Random Thoughts

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

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

Good Articles

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

What Exercises do More Harm than Good?

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

Supplemental Strength

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

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

I chimed in on THIS article by Chris Slone.

Strength Physio Podcast

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

10 Commandments of Physiotherapy

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

Insufficient Sleep

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

Deadlifts Destroy Your Spine

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

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

Armi Legge wrote an excellent blogpost HERE on back pain.

Ladies, What is Your Goal?

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

Spurious Correlations

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

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

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

Type I and Type II Errors Simplified

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

Type-I-and-II-errors1

Do You Even Mobility?

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

Physiology is Fascinating

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

Shoulder Quadrants

Here’s a good pic showing the shoulder quadrants:

Shoulder

Stu Phillips on Protein Metabolism

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

Good Videos

Here are some great recent videos to watch.

Are Athletes Really Getting Faster, Stronger, Better?

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

Golfer Jonas Blixt Training

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

The History of the Universe in 150 Seconds

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

Dan McKim Sets Scottish Hammer World Record

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

Pete Rubish Deadlift Assistance Training

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

Facebook Rants

Here are my Facebook rants over the past few weeks:

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

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

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

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

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

Glute Training Feedback

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thank you Jesus for Bret Contreras – Edith

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

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Nikki

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

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

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Transform Your Physique: Mariah’s Story

Today I want to share an exciting body transformation story with you. I knew that Mariah had been seeing great results with Get Glutes, but when I saw the recent pictures, my jaw dropped. Maybe you find yourself in a similar position. If you’re not happy with your physique, take the bull by the horns and do something about it, just like Mariah did. Below is an interview with Mariah – with questions by Mrs. Kellie Davis. Mariah, keep on kicking ass!

strength

Mariah, everyone at GetGlutes is in awe of your transformation both inside and out. We are really excited to dive a little deeper into your story. Tell us a bit about your background. What was life like growing up for you as far your activities and nutrition?

I grew up in a family of six with a strong sense of family. Both of my parents are excellent cooks and most of my meals were home-cooked and eaten as a family around the dinner table. We rarely had junk food in the house and the only beverage we had besides water was sweet tea. I have always loved sweets and struggled with being an emotional eater. Whenever I had the opportunity to eat sweets, I took full advantage of it. I started playing softball the summer before my freshman year of high school. Prior to that my physical activity was inconsistent and limited. Once I started playing softball, I became passionate about it. My dad and I practiced nearly every day. I played tournaments on the weekends, high school games during the week and practiced any time I could. When I went to college, I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. I played softball in college so the related exercise helped fight off some of the damage I was doing with my eating, but not much. I had no real concept of what kinds of foods I should be eating or in what quantity.

Mariah - Before

Mariah – Before

Having grown up with two excellent cooks, it seems the lifestyle you learned at home didn’t carry with you into college. What do you feel compelled you to change your eating habits in college?

I think it was the freedom of choice, access to lots of different food, and a lack of understanding about what I was feeding myself and why. I was on a meal plan so I ate most of my meals in the commons. Besides a salad bar I don’t recall there being a lot of healthy options. I remember eating lots of full size bagels topped with peanut butter, jelly and cream cheese or topped with bacon, egg and cheese for breakfast. I actually thought that was healthy. I frequently took bagels or a bagful of cereal to eat for a snack. Most of my lunches and dinners were rich in sugary carbs and fatty meats and low in veggies (my motto was why waste stomach space with vegetables?). When I traveled for ball games, we often ate at fast food post-game and I usually had fries, a burger and a shake. I didn’t eat fast food growing up and I was completely unaware of how unhealthy the food was.

I think that is a struggle many kids face when entering college. When did you reach your tipping point where you wanted to create positive change for yourself? Describe that moment or that feeling.

After graduating college, I had nowhere to play ball. I had no direction relating to my physical activity. I became extremely inactive and ate a lot. After several years of this behavior, a pregnancy and birth, I gained a lot of weight. In December of 2008, weighing 229 pounds, I decided to take back control and get myself into shape. I was tired of trying to hide my body. I was tired of feeling weak, out of control, depressed and disgusted with myself. I was embarrassed to go to the grocery store for fear of seeing someone I knew. I was lethargic and spent way too much time in front of the TV trying to numb my emotions. I lay awake night after night hating who I had become. I no longer recognized myself. I missed the athlete I had once been. I missed the girl who was confident in her abilities to accomplish anything she set her mind to. I was tired of hiding myself inside fat and soothing myself with copious amounts of food. I knew that I had to take control of my health and my life if I wanted to find her again.

It is very hard to lose yourself and not know where to pick back up. I think a lot of former athletes go through these same issues. How did your initial transformation journey begin and why did it fail in helping you meet your goals?

I decided that I could continue to be lazy, binge on sweets, and continue to feel the way that I did or I could change the direction of my life. I started my weight-loss, life-regaining journey with at home workouts. Although I was a former collegiate athlete, I had no clue how to use a gym or eat properly. I was too ashamed to go to a gym in the shape that I was in. I didn’t want people to see how horribly unfit I was so I bought an at-home workout program. I treated it the same what that I used to treat my conditioning and practice for ball. I knew that big achievements were the results of the culmination of every day efforts.

I committed not to miss a single workout over the course of the 90-day program and to follow the eating plan exactly. I told myself that if I did these two things and nothing changed after 90 days, then I could go back to eating whatever I wanted and zoning out in front of the TV.

Guess what? Everything changed during those 90 days. I kept my commitment to myself, completed every workout, and followed the nutrition plan exactly. I found my drive again. I was reminded of the athlete I once was and wanted to be again. I completed a second round of the program and lost a total of 54 pounds. Although I lost a lot of weight, my physique still needed work.

Sometimes we just need a little boost to get us back in the game. It seems you found that here, but it was missing an element. What did you like and not like about your changes?

I liked that I had lost body fat, could fit into normal size clothes and had endurance to participate in activities that I hadn’t in some time. I didn’t like that I had very little muscle. When I played ball, I had muscular legs, strong shoulders and a toned back. I didn’t have any of that anymore. I wanted to reshape my body, add muscle, and feel athletic.

That often is the case with these fat loss home workouts—losing weight, but not gaining muscle or shape. What was the next step for you and why did you feel it wasn’t working?

I decided to join a gym. My first year and a half at the gym was wasted as I spent my time on cardio equipment wishing I was brave and knowledgeable enough to go lift weights. As I walked/jogged on the treadmill, I longingly watched others squat, lunge, bench press and do an assortment of weighted exercises. I wanted to join them, but I had no idea what to do. I hired a personal trainer who unfortunately seemed more interested in my money than giving me the help I so desperately needed.

I kept searching for help. I joined a competition team as a non-competing member to work on my physique. The training was time-consuming and intense. I often spent 15-20 hours a week in the gym doing cardio that I detested and lifting weights for hours. The eating plan was very restrictive and the only thing I enjoyed about it was the two slices of pizza I was allowed to eat once a week (which inevitably turned into 5 or 6 pieces and whatever other food I had in the house). Because it was so restrictive and because the training was so voluminous and intense, I rarely could complete it all. I felt like a failure. I spiraled back to the mindset I had when I was at my heaviest. I had so much self-doubt that I wondered if I would ever be happy with my body or be healthy (on the outside and the inside). After my first year with the team, I chose not to return. The commitment required to adhere to their plan was not in line with my priorities or preferences. I continued down the path of trying one plan after another. Time after time I found that I didn’t enjoy what I was doing because I was trying to fit my life into the plan instead of a plan into my life.

This is an all-to-familiar path for many. How did this type of training and dieting affect the rest of your life?

I was exhausted ALL of the time. I woke up exhausted and went to bed exhausted. After work I would come home and have to take a power nap so I could go do my second workout of the day. I dreaded doing the second workout, but told myself I was a failure if I didn’t do it. I didn’t have energy or the desire to do anything else. It was a huge effort to play with my son. I was grumpy, impatient, and I doubt very pleasant to be around.

When did you decided to make this journey about you and your plan rather than meeting the expectations of others?

In early 2013 I decided that once and for all I was going to find an enjoyable and sustainable plan that allowed me to get lean and sculpt my best ever physique. It was going to be my plan and would be conducive to my tastes and the way in which I wanted to live my life. I decided that I would give myself one year to achieve this goal. I wanted long-term success. I was tired of short-term, short-lived changes. On April 4, 2013 I officially embarked upon my one-year mission.

I joined GetGlutes.com in early 2013. I loved the workout programs, the member support, and the fantastic engagement and coaching. I was getting stronger (hitting a 400 lb barbell glute bridge and a 310 pound deadlift…what?!?!), but I wasn’t getting leaner because I hadn’t yet taken control of my nutrition.

My best friend recommended that I look into an eating plan called The Carb Nite Solution. She also recommended that I work with nutritionist and coach, Brian Schmidt of No Bull Schmidt Fitness, to create my nutrition plan. I began working with him on April 4, 2013. I began losing weight and figuring out what I wanted in a plan. Our relationship was very interactive. Brian created an effective plan around my food preferences. I experienced success with the combination of the GetGlutes training and my new way of eating. Each day I gained confidence in my ability to create my best ever physique.

This was a major turning point for you not only physically, but also emotionally. Can you explain why?

For the first time in my life, I began to share my story and how far I had come. I started by sharing with my best friend who encouraged me to share with the GetGlutes members. One night I sat down and wrote about my journey. It was incredibly healing to finally be open about my struggle and to no longer feel embarrassed by it. The amount of love and support that the GetGlutes members and coaches extended truly amazed and blessed me. I realized that in order for me to fully heal and shed my body image issues, I had to stop being ashamed of where I’d been. I was overwhelmed by the number of people who were moved by the honesty of my struggle and the depths from which I had climbed. I realized that my story could provide hope to others in situations similar to mine.

Although my confidence soared throughout 2013, there was still a little piece of me that didn’t believe I could get 6-pack abs or that my glutes would ever look good enough not to hide behind shorts at the beach. I came across a motivational picture one day of a female with a beautifully fit body on it that read: “It is a shame for a [wo]man to grow old without ever seeing the strength and beauty of which [her] body is capable.” These words hit a nerve. Although I had lost a lot of weight from 2008-2013 I still didn’t feel like I was in control and I certainly was nowhere near seeing the strength and beauty of which my body was capable.  I secretly felt like I was one binge away from returning to that girl who was too embarrassed to go to the grocery store for fear of running into someone she knew. There was also a part of me that didn’t believe I could do what it took to achieve a fantastic physique and I often sabotaged myself when I started getting great results. I had come so far and yet I knew I could still achieve more. It was time for my biggest challenge yet.

In a previous year I entered Bodybuilding.com and Dymatize’s 100k challenge. I thought it would magically motivate me to get into shape, but the truth is I wasn’t ready for it. I didn’t have a solid foundation, a plan or goals, and I didn’t believe in my ability to be successful. I wanted redemption. I wanted to enter the 2014 100k challenge and completely rock it… and so I did.

How did that change everything for you?

It’s taken me five years of consistent and intentional effort to have the healthy mindset, physical health and figure I enjoy today. When I started my journey, I wanted to see results right away. I wanted to magically erase all of the damage I had done to myself for years in a few short months. I bounced from one extreme effort to another constantly looking for that perfect plan that would make me perfect. I thought I had to follow the plan exactly as designed or it wouldn’t be effective. I completely discounted the importance of actually enjoying the plan. When I finally realized that a perfect plan didn’t exist, I changed my mindset and made the plan about my life. That shift in mindset allowed me to determine my physique goals, how I wanted to train, and what I was willing to give to my efforts. By giving myself one year to figure this out, I took the pressure off to find a quick fix. It allowed me to shift my focus on fine tuning and enjoying the process and my plan.

As I mentioned above, our members are huge fans of you, Mariah. You inspired so many because your story is so relatable. How has taking charge of your health and doing so on your terms helped you to become a better role model?

This is an interesting question. I didn’t realize how many people were watching my transformation. I remember when I started bringing my food to work and stopped going out to lunches or eating treats in the break room. I’m sure at first people thought it was going to be short-lived. Now five years later, I’m known at work as the girl who will bust out her fish and veggies in a middle of a meeting and eat them. I’ve had other women who are struggling reach out to me to ask me for help. I’ve received hand-written notes and emails from women telling me I have inspired them to change. These were unexpected, touching, and it showed me that my experience can help others believe in their ability to improve themselves.

If you could offer advice to the old Mariah before she went off to college, what would it be?

I would tell her to take advantage of the strength and conditioning coaches and the athlete weight room, and to educate herself on nutrition. In college, I saw weight training as something I was being forced to do early in the morning before I went to class. Most mornings I rolled out of bed, got dressed and walked to the weight room half asleep with the goal of getting done as quickly as possible so I could return to my bed. I literally flew through my workouts with no focus on what I was doing. I can’t believe I wasted all that wonderful training time and exposure to knowledgeable coaches. I would tell the pre-college Mariah to educate herself on nutrition and explain that all of the activity I did with softball would not continue post-college and it would be very difficult to reign in my eating.

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your journey with us, Mariah. We look forward to what’s in store for you!

Mariah - Now

Mariah – Now

Change the Tune: Accommodation & Stagnation

Change the Tune: Accommodation & Stagnation
By Will Vatcher

Here’s what you need to know:

  • There is a delicate balance between the correct blend of specificity and the correct amount of variation to progress
  • You can continue to progress if you change your exercises regularly
  • A process of elimination is useful to discover where you are stuck

During the late 1960’s, a Soviet scientist named U. I. Ivanov performed and published results from an interesting experiment. Ivanov used three similar groups of people and had them perform strength training exercises twice a week for a period of three months.

  • Group 1 performed (concentric) dynamic weight exercises
  • Group 2 performed static strength exercises (isometric) with maximal tension
  • Group 3 performed yielding (eccentric) exercises using weights exceeding 10-40% of what they were capable of lifting in an ordinary (concentric) manner.

After the period was concluded, the results were very interesting. Compared to their previous personal performances:

  • Group 1 managed to lift on average 8.5 kg more in the squat and 5.5 kg more in the clean. They also managed to jump 3.7 cm higher and could pull with 14.6 kg more force in a back strength test.
  • Group 2 managed to lift on average 9.2 kg more in the squat and 12.7 kg more in the clean. They also managed to jump 5.4 cm lower than before the training period and pulled with 30.0 kg of increased force in a back strength test.
  • Group 3 managed to lift on average 15.0 kg more in the squat and 9.7 kg more in the clean. They also managed to jump 1.6 cm lower than before the training period and pulled with 19.1 kg more force in a back strength test.

What did and does this experiment reveal? The athletes tested strongest in the motor skills and tasks that were the most similar to the exercises they did in the experiment.

clean

A problem arises though.

On the one hand, the specificity of the training produced the highest results in the motor tasks and exercises most similar to the ones performed.

On the other hand, if those same athletes would have continued using the same exercises for an extended period of time they would have ceased to progress any further. This is called Accommodation.

Accommodation is a biological law that states that a decrease in adaptation will occur to a repeated stimulus over an extended period of time. In other word, your progress will stop. Every activity you do has a learning lifecycle to it.

Let me provide an example. When you were a small child, you probably read kids’ books (maybe you still do). Simple stories, learning the alphabet and learning your times table were likely things you did. At an early stage of learning when these processes are not fully comprehended the brain is greatly stimulated.

Fast forward 20 years. You have left school and you are working as an accountant. Would you still be using such books to learn how to be a good accountant? I sincerely hope not! Your brain has exceeded the capacity to learn any more from such elementary activities. What you need is increasingly more complex demands to keep progressing. If you were to return to elementary teachings you most definitely would not be progressing in your accountancy job for long!

Believe it or not, strength and speed adapt in a similar way.

I’m sure you are aware or have seen people in the gym making rapid progress in the early stages of training only to hit a brick wall due to using the same routines. You have likely experienced it yourself. Most definitely I have.

Thomas Kurz reports that one cause of reaching a plateau is to repeat an exercise over and over with the maximal speed attainable in that exercise. The brain then learns to move with that speed to the point that it cannot be exceeded. A greater intensity of stimuli results in a faster learning of the movement. To illustrate:

  • A sprinter hits a speed barrier due to using the same maximum velocity sprinting drills during training
  • An olympic weightlifter cannot exceed their maxes on the competitive lifts because of repeatedly and with no intensity variation practising the competitive lifts
  • A powerlifter cannot exceed their maxes on the completive lifts because of repeatedly and with no intensity variation practising the competitive lifts

Stagnation can also occur as a result of lacking a particular strength or speed quality. For example:

  • A sprinter who cannot exceed their sprint times due to a lack of absolute strength
  • A powerlifting who cannot progress past a sticking point due to a lack of explosive or speed strength
  • An olympic weightlifter who cannot progress past a sticking point due to a lack of absolute strength

Accommodation and stagnation can be conquered in the following ways:

  • Changing an exercise or drill to another similar exercise or drill
  • Changing the movement speed of an exercise or drill
  • Changing the intensity zone of an exercise or drill
  • Adding more exercises to a routine

In regards to maximal strength training this can be achieved by utilizing the following:

  • Maximal and near maximal deadlift, squat, good morning & bench variations (wide stance, close stance, partial movements, inclines)
  • Maximal and near maximal hip hyperextension movements(hyperextensions, 45 degree hyperextensions, glute bridges, hip thrusts)
  • Isometrics

In regards to explosive strength training this can be accomplished by utilizing the following:

  • Bounds with long amortization times (not trying to minimise ground contact to an excessive degree)
  • Depth jumps (falling from heights varying from 75-110cm – do not try to keep the legs stiff)
  • Broad jumps (weighted, un-weighted, single jumps and repeated jumps)

In regards to speed strength training this can be accomplished by utilizing the following:

  • Bounds with short amortization times (trying to minimise ground contact times while simultaneously making the maximal distance possible)
  • Drop jumps (falling from heights varying from 20-60cm trying to minimise ground contact times while simultaneously jumping the maximal distance possible)
  • Broad jumps (weighted or un-weighted trying to minimise ground contact times while simultaneously making the maximal distance possible)

Bounding-Drill

Exercises in the 3 categories above all have slight variations in movement, speed and intensity, but they remain within an intensity range which will continue to train a targeted motor quality or strength. This is an excellent way to avoid accommodation and stagnation.

Eliminate the impossible to discover the truth

It would be impossible in one article to cover every sports training method to combat accommodation and stagnation. What is possible, however, is to come up with a set of parameters to use to discover what areas must be addressed.

Here is a possible guideline to use for analysis:

  • How many times has this exercise been repeated in this manner?
  • How many total exercise variations are being utilized?
  • What strengths or motor skills are not being trained sufficiently?
  • Is the sport more heavily reliant on strength, or speed?

When answering such questions, some points for analysis to be mindful of are:

  • Exercises with a high speed element can have a lifecycle of as little as 7-10 days
  • Exercises with very high resistance can have a lifecycle of around 21-25 days
  • The more exercise variations being utilized, the greater the chance to avoid accommodation provided the motor skills targeted are the same(e.g. explosive strength, absolute strength)
  • The greater the resistance to be overcome the greater reliance of maximal strength(powerlifting, olympic weightlifting, strongman)
  • The lower the resistance to be overcome the greater the reliance on speed and explosive strength(sprinting, shot, javelin)
  • Higher levels of speed and explosive strength will assist in reaching high forces levels faster
  • Higher levels of maximal strength will provide the foundation for increased speed and explosive strength
  • Like a cake that must have certain ingredients in optimal quantities, when a mass must be moved, absolute strength, explosive strength and speed strength must be present and involved to a greater a lesser degree in optimal quantities.

So for a sprinter whose times have stalled, such an athlete may want to look at their current training with these points in mind. Perhaps their current training consists of the following:

Monday: Block starts

Wednesday: Maximal accelerations

Friday: Maximal top speed sprint mechanics

It could be that this athlete’s technique is very good. If so, this could be eliminated as a potential problem. For such an athlete, perhaps performance could be improved by:

  • Utilizing a greater variety of drills and exercises for technique, explosive strength and speed strength
  • Utilizing maximal effort work to build a foundation of absolute strength needed to increase speed and explosive strength further

Enter a possible new routine:

Monday: Block starts (with parachutes of different sizes) – bounds, depth jumps or broad jumps for explosive strength

Wednesday: Maximal accelerations (with parachutes of different sizes)

Wednesday PM: Lower body maximal strength training

Friday: Maximal sprint mechanics (with parachutes of different sizes) – bounds, drop jumps or broad jumps for speed strength

Sunday: Upper body strength training

Notice the change:

  • The speed of the technical exercises has been changed slightly without altering technique by using parachutes
  • Absolute strength has been increased allowing for greater total force production
  • Explosive strength have been increased allowing for faster acceleration
  • Speed strength have been increased allowing for faster top end speed

The proof is now in the performance. If it increases, that is a good indicator that the changes are working. If performance stalls out again later down the road, the coach or athlete can go back to the drawing board to figure out more solutions.

The process can be repeated for any activity. Identifying dominant strengths and support strengths in a sport activity will go a long way to being able to identify and eliminate weak links.

It has been said already – every drill or exercise has a lifecycle to it. Along the same lines, it is often what is not being trained that will hold performance back. To teach the brain and body to adapt further requires learning increasingly complex motor skills. Make adaptation your friend – let it work for you, not against you.

References:

“Special Strength Training Manual For Coaches” by Yuri & Natalia Verkhoshansky
“Depth Jump vs Drop jump” by Natalia Verkhoshansky
“Shock method and plyometrics” by Natalia Verkhoshansky
“Jump training 101” by Natalia Verkhoshansky
“The Science of Sports Training” by Thomas Kurz
“Sports skills and strength training” by Thomas Kurz
“The Science and Practice of Strength Training” by Vladimir Zatsiorsky

Bio:

WillWill Vatcher is a strength & conditioning coach based in Cambridgeshire, England. He has written several articles on training for www.t-nation.com & www.about-muscle.com, and published interviews with Louie Simmons & Fred Hatfield (Dr. Squat) which are posted on about-muscle. He is a very enthusiastic researcher of all things strength, speed and sports related. He can be contacted via email willvatcher@hotmail.com for information on articles and training.

You Can’t Stop the Hip Thrust, and You Won’t Break Our Stride

Can you attain great glutes without the hip thrust? Sure you can. There are hundreds of excellent glute exercises, and I’ve included nearly all of them in my various books, articles, and videos. Can you get there faster with the hip thrust? I believe so, and my large following of supporters do too.

There are currently tens if not hundreds of thousands of lifters worldwide employing the hip thrust to help them attain better glute development, and this list of people is growing everyday. Why? Because it works. Lifters hear about the hype, and they try it out for themselves. Once they feel the tension in their glutes, they’re sold. After a few weeks of progressive hip thrusting, they start to notice increased glute development. If an individual is new to lifting and spends a solid year focusing on hip thrusts, it is very likely that their glutes will completely transform. Men, and especially women, want to spread the word, so they talk about the exercise on social media. Other lifters try it out for themselves, and the exercise gains momentum. (On a side note, thank you very much to all the wonderful folks out there who are spreading the glute gospel and tagging me in their social media posts. It’s helping, and you’re making a difference.)

ht

Little by little, the hip thrust is spreading around the world…

The hip thrust is growing more popular every day. Glute training methods have progressed considerably in the past several years, and lifters who are seeking greater glute development are enjoying the advancements. The hip thrust might be just one movement in the gym, but there’s a larger movement taking place. The hip thrust “movement” is about innovation. It’s about progression. It’s about results. Those of us who are aboard the hip thrust train know the truth.

Who are we? We are a growing crowd of lifters who are excited about our glute development, and we want to share our secrets with others. We sometimes encounter criticism, usually by powerlifters who for some strange reason get angry that lifters are prioritizing a lower body movement other than the squat or deadlift, but we push on and prevail. Don’t get us wrong; we like the squat and deadlift too, but no matter what others say, we cannot be stopped, we won’t be distracted, and you won’t break our stride. We’re gonna keep on thrusting, and we’re gonna keep on seeing better results.

If You Wanna Change the World…

To all of those wanting to change the world and spread their methods or ideas, here’s how you do it. Talk about the current popular method, discuss why there’s a better way, and then show your evidence. The more evidence you have, the more seriously people will take you. Want to see my evidence? Click right HERE. You’ll see over 100 lifters who are happy to share their pics to the masses. Follow my Facebook page and you’ll see lifters every single day chiming in about their results after stumbling upon The Glute Guy. This is why my name and my methods continue to gain steam year after year – there is evidence accompanying my ideas; it’s not just a bunch of words.

Hip thrusts allowed these ladies to achieve their glute transformation goals

Brittany, Sasha, and Trisha relied upon hip thrusts to achieve their glute transformation goals

If someone out there wants to take my crown as The Glute Guy, if someone wants people to stop doing the hip thrust, or if someone wants to revamp the way that glute training is done, they’re going to have to do a little better than writing an article or filming a video. They’re going to need to start showing compelling before/after pics from people who follow their methods (and they’re going to have to be better than mine). They’re going to have to conduct scientific experiments and publish research. They’re going to have to listen to their followers and create solutions to their problems. They’re going to have to build a community, write books, film instructional videos, and answer questions. If they don’t care to go down this path, I understand. It’s hard work, and not everyone can sustain it.

Haters

If you put yourself out there, you’re going to attract criticism. In this day and age, there’s simply no way around it. Having posted more free content than nearly any strength & conditioning writer on the internet, I come to expect a certain amount of criticism. The following statement doesn’t apply to the guys that I’ll address later in this article, but many of the individuals who criticize me haven’t written a single article or posted a single video, not to mention taken the time to create a website, patent an invention, or formulate a system of training. This doesn’t imply that their criticism is automatically invalid; but I’ve found that it’s far easier to attempt to tear something down rather than be creative and innovative.

Of even greater importance is that fact that those who tend to criticize me about my glute training usually have zero evidence that they’ve been successful in helping reshape women’s backsides. Again, this doesn’t automatically mean that their arguments aren’t valid, but if I was presented some compelling data, or some logical reasoning, or a superior compilation of testimonials and before/after pics, I’d be much more apt to consider updating my training recommendations (as would my followers). Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.

show-me-the-booty

Where’s the evidence?

Recently, two articles and one video surfaced on the internet, all of which criticize the hip thrust, my integrity, and my lack of physical strength. The articles and videos are filled with logical fallacies, pseudoscience, and ad hominems. Since a high percentage of my readership consists of trainers, coaches, physios, and lifters who play an active role in dispensing strength training information to the masses, I would like to use this opportunity as a teaching tool to help my readers be able to better identify poor logic and science, since they will inevitably find themselves in similar encounters in the future with fellow fitness professionals. Here are the three links (it would be a good idea to familiarize yourselves with the material included in these links before continuing on):

Avoid the Hip Thrust by Ryan Lingenfeiser

Real Strength vs. Guru Strength by Chris Bartl

Drop the Useless Hip Thruster by Chris Duffin

Before I get started, I’d like to throw out on offer. If any of these gentlemen above would like to debate any of the following points, I’d be happy to jump on Skype, record a podcast, and post it on my site. They can let me know in the comments section if they’d like to debate.

With regards to the hip thrust, a famous quote comes to mind here by Arthur Schopenhauer.

all truth quote

While some have arrived at stage 3, others are still stuck in stage 1 or 2. If you study the history of the bench press, you’ll notice close similarities between the bench press and the hip thrust. Lifters in the 1930’s and 1940’s would scoff at anyone bench pressing, calling them sissies, accusing them of cheating, telling them that the movement isn’t functional, and informing them that it didn’t work. The bench press prevailed, despite what the haters were saying, because it’s a great exercise that helps lifters achieve their aesthetics goals. The same phenomenon is presently occurring with the hip thrust. 

Surf the internet, and you’ll find plenty of articles cautioning lifters to avoid squats, avoid deadlifts, avoid military press, and avoid any other good exercise, so it’s of no surprise that the hip thrust would join the ranks of these exercises. Moreover, research any popular individual in any field and you’ll inevitably find articles or forums bashing that individual; it comes with the territory. In this day and age, no one remains unscathed. I’m therefore not surprised. 

However, what does surprise and slightly offend me is the lack of respect for my followers. Dis me all you want – but when you dis the hip thrust, you’re dissing on all the people who have seen great results from the exercise. Who’s employing the hip thrust? The list of people ranges from your everyday commercial gym-goer, to moms training out of their homes, to garage lifters, to bikini and figure competitors, to strength athletes, to physical therapists, to personal trainers, to strength coaches, to professional sports teams and Olympic athletes, to celebrities. The world is loving the hip thrust, and they’re seeing better results.

Have these gentlemen, or any other haters of the hip thrust, taken the time to examine my testimonials? I’m unaware of any fitness professional with 1/10th of the anecdotal support that I have amassed in the glute development department. I wonder what goes on in the hater’s heads when they see those pictures. Do they think I’m fabricating or photoshopping the pictures? Do they think I’m just randomly finding them on the internet and claiming them? Do they think that these types of results are the norm? If so, they clearly have no experience in the trenches. This doesn’t seem to be the case, so what gives? Do they simply turn the other cheek when it comes to testimonials and before/after pics? If this is the case, then what do they go by? Unicorn science?

Have they taken the time to read my clients’ and my readers’ stories? Each picture on my testimonials page has a story behind it, and I’ve included these at the bottom of my random thoughts posts over the past year. Do they think my followers are all just too stupid too determine what works and what doesn’t? My people are far smarter than these folks imagine, and they’re quite capable of determining for themselves what works and what doesn’t.

hip thrust

Sammie hip thrusting 225 lbs

Once my followers started incorporating the hip thrust and other methods I espouse into their training, their results increased substantially. The difference is, I talk to these people and listen to what they have to say. If anyone does the hip thrust progressively for 6 months, they will notice a plethora of intriguing adaptations, but most of the hip thrust haters clearly haven’t performed hip thrusts on a consistent basis – it’s blatantly apparent by what they say about the exercise.

Have they familiarized themselves with the science behind the movement (for example, have they read HERE and HERE)? Methinks not. Have they conducted any EMG research? Have they taken before pictures, implemented a training program, and then retaken after pictures? If so, where in the world are they? Have they taken baseline performance tests, implemented hip thrusts, and then retested to examine the transfer of training? Have they examined the glute girth measurements of their clients? If so, where’s the data? Or, are they concerned more about what they think happens rather than what really does happen? Sadly, this is nearly always the case. 

Do they think I’ve duped the entire industry? Seventeen TNation authors have written about hip thrusts (Bret Contreras, Christian Thibaudeau, Martin Rooney, Dan John, Eric Cressey, Ben Bruno, Lee Boyce, Tony Gentilcore, Tim Henriques, Mike Robertson, Charles Staley, Dean Somerset, Jordan Syatt, Dan Blewett, John Gaglione, Todd Bumgardner, Eirik Sandvik, Kasey Esser). Other top dogs like Jason Ferruggia, Joe Dowdell, Jim Smith, John Romaniello, Chad Waterbury, David Dellanave, Nick Tumminello, BJ Gaddour, Nick Horton, Kelly Baggett, PJ Striet, Molly Galbraith, Nia Shanks, Jen Sinkler, Kellie Davis, Marianne Kane, Rachel Guy, Joy Victoria, Sohee Lee, and Christine Marie have all written about hip thrusts as well. Legendary professional strength coaches Joe Kenn, Buddy Morris, and Chip Morton employ the hip thrust with their NFL players. Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness Magazines have featured hip thrusts on numerous occasions. NCSA’s Strength & Conditioning Journal published an technique article on hip thrusts. Former Ms. Bikini Olympia Nathalia Melo and current Ms. Bikini Olympia Ashley Kaltwasser love their hip thrusts. Fitness models Jamie Eason and Amanda Latona are happily hip thrusting. Even legendary spinal biomechanist Stu McGill likes the hip thrust (and credits it for prolonging his hip replacement surgery and improving his gait)! Clearly there’s something to the exercise or these highly esteemed professionals wouldn’t be incorporating them into their arsenals. One can find videos of high level powerlifters, bodybuilders, strongmen, Olympic weightlifters, NFL players, UFC fighters, MLB players, NBA players, NHL players, and Olympic sprinters performing the hip thrust on the internet as well.

In each of the aforementioned articles/videos linked above, the individuals referred to me as a guru. I’m not a guru; I call out other gurus. My integrity means far more to me than anything, and I’m doing the best I can with the available forms of evidence to provide my readers with the soundest approach to training. If my methods didn’t work, they’d fizzle away just like other training fads. But this is not the case, and according to Google trends, hip thrusts are at an all-time high and their popularity continues to rise year after year.

I can’t help but wonder why anyone on the planet wouldn’t look at my testimonials (and see how happy are with their results) and start recommending hip thrusts to anyone who was seeking better glute development. It mystifies me. Nevertheless, I will now reply to each of these naysayers one-by-one.

Response to Ryan Lingenfeiser (Avoid the Hip Thrust)

I. Avoid Everything? 

I see you feel people should avoid the hip thrust. I see you also have articles dedicated to advising people to:

ryan

Ryan Lingenfeiser

  1. Avoid Kettlebells
  2. Avoid Overhead press
  3. Avoid Ab wheel rollouts
  4. Avoid Olympic lifts
  5. Avoid Lunges
  6. Avoid Assistance exercises
  7. Avoid Turkish get ups
  8. Avoid Thick bar training
  9. Avoid Rest-ice-compression-elevation
  10. Avoid Leg curls
  11. Avoid Leg extensions
  12. Avoid Cardio machines
  13. Avoid Cardio rest days
  14. Avoid Support gear
  15. Avoid Focusing on the stabilizers
  16. Avoid Resistance bands
  17. Avoid Advanced training techniques
  18. Avoid Wide stances or grips
  19. Avoid Functional training
  20. Avoid Peak contractions
  21. Avoid Suspension training
  22. Avoid Pullovers
  23. Avoid Powerlifting for general training
  24. Avoid Grip training
  25. Avoid Kipping pull-ups
  26. Avoid Periodization
  27. Avoid Cycling
  28. Avoid Yoga
  29. Avoid Rest, ice, compression, and elevation

Way to alienate just about every lifter out there Ryan! I’m not sure if this is a strategy designed to attract more hits to your website, or if you really feel this way. I see that you advise in THIS article for lifters to just perform 3 exercises and that’s all – a squat, press, and row. I’m thankful that your training programs at least allow for some resistance training – for a while I was wondering if our programs utilized any resistance training at all. However, I find your programming to be boring and inferior for the vast majority of lifters when considering their goals.

II. Learn How to Utilize Pubmed, or Just Stick to What You Know

Not trying to be a dick Ryan, but I can go through almost every article you’ve written and pick apart your logic and reasoning. Your understanding of biomechanics and grasp of sports science is piss-poor. For example, in your article on the Deadlift vs. Squat, you state that deadlifts overstress the hamstrings, glutes, and low back, but then you go on to state that the squat creates higher tension in the muscles. You can’t have it both ways my friend. In my opinion, when comparing the two, it would be far more prudent to list which muscles receive more tension in the squat compared to the deadlift (calves, quads, lumbar extensors) and which muscles receive more tension in the deadlift compared to the squat (hamstrings, thoracic extensors, lats, forearms), rather than just issue inconsistent blanket statements.

Multiple sets are better than one set for strength and hypertrophy; comb the large body of research and you’ll come to this conclusion on your own. Sure, the first set is by far the most important, but there’s a reason why all Olympic weightlifters, powerlifters, bodybuilders, strongmen, and Highland Games athletes perform multiple sets in their training – it’s optimal for strength and hypertrophy.

You can certainly make things up and see where that takes you, but judging by the fact that you’ve written over 150 articles and at this point in time only have 144 Facebook likes, 23 Twitter followers, and a 3.1 million Alexa website ranking, it doesn’t appear to be working well. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need a big social media following to be right or to come up with brilliant methods, but I’m largely unimpressed with your body of work. You have some great potential as a writer, but if you based your work on science rather than “Ryan’s made-up-rules,” you’d be much more successful in my opinion.

III. The Truth About Hip Thrusts

Hip thrusts don’t go against our anatomy and biomechanics; conversely, they’re well-tolerated by the masses. The length-tension relationship doesn’t dictate what exercises we should be doing; lifters should be strong at all muscle lengths which will require a variety of exercises. The hip thrust isn’t dangerous if you do them correctly, just like most exercises. The moment arm doesn’t decrease as the hips raise – it stays fairly consistent throughout (again, stick to what you know rather than spewing pseudobiomechanics). You can use thick padding to protect the hips. Proper hip thrusts don’t involve lumbar hyperextension just like proper deadlifts don’t involve lumbar flexion. There’s no such thing as hyperextension of the glutes. Hyperextension doesn’t only exist in functional anatomy for repositioning joints. Hip thrusts don’t have to involve posterior pelvic tilt, but PPT is useful in many situations. Hip thrusts are one of the most functional exercises in existence. Hip thrusts involve synergy; many muscles work together to achieve the movement. And for optimal glute function and development, you need a variety of exercises such as hip thrusts, squats, and lateral band work. Keep in mind here that I’m only looking at one of your articles – I ignored the other 155.

Response to Chris Bartl (Real Strength vs. Guru Strength)

I. Do Our Methods Really Differ Greatly?

Chris

Chris Bartl

You claim that our methods differ HERE. Let me guess, you have your clients squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press, chin, and row? You might add in some additional single leg, core, or posterior chain work, right? For people who don’t tolerate certain lifts well, you might find substitutions or regressions? Hmmm, that sounds a lot like what I do. With my bikini competitors, I’ll prioritize the hip thrust and tack on additional glute work at the end such as lateral band work. If you did the same, I’m positive that your physique clients (assuming you train physique clients) would see better results. I hope you don’t train every client the same way despite their varying goals – please tell me you don’t shove powerlifting down a physique client’s throat. Nevertheless, hip thrusts are just one component of my programming, and you won’t find many S&C writers who have written more articles and filmed more videos on squats and deadlifts than me.

II. I’m Well-Aware that I’m Not Strong by Powerlifting Standards

I was the skinniest kid in my class growing up – I looked sickly and was made fun of constantly. I couldn’t even come close to performing a single chin-up when I was given the Presidential physical fitness test in grade school. When I first tried the bench press, I was stapled to the bench by the barbell. I started lifting at 15 years of age, and it took me:

  • 3 years to perform my first bodyweight dip
  • 4 years to perform my first bodyweight chin-up
  • 6 years to bench press 225 lbs
  • 22 years to reach the 300/400/500 bench/squat/deadlift club
  • 22 years to finally deadlift 600 lbs

Words cannot describe how intimidated I was of lifting weights. Back in middle and high school, I thought that something was physically wrong with me and wondered why I was so weak. I was bullied constantly by bigger students, and I hated being harassed so much that I vowed to stick with it and build some muscle. I spent my entire allowance on a gym membership and rode my bike several miles to the gym each day. I couldn’t afford a personal trainer so I just watched what other people did and tried to copy them. I’d go the library and grocery store and read the muscle magazines to try to pick up some tips. Little by little, my strength rose and my muscles grew. Never in the world did I ever imagine that I’d one day be considered “strong.” All I wanted at that time was to be normal. In 22 years, I’ve never taken more than 7 days off of lifting, and this fact makes me prouder than you can imagine.

Me as a kid

Me as a kid – that’s how I stood

I have no ego in the strength game. I’ve had incredibly strong lifting partners, and I’ve trained some freaks. I follow natural raw lifters such as Ben Rice, Jonnie Candito, Bryce Lewis, Brandon Campbell, Greg Nuckols, Layne Norton, and Mike Tuscherer, and I’m constantly in awe. I’ve seen all the videos of Malanichev, Konstantinovs, Green, Efferding, Lilliebridges, Kendall, Norris, Rubish, Byrd, Spoto, Bolton, and Magnusson. Trust me, I know exactly where I stand in the world of physical strength. There are guys who can raw squat and bench well over double what I can. I’m also well-aware of my weaknesses in powerlifting. I know that I need to work on staying more upright in the squat and strengthen my quads, I know that I need to work on keeping my elbows more tucked in the bench press and strengthen my triceps, and I know that I need to work on keeping my back more stable in the deadlift.

Despite these realizations, I’m still damn proud of my recent deadlift PR, I’m damn proud of how hard I worked to achieve this goal, and I’m damn proud that my form has improved over the past two years. I’m going to keep giving it my all, and in years to come I hope to raise my raw total to 1,400 lbs and continue to bring up my weaknesses.

However, strength isn’t just a measure of physical prowess; there’s a mental component as well. It takes a lot of balls to pump out articles on maximum strength training, knowing that you’re far from being the strongest guy on the planet. It takes a lot of strength to stick with powerlifting despite the fact that squats have never felt natural to me and I struggle with form. It takes guts to attempt to help powerlifters, knowing that the industry is plagued with meatheads who think that he who is strongest writes better programs and provides better training recommendations.

Nevertheless, I trust in my methods. I have extensively studied the science and find most strength experts’ understanding of the biomechanics to be rudimentary. A strength coach is someone who can help lifters and athletes become stronger. Some of the best strength coaches in the world are weak as a kitten. I attended the CSCCa Conference last week – these collegiate strength coaches are doing an amazing job helping athletes around the country get stronger and improve their performance while keeping them injury-free. Their strength comes in all sizes, you see big guys, medium size guys, and small guys. Al Vermeil is arguably the most successful strength coach in the history of the iron game, and he probably can’t bench press 165 lbs.

Bottom line, it doesn’t take world-class strength to be a world class strength coach. I’m not trying to “trick” my readers into thinking I’m insanely strong – I embed videos of powerlifting records every month into my blog so my readers stay abreast of recent strength feats. Nevertheless, I represent the common lifter, so my readers relate to me and appreciate my dedication. Attacking a fitness writer for being weak is very lame. Stick to the science rather than resorting to ad hominem attacks.

III. You Would Like 2 x 4: Maximum Strength

If you took the time to read through my 2 x 4 product, you’d like the system. It’s highly influenced by Dan Green, but with less volume and other modifications. It’s based around back squats, front squats, deadlifts, block pulls, bench press, close grip bench, floor press, and military press. It provides a systematic method for increasing strength while attempting to prevent overreaching and allow for peaking after 14 weeks. Accessory work is allowable and advisable, but limits are placed on volume. How could this approach go wrong? Try it and you will see results. THESE lifters all did. Or don’t, but don’t criticize a system that you’ve never analyzed or experimented with.

IV. The Truth About Hip Thrusts

I have a very hard time believing that there are guys out there hip thrusting 800 lbs that can’t do a bodyweight squat. I’d like to know who these people are. The vast majority of lifters can hip thrust more than they can squat, with the caveat that they’ve been performing it progressively for at least six months. These are things you learn from training hundreds of people.

The hip thrust is incredibly functional. Not only does it safeguard people from injury to the knees, hips, and low back, it also transfers quite favorably to performance. Lifters and athletes who employ the hip thrust notice improved gait function at all speeds, increased hip power, stronger squats and deadlifts, increased throwing/striking power, and more. Hip thrusts strengthen end-range hip extension, which is vital for sport performance. They build glute hypertrophy incredibly well, and this added glute mass does wonders for improving functional fitness. Any added mass is accompanied by nerves. It gets innervated and the athlete figures out how to utilize it in their sport, especially under the supervision of a skills coach.

Adding glute mass isn't like slapping extra clay onto a sculpture; the motor pool innervates the tissue during movement

Gaining glute mass through resistance training isn’t like slapping extra clay onto a sculpture; any additional tissue is innervated by the motor pool

I see that you compete in geared powerlifting. Do you like when others say that the bench press isn’t functional, or that wearing bench shirts or squat suits isn’t functional? I wouldn’t agree with these folks, but hopefully this illustrates my point. But, I digress.

To say that it has no real-life application and is “anti-functional” shows that your understanding of sports science is way off-the-mark. Let’s say that we had ten groups of 20 athletes perform one movement alone for 8 weeks (3 times per week with DUP). One group did just squats, another did just deadlifts, another just hip thrusts, another just glute ham raises, another just bench press, another just military press, another just chins, another just bent over rows, another just dips, and another just barbell curls. Let’s say that we pre and post tested them on ten performance tests: vertical jump, broad jump, triple jump, 40-yard dash, 400-meter run, horizontal pushing force, backward shot throw, rotational power, T-test agility, and max push-ups. My educated guess is that the hip thrust group would fall into the top 3, along with the squat and deadlift groups. But the lifter that performed all ten exercises would see far greater improvements than the lifter who only performed one exercise. Strength training is all about synergy, and the hip thrust is a staple in S&C programming.

Usain, Be Careful, You're Adding Non-Functional Glute Mass!

Usain, Be Careful, You’re Adding Non-Functional Glute Mass! (heavy sarcasm here)

V. Most Lifters Care More About Their Physiques Than Their Strength

I’d say that 90% of the personal training clients that approached me over the years came to me for aesthetics purposes. Most clients want to look better first and foremost. Initially, they aren’t concerned with strength acquisition. The majority of my followers want better glutes, not to set records in powerlifting. Sure, strength is nice, but given the choice, the vast majority of my female followers would choose to possess great glutes over superior strength. I agree that the two go hand-in-hand, but in my experience hip thrust strength is more critical to glute growth than squat strength. Either way, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to program both in a lifter’s training, if glute growth is the goal. Training should be tailored to the goal of the lifter, not predetermined according to the trainer’s biases.

Every coach's system will differ, but here's how my training prioritization changes depending on the goal of the lifter

Every coach’s system will differ, but here’s how my training prioritization changes depending on the goal of the lifter

VI. Do You Use Anabolic Steroids?

I’m curious Chris, do you use roids? I don’t know if you do or not, but if you do, and you go around the internet poking fun of natural lifters – isn’t that like a kid who cheats on a test and pokes fun of the other students for being dumb, or a runner who finds a shortcut during a race and makes fun of the other runners for being slow? If you’re all natural, please correct me and forgive me for the question. In my experience, most juiced lifters conveniently forget how difficult it is to build strength year after year as a natural lifter.

VII. Practice What You Preach

Chris, check out this quote:

“One lifter I really look up to and can’t wait to meet at the end of the month at EliteFTS’s LTT Seminar is Jeremy Frey. His lifting and his attitude have been nothing short of inspirational for me. I recently read in his training blog about his first meet back from a major injury. He talked about how he doesn’t give a shit about any records or whom he’s competing against because he is doing it for only one person: himself.

Records and accolades don’t matter in this sport. It’s about you and only you versus a bar full of weight and it doesn’t care about medals or records. It wants to hurt you and you are the only one who can kick its ass. While training for this meet, I totally lost the meaning of why I am doing this and it’s not because of records. It’s because I fucking love lifting weights and competing. LOVE it. The gym is my idea of what heaven should be like. It’s a place where nobody is hated and everyone is loved because we are all in there for the same reason: to get bigger, faster and most definitely stronger.”

Pretty awesome, right? This quote came from you HERE. Then why all the disrespect?

Response to Chris Duffin (Drop the Useless Hip Thruster)

I. Hip Thrusts Allow for Full Hip Extension

chris

Chris Duffin

Chris, when I saw your video, my jaw dropped. Your main premise is that hip thrusts don’t allow for full hip extension. They do. As a matter of fact, they allow for hip hyperextension. They do this so well, that spinal biomechanist Stu McGill (who used the exercise to rehabilitate his hip) noted that it naturally makes for an excellent hip flexor stretch. Since the glute (the antagonist) is contracting, it can be thought of as a natural form of PNF stretching, which has been shown to be highly effective in the literature at improving flexibility. I assumed that a bunch of people would call you out for your inaccurate conclusion, but this wasn’t the case. This actually made me depressed about the S&C industry and made me realize how far we have to go. Seriously, you’re argument is flawed. The repetition terminates when the hip runs out of ROM.

hip thrust

This is the first hip thrust picture to arrive on the internet, and it exhibits full hip extension.

The range of motion issue has been discussed ad nauseam by myself and others. It was discussed 4.5 years ago when I first introduced hip thrusts HERE, it was discussed in my first instructional video 4 years ago HERE, and it’s been discussed in dozens of articles/videos since then. For example, below is BJ Gaddour demonstrating full hip extension. HERE is a video of me achieving full hip extension with 635 lbs.

BJ Gaddour demonstrating full hip extension

BJ Gaddour demonstrating full hip extension

If someone is not achieving full range of motion, then they’re not doing the exercise correctly. However, the same could be said for squats, deadlifts, leg press, bench press, military press, chins, rows, etc. We know that some lifters will inevitably go too heavy and cut their ROM short, but lifters (especially in commercial gyms) around the world do this on every major lift. It’s not the fault of the exercise, it’s the fault of the lifter. You mentioned that lifters can use full ROM with body weight, but when they use too heavy of load, they cannot. Why wouldn’t there be a sweet spot right in between where you can still use load and achieve full ROM? I highly respect the level of strength you’ve achieved, but I’d respect you even more if you were fair on this topic.

II. Hip Thrusts Don’t Cause “Late Glute Firing” and They Transfer Just Fine to Performance

Hip thrusts cause late glute firing? Now I’ve heard it all. Ask fellow powerlifters Greg Nuckols and Quinten Cody (see articles HERE and HERE) if bridges and hip thrusts screwed up their glute firing. I hope you’re not judging the effects of hip thrusts by examining my form on deadlifts. I pulled that way long before I ever did hip thrusts. You see plenty of lifters who perform hip thrusts pull with an arched back, and you see plenty of lifters who don’t perform hip thrusts pull with a rounded back. When examining glute EMG, you don’t see delayed glute firing with roundback deadlifters or with people who perform hip thrusts, and the glutes are firing whether the pelvis is neutral, posteriorly tilted, or anteriorly tilted. I agree that it can help roundbackers better achieve lockout, but this doesn’t incriminate the exercise, as deadlifting mechanics have more to do with discipline when pulling than whether or not the lifter is performing hip thrusts.

When you showed your examples in the deadlift, I don’t agree with you in the posture that demonstrates optimal glute activation. The hip thrust does not “de-stabilize” the spine either – no exercise does that. And if you only standing exercises transfer to real life functional movements, then do you also avoid push-ups, bench press, incline press, inverted rows, seated rows, chins, pulldowns, hip sled, leg extensions, leg curls, planks, side planks, ab wheel rollouts, sit ups, back extensions, glute ham raises, and Nordic ham curls? Or is it just the hip thrust? Are you consistent with your logic here? The truth is that each of these exercises transfer to everyday movements just fine, they’re very useful for physique clients and strength clients alike, and best results are seen when you combine various patterns and force vectors. If you hypothesize that a training study for say 12 weeks involving 3 days/week of progressive hip thrusting would yield zero transfer to functional performance, then I’d have to say that you possess poor biomechanical instincts.

Any exercise that is good for glute growth will improve torque generating ability in hip extension, hip external rotation, hip abduction, and posterior pelvic tilt (see HERE), and there’s more to functional training than meets the eye, according to the literature (see HERE). You seem to think that squats and deadlifts are the end-all, be-all, but a huge percentage of my readers couldn’t care less about what they squat and deadlift – they just want to possess great glutes.

glute

Many women just want to look good; their priority isn’t powerlifting strength

III. I’m Not Just Trying to Sell People Something

Chris, you think I’m just trying to sell people Hip Thrusters? This has never been about the money. It’s about spreading sound glute training methods and helping others achieve their goals. It’s about improving sports performance, decreasing injury, and building better booties. It’s why I taught the world how to hip thrust off of standard benches, and why I taught the world how to do band hip thrusts out of power racks. If I was just trying to sell people Hip Thrusters, this strategy would make me the world’s worst businessman. The people who have bought Hip Thrusters are very happy with their purchases and have seen good results.

I’ve spent approximately 2 hours per day for four straight years answering people’s questions on the internet – this equates to almost 3,000 hours of pro bono work. I’ve been late to meetings and appointments, skipped out on needed sleep, and made sacrifices with my social life just to help others and spread my training methods. Since I’ve gone this route, I’ve attracted many fans. That’s what this is all about – improving the way the world trains.

If I make a buck or two along the way, then that’s great. I created the Hip Thruster because women and coaches were emailing me requesting a special unit. I’m pricing the unit as low as I can go – Sorinex and I must both make some profit. If people want to hip thrust at the gym, they can go that route. If they want to hip thrust more frequently out of the comfort of their homes using bands, they can buy Hip Thrusters. I believe that the Hip Thruster will lead to greater results compared to exercise equipment that is for more costly, especially when shipping is factored into the equation, including the reverse hyper, the 45 degree hyper, and the glute ham developer. Nevertheless, there’s nobody forcing people to make purchasing decisions.

Nobody's twisting anyone's arm, forcing them to buy a Hip Thruster

Nobody’s twisting anyone’s arm, forcing them to buy a Hip Thruster

IV. Alternative Exercises

Chris, the exercises you showed in your video as alternatives were good glute exercises. Tinkering with bands to add a horizontal force vector as in the case of the Ukranian deadlift you showed will increase glute activation and ensure greater end-range hip extension torque requirements. Blending two force vectors together as you’ve done in your video is very useful for teaching people how to groove it all together. However, I prefer to just do the different lifts independently. For example, do your squats, do your deadlifts, and do your hip thrusts.

On a side note, I feel the same way with banded squats (bands around the knees). Instead of doing them, I prefer to do regular squats, along with band seated hip abductions (two separate exercises rather than one combined exercise). With regards to band loaded deadlifts, I prefer to rely on American deadlifts so you involve the pelvic action.

If powerlifting strength was the goal, then maybe your approach would be ideal, but I prefer to maximize axial vector efficiency with squats/deads and anteroposterior vector efficiency with hip thrusts/back extensions. Your lifts are a bit more complicated so the average lifter may need some time to gain proficiency at them.

Either way, you’ve created a sound system. You do low load hip thrusts for cueing, heavy squats and deadlifts, band deadlifts and Ukranian deadlifts, and more. I do heavy hip thrusts, along with various squat/lunge, hip hinge, and lateral band work. Both of our systems are going to be highly effective for building glutes. I don’t think that either of us should be dissing each other’s approach. I’m just glad that you do add in glute activation work and more glute specific exercises into your arsenal, as they’re of great benefit to the general public.

V. Practice What You Preach

“A warrior lives his passions and never compromises following the path towards his dreams.”

Great quote, right? It’s yours. Originally, I wasn’t going to reply to your video. But when I clicked on your website, I saw this quote and decided to respond. This is a true story. In honor of your motto, I won’t compromise on my path for improving the way the world trains their glutes. Also on your blog are the tabs: Be Strong, Create Things, and Work Hard. This pretty much describes me, so I’d think that you and I would get along just fine if we met in person.

Conclusion

I’m not sure if this article will even make a dent in the opinions of Ryan, Chris, and Chris. I would imagine that they would be able to see the flawed logic in the others’ claims, but possibly not their own. Either way, I wrote this article for my readers and fans. These types of articles will undoubtedly continue to surface on the internet. Have confidence in your training and don’t let them deter you.

I tried my best to remain professional in this article, and I wish I didn’t have to go this route. We should be building each other up, not tearing each other down. We should be supporting each other, not bickering. We should be working together to promote the sport of powerlifting and increase awareness of sound glute training methods. We should be focusing on what we agree on, not just on our disagreements. We should figure out ways to experiment and resolve our disagreements. We should be complimenting each other, not just criticizing each other. Therefore, I’ll end this article like this:

Ryan Lingenfeiser, you have great potential as a writer. You’re very persuasive and passionate, and you have an admirable work ethic.

Chris Bartl, congratulations on your physique and life transformation HERE and on your powerlifting success. My hat’s off to you. Stay passionate!

Chris Duffin, you’re a total badass. I’ve posted a couple of your videos on my blog over the past year. Your life story is very impressive as well. You’re strong as an ox and I’ll be cheering for you on the sidelines. You’re one of the strongest dudes on the planet, and that speaks for itself. Stay passionate as well!

I hope that one day the three of you change your minds. Until then, please forgive me and my people while we ignore your advice and thrust away.

thrust

Viva la hip thrust!