thesis on. Correct me if I’m in error, but I feel that the sprint experts (such as you) focus so much on world-class sprinters instead of everyday athletes.

      It’s clear that the velocity side of the power equation is more important than the force side, but we do know that strength training does increase speed especially in less advanced individuals.

      But you can trust that I’d never fudge data or anything like that if I did a study – I hope you value my integrity and know that I’m not trying to spin things or ignore science/research to gain popularity or financial gain.

      I’m all about learning the truth, not manipulating the world to fit my version of the truth.

      So this needs to be researched as well, but I get a lot of emails from folks telling me that they’re running faster from implementing hip thrusts, and I wish you could see these. Yes, I’m aware that these are just anecdotes and they’re not controlled (and could be placebo effect, etc.), but as for right now this is my current understanding. My understanding is subject to change as I learn more.

      So we’re on the same side; both trying to figure out the science so we can potentially improve upon our training so athletes benefit.

      Last, I will probably grill a few more folks, but I don’t want to alienate myself from everyone and be excessively negative on my blog, plus people might change after this and clean up their act. If that’s the case then my mission was accomplished. If not then gurus will be grilled. And I only have two more grillings in mind as of right now, though more may certainly arise in the future.

      I definitely didn’t perceive this as you attacking me, I appreciate you taking the time to send this and for being professional.

      Cheers, BC

      1. Andy...

        “I would also like to let you know that I wish I was more accepted in the sprint community”.

        No acceptance?. No respect?. This should give you even more drive to get out there & prove other coaches wrong.

        You need to start getting involved & taking pride in implementing your own methods & idea’s on a few stud athletes & in the end, possibly proving other coaches wrong. Just how satisfying would that be considering some of the flack you have taken over the years.

        Lets see you develop a sprint Olympian. Come on, no excuses.

        1. Bret Post author

          There was an Olympic sprint coach in New Zealand who was really big on horizontal force and was using the hip thrust, heavy sled work, etc. and he said some of the athletes saw huge spikes in performance (his wife was one of them – a decathlete). We need research in this area for sure. And I would love to get involved with sprinting and definitely need to develop some sprinters. If I had access to technology I could use some of the knowledge I’ve gained in NZ regarding force plates, isokinetic dynamometers, torque treadmills, etc. and learn much more about various relationships as speed increased, different correlates, etc.

          1. Sprinter

            I apologise for my poor English but I am confused by the athletes of an Olympic sprint coach using some method to become better elite sprinters. I don’t know who is an Olympic sprint coach in New Zealand as all fact are NZ show 5 athletes selected for London in athletics and none are sprinters. I have seen rankings from recent years and olympic A standard for sprints are faster than best times for anybody. Being an Olympian is a huge thing for the athlete in our sport, maybe if a freak like Bolt or Lemaitre or maybe some who are druggie it’s nothing to achieve, but for ppl I know not something to throw around lightly as many work so hard but few realize of that honor.

            There seems talk about Christophe Lematre from many but what does he express, crappy 60 times, great 200, little gain for years while still young says god’s gift in talent is the reason for his times. Got good placings 2011 in daegu with no gay, Powell and many others, bolt false start in 100, truth is really the guy has big attention so far for being white, and that is really just dumb because he has just as much natural gift as any black sprinter out there, maybe in future he will be really one of fastest men with all top men healthy. I hope I do not sound to bitter but this is not a sport of riches so some honor that remain like Olympian are very serious to suggest. Peace and good luck to your athlete in the season coming.

          2. Sprinter

            Sorry for extra query but Morin of interview is a coach of Lemaitre? I do not mean to be bitter towards a person as I wish the best for all athlete and nations so please remove the comments if they are not showing good graces.

      2. Mike Young

        Thanks for the response. I actually don’t disagree about the benefit of horizontal forces, hip thrusts, strength work, etc I just like to see a more moderate stance taken. I’ve done resisted runs and what I called glute-bridges (hip thrusts) for the past 13 years. I probably emphasize the weight room more than 90% of elite track coaches. I just know that none of the above are the “magic pill” and that improved performance is much more complicated than adding an exercise, doing resisted runs, etc. The change of force vector is so fast in sprinting that what we’re calling ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal’ could basically be the outcome of the same thing.

        Many of the horizontal-force only proponents seem to want to be contrarian and overlook the role of vertical forces. The thing that distinguishes Mann’s data is that 1) it’s 20+ years longitudinal 2) it’s above ground 3) it’s using upwards of 50% of the fastest human beings in the world over that time period. Although it’s kinematic / observational there’s no one even close to matching those three key points. And Weyand is likewise putting in a sprint track with force platforms and he’s been looking at elites (albeit in small numbers) for quite some time as well. Until the kinematics associated horizontal force research come reasonably close to those observed in real sprinting (they’re WAY off right now) I think you’ll find most sprint coaches skeptical.

        The real point of my post though was that I see many others who are often as dogmatic, polarizing and contrarian as Poliquin has been but they get free passes from others because of mutually beneficial relationships. I’ve never met Charles but I’ve learned from his writings (as well as these other gurus) I just would like for any proclaimed ‘search for truth’ to be blind to who they are ‘grilling.’

        As for being accepted by the sprint crowd….good luck. It’s an odd bunch…the ONLY thing that really garners acceptance is coaching world class sprinters. Even Ralph Mann was largely ignored for years and he was an Olympic medalist sprinter!

        1. Bret Post author

          Fair enough Mike.

          Quick point of contention. Let’s say a coach had his sprinters do bodyweight single leg box squats or bodyweight Bulgarian split squats for years…then claimed that they didn’t help his sprinters much. I’d agree. You have to push the envelope. I’d want them getting strong at the squat pattern, and I’d want to see a heavy deep squat (preferably). Sure Bolt or Lemaitre probably can’t squat much, but I think you see my point – it’s not simply about simply performing the pattern and going through the motions as much as it is getting strong and powerful.

          Many coaches were doing bridging work, but nobody got sprinters freakishly strong at the pattern (for example using 500 lbs, or banging out explosive reps with 315 lbs). I don’t feel that just doing some single leg bridging will improve performance much, but getting really strong will. Hopefully you understand the analogy.

          Of course, what works for beginners and intermediates won’t always work for elite guys. But this is my current stance…they must get very strong/explosive at the hips to the point where the glutes can rapidly turn on to max capacity. It’s a feeling you get when you’ve been hip thrusting for a while and you’ve gotten really strong at them…you feel like your glutes can crush walnuts. I don’t feel the glutes are everything…but probably the most important muscle for absorbing braking forces, with hammies being even more critical for horizontal force production due to dual roles. And I realize that strength isn’t everything, it’s all about producing force at high velocities. But I feel that the hip thrust makes more sense when you analyze the torque angle curves of different hip extension exercises and realize that horizontal force at all speeds is more important than vertical force (you don’t buy this, but I do).

          This is where you and I disagree, but trust me if new research emerges that conflicts with my beliefs, I’ll be the first guy to blog about it. I’ll also give you props for being right about the vertical force theory (along with Mann and Weyand). But I don’t buy it (I’m not trying to be contrarian, this is my view based on my understanding of the research, and I’ve read a ton of it). In fact, our discussion several years ago (thank you very much for that by the way) is what led me to start researching more.

          I’m curious if you read through all the papers if you’d change your stance, and I’d love to chat with you about this some time down the road.

          But I agree there is no magic pill, and I’m sure my glute-guy website promoting my eBook turned guys off. However, I feel that you get much more bang for your buck with high school and collegiate athletes focusing on heavy bridging for speed development than you will with squatting, and this needs to be tested. But when analyzing the torque angle curves it makes sense to me. For this reason I’m still comfortable with certain claims I’ve made, though I can see how it probably rubbed some folks the wrong way. Again, if I’m proven wrong in time, I’ll be the first to blog about it.

          We can agree to disagree, but what’s important is that we can still respect one another. And I have much respect for you and am confident that you’re an excellent coach. Moreover, I trust you to not be biased and not cherry-pick (though I feel you do that right now and you feel I do that right now, we need even better research to be confident).

          Morin is going to come out with more research, it seems that Weyand will too, so in time we’ll get to the bottom of this. I agree that the kinematics in the torque treadmills are off but I think that overground studies will replicate these findings (I realize you’re skeptical of this). Again, if I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to blog about it.

          To address your other point – I don’t think you really understand my situation. I know who you’re referring to (probably the Perform Better crowd, etc.), and you probably think that I’ll lay off them and give them a pass due to mutually beneficial relationships. This is not true. These guys don’t like me ever since I questioned Stu McGill’s conclusions on crunches, and they pretty much pretend I don’t exist (and bad-mouth me on their forums). I don’t benefit at all from those relationships as I’m not making money from affiliations with their products, I don’t receive attention from them, I don’t get asked to speak in their podcasts, Perform Better doesn’t invite me to speak for them, etc. So I’m not in the “in-circle,” just so you know that. I won’t lie, I would like to be asked to speak for Perform Better because I work harder than just about anyone and my presentations are top-notch, and I want to provide balance in certain areas, but I won’t compromise my integrity as a scientist for anything.

          If I choose to grill anyone else in the future, I’ll be much more respectful, but I’m not afraid or against grilling anyone – including you, Boyle, McGill, or even myself (seriously I thought about grilling myself as I’ve changed my mind on several things in the past couple of years). It can only lead to the advancement of science and more knowledge, but I need to be more tasteful in the future.

          I appreciate you taking the time to respond, BC

          1. Mike Young

            Sounds good. Thanks for the clarification although I think you’d be hard pressed to find many (any?) things I qualify for guruism on.

            I think we’re largely of the same mindset on strength development. And for the record, I’m not a ‘vertical force’ guy…I was much more steered that way when ALL the research pointed to that but I’m currently of the mindset that it’s all important and as a coach I’m more focused on the kinematics that produce the desired outcome (a direct indication of the kinetics). Through Mann’s research we can have a pretty good grasp of what is necessary from a top end speed kinematics standpoint. And the muscles and there action are largely the same whether we’re talking about vertical or horizontal force application because the ground stroke is so short and extension ROMs so short in an efficient sprint contact.

          2. Eli Rosenberg

            “focusing on heavy bridging for speed development than you will with squatting”

            I am skeptical simply because squats load the joints in an inter-coordinated fashion through a large ROM, with an elastic component, and you can vary the GRF curve and angular velocities of the joints quite a bit by using different percentages. Whereas, hip thrusts emphasize one joint in a relatively extended ROM with seemingly less of an elastic component.

            But, why do one exercise?
            Work your extensors extensively!
            There’s a new catchphrase for you.

          3. Tyson Staples

            “Many coaches were doing bridging work, but nobody got sprinters freakishly strong at the pattern”

            Bret, any idea what Charlie Francis was doing wrt to hip thrusts…I know he was big on weights, but unsure about that exercise specifically. Ben Johnson had some decent numbers in his lower body lifts.

            Btw, good post for the most part. I’ve been a CP junkie for years, but I still manage to think of rmyself. We live in a ugly industry full of maniacal yet fragile egos. Thanks. TS

          4. Bret Post author

            Tyson, to my knowledge CF didn’t employ weighted hip thrusts. I never met him in person and I didn’t frequent his forums, but his book The CFTS is one of my all-time favorites. In that book, he details the training of many of his athletes, and the emphasis was placed on 3 lower body lifts – half squats, power cleans, and reverse leg presses. The reverse leg presses were performed on (now antiquated) Universal machine, where he’d have athletes simply push their leg rearward into hip hyperextension, so the same ROM would have been emphasized (end range hip ext) as the hip thrust. And the sprinters got freakishly strong at them…even his girls could use most of the stack if I recall correctly.

          5. Tyson Staples

            Thanks Bret. I have that book too…truly impressive, and it was the reverse leg press made me think of the hip extension, though if I remember correctly, Charlie utilized them primarliy for hamstring and lumbar extensors. Thanks again,

  33. Mike

    Really enjoyed the article, and love the S&C rezearch you publish every month.I was always skeptical of some of the stuff he wrote. You mentioned the the hamstrings and hip flexors are very important for sprinting, not so much the glutes. Why so, and should field sport athletes concentrate more on hamstring and hip flexor exercises rather than quad and glute?

  34. Pingback: Bret Contreras on Charles Poliquin | jeremysmith89

  35. Chris Moore

    Thanks for this man. I have never liked this guy and have disagreed with, not everything, but a lot of what he says and hate his attitude. I think he is just a supplement pushing repeater who doesnt do his own research

  36. Lee Taft

    Great Job Bret! It is obvious you have done the research but also the clinical work. Keep up the great work as you are helping tons of people.

  37. Troy Patton

    Great post Bret! I have every article Charles ever wrote for MM2000, muscular Development, and t nation. But the one that stands out to me the most is the stupid shit he wrote about water,fire, earth, and metal types. That guy sure puts some silly shit out there. Do you have any beef with Ian Kings work? I hope not…I’ve always enjoyed his work and have had really good success with his ideas. Thanks for keeping it real!!

    1. Bret Post author

      Yes, that article was out there for sure. Ian King’s stuff was excellent. His stuff on program design was ahead of its time.

  38. Lew

    Ive always read Poliquins work but he seems very rude and arrogant and its put me off contacting him to learn from him, a few of his students have the same attitude if you read their comments to people on their work on either facebook or their website.

  39. fiona

    I love your work Brett because it is REAL, it works…the sad thing is that so many fitness enthusiasts believe C.P. is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well done Brett, love your work and love the blog..

  40. Cian Lanigan

    I honestly don’t know what I want to say about this. I completely agree with you, but at the same time I don’t really want to condone this.

    It’s important to inform those who don’t have a scientific background that certain things certain people say are BS. I also understand how personally frustrating it can be when you see people with a big online presence say stuff that is simply wrong. Especially when they do it repeatably.

    So I get the frustration, and I get the desire to point people in the right direction. I understand the change you’re trying to make and I have huge respect for it.

    But, for everything I agree with, there’s something about this that I don’t like.

    Maybe future editions would be more along the lines of “Charles Poliquin – clams with no foundation” where you would simply highlight the clams and then showcase the research.

    I guess what I’m getting at is that I’d like to see the research take centre stage, rather than the grilling.

    Regardless, thank you for writing this article. It’s excellent. It needs to be done and I hope you continue this series. My only real comment is to consider refining your presentation.

    1. Neel

      I agree with you mostly Cian. But I think that if the coach is using counterproductive tactics (ie deleting posts he can’t respond adequately to), that ought to be called out as well, if the coach is claiming more expertise than he displays. Isn’t that a fair and worthwhile topic?

      1. Cian Lanigan

        Yes, I guess you’re right. I too have had posts deleted by his team that just pointed out flaws/referenced research that showed contradicting evidence. Poliquin should be called out. I just think that it can be done in a better way. I guess I’d prefer to see a article more along the lines of “why are you doing this” vs “you’re a idiot for doing this”. But then again, that type of article won’t get as much attention. Maybe this the the right way to go about it. I’m not sure. All I know is I agree with everything Bret is saying, yet there’s something about this that just doesn’t sit well with me.

  41. Bryan

    Freaking awesome bro!!! Anyone who creates his own certification based on the criteria he bases his certification levels on is an arrogant meathead. My physical therapist knows more than poliquin will ever forget. Keep selling those supplements because you know sooooooo much more than everyone else that you have revolutionized diet, exercise, and sports supplements. My hero. I have a sponylylosis in my L5-S1 and I barbell glue bridge a ton and it has eradicated my lower back pain. I’ve messed my back up from a lot of things, but NEVER have I nor any of my clients gotten hurt from BBGBing. In fact at one of the gyms I work at I’m somewhat looked at as “the glute guy”. So thanks brett. Keep innovating new concepts and exercises. Science and fact will always win.

    1. Bret Post author

      Thanks Bryan, I hear things like this all the time and that’s why it annoys me when “gurus” try to stop scientific advancement. Anyway keep up the great work!

    1. Bret Post author

      It’s going well, I’m just workin’ my butt off to save up for tuition for next year…PhD’s aren’t cheap!

  42. Doug Parra

    Way to go Bret and calling Poliquin on his BS that he has been doing for YEARS. I first started learning about strength and conditioning in 1998 and traveled to Montreal to take seminars from Poliquin. You are absolutely correct about how he always bashes other coaches. I could not stand his arrogance and his “How many Olympic medalists has so and so coached?” Thank you for taking the time to bring this subject to light. We don’t need to from people like this anymore as there are plenty of people who have A) gotten people strong, B) can get anybody stronger, and C) have made many people better in the sports field.

      1. Doug Parra

        I do want to say that Charles’s information is among the best in the industry. It is his delivery and his criticism of others that I have an issue with. I do want to give credit to what he has accomplished with his athletes, students and staff.

  43. Louis

    Its obvious you know what you’re talking about Bret as evidenced by your videos and the fact that you can actually acknowledge when others are right instead of just bashing people to make yourself sound better. Love your stuff man! Also, how can I send Karli a private message? I love her…

  44. claudia micco

    Oh Bret, I feel your frustration. I have always enjoyed your work. I have also found some Poliquin work useful,and maybe in the early days before his company became so big he had less ego involvement. Right now at this stage of being a trainer, it is interesting for me to watch the next generation of trainers work out things on the internet.
    There are always people like Poliquin that in the industry. Trust me, before Poliquin there were others talking the same way. The thing you mentioned about being humble is what was important to me as I watched, the one thing that is true about a REAL GURU, is that they would never tell you they were a GURU. That is not how it works. Here is something that I hope you will take to heart.
    A. If others are happy or do good, express joy.
    B. If they are unhappy or imperfect, show compassion.
    C. If they do bad things, show disinterest. :)
    Trust in your work, what you believe and forget about what others say. Even this reply. Mahalo Claudia Micco

      1. Dan

        Im sure you did Bret. But to call people underlings and a cult, thats offensive and unnecessary. He has a large amount of followers and if he genuinely disagrees with something why shouldn’t he be allowed to voice his opinion to them? Just because it goes against what you believe. Sure there may be some negatives – I doubt anyone out there totally agrees with him 100% of the time – but after doing a couple of courses with him you quickly realise just how many peoples lives he has changed in a very positive way and that he deserves all the praise he gets. Maybe the next guru you grill you can talk about some of their positives instead of launching and all out attack.

        1. Bret Post author

          Dan, I just wrote a long response and I deleted it. Just keep learning and continue exposing yourself to other methods, knowledge, etc. I have a feeling that over time you’ll get quite turned off by his approach. I’ve been hip thrusting for 6 yrs and they’ve helped make my back stronger than ever. The reverse hyper, which Charles supports, encourages lumbar hyperextension but if you use a strong glute squeeze you’ll avoid lumbar hyperext and teach the hips to move with a stable core. Please watch my previous youtube vid on spinal biomechanics…I think you’ll like it.

          The diff between Poliquin and other guys is that we have a code that we don’t break. Sure we’ll market and promote ourselves, but we draw the line at a different place than him. We won’t resort to making stuff up, we won’t blindly promote pseudoscience, we won’t completely trash everyone else (I’ve learned that he’s publicly trashed Dan John, Eric Cressey, Mike Boyle, etc., which to me paints a clear picture).

          I know that you see it like he’s helped tons of people, but so has Crossfit, P90X, Paleo Diet, etc., this doesn’t mean that methods couldn’t be improved upon or that science shouldn’t be questioned.

          But if I choose to grill another guru I’ll go about it much differently. Cheers, BC

  45. Ted

    Bret, I never told you this.

    But I was happy to see you edit your “about me” page a while back. After your first T-Nation articles I was a bit confused and wasn’t sure what to think of you. Then I visited your website, read your “about me” page and you went on and on about your intelligence. To be frank, I thought you were a dickhead.

    Weeks and months past and I continued reading your stuff. Slowly but surely my impressions of you changed. I realized that you were on to something. I started respecting you.

    Then some time later I emailed you, and you always wrote me back offering answers and help, which I appreciate very much to this day.

    You continued providing thought provoking information, and you even admitted having been a bit extreme in your approach in the past. I do not remember the exact terms you described your past behavior with, but you basically confessed to several mistakes. It takes a real man to do such a thing.

    In my opninion, you are still not as humble as you think you are (as another user pointed out), but that’s cool. Don’t hide your light under a bushel.

    Bottom line: You are in my cool book.

    P.S. Have another interview with Rachel Guy! She is awesome.

  46. Luke

    Bret, really appreciate the article. You make some excellent points and I’m sure many of our colleagues will agree that your expertise in the field is widely respected. As some constructive criticism, I think you may have taken some of those comments from CP a little too personally, and whilst you have already replied to some people regarding the tone of the blog post, I think if you had kept it a little more objective you may get through to the poliquin proponents a little better. In my mind, it’s not clear that he is specifically criticizing you or Mike Boyle; I have attended seminars where charles has spoken and I get the impression that he gets a lot of idiots questioning him without proper knowledge, and I think over the years it’s given him the arrogant and dismissive attitude. I think I actually recall him saying that he thinks people wasting time arguing without knowing much about a topic is the utmost insult. He definitely tends to speak in hyperbole – when he says “no-one’s gotten stronger from multidirectional training” I think he is trying to say “it might work but my method’s better”, just in a very black and white way. I have to say, though, that your post made some great points and I hope you continue to produce great material for us to read! All the best for your Phd.

  47. Rav Varaitch

    Thank God someone says something – don’t worry Bret,I got your back and everyone else does. I once had a bad experience with Poliquin as well – he sprayed me behind the knee with his magnesium oil and ran away.

  48. John

    Great post Bret!

    I love the box squats, glute bridges, hip thrusts and Bulgarian Split Squats haha. I think with any movement as you say it is just about proper movement and coaching.

    Your honestly and integrity is extremely refreshing. Thanks for the post Bret. Keep up the amazing work!

  49. Mike

    Bret, slightly off topic but would you mind posting the Mann and Weyand (I have the one from 2000) research? Was the Mann stuff a book you were referring to or a particular series of studies? Thanks.

    1. Bret Post author

      Mann has a bunch of studies that are hard to get a hold of since they’re old and many libraries don’t allow access to the pdf’s. But he has a book that you can find HERE. The book contains excellent data but I don’t feel it paints the whole picture.

  50. Danny McLarty


    My “experience” with CP is similar to yours…
    -I found him on t-nation and loved reading his work.
    -I continued to read more and more and learn more and more from him.
    -I then started to think some of his writings were making “weird” claims (especially as I learned more).
    -I went to one of his seminars and could NOT believe how rude he was to many of the people in the audience. It was like the majority of the crowd was on pins and needles, scared to ask a question due to the way he treated a few of the other people that asked a question that he didn’t like.
    -I still read his work and still to this day think he has done a lot of good for field. But some of work is setting the field back…

    I personally know a couple people that are going through his PICP course. They are relatively new to training and very impressionable. They hear him make some of his claims and except it as gospel. They NEED to see posts like this one that you made.

    Like Lyle said above, you’re probably wasting your breath. But I only think your wasting your breath to a portion of the people out there. Some have their mind up no matter what you or anyone says. But I DO think some of the PICP people do have open minds, and will be influenced by posts like this. AND, there are many people that read CP’s stuff but are not going through his PICP course that are not so “die-hard” CP followers, that will be “saved” from some of his claims.

    On one hand, as I read your post I thought to myself, “man Bret, did you really need to hit him THAT hard!?!” But on the other hand, sometimes this needs to be done to make people listen. And in the end, I do think that this post will make many (not all) of CP’s “followers” think a bit… which is a good thing.

    Talk to you later,


  51. Tim Randell

    I’m glad this was posted – I read the Poliquin Glute article last Monday when it was posted, and it left a slightly bad taste.

    There were so many points to dispute, despite it being such a short article, but the ones which jumped out at me were;

    1. Intimating that bridges/thrusts are unsafe.

    Having performed both, this strikes me as an unusual statement for a S&C expert to make – assuming that you perform both of the movements ‘correctly’, it is almost impossible to hyperextend the lumbar spine… to suggest that this can happen is to admit that you don’t know how to correctly perform the lifts. Perhaps the suggestion was that it can cause damage if you don’t know what you’re doing?

    In which case, the article could have been re-written as follows;

    “Never perform a lift without knowing how to perform it”. It would have been much quicker to read.

    2. The suggestion that the GHR/Full-Squat are the top dogs in Glute development.

    There’s not much to say about this one, in all honesty. It goes against the vast majority of the basic training principles; there is a lot of ‘chatter’ in various S&C circles at the moment regarding weight/intensity being the all-important variable. In my opinion, this is patently untrue – ROM should be the all-important variable when training for development of a target muscle or group thereof.

    As to the other points regarding scientific integrity/basic human decency, I can only agree. Personally I much prefer your methods of making reference to your contemporaries when you believe they have written something effective. I find it refreshing, informative and I respect you a great deal for it.

    If I could echo some of the advice given above though, please do less of the ‘you’re an idiot’ narrative. It may well be true, but it is beneath you and the article would have, in my opinion, been more effective without it.

    Great work Bret – keep it up.

  52. shams

    Every person has a different body. I have done a lot of hip thrusts and hip bridges and these are fine exercises but weighted lunges work best for me. I am no fan of CP or his writings but actions speak lounder than words. When you do groom international athletes, do attack him. Till then just continue to do the fine work you are doing by educating people through your blog and articles.

    1. Bret

      Lunges probably make your glutes the sorest but you can’t activate the glutes with lunges like you can with hip thrusts, back extensions, etc., so I think you’re confusing soreness/damage with “most effective.” Tension and metabolic stress trump damage.

      And this whole “I train Olympic athletes” is the biggest load of crap and all of CP’s followers fall for it. This gives him a pass to make stuff up, promote pseudoscience, etc. because he used to train Oly athletes. And nobody else deserves to have an opinion because they haven’t trained Olympians. How is that logical and why do people buy into it?

  53. Michael

    I appreciate the bashing of Poliquin, because he deserves it and it needed to be done.
    However, please refrain from saying stupid stuff yourself, like that you could put on 11 pounds in two days with half of that being muscle.

  54. Nick

    Eric Cressey wrote “My Top 5 Single Leg Lifts” for t-nation and this was a response by a noted fitness professional.

    Tim Ziegenfuss, PhD: Nice piece, Eric. I plan on using the rev lunge to RDL with my 12 yr old son in about an hour! :) I will say that SL training, although ideal for reducing compressive spinal forces and sports performance, can lead to low back problems when done to excess. I know from personal experience, as I damaged 2 lumbar discs doing heavy SL (eccentric) loading (i.e. the old “lower with 1 leg, lift with 2”). As it turns out, the load caused my pelvis to shift and rotate in a manner not appreciated by L4/5 and L5/S1. Luckily, I know a great MD who does prolotherapy under fluoroscopic guidance.

    My point here is that Poliquin may not use certain exercises from hearing about certain individuals getting hurt. For example with box squats rocking in the bottom may cause injuries. But who cares what he does or does not do. His career speaks for itself and anyone with analytical skills knows to use what he says that works for you and ignore the rest. He always reccommends rear foot elevated split squats but from a lower box as opposed to a bench no big deal. He had one individual increase their bench after training the external rotators and his main point was to not ignore the body part not the excessive amount of weight that was lifted.

    Bret you are a professor and I found this unbecoming and unprofessonal. Who cares what Poliquin does. I am suprised you felt the need to “level” the playing field. There is a reason why guys like Cressey, Robertson, Boyce and the elite crew do not do stuff like this. They have better time on their hands getting people stronger than using a form of negative marketing as self promotion. I have read a lot of your material and now would rather not. Your blog and your post come across as you have to be the one who will save the fitness industry from Poliquin. Thibaudeau always says take what works from other coaches ignore the rest.

    1. Bryan

      Nick, notice how Bret doesn’t respond to people like yourself who provide a logical rebuttal to his slander….I will take your position and use what works and disregard the rest..

      1. Bret

        Nick and Bryan, you guys are incredibly blind. Wake up and smell the coffee! When you decide to think for yourselves and quit relying on your gurus and expert opinions, then we can have a chat. Until then I don’t know what to say.

        After reading what I wrote above about Charles, yet you’re still defending his b.s., just shows that you need gurus to guide your path and you’re absolutely oblivious to his antics. I’m trying to teach people how to think for themselves and think critically, so if you would like to rephrase anything scientifically then I can address this.

        What in the hell does Tim Z.’s experience have to do with this blogpost? He hurt himself doing single leg training – what does this have to do with my blogpost?

        Someone out there has hurt themselves with every single exercise – so rather than have a sound biomechanical understanding we should just denounce the exercise? Rather than try them out ourselves and then prescribe them to others, we should just denounce them?

        This is the antithesis of critical thinking and you guys aren’t seeing the righting on the wall.

        1. Martin

          Hi Bret,

          I agree with some of your comments about Mr. Poliquin but I belive you are either cherry picking as well or reading the part about rotator cuff assuming certain facts.

          In the text you quoted, it was never mentioned that Adam Nelson, two-time Olympic silver medalist did primarily rotator cuff exercises.

          I will quote you on this one:

          “I’ve never been able to raise anyone’s incline press 240lbs in 6 months from focusing on shoulder external rotation. I’m pretty sure it was the incline presses you prescribed, not the external rotation imbalance.”

          I agree that even if this weight number is correct it was not achieved by focusing on external rotation but nowhere in the text you quoted it was said that it was primarily due to that. It was mentioned in the text though that Mr. Nelson:

          “… neglected his rotator cuff development… ”

          Dave Tate talks a lot how at certain heavier weight certain imbalances are coming out in bench press. This might be true for both muscle development as it is for technique.

          I myself believe that majority (if not all) articles on Mr. Poliquins website are written in a way that does not provide reader with all the factors/facts but they are a way in which he wants to encourage people to use his costly services to get to know the “full story”.

      2. Bret

        Furthermore, Bryan, I’m trying to spend some time with my family today…I’m sorry I took 9 hours to respond to his post. Unreal.

  55. Marc

    Hi Bret,

    Charles made some very strong and unfounded accusations about the danger of hip thrusts. This is n=1, but they actually make my back feel better.

    On Charles’ youtube page , he shows barbell back squats that involve the trainee breaking at the knees prior to hinging at the hips and then lowering themselves until their back rounds at the bottom.

    What do you think of this? It looks very risky to me? I think hip thrusts would be much safer.

  56. Bricey

    Hi Bret

    I’m a little confused as to why someone of your obvious intelligence feels the need to attack someone that has contributed so much to the industry? In our industry we have to self promote as you are doing in this article and as Paul Chek does and many others. Yes I’m sure that Poliquin stretches the truth a little from time to time but doesn’t everyone?

    I read and learn and take courses from as many “experts as I can”. I have taken many of his certs and through his teachings have managed to help people with issues ranging from chronic shoulder or hip pain to metal toxicity and depression. Having done his leg internships and read many of his articles I have never picked up that he bashes many of the things you claim.

    I enjoy your work and I enjoyed reading this article but I’m still confused. Yes he embellishes, but wouldn’t your efforts be better served writing educational material or attacking the thousands of trainers out there who rip clients off by not getting educated and using dangerous ineffective practices?

    1. Bret

      Stretches the truth a little? What in the hell is wrong with you guys? He completely makes crap up. There’s a big difference between stretching the truth and lying. How can you trust anything a person says if they are prone to lying?

      You can be damn sure I’ll continue to educate, but somebody needs to step up and steer the industry in the right direction. Educating also involves teaching people how to sift through b.s. and think critically. Sorry if I’m being curt but I’m a little riled up right now and can’t believe that you’re defending him after reading what I wrote in the post.

      1. Bricey

        As I said I have used many of his techniques to help people so I can believe it because I have seen it. I’ve also used other peoples info to help people, which makes me believe them as well.

        The truth is there is more than one way to skin a cat. So I wish the top guys would pool together more because at the end of the day the aim to to help people. Sadly business is business I guess it won’t happen.

        I’m interested to see who you choose to flame next!


        1. Bret Post author

          That is my wish too…that we could pool together to improve the field of sports science. If guys like Poliquin, Boyle, McGill, myself, some of my researcher friends, etc. got together we could do some serious damage. I would love to have a meeting of the minds but there needs to be mutual respect.

          1. John

            Agreed, I feel calling him a liar is stupid really and you are showing yourself as classless. It seems like jealousy to me and totally uncalled for. I personally hope he takes action against you after reading this worthless attack

          2. Bret Post author

            I’m definitely not jealous. Worthless attack? Let’s just pretend the bold claims I mentioned in my blog never happened? Wake up!

  57. Jessica P

    Be careful on bashing Charlie P., Brett or that tag-along Molly Galbraith might pop her spleen lol!

  58. Tihomir101

    I shit myself laughing Bret. This was refreshing. There’ll be a lot of opinions but Harry Callahan said it good about opinions. Someone needed to break all the back patting and being nice to everyone for no reason and not adressing the elephant as long as everybody manages to sell something. You, my friend, will one(and already) day be referred to as one of the game’s biggest names and I am glad you’re doing this.

  59. Ted

    Bret, do you think Poliquin might sue you? Not familiar with US law, so I don’t know whether he would have a case. But you insulted him quite a bit and may have done damage to his business?

    1. Jessica P

      No offense “Ted” but if you think Brett has “damaged” CP’s income stream then you obviously have an IQ below room temperature. ; )

    2. Kevin F

      Ted, that is something I considered after reading this as well out of pure curiosity. I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV, but I would think that with the sound research Brett has done as well as his focus on finding the truth for the public, it would hard to prove libel in this case. These are Brett’s opinions and opinions are considered a reasonable defense in almost all jurisdictions. I also think Brett is causing harm to Poloquin’s business with this, but to prove libel would be much harder than if Brett started ranting about all these horrible things he does without much sound reasoning why. Proving Brett’s statements to be false would be near impossible, which would have to be the case for there to be one. Perhaps doing things in a professional and tactful manner can prevent this topic being discussed in the future? If/when Poloquin’s side decides to address this I wonder who will be perceived as more credible(notice I used the word perceived, which can require us to interpret without knowing). I concur with thinking critically to come to sound agreement on what works and that can change at any time! Being a hot head, know-it-all, jerk, etc. can make people appear to use poor judgement, therefore affecting their credibility regardless of what they’re saying is true. Not logical as one has no bearing on the other, but that’s just the way it is! Stay tuned!

      1. Bret Post author

        I’m not doing anything that Charles hasn’t done many times. Apparently he’s thrown Dan John, Eric Cressey, and many others under the bus.

        And if Charles wants to post a rebuttal on my blog, I’ll post it here.

    3. Claire

      Well wouldn’t that be fun…if Poliquin sued for libel he’d have to produce evidence to back up his assertions…I’d happily organise the defence fund just to see that

      I suggest you read some of his blog posts if you feel he’s that sensitive a bunny…he’s routinely appallingly rude and has taken great pleasure in humiliating people who have done nothing more than ask his opinion, which is why I find the bitching about the manner of Brett’s response funny…he’s replied in the way Poliquin himself would. CP made some great contributions a while ago but he’s morphed into a Narcissistic jackass who refuses to acknowledge that research has moved on or to allow the spotlight to fall on anyone else for a second.

  60. Nick

    Mr. Conteras,

    My point regarding Dr. Z was that all exercises even ones you endorse have a potential for injury and that in Poliquin’s mind the exercises he chooses to denounce are the ones he feels have a poor cost benefit ratio. Christian Thibaudeau no longer supports low rep glute ham raises and lying leg curls but are they a bad exercises? Mike Boyle has denounced box squats, high barbell back squats, lat pulldowns and heavy deadlifts but are they bad? My point was to be analytical and choose the exercises that work for you and choose the material to read that suits your interests. Critical thinking is a necessary skill and you should not forget that critical thinking implies being critical of your 30 minute video and your motives. Tact matters sir, and you are not saving the industry you maybe tarnishing yourself in the long run.

    1. Bret Post author

      Nick, come on dude! Hip thrusts don’t hurt anyone if you coach them properly. They’re so safe…I’ve been prescribing them for years and nobody has ever hurt themselves.

      Why are you defending his actions? I’ve heard from his people that he doesn’t train his legs…I guarantee he’s never done a set of hip thrusts and yet he’s bashing them. If you were an S&C leader, would you bash an exercise you’ve never performed, or would you try to gain some expertise before doing so?

      And don’t you see the pattern…first box squats (westside), then RFESS (boyle), then hip thrusts (me). The reverse hyper and ghr are okay but not hip thrusts? This is not consistent.

      Some of his people have told me I’m spot on with this. Why can’t you see it?

  61. David Lawrence

    Bret, Almost every dollar I have made as a strength coach I owe to Charles Poliquin. I worked at his Center in Chicago for 3 years and because of the knowledge he past on to me and Mike Bystol (the owner) I have been able to open up my own strength training center in Detroit, MI. While I was at PPCC, I had the opportunity to work with over 20 NFL athletes and multiple NHL hockey players. At our facility in Chicago we had athletes win Olympic medals, National Championships ect and go on to receive record contracts. At my facility I have NFL athletes, multiple Hockey Players in the AHL and OHL, and a half dozen D1 athletes and 1 athlete who competes on the World Cup Circuit. Now to refute your attacks
    1) I have seen multiple players put on over 75 to 100 lbs in the bench press in less than 3 months training external rotation. If you want to contact me you have my email and I will show you how I do it. 2) We did Hip Extensions, Glute Bridges, ect. at his center but we used it with people with relatively low strength levels……they just aren’t as effective when training top end athletes. When you train elite athletes, which I don’t think you have done…. you need to use exercises that will actually transfer to improving sport performance i.e. the GHR, Squats, Deadlifts ect. When you produce your first Olympic medal winner… any sport…..I will listen to you. That brings me to my next point. CP has trained Olympic Medal Winners in 17 different sports and I believe over 60 all together. I know for a fact that he still has 10 world record holders in multiple sports….. as well as professional hockey players on most of the teams in the NHL 3) Who have you trained? Have you trained one professional athlete? Have you trained one Olympic Medal winner? Or are you an internet Marketing guy? The science and research is great… know whats better? Results. Next, Many of my clients take vacations to the Caribbean and they’re body composition always improves dramatically. Why? 1. Organic Food, even though they eat like crap and drink every night it amazes me that they are leaner when they come back. The food down there is unbelievably richer in trace minerals and antioxidants (its hard to believe but true) 2. Stress levels…. usually when they are on Vacation they have less stress and sleep more, therefore cortisol is lower and they lean out. 3. They get more Vit D3, which if you know anything about D3 it helps with just about every function in the human body, including body composition.
    A.R.T. (Do you know what ART is?) 2-10 percent increase in strength levels are very normal with ART. I’ve worked with 5 ART practitioners in total, 4 in Chicago and 1 now in Detroit. ART improves ROM, Strength, and Speed. When an athlete of mine starts ART, Dramatic Strength Improvement always happen. My experience has been a minimum of 5 to 10 percent.
    Next, I like hip thrusts….I use box squats (not often) but I like them “I have a mind of my own” but the information from Charles Poliquin is by far better than anyone else’s. If you don’t like it, don’t check his website every day with your fingers crossed to see if he will put something up there that you agree with or like.
    Finally, Charles Poliquin has been a blessing on my life and hundreds of other coaches who have in turn been able to help they’re clients in ways that one know else can because of A. Superior Training Methods B. Bio Signature Modulation. With Bio Signature Modulation I have helped people loose over 100 pounds, doctors take them off medications they were suppose to be on for life, they start sleeping through the night, and best of all start feeling better for the first time in years. I also know about two dozen practioners who are more competent and skilled in Bio Signature than I am and get unreal results. Look up Nick Mitchell UP Fitness. Again, Charles is the best in the business and probably the most generous person with his knowledge. You can’t argue with results. I don’t mind you disagreeing or calling him out or whatever you are trying to do, but what bothers me is your attack on his Character. I don’t agree with that, its unwarranted. That is a dumb childish move that no professional would do.

    To Recap for you. Because of Charles Poliquin……

    -I have trained over 20 NFL athletes at PPCC, and through my business
    -I have trained over two dozen D1 athletes in the past three years
    -I have trained 8 CEOs and business owners become more productive, fit, and improved their quality of life.
    -B/C of CPI can get results that no one else in the industry can get
    -The last 3 years I am in the top 1 percent in earnings compared to my graduating class. And am in the top 5 percent in the entire industry. Again, I owe this to the knowledge I have received from Charles Poliquin.

    By the way. I am 26 years old

    1. Bret Post author

      David, why do you feed into this line of thinking? Some Olympic level strength coaches are great and some are terrible. This doesn’t give you a pass to be illogical.

      I have trained many athletes and I’ve seen more transfer to performance from hip thrusts than from any other lift including squats, deads, ghr’s, etc. Other coaches have seen the same trend, so I’m not alone on this.

      So one of us is right and the other isn’t. Why don’t you start thinking like a scientist and think up how you could test your theory vs. my theory (form a question and set up a controlled experiment). This is what I’ve done with setting up my thesis, but I’m open to being wrong. I hope you are too.

      And I have no doubt that Poliquin’s system works well. I’ve learned a ton from him over the years too. But if you’re not willing to admit that MBSC, Athletes Performance, etc. also have great systems that would produce comparable results, then I don’t think you’re being objective.

      To answer some of your questions, I have never trained an Olympic medalist, I have trained a few pro athletes but I don’t claim to have “produced” them so I don’t mention them.

      However, I have a particular skill in shaping glutes. And I’m damn certain that my system is better than anyone else’s out there as I’m doing it (RESULTS as you say).

      And my results in terms of glute transformation trump those of Charles (I challenged him to a before/after pic contest), so if this is your criteria then you need to give me some credit.

      The last thing I want to say is that I commend you for having respect for your mentors. Too many people forget too quickly and aren’t thankful for those who shaped them, and I do respect this about you.


  62. Tom McDonald

    Hi Brett, great job. Next you might want to take on Lyle McDonald, he may be smart but he is the most swearing dude on the net, he does not try to help by having a quality diologue, he instead call you “so stupid I am sick “. This was aimed at me for advocating real food over manufactured.

  63. Daniel L

    Thanks Bret, we all enjoyed that down in the carded athlete gym here in NZ. Hope life is good back in the states man. Dan, and the rest of the S&C team.

  64. Mark Cordy

    Does Charles Poliquin make some stuff up, embellish some information and ignore some contradictory scientific research? Yes.
    Does Charles Poliquin sometimes act arrogant and superior to other strength coaches? Yes.
    Does Charles Poliquin “bully” other strength coaches? Yes.
    Does Charles Poliquin come off as a “guru” and a “know-it-all?” Yes
    Brett, it would appear that you are correct about all of the aforementioned points!
    Now, how does on deal with a bully? You can either:
    A) ignore them
    B) stand up to them.
    Which one is best? In my opinion, it’s B) stand up to them.
    Now, how does one stand up to a bully? You can either:
    A) try to talk and deal with them normally
    B) give them a similar taste of their own medicine.
    It would appear that you tried to get in touch with him (so you tried A – but it didn’t work)
    Next, you have option B (fighting fire with fire). Somebody does have to stand up, agreed. No one else had the balls to do it so you chose to do it because you were fed up – congratulations.
    Now, to fight fire with fire, you can do it in one of two ways:
    A) to say things politely – sticking to facts and arguments (and being a stand-up human being)
    B) to attack and insult the individual – attacking their character (and sinking to their level).
    Now, you and I both know that only option A) was the correct way to do things. Despite that, you chose to venture into option B) – not entirely (but quite a bit!) Why? You did call him a “prick” in your video…You and I both know that that’s not appropriate. Please understand that I’m not supporting what he has said and how he has acted, but you have to admit that you insulting him doesn’t solve the situation nor will it change his ways. It’s not as if Charles will see and hear your post and say: “I better change as a human being”. All Charles supporters will continue to support him. All anti-Charles people with continue to not support him. So in the end, you were the voice for people who were afraid to speak. But, in reality, nothing will change because of your actions. All that has happened is that you’ve A) strengthened your image in the eyes of some (your supporters and anti-Charles people) and B) tarnished your image in the eyes of others (both some of your current supporters unfortunately and the pro-Charles people – I’ve read the responses) because of the way that you chose to go about doing so. Unfortunately, it would appear that the industry will not all of a sudden change because of this post. Rather, the only thing that has changed is your image – positively for some and negatively for others. That’s the reality.

    1. Bret Post author

      Mark, after thinking about this for two straight days, I think you’re exactly right. You hit the nail on the head.

    2. Kyle

      Nonsense. It’s always right to rip into frauds.

      Some things may not actually change anything, but they’re still the right thing to do.

      1. Mark Cordy

        Kyle, it’s right to attempt to hold someone accountable for questionable information and/or actions. I’m not disagreeing with that…There’s just a right way to go about doing things.
        Brett’s intentions were good, however some of his execution was not (I said some, not all).
        Also, to classify someone as a fraud because they have some supposedly incorrect information and have talked some smack is foolish. That’s a little narrow minded, don’t you think? I think every one can unanimously agree that Charles Poliquin has contributed immensely to the world of strength and conditioning. There’s no question about that. To dismiss someone’s accomplishments and contributions by overshadowing them with their mistakes is wrong.
        Call them out on the BS in a respectful manner, and it’s all good :)

        1. Kyle

          What has Poliquin contributed besides his ego? What original and correct and useful ideas has he come up with?

          Yes, yes, I know – he’s “trained 300 or 400 Olympians.” Only someone who’s been involved in training athletes of any level would know the comedy value of that statement. I’ve trained people who’ve gone on to be successful competitive powerlifters – I taught them to squat in the first place, and/or gave them a programme to get them from a 40 to a 100kg squat. But then someone else took them to where they were actually competitive, so I don’t take credit for them.

          Others will take credit for some athlete if they once saw them in the gym and said, “knees out when you squat.”

          Setting aside his own self-promotion, what has he actually contributed to the S&C world? Are you confusing fame with usefulness? In that case, Jillian Michaels is the world’s best trainer.

          Today Poliquin has on his front page,

          “Train with a high volume to build muscle and lose weight—more total repetitions will always be superior for a better body composition. By lifting more reps to muscle failure with limited rest, you will trigger greater muscle development and elevate growth hormone for significant fat loss.”


  65. Will Arias

    I’ve been reading “this episode” about grilling the guru with the same enthusiasm i watched the last season of The Sopranos. Fascinating to see how some blokes have the necessity to take a position by wearing the jumper of the “coolest” team. C’mon, its not about good vs bad guys. The message from Brent is bloody clear. However the vehicle used to “transport” it was probably inadequate.
    Imaging driving your car down the road and some guy in a convertible overtakes you and then gets in front without giving you notice (by using the indicator). Thank god you are quick enough by using the brakes on time. And then you see how the “convertible guy” does the same to somebody else. So you roll the eyes while thinking “hey, somebody should tell that idiot one thing or two about how to drive properly”. Then a set of traffic lights is approaching and you have the chance to say something to the “offender” as both cars are side to side while waiting for the green light. What would you do: A) Would you insult him by telling him something like “Hey, man, where did you steal your driving license”?; B) Would you be dramatic and telling him “Hey, buddy, you gonna kill somebody if you keep driving like that, man”; C) or, would you be respectful but eloquent by saying something “excuse me, mister, probably your car lights are not working properly because as you overtook a few cars the indicator didn’t work”.
    Obviously, there are more colourful and creative options, for sure. However, i reckon you might agree that option “C” would be more appropriate, even if the convertible guy shows you the middle finger as he accelerates when the traffic lights turn green. Nevertheless, you sent your message across and the convertible guy will be thinking about the content rather than the form of the insult. When road rages happen, usually somebody starts the aggression, but its a matter of keep cool and speak your mind without offending and throwing the valuable content of your valid message.
    Sorry about my long analogy but i’d like to think that your next grill will be more mature, humble and respectful… By the way, not sure if you need to grill somebody else , anyway. Your work as a writer, your knowledge and intelligence are much more valuable than grilling somebody else. Let your work make the talking. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything or , at least, try to talk your disagreements in private, if the issue its really affecting you. You will spread your legacy and respect as a scientist no matter what.

  66. Anders Nedergaard

    Nice post Brett
    While i do not agree 100% on all of the stuff about hip function, i do think you bring out several relevant point and i do think that Poliquin (Loliquiin, as we say) have gone progressively more batshit in the last 5-10 years. I also think that he gotten better and better at claiming stuff that benefits his business, while contrasting with the rest of the world. Do i think he’s a good trainer? Yes. Do I also think he’s a monumental dickhead? Also yes. I’ve written another “grill” aimed af Poliquiin, that you find relevant ;o)

    Thanks for posting Brett, keep it up


  67. scott

    i think some of the guru around the world it all about sale more stuff they say more book they sale all the course get book up it all about the money how can you say Charles he bad i don’t like all what he say but he dose know what he saying but lots your suff is copy from other to what all have to remember is that any one that a guru they may a put 30 years in to what they are chatting about it all about the money more say more they can sale they work on trainer insecurity to get brand out there may of the are not recognised by government bodies or any one but make you pay £1000 for a course it just business i see lot of trainer doing shit course and still not getting right to be come trainer can take 6 weeks what a load of crap that is when the body is more complex then a car engine yes i got Charles books so are good and like and did learn new stuff to i think to become a trainer of coach should take 6 years not 6 weeks and guru should all join as one so they get best study out there for us all i been work out for 22 years now and personal trainer 12 years i have look at lots of book and guru and course i think if we go deep and see what work best for client and we keep them out of pain and fit and heathy i like that your speaking out but think may be wasting your energy and time all the best

  68. Nick


    the reason why I like your work and respect it is because your the opposite of Charles. I have followed you since “Dispelling the Glute Myth”. Everyone knows Charles is obnoxious and says inappropriate things so people find alternative sources of information such as yourself. I tried to illustrate this subtley through my posts that I enjoy the good nature of how you present yourself not stooping to a level everyone already knows that Charles operates at.

  69. JF


    Thanks for having the testosterone to write this. I think you have expressed the feelings of many in the strength and conditioning field. The many, however, are not in a visible position as you are. Thanks.

    Also, great exchange with Mike Young. In your explanation of the erroneous Poliquin quotation regarding muscle contributions to “sprint and jumping biomechanics,” you mentioned “in fact a brand new study was released on the topic last week.” Are you referring to the JB Morin study which you have published previously, or a different new study?

    Mike Young is correct. The “sprint crowd” is an odd bunch. I have been in and out of it for nearly 40 years, and it’s getting more wierd. Probably as territorial as the stregth training crowd.

    Many thanks for your time, effort, and knowledge. JF

    1. Bret Post author

      No, it’s a new study. I just read it last week. I can’t remember the name of the study but it was awesome. Marcus Pandy was one of the researchers. I wish the researchers would have studied the muscle forces during ground contact though and effects on horizontal force production – they only looked at swing phase as well as vertical force production. Sorry, the name of the study is escaping me.

  70. Dave


    I think this post is truly epic and I appreciate you having the balls to write it. I refuse to err on the conservative side by claiming you were “unprofessional” because I understand your frustration, and I’m sure others in this industry do as well. I have listened to many interviews with Poliquin and spoke to individuals who have actually attended his seminars, and the man comes off as a completely self-centered, arrogant jackass. In a recent local interview, he consistently dismissed certain training methods used by the interviewer, calling them “stupid” and “moronic”, and referred to how many olympic athletes he’s “produced” more times than I could count.

    While I do agree that there are few coaches that should be called out to this extent, Poliquin is certainly one of the few who truly deserves it. Nice job.

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  73. Andrew

    Great idea, but the execution could use some work. Change the tone. You have the science to back your arguments, so trust in it.

    Also, I found it interesting that you mentioned Defranco. I have long put him and Poliquin in the same category. If you really want this project to be all-inclusive, then failing to go after him would be a red flag (at least in my eyes).

    1. Andrew

      Beyond Defranco, there are a lot of guys that you could grill that you are probably on good terms with. Some may even be close friends. Failing to go after all of them makes this look like a cowardly attempt to publicly shame people you have perceived to have wronged you, using the veil of “scientific integrity” as a shield.

      1. Tom

        Amen. Would be a shame if grill the guru was only a one part series and poliquin the only target. Get it all out Bret

      2. Bret Post author

        DeFranco? His stuff rocks. I went after the biggest guru first. I don’t have time to grill ever guru out there, but you can be damn certain that I have integrity and that I’m not a coward. This post proves it. And Poliquin goes around shaming people he threaten him, not me. Get your facts straight.

  74. Tom

    Thats story about the anabolism of the Dominican Republic food is pretty hilarious I must say. Hopefully will become an infamous quote from the S&C world

  75. Ian Wilson

    Bret, I think David Lawrence has highlighted well that Poliquins work deserves all the accolades and attention he deserves. CP has infuenced the industry in a positive way. If you dont like his personality then thats your problem. Alot of his work is blown out of context unless you have completed his biosignature or PICP. He maybe outspoken, but merely he believes he has better ways of doing things. Olympic medals in 17 different sports is an impressive portfolio. In terms of the industry atm he is leading the way. A good strength coach takes what he needs for all resources. Think you should be proffessional and concentrate on your own clients. Unless you are releasing an ebook and need some attention on your blog?

    1. Bret Post author

      Ian, I think that you are a moron and lack critical thinking skills. You support someone who fabricates stories and you need a guru to tell you how to live your life. When you’re ready to think for yourself, start reading research, experimenting with other methods, and becoming your own guru. There’s nothing special about Poliquin’s system and I don’t believe that he’s leading the way. I know a ton of Olympic coaches and my professors consult for Olympic teams, and I attend seminars involving Olympic coaches. No one mentions Poliquin’s methods. Seriously, you don’t hear coaches discuss his methods because real coaches see right through his crap. Blind and gullible coaches in need of gurus talk about his stuff and feed into his money-making machine. I do concentrate on my own clients and I teach people how to think for themselves (which can’t be said for Poliquin). But I’ll step in when Poliquin offers crappy advice about training glutes, an area where my portfolio blows his away.

      1. Ian Wilson

        Bret, calling me a moron makes it look like youve got a few issues. I also follow some of other trainers you mention have got a mind of my own hence I dont feel the need to criticise other training protocols. I think there is bigger problems in the industry atm that you should be mentioning if you are slaying people. Being jelous of someone who is successful is a horrible trait. Good luck to you and your gluet training, not exactly groundbreaking..

        1. Bret Post author

          Ian, if you don’t feel this need, why do you keep posting comments on my blog? And how would you know that my glute training methods aren’t ground-breaking, have you tried them yourself or with clients (or are you another psychic trainer)? Get people doing double bodyweight hip thrusts for ten reps and I’m pretty sure you’ll take that comment back. But you’re not after scientific advancement, your after guruism. Once again, I’m not jealous, I’d be honest about that. I’m annoyed at crappy science. And if you keep sticking to your guru’s glute training methods you’ll keep achieving suboptimal results.

          1. Adi

            Very true that Poliquin is full of crap, but he’s tryin to make money. Too much money I’d say. He is very insecure, that’s why he bashes everyone and puts a trademark to his shitty meat and nut breakfast, as if he owned the rights to nature. Nowadays there are research studies to support anything. And when i say anything, i mean anything. Each one of us is cherry picking. It kinda supports our opinions. And we are all about opinions.

      2. Joe

        I’m so sick of hearing people defending Poliquin and/or attacking Bret on the basis that Poliquin has produced medalists and Bret hasn’t. This criterion alone does NOT invalidate Bret’s observations. Take for example, I have never participated in, conducted, written, or even read a single a research paper whereby a double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment was done to find out if smashing someone’s thumb with a hammer will cause pain and damage to one’s thumb, but I can confidently say that it will F*&%king hurt based on enough “life experience” as a mature adult. Bret certainly has enough of this “life experience” as per his current credentials in the S&C field.
        And for those who keep saying CP has contributed so much to the industry as well as their businesses, great, no one including Bret, is disputing his past achievements. But that does not excuse the BS of CP’s stories & general attitude. It would be like a cop with a 30-year distinguised career becoming involved in corruption and gets caught. When given a lecture by his non-cop friend, his defence is goes like this:
        “Look mate, you have not practiced law enforcement for the last 30 years, don’t tell me that my corrupt activities are unacceptable.”
        I’m sure the police department has appreciated this person’s contribution to law enforcement, but don’t go around breaking the law now and rely on your “distinguised career” as a defence.

  76. LanceB

    Bret great to offer opposing opinions based on good science but IMHO not a great idea to refer to CP as a ‘cult’ and to insult everyone that has taken his courses as ‘cult followers’, therefore implying they have no skills in critical thinking. Most in the S&C field have a thirst for knowledge and learn from multiple sources “Do cult-leaders even know that they’re cult-leaders? Do you want your trainers to think critically or to accept your word as gospel?”

    1. Bret Post author

      I don’t feel that everyone who has taken his course is a cult-follower. We’ve all learned from CP, but those who are blind and accept everything he (or any “expert”) says aren’t doing the field any good, nor is any expert who doesn’t teach his followers to think critically. Hell no I don’t want my readers to accept my word as gospel. When I spoke at the Fitness Summit last week, my first slide was to question everything. Question everything I say, question everything you hear from others, etc. Be skeptical, curious, and open-minded…this is the nature of a good scientist/practitioner. If I’m not giving off this impression then I need to do a better job of it because this is the way I feel. Furthermore, I take time to answer people’s questions and I always congratulate those who ask good questions. And I applaud those who learn from multiple sources…I do too. But “cult members” tend to learn from one person and accept everything that person says as gospel without questioning it, seeking alternative opinions, experimenting, etc. That’s not what I espouse.

  77. Barney

    You say that you “don’t feel that everyone who has taken his course is a cult-follower” yet you demonise them as though they are. Then you say, don’t take my word as gospel. CP also says don’t take my word as gospel. If people follow him that way, that’s the fault of those trainers, not of CP. Same as any ‘guru’.

    Grilling someone who has 25+ years of experience with a LOT of athletes and medals under his belt and who is in better shape than you for being some what older, goes against your 25 steps to becoming a Fitness Guru article, does it not?

    Also, why does one of your main glute activation exercises (the hip thrust) not go from full glute load into full hip extension? This seems like very simple biomechanical failure to me…

    1. Bret Post author

      I’m receiving private emails from hundreds of fitness professionals and former zealots and they’re painting a different picture. I’ve never attended a CP seminar. But they say that he gets highly annoyed when others question him. And it’s the fault of both – CP for not encouraging critical thinking, and CP followers for having low standards and needing a guru.

      CP is in better shape than me? Are you serious? WTF? I’m pretty sure I could outperform him in almost any functional test known to man. He doesn’t even look like he trains his legs.

      Your last question doesn’t make sense. It does go to full hip extension.

      You are not a critical thinker and need a guru to tell you how to live, and your biomechanical knowledge is piss-poor.

      1. CC

        You have got to be joking a went to a seminar where he was measured at 4% bodyfat and his legs are solid!
        I admire you for getting your website ratings up byy piggy backing off POliquin. Train an olympic athlete to a medal then I’ll listen to you

        1. Michael

          If you honestly think any strength coach trains and olympic athlete to a medal you have problems. the success of any athlete is 1st and foremost the result of the technical coaches expertise and planning.

  78. Jenny Conlon

    Great post Bret! I have been following your work for a while and take full advantage of your S&C Research service. As a young up and coming professional in the industry I appreciate the importance of questionning everything and admire your courage to speak out against false information. If more people followed in your foot steps the fitness industy would be a better place.

  79. Nick

    I have really enjoyed reading the back and forth. I like that you are calling some of these folks out on their “expertise”. This conversation should have been going on for the past 20-30 years. We are all in some degree, behind the science. We will always be as it should be. Just as split routine bodybuilding style workouts were taken as gospel now, what you are doing could one day prove to be obsolete. It seems, however, that ego comes to the forefront when many trainers or coaches are challenged on their programs and protocols. From reading the posts here, and on facebook you do seem very defensive in your stance which leads many to believe that you arent 100% confident in your claims. Dont get me wrong, I consider myself to be very new to the industry and I am always trying to be as well learned and practiced as possible. I find my views constantly changing. Before I worked in a gym that had a Crossfit box I hated CF I thought it was a cult of exercise addicted jabronies that all had a shouder, knee, or hip problem. But as I spent time with the coaches and the athletes themselves, my views changed. To dig your heels in and use “always” and “never” we devalue ourselves to the smart trainers at the expense of attracting blind followers.

    1. Bret Post author

      Defensive over my stance with what? Be specific please. And I agree – I’m not 100% confident with anything I say…reading research does that to you.

      When I was in Auckland I trained at a CF gym (I didn’t do Xfit but I used their gym so I could learn more about things and formulate an opinion), so I agree with you there. I also agree that you should get experience with something before forming an opinion. That was a main point of my blogpost.

    1. Bret Post author

      Based on stories I’m hearing from the emails pouring in, I could give you tons of examples of “unprofessional” but you probably wouldn’t care.

      1. sal

        didn’t realize that you wanted this site to become Tmz..But then again I guess keeping to yourself and training clients doesnt sell products or adspace right?

  80. Jeremy

    Hey Bret,has CP replied to this at all? I’m not siding with anyone, just curious what he would say.
    Likewise, if Poliquin apologized, would this change your opinion of him?


    1. Bret Post author

      No he hasn’t. I don’t want or need him to apologize. Seriously it’s not about that. It’s about what’s best for sports science and the advancement of best methods/exercises. Ideally, I’d like him to be a scientist and try hip thrusts for 2 months. He could take some baseline measurements of things like glute girth, 1km walking time, etc. My guess is that he’d start out using 135 x 10, and that over 8 weeks he could build up to 315 x 10. Then he’d feel the effects of stronger glutes and stronger end-range hip extension strength, and he could see for himself if they transferred to performance or allowed his glutes to grow. If it worked for him, he could start recommending protocols to his trainers. I’d like for him to stop being so black and white and start being more scientific. He and his staff are in an excellent position to start publishing original research which could do a world of good for sports science; this process is humbling but well-worth it. He could test various theories and contribute to the literature. Things like this would earn him my respect, I’d even volunteer to help out.

      1. Jeremy

        I understand where your coming from. Being a student of medicine my second year rotation, if your not thinking critically you fall behind immensely. And this is the theme i believe your trying to project here. The underlying one being misrepresentation of information etc.
        I see where CP is coming from and it’s very hard to gain any ground when your set in a certain way. With the amount of followers and publicity he has, opening up to other training protocols would do wonders for clients and credibility.
        I recall a post by Nick Tumminello discussing what makes a good coach from a great coach and the central theme being always open to new information. Instead of condemning a practice and only condoning your own, you simply say “I’ve had great success with….” and its this style of thought that opens the floor to opinions and collaborations of coaches.
        Everyone has something to offer and knowledge is an ongoing process especially in this field. I’m not a fan when hard researched material gets demeaned or misused which is where i feel your frustration.

  81. Benjamin Myers

    Bret, I quite enjoyed this. It is terribly annoying to see people get butt hurt about your ‘mean tone’. Frankly, we could all use a bit more crassness and blunt honesty in our discourse. The (shitty) alternative has been the ridiculous notion that every objective truth is up for interpretation and is just another ‘opinion’.


  82. Chris B.

    I can think of another popular French-Canadian strength coach who went off the deep end awhile back as well

    1. Ted

      Thibaudeau is okay, it’s Chris Shugart I cannot stand.

      Some years ago I loved T-Nation. But now? I have no idea how I could possibly take the site seriously.

      Indigo-3G, Brain Candy, their live coaching labs … Bret, I know you write for T-Nation, but how you can tolerate their actions these days is beyond me.
      Any comment on that? (No offence, I am just curious, maybe I am just not getting it). Thank you.

    2. Derrick Blanton

      Ha ha! Good point, Chris B.!

      Well when you can overhead press 375×5, thanks to magical pricey elixirs, you earn the right to go off the deep end..(Heavy, heavy sarcasm.) Would love to see some video of that achievement, CT..

      Thibs and Shugs are laughing all the way to the bank. Shugs probably has no problem seeing his image in the mirror b/c he passed Go on integrity a long time ago..

      Thibs, on the other hand..Man, that one hurts. He’s brilliant, and knows better.

      No one wants to take on T-Nation due to one thing: Money. Ask “stretching is B.S.” guy, Marco Henselmans who debunked another supp. company, if he wants to take on Biotest. Strangely, he has no interest in investigating that particular company’s claims.

      If Bret took on T-Nation, I’d personally send him a case of Anaconda, and then he, too, could start gaining 4-lbs. of muscle a week, EVERY week..Awesome!! (But only if he used the special “perfect rep” system.)

      Ted, the people who take that site seriously are kids, young people. This is why tobacco companies know that they have to hook their customers before they reach adulthood, b/c by then it is generally too late as their critical thinking skills have evolved too much.

      The beautiful thing for them is the gov’t. has zero interest in pursuing false claims in the supplement industry until users start turning up dead, or in the hospital, ala ephedrine. (Which was a great supplement that actually worked, btw, lol)

      Finally, BC, you know I’ve been as much of a fan of your work as anyone, from the beginning…but you unnecessarily personalized this thing with Poliquin. Look at it this way: In your interview with Horton you said you were concerned with “tone” in the strength training community. This was a missed opportunity to express legitimate differences, and let facts do the yelling.

      1. Ted

        Thank you for this.

        What is everyone’s opinion on Chad Waterbury? No idea why, but I have always had the feeling he’s never trained anyone. LOL

        1. Douche

          His training principles are sound. Actually, CT has “stolen” a lot of stuff from him (terminating the set when rep speed drops etc.), without giving any credit at all.
          Also, Ive never seen Waterbury making outrageous claims and relying on hyperbole. Good guy in my book.

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  84. Mark Buckley

    Hi Bret

    Reading over the responses to your blog it appears people are having a love – hate relationship with you right now

    People that ‘love’ poliquin think you are an ASS and should be crucified for your blaspheme

    People that ‘hate’ poliquin think you are a BAD ASS and deserve a nobel prize for your service to the industry

    When any blog is written with emotion – it will always provoke an emotional response in the reader

    But as readers we must step beyond this emotion and ask ‘what is the real message Bret is trying to share with us?’

    Is it that he has no respect for Poliquin the man? I feel NO

    Is it that he has no respect for Poliquins work? I feel NO

    The meaning i take from his words is that he feels the industry as a WHOLE needs to be accountable for what they say and/or teach

    Is there truth to this message? I feel YES

    And i think we can all agree on this?

    But why start the GURU attach with Charles Poliquin?

    Was it Bret’s intention to shame him? I feel NO

    Is it because Poliquin is perceived as a ‘Bully’ and this is the only way to get a bully’s attention? I feel this may be closer to the truth and the reason for the emotion behind Brets words

    So with all this said – I think we can all agree that

    1. The message has TRUTH


    2. The messangers style is very controversial

    So the question that NOW must be asked is this

    ‘where do you choose to focus your energy – on the message or the messanger?’

    So in closing

    Bret, THANK YOU for sharing your truth and passion with us in this blog

    Charles, THANK YOU for having such a strong and influencial presence in the industry

    We have all benefited tremendously from the work of these 2 great minds and i thank them both for everything they have shared with us!

  85. lucho Zapata

    Dear Bret, I am a soccer player and coach who has a lot of respect for you and have been following and implementing your training philosophy for quite sometime.I pretty much agree with all your points of contention with Charles Poliquin.

    But here is my dilemma. I assume that since it is your mission to “grill the gurus” with their false claims, you are eventually going to do the same with Chris Shuggart and Cristian Thibaudeau’s INDIGO 3G supplement and training program,with it’s outrageous muscle gain claims that according to them, cannot be achieved with using their outrageously ridiculous EXPENSIVE supplements with promises of steroid like results!!…causing many young gullible people to spill their hard earned cash,while they laugh all the way to bank.

    Do you agree, Bret, that they are right now, the biggest “gurus” in the Industry?,.. and if so, are you willing to take them on next with their claims,just like you have so brilliantly and scientifically done with Poliquin?

    If you don’t then I would have to sadly assume that you have a double standard for grilling the gurus, since they have taken their “Guru”claims to such a stratosphere level, that makes even Charles Poliquin look like a pale guru apprentice by comparison.
    Bret, many of your fans sincerely want to hear the truth of what you have to say in this matter.Please reply to all of us.
    Wishing you all the best.

  86. Darren

    This might be a little off-topic, but I’m just going to throw this out there, because of the whole ‘results’ debate, circulating around the training of medalists in particular.

    I wonder…is it a self-fulfilling prophecy that leads to training medal winners, rather than any particular coaching skill?

    i.e. I develop a solid reputation as a coach of high profile athletes, therefore more and more high profile athletes hear about my work, then seek me out, so now I work with more and more high-profile athletes in my client pool, leading to a greater chance that I will have trained a medalist, most of whom would probably win a medal regardless of my coaching them?

    This is of course not to say that there is an apparent lack of skill either, just that I think coaches tend to over-estimate their importance in the ‘grand scheme’ of things.

    Verstegen had a few years back the top 5 NFL draft picks of the year (2009 or 2010 I believe?), which is pretty impressive (as is Poliquin’s 60 medal winners) and I have a great deal of respect for Verstegen, but was it really him that can be credited with that outstanding outcome?

    Or was it the work of the athlete in the previous 9 years of training?

    If I’m already on the brink of a Medal, and I hire Verstegen, Boyle, Poliquin, or any other high profile strength coach for that matter to ‘give me the edge’ could it be a mental placebo effect that delivers me to that medal or was is really the one or two years of training?

    We know it takes roughly 10,000 hours or 10 years to produce a world champion (look at the work of Dr. Istvan Balyi and Anders Ericsson), so why do we believe that the 4-6 hours a week (16-24 per month, roughly 200-250 hours per year, so 2000-2500 hours maybe over 10 years?) that athlete spent in the gym is what ‘really made the difference?’

    Sure it matters to a degree, that might make up 10-20% of their overall training component over the course of their development, and yes S&C can contribute greatly to the success of an athlete, but it’s not the ONLY component.

    What about the assistance of the physical therapist? The sport psychologist? The dietician? The technical coach? The parents? The family? The genes?

    I think a holistic frame of reference is very important.

    Taking credit for someone else’s hard work (even if you did coach and mentor them) is never a ‘humble’ thing to do, in my opinion, any way you shake it. I believe the work of John Wooden is a testament to that…

    I’m far more interested in the coach that took someone from their freshman year and got them into a professional league with that holistic outlook, or even better, a coach that worked with someone for the entire 10 year road to greatness.

    Anyways, as I’m fond of saying with my own clientele, ‘I can only show you the way, you’re the one that has to do the work…’

    Controversial article as always Bret (a big fan of Poliquin actually sent it to me…haha)…cheers…

    1. James

      So true Darren!

      This is typical of the American way of doing things. Even Bret said he ‘got’ some hockey player a contract… what a joke…

      You’re post is spot on Darren & strength coaches that claim credit for athletes results/medals are laughable

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  88. Tymurds

    I am in agreement with those above that Chris Shugart and Thibs should definitely be on the next platter for grilling. Its such a shame because CT is someone with tons of knowledge and could have done a lot of good for the community but he took a turn down a dark road. I guess I can’t hate on someone for wanting to get a check, but I can certainly disagree with selling your soul.

    As for some of the people saying Biotest is targeting a young, dumb market–I disagree. If you look inside the live spills, many of the “indigo” users are well into their 30’s+. And one of their guinea pigs is 290lb shredded, who they all think is natural. Silly…

    1. Alfonso

      I see where you’re coming from regarding the biotest supplements. But I’ve been following CT’s stuff for a while (perfect rep method, fast/feasting, 6 weeks to superhuman), and I must say the results I’ve achieved have been stellar.

      1. tymurds

        I won’t disagree here. I subscribe to a lot of the training ideas CT has and I’ve gotten great results too. He still has a lot to offer to the S&C community in terms of training methods and ideas. T-Nation has a lot of great articles, I just skip over the Biotest nonsense. Still, I think CT is perfect for the next roast. I wonder how this would work out though since Bret writes for them occasionally..

        1. Ethan

          I think you’ve more chance of winning the lottery this weekend than seeing Bret “take on” Biotest/T-Nation!

          For me, that’s the sad indictment of this piece.

          Calling out Poliquin, who many people in the industry feel is a prick anyway, is one thing – what was it Robert “Coach Dos” Remedios said a few years back, “I’ve bad bigger shits than Charles”?

          But all professional integrity is lost if Bret turns a blind eye to the likes of Biotest, or the well known Scotsman who as much as I respect the guy for what he’s gone through and his courage and conviction to come out the other end, directly (allegedly) stole material from Ian King to put in some of his products without any credit going to King. Or Ballantine and others who use the referral scheme thing to pimp their buddies new products.

          Yet, I completely understand why Bret will continue to turn a blind eye. Why on earth would he commit professional suicide, right? Why would he alienate himself from the entire industry?

          Taking a shot at Poliquin is like taking a shot at Tom Cruise. It’s de rigeur.

          Righting the wrongs of the entire industry would take a lot more balls – I don’t think Bret has them. I don’t think anyone does.

    2. Derrick Blanton

      Good point. They could try to sell some of the “special supplements” that come in a non-descript box from a no-name delivery company, but they would have to take a profit margin write-down.

      I didn’t mean to imply that young guns were the only market that they targeted. Just that the young “bro-seph” crowd is particularly susceptible to faulty leaps of logic. Having thought about this way too much:

      If you take a young trainer with great natural hormone levels, and inspire them to train balls out AND smart, the life force will reward them with great gains. If you also happen to tie that in mentally with a $400 protein shake (excuse me, double compound hydroxylated carb load with special delivery system..:() then trainer now has two psychological traps at work. 1. Misunderstanding causation, and correlation 2. Cognitive dissonance. (If I just dropped hundreds and hundreds of dollars on this stuff, and got these results, then it’s impossible that I would have gotten them anyway, with nutrition and rest, or a $50 quality protein powder mixed with dextrose..)

      Throw in #3: Smart marketing people are simply lying to me, and reinforcing these ideas.

      Btw, going into that Indigo live spill is like taking a wrong turn off an isolated freeway..You know something’s a little off as the denizens of the town greet you..

      “Welcome…we train with gymnastic rings here..Care for some Indigo??”

      Ha ha.. Darren, and Danny, outstanding, real world honest posts! Major props!l

      1. Anoop

        Excellent comments Derrick & Darren.

        Throw in #4: There are people who took those and din’t gain zilch. They are not going to talk about it on a forum and nobody wants to hear about the guy who gained nothing. As they say in the medical field”Dead men never tell any tales. They lay quiet”. Counting the confirming evidence and ignoring the disconfirming evidence is a great way to show that your training/product “works”.

  89. Danny McLarty

    Good post, Darren. And to add to that… we ALL look back and say to ourselves, “man, that was a mistake, I wish I wouldn’t have put so much emphasis on XY or Z. I now ‘know’ to include more XY or Z into my programming because research now indicates that that is better for results.”

    Since we’ll SURELY find out that we are currently doing a few things “wrong,” are we actually holding them back? I mean, if you help an athlete run a 4.3 40 while doing things less than optimally, just think what he could of run had we not “messed up” some of his/her training program!

    So do I take credit “for producing” a 4.3 40 time, or do I tell people; “yeah, I made some mistakes and he should have been running a 4.2 40.” No one really does the latter, but they’re quick to take credit when their client gets good results.

    My point? Just like Darren was saying, we’re not all THAT important in the grand scheme.


  90. Juan Sebastian

    Valiant effort but you only achieve the complete opposite with this post. “The Glute Guy” calling someone out for being a guru? This was sort of childish. You come off as bratty and trying to draw attention to yourself by bashing someone. I agree that CP needs some accountability but you just made yourself sound like a bigger a$$hole than him.

    My fiance who knows nothing about any of this stuff, agreed that you just sounded immature…like this junior high girl….

    There is a reason for not mentioning people’s name when you have a disagreement with there viewpoint on the internet.

  91. Shama

    Hi Bret, I read through your article & honestly i lack the kind of knowledge to even ask the kind of questions you have asked Charles Poliquin. his long career in this industry, some of his methods & brilliant marketing methodology has garnered him a cult like status in our chosen field. i am sure you have a reason for doing what you have done here & he must have really done something to you to get so *****ssed off but for your average reader the tone was bit too harsh. long time ago, Brian Johnston questioned almost everyone from Poliquin to Louie Simmons, Lorne Goldberg on his IART website & he critically analyzed their systems/methods. the rebuttal as well as the support he got was unbelievable. now he is nowhere to be seen & no disrespect, i really liked what he did. questioning! personally, people like me in far off countries rely on top gurus & up & coming professionals like you to learn the best of knowledge & practices. to a great extent, i feel there is nothing wrong in following a guru as long as it doesn’t lead us to commit mindless or thoughtless deeds. we all have responsibilities towards our clients who ultimately support our lives to a great extent. lot of learned people have suggested various means to create a meaningful platform for exchange of knowledge for the betterment of this industry. i only hope common sense would prevail & people (elite trainers/gurus) accept & learn to co-exist in a harmonious way. thank you & pls keep doing the good work.

  92. James

    Brett, I hope you run a follow up post where you provide the answers to the questions you put to charles :-)
    I disagree with Shama above, i think you were well within your rights to blog what you have. It is evident to me your passion and love for S&C and thousands worldwide are feeding form it and developing as coaches as a result.
    I look forward to your future work and hope to cross paths down the road


    Brett I went online to buy your ebook, read the flyer. It sounds great. I loved the sound of this part:

    “Another caveat to these exercises is that they are much easier on the knees and lower back than squats, deadlifts, and lunges. Possessing strong glutes will bullet-proof the body from knee, lower back, hamstring, and groin injuries.

    Ok so squats, DLs and lunges CAN cause injury. Gotcha. BUT they can be “bulletproofed” with hip-thrusts. Love that term “bulletproofed”. Who cares about my technique now – I’m bulletproof!

    and I was just about to pay…but then you say

    “Nobody hurts themselves with properly taught box squats, Bulgarian split squats, or hip thrusts…so I presume you’re just making this shit up. If so, that’s pretty pathetic.”

    Damn it now I’m confused again. Lacking those critical thinking skills.

    I need some clarification before I hit the confirm payment button. Drop a knowledge bomb on me Glute Guy, as is bolded on your website BRET CONTRERAS IS THE MAN!

    In Bret we trust

  94. Franz Snideman

    Bret, really, REALLY enjoyed this post!! I have a lot of respect for you my friend and I think it’s important that you are taking a stand against bully’s!!

    But I though you should know that in sprinting the glutes actually provide 42.76% of the power while the obturator externus provides 11.7276553 % of total power output at top speed. Therefore finding isolation exercises for the obturator’s should take a sprinter’s 100 meter time and decrease it by at least three seconds. So if an athlete is running a 11.8 in the 100 meters, he will definitely run a 8.98 in less than six months. And this is only true if he eats 8 avocados from the Dominican Republic every morning at 6am followed by grass feed beef from Nepal at 12 noon followed by 18,562 milligrams of creatine mixed with vitamin D for a post workout shake.


  95. Stephen Clipp

    Shama, that website sounds interesting, I’ll have to look for it.

    Not much to add, Bret, though it’s interesting how many people are commending your balls for doing this, as though Poliquin’s gonna send a hit team out to your place for dissing him.
    Like a lot of people, I soaked up all his early stuff. His pedigree seemed awfully solid: the dude learned German just to read their training stuff! And to be fair, I never saw him squatting or anything, but he certainly seemed like a big dude, and not just in the biceps. MMedia mentioned that when he had a medical emergency and had to be MRI’d, they had to put him in upside down because his torso was so big. And Paul Chek isn’t a linebacker, but he’s a solid athletic guy, and in a video interview with the two of them, Chek mentioned that they had similar sized wrists, but Charles was about twice his size. So I don’t know if I can credit Dos’ criticism above.

    Though to be fair to Dos, he does get a ton of roughage on that veggie diet: who knows what frightening beasts he’s let loose? Possible journal article.

    Like a lot of people, I read Poliquin’s website, some good stuff, but was gradually turned off by the tone of the Q and A, which he could have renamed “Listen, Dumbass…” I mean, I know fitness professionals, like all professionals, get a ton of stupid questions, but if that’s gonna bother you, don’t have a damn Q and A. That, and too many questions were answered with some form of “Good question. Come to one of my seminars to get the answers.”

    Obviously this feature of yours is popular, but as when boxers start issuing challenges, they can’t always control who they hear from, or in this case, who their fans want them to take on. A couple people above said it: TNation, Indigo. Poliquin’s kind of niche-y, I couldn’t afford to share an elevator ride with him, let alone hire him as my trainer, his books are expensive as hell, and I’m not inclined to attend one of his seminars. Biotest sends a much bigger net.

    Speaking frankly, whether you do it or not, how would it affect you and your business if you gave Indigo et al a total panning? You’re pretty established now. Giving Biotest a clear-eyed ruthless review, good or bad, would certainly mark you as unafraid to speak truth to power. I have no grudge against them, but I’d like to see what your impression of their stuff is.

    1. Derrick Blanton

      Well, it’s not as simple as just writing the truth. Here’s why:

      Biotest employs a cadre of Anaconda-supercharged warriors that will go to all points of the globe in order to “punish” their accusers. Since they have all been taking Anaconda since ’09, they are now all close to 500lbs. shredded. Shugs goes down to their holding tank and tosses in scraps of Finibars just to watch them fight to the death.

      They then immediately sacrifice two T-Vixens in a cult-like ceremony in which knowledgeable sports scientists are hung in effigy. New members are welcomed into the fold if they purchase $100,000 worth of product, or sacrifice their children for Plazma research.

      Occasionally, when Shugs and Patterson get really pissed at “haters”, they mobilize their special “Indigo” team. These guys are a unique breed of angry douche-bag led by crew chief Thibs. Thibs will periodically lambaste his Indigo minions for “not appreciating” him. This usually results in a Mag-10 moratorium which causes the savage warriors’ testicles to recede, and eliminate all testosterone production. Reduced to pre-pubescence, they are then forced to sing opera like the young Castratos from Italy, then tossed to the T-Vixen cage, where the dangerous Vixens tear and cannibalize them like ravenous wild hogs. Ever wonder what happened to Nate Green? Let’s just say that he was only an appetizer.

      So, yeah, it’s no joke tangling with those guys. These are dangerous, vindictive men, and when their Brain Candy runs out, and they get the order of their supra-maximal barbell holds mixed up with their front lever drills, oh man…You do not want to see the carnage..

      (knock at door )

      OK, guys, they’re here for me. I’m jetting off to Australia to Ian King’s compound to live and study in seclusion. One day, there will be a resurgence of integr—

      (silence..pop-up: “This internet connection has been terminated.” )

  96. Tim45

    Im really disappointed in how Bret simply ignores all the tnation/biotest comments and questions. If you are going to do this thing, you gotta go all the way. Integrity isnt something that can be chosen at convenience. You either got it or you dont. There is no in-between.

  97. Rees

    Joe Dowdell should be your next on here. Watch his peak DVD set and you’ll see what I mean. He sits up there and reads from outdated texts books. His presentation skills are bad enough.

    Great post. Too true.

    I like Poliquin but you are right. Gimmick bullshit is gimmick bullshit. Give me something real or shut your mouth.

    1. Will Levy

      I doubt you’ll find much support here Rees. Joe’s one of the genuinely “good guys” of the industry and my guess would be that many of Bret’s readers follow and respect his work, too.
      The Peak DVD’s are a very good resource.

  98. Michael W


    I have never posted on your site, but I am an avid reader and have been for a long time. I think a lot of times coaches fight between themselves and the athlete gets lost. This is my thoughts as an ATHLETE.

    I am a/competed on a national level wrestling team, powerlifter, acrobat and performance artist (in a similar manor to Frank Yang). Some of my best lifts include a double bodyweight squat, full range of motion chinup with an extra 120lb at 165lb bodyweight, and bodyweight overhead press. All at the ripe old age of 19. I am still learning, but I have taught myself everything through reading and I have earned my own opinions. I have used techniques by both you and Poliquin.

    I have tried many different programs from many different coaches with varying results. Some programs, like I,Bodybuilder werent very useful. Only three coaches have given me results every time: Eric Cressey, Anthony Mychal and Charles Poliquin. I do not completely agree with everything these people say, but every single time I have used one of their free (or one of their books) resources have gotten results. A lot of the things Poliquin claims seem downright crazy – until you actually live them.

    I am surprised you never called Poliquin out on his “one day arm cure” . The premise you train your arms and in one day you grow your arms 1/2 inch to an inch. I tried it to test his ridiculous claims. It Worked. I gained 5/8 of an inch and kept nearly all of it. I did his German Volume training routine (I modified it to take out the rest days) and gained 40lb to my bench in a matter of weeks. Outlandish claims or not I got the results he promised.

    As for Poliquin gaining weight on vacation: that kind of thing happens to me all the time! Earlier this year I spent several months living and working in an artist commune. I still woke up early every morning to train (I am a firm believer in training every day) and ate clean but a 14 hour work day took its toll on me. The entire time my weight stayed at 161 pounds. After returning home a week and eating how I normally do (a combination of intermittent fasting and paleo) my weight shot up to 170 pounds and my 6 pack turned into an 8 pack. This morning (one month later) I weighed 168.5 pounds (and Im much leaner). This kind of thing happens to me all of the time.

    I tried the hip thrust. It felt great, so I started doing it in my program. I went from doing about 150lb to doing 350lb. The problem is the only thing that got stronger was my hip thrust. My squat, deadlift and vertical jump didnt improve at all. I still like the hip thrust and I do it from time to time (and would recommend it to my girlfriend) but it didnt offer me any quantifiable results beyond being better at hip thrusts. It did help some of my acrobatic skills like btwist (Not Me), but those kind of movements are not common in most sports. I will still do them because I like them (the main reason I train anyway) but not as an accessory lift.

    Even as a powerlifter I hate box squats. They felt as natural to me as squatting in a smith machine. They always tore up my hips, and it wasnt a flexibility issue because I can full squat with ease (on top of all of the splits). Box squats felt so unnatural and I have no idea why I would chose them over the myriad of superior squats out there.

    I have followed your blog for a long time, but I am an intelligent person and I don’t need somebody to call bullshit for me. I have tried that before several time with Poliquin (One day arm cure) and have been left with nothing but the results promised. I am an athlete and I dont care how much weight a Canadian strength coach gained on his vacation. I care about getting better. I know you think that you are ‘enlightening’ me about a “guru”, but I dont care. I stayed up till three in the morning writing this because I think you are better than that and I am much more interested in what YOU can bring to the table.

    Michael W

  99. KenJay

    I’ll start by saying I’m fairly impartial on the Poliquin saga. I agree with many of the points raised by the author. I no longer use box squats after over a decade of prescribing them but the issue was definitely not injury. The claims from CP are outlandish at times but I have never found it difficult to weed out the sales pitch from the mostly sound training information. Does he cherry pick – for sure. Is he referring to Mike Boyle – probably. Is he aiming anything at this author – not in my humble opinion. But in the grand scheme of things is Poliquin really public enemy number one…
    I have only read a fraction of the quotes but a few grabbed my attention. BC Zealot who I assume is being sarcastic highlights that the author, whether he is willing to admit it or not is implying that squats etc are likely to cause injury which can be avoided if you apply the principles outlined in his ebook…
    And then I can’t see a single response from the author after opinions were asked about the indigo/biotest scam (my opinion).
    In my opinion this didn’t come across well. It cries out that a bigger dog pissed on the authors lamppost with Poliquins “glute training made simple” or whatever it was. I don’t disagree that Poliquin needed to be brought down a rung but with all due respect I don’t think this particular author was the man to do it because I feel he is guilty, albeit on a smaller scale, of all the things he accuses his target of.
    Just my two cents worth.

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  101. Dan

    Bret, that was a great read and very well written as usual. I have no issue with anyone, including Poliquin, being put to task on his claims.

    Your problem with Poliquin seems to be that he promotes or denounces a program or theory based on his own interests. In that regard I have to ask how you ever came to give a testimonial to this ?

    This guys advice and products are absolutely horrible and never referenced. Yet you have given him a testimonial, I don’t understand. Is he part of an affiliate marketing program you are involved in, or has he falsified your name and image to promote his product?

    I hold you in high regard, however, I would be disappointed to think that you would knowingly allow your name to be used to promote such a horrible product.

    I just can not see how you can on one hand give a critical review of Poliquin, and on the other support a product and trainer of such low quality. I added this “trainer” to facebook and followed his blog briefly. I noticed that most of his info and answers were direct copy and paste from other online trainers, yourself included.


  102. BC ZEALOT

    Nope – no response. He’s been hiding under the blankets since T-nation and Biotest were brought up. Pretty funny stuff. He’s replied to almost every post (calling people morons and stuff) until CThibs. gets mentioned then…retreat!!!

  103. Pythagoras23

    Bret wins the glute case!

    Poliquin has influenced the scene a lot but hey, he is not a saint. He is a human that can commit errors.
    Poliquin has deteriorated the last years. Is he getting old? I don’t know.

    Attacking Bret Contreras with irrelevant facts with our glute case, is not ethic. If you want to proove Contreras is wrong, bring facts and evidence related with glute training, only.

    In this post our verdict is that Poliquin is trashed with scientific evidence.

  104. marcus

    Bret check out the vid on poliquins facebook where he is taking a dip in sweden hes wearing shorts and his legs are built. point two hes 50 years old and has a superior physique to yours. point three you dont look like you have touched a weight in your life. Last point you talk the talk but your ectomorphic body cant walk the walk. Stick to training house wifes and leave the proffesional work to charles.

  105. Pete


    Have you looked at his Biosigniture Modulation and the pseudo-science he is pushing as well? It’s amazing people are buying this BS. With a little knowledge in body fat distribution, endocrinology, and adipose tissue metabolism some should expose.

  106. Mark

    Just heard your grill on Poliquin, you make some good points but it would have been nice has you provided better evidence-based points; without it you simply end up being guilty of the same thing you say you’re fighting against – 300 papers on sprint biomech and lower limb muscular contribution?? Be fair!! You know you’re avoiding the real issue when it comes to the external rotation/pressing example – yes Charles got it wrong in terms of mechanism for why this guys pressing went up but you know (or at least Im assuming you know) that without external rotation and stability in that laterally rotated position you won’t get thoracic extension, therefore no stability in you upper-back and scapula hence pressing will be severely compromised! id just plan your next grill a bit more, you seem more than capable of it….

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  108. Mikko

    This was needed. Couple of days ago a friend of mine mentioned something about poliquin. I replied that he had a questionable reputation. I had to google about poliquin criticism and found this article, which confirmed my suspicions and even gave a pretty clever character analysis of him.

    I’ve been following some of Bret’s videos and articles from t-nation. The last one I read was a strong case for round back deadlift. I’ve tried glute bridges and they work. I just tried those loaded back extensions for the first time and I agree that they work the glutes very hard.

    Great job, Bret!

  109. Erik

    Just want to point out that only a fake will limit posts to the positive responses and is afraid of letting people hear the criticism about them.

    It’s hard to take someone seriously who only delivers half truths!

    Sorry to bring the bad news but you discredit yourself!

    It’s too bad too because it actually looks like you have a following….. somehow!

  110. Erick Minor

    I don’t agree with everything that anyone teaches; but I must agree with Charles on the box squat. I don’t recommend them for anyone, including powerlifters. I’ve competed in powerlifting and squatted (officially) over 600 lbs in the 181 class.
    I don’t have any athletes perform Olympic lifts because they DO NOT TRANFER. They(Olympic lifts) are an indicator of power, not a producer of power.
    I like what you’re doing.

  111. Ross

    Its awesome that you put this up. It should add to the discussion of the pursuit of pain free functional muscle and strength, the performance physique.

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  114. Donal

    Hi Bret ,

    I totally agree with you on gurus and how to create a bs persona about themselves claiming to be number 1 at this or that , at nutrition fat loss ect. I know as well as you do there is no numbet 1 fitness expert and if so what criteria are we referring to measure them by , do they have a BSC in Exercise scIENCE , a MASTERS , a PHD AS SO ON , to be number 1 you need to know everything that would take 300 years of research and thats not possible . Charles Poliquin is Marketer , a clever strategic marketer who is only effective if his followers or cult members are blinkered with non stop comment of , the number 1 way to lose weight , get bigger arms , lungs ect… i have 16 years post Graduate experience , CSCS , UKSCA ect…im no expert . Thank you for addressing the gurus , how can Poliquin start a trend of Self certification as being the number 1 course without a following of idiots. Coming to speak og idiots theres one in the UK called Dax Moy or whatever he calls himself who is a chronic bullshitter and even claimed to be a special forces soldier which is a complete fiction and UKS top trainer Jesus hes a lunatic.
    There is one of his mentees called Pat Divilly in Ireland who charges fat vulnerable women for miracle fat loss programs online WITHOUT ASKING THEIR HEIGHT AND WEIGHT. ????
    Money grabbing gurus should be named and shamed.
    Yours in science and health ( and honesty)

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  116. Tony

    gu·ru [goor-oo, goo-roo] Show IPA
    -a leader in a particular field: the city’s cultural gurus.

    Poliquin trains people in every field, he is not a guru just a trainer

    you cant “grill the guru” because YOU are a guru. You are THE BIGGEST guru I have ever seen you only care abou tthe glutes. Why? because poeple buy into it and you make money. Why else would you call yourself the glute guy you are not a good trainer. A good trainer is well rounded.

    Poliquins whole body is developed. You look like a bro who works out once a week on mondays. I would not take your advice. ever

  117. Dan

    Great f’n post!!! That guy is such a tool!!! Hey just a tip. With 280 odd comments it makes it hard to scroll to the bottom to enter a comment (I know that sounds kinda ridiculous) if you can reconfigure the comment box so its on top of the comments you will get an even stronger response from your followers. Thanks Brett for your scientific approach and your humility. Please do some seminars in Australia!

  118. CootersTowing

    Looks like his business partners also thought he was a tool.
    Friday, August 30, 2013 8:06 AM



    The Poliquin Group™ and Charles R. Poliquin, founder of the original Poliquin Performance Center gym located in Phoenix, AZ have decided to part ways, and hereby announce that Charles has left the Company to pursue his separate business initiative. The Company and all of its employees wish him well on his future endeavors.

    The Poliquin Group™ will continue to teach strength and nutrition classes, train athletes and certify coaches in the P.IC.P., BioSignature and new Personal Training programs as well as formulate new proprietary supplement formulas and sell supplements to both wholesale and retail customers. The Editorial staff will continue to write articles and present the latest topics in both training and nutrition that are well researched and popular in today’s health and wellness industry. The new 60,000 square foot facility opening in early September 2013 will keep the Poliquin Group™ at the cutting edge by hosting a 500 person conference center, 20,000 square foot training facility, a Café, Rehab services, Medical Services and an onsite compounding pharmacy.

    -Released by Poliquin Group™, August 30, 2013

  119. Thor

    ^ “Looks like his business partners also thought he as a tool”.

    Uhh…really? How on earth do you figure that? Think about it. They’re continuing to use his name for their “group” and strength business, which they wouldn’t do if they were sour on his image or reputation.

    More likely, he sold them his incorporated name for a MASSIVE payday.

  120. Michael

    You seem to have based most of your criticism on what you heard from guys with PICP certification. And most of it focuses on versions of squat exercises. Is there only one exercise for glutes that would work for everyone?

    From what you wrote, we know you train some bikini contestants. How many international medal winners, or professional athletes, have/are you training?

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  122. Scott

    Bret, I know this is an old post, but I wanted to say a few things about all of this and the comments.

    I have done the PICP 1 and 2 work, and learned a lot. Also being a CSCS and having years of training experience, it was clear that the “Kool Aid” gets poured quite a bit by the Poliquin group.

    I think the difference that is missed with Poliquin and other gurus is that they are not teachers, they are preachers. You, Bret, are a teacher, thus the willingness to debate and seek truth. Preachers are dogmatic and dialogue never leads to truth because they authoritatively are the truth. Preachers aren’t questioned or you are removed from the “church.” Teachers typically are open to questions and growth.

    Poliquin’s new StrengthSensei is just recycling so much old material. But, and no one has called him on it, he is now recommending books like Josh Bryant’s. If you understand anything about Poliquin’s PICP, what is in Josh’s book (and others) is antithetical to Poliquin’s approach. I dare say it, it almost looks like he is now trying to undermine some of his previous work–at the expense of his wife and the Poliquin group.

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