Howdy y’all, my name is Hailey Harber. Before I begin this whole shebang, I have to give some credit where it’s due; were it not for my parents, I more than likely wouldn’t give a rat’s behind regarding anything related to fitness or health. I can’t deny that they have done me a tremendous service by bringing me up in a household that not only implemented healthy eating but stressed getting sufficient physical activity. In fact, I can’t remember one time in my short 21 years where I didn’t have some form of abs. Now, that might sound like a dream come true to most of you ladies, and being lean is wonderful, but I eventually became a bit fed up with my masculine body and yearned to have a fuller, more feminine figure (while still being able to keep my small waist). Sure, I had nice abs, but I was seriously lacking in the trunk aspect. My petite, lean body was accompanied by an even smaller rear end, and I decided that enough was enough. Now, as an avid researcher, I took to the internet to learn how I could achieve this so called ‘plump’ derierre, and the journey that ensued as a result was really quite something.
Over the past few years, I’ve witnessed several popular strength coaches mention that nothing in the research ever drives what they do in the gym. Not to be a dick, but this makes perfect sense, since these guys don’t read research. I’ve delved into the research pretty heavily over the past several years, hell, I even started up Strength and Conditioning Research Review with my incredibly talented colleague Chris Beardsley, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’ve learned. When you regularly scan through over 100 journals every month, you glean a lot of information, and you see trends and identify commonalities in the research. Without listing a bunch of references, here are five things I’ve learned through research; not through training.
Let me tell you from personal experience – having a weak grip sucks! If you’re genetically predispositioned to having a strong grip, then chances are, you cannot relate. Your grip most likely grows stronger from simply holding onto heavy dumbbells and bars when performing dumbbell bench, dumbbell incline, one arm rows, pull-ups, and of course deadlifts. Sort of like the guy whose calves grow huge from squatting and deadlifting without doing any special calf work, if your grip never fails you despite never training it in the gym, then consider yourself lucky.
However, if you’re like me, and you’ve dropped numerous maximal deadlift attempts, then you know how frustrating inferior grip strength can be. Many lifters resort to using wrist straps. While I have nothing against wrist straps per se, you can’t use them on the platform if you ever compete in a powerlifting competition.
Charles Staley and I have been training together for almost two years. In fact, HERE is a “glute-off” we had a year ago, where we worked our way up to 600-lb hip thrusts. Strangely, Charles doesn’t feel barbell hip thrusts working his glutes much. This is hard for me to comprehend, since they make my glutes burn so bad I can hardly stand it (it often takes me twenty minutes just to walk properly following three sets of hip thrusts due to the massive glute pump).
At any rate, Charles doesn’t feel squats, deadlifts, lunges, back extensions, or hip thrusts in his glutes either. We often joke that he lacks glute muscles and that his hamstrings run right up into his back. He doesn’t feel anything working his glutes and never feels the burn. That is, until now. For some strange reason, certain lifters who struggle to feel their glutes will find that the band hip thrust does the trick. Here’s what Charles had to say after doing band hip thrusts for the first time: