Strong Female Booties – Stronger than Most Male’s in Fact!

Here are some highlights from the past couple of months at BCSC (Bret Contreras Strength & Conditioning – which refers to wherever Bret happens to be training people at the moment haha).

I want to point out that you don’t have to have a ton of equipment to build world-class glute strength, nor do you have to have the greatest facility.

All you need is consistency, optimal programming, and dedication!

In a small condo in Phoenix, Arizona, I’m turning out stronger glutes (pound for pound) than 99.9% of gyms around the world, thanks to a committed group of motivated women that call themselves The Glute Squad.

Here are the highlights:

  • :07 – :17 Sammie hip thrusts 375 pounds for 2 reps. She weighs 122 pounds!
  • :18 – :29 Sammie back extensions 100 pounds for 5 reps (while Chelsey and Alica can’t resist squeezing her glutes – Sammie has the densest glutes I’ve ever trained!)
  • :30 – :52 Sammie hip thrust isoholds me for :45 seconds (I decided to have some fun – I was curious to see if Sammie could hold me up, so I placed my hands on her hips and hovered over her while she held the top of the hip thrust. I weigh 218 pounds in the vid. I counted to 60 seconds but I count too fast and when I played back the vid I discovered it was only :45 sec. Sammie could do :60 seconds though)
  • :53 – 1:07 Kate hip thrusts 305 x 8 reps
  • 1:08 – 1:23 Kate hip thrusts 335 x 5 reps
  • 1:24 – 1:34 Sammie kb deadlifts 203 x 7 reps (we just started doing these – I didn’t know the girls were strong enough to double-overhand this weight, but they are!)
  • 1:35 – 1:46 Sammie kb deadlifts 203 x 10 reps (it’s less ROM since it’s resting on the Airex pad at the bottom, which makes it easier)
  • 1:47 – 1:54 Kate kb deadlifts 203 x 7 reps
  • 1:55 – 1:59 Alicia kb deadlifts 203 x 3 reps
  • 2:00 – 2:19 Kelli hip thrusts 215 x 10 reps
  • 2:20 – 2:31 Alicia hip thrusts 225 x 5 reps
  • 2:32 – 2:48 Chelsey hip thrusts 225 x 7 reps
  • 2:49 – 3:07 Anne hip thrusts 225 x 12 reps
  • 3:08 – 3:35 Kate hip thrusts 245 x 20 reps
  • 3:36 – 3:59 Sammie hip thrusts 245 x 20 reps
  • 4:00 – 4:16 Sammie back extensions 50 x 20 reps
  • 4:17 – 4:36 Kate back extensions 50 x 20 reps
  • 4:37 – 5:10 Molly kb deadlifts 106 x 30 reps
  • 5:11 – 5:38 Anne kb deadlifts 106 x 30 reps
  • 5:39 – 6:18 Sammie kb deadlifts 106 x 50 reps

Here is some commentary:

  • Sammie’s 375 x 2 is the most I’ve seen any girl her size do. This is a 3XBW (triple bodyweight) hip thrust. If I still trained Kellie Davis she’d be doing 405 by now. But Sammie’s only been training glutes hard for 4 months. So I’m not sure who has the strongest pound for pound glutes…
  • Sammie’s isohold with me is insane. I bet she could hold a 60 second isohold with double her bodyweight if she practiced this a couple more times. She has some freakish end-range hip extension strength endurance.
  • When Kate started with me, she performed 1 rep with the 106lb kettlebell. And this was a legit 1RM – that’s all she could do at the time! Now she’s doing 7 reps with the 203lb kettlebell. When she first started hip thrusting she used 105lbs, and now she’s up to 335lbs! She’s been training with me for just over 2 months! Sometimes out of nowhere a woman’s glute strength just skyrockets.
  • Sammie is the first girl I’ve trained who uses a 100lb dumbbell with back extensions.
  • The girls’ grip strength is excellent due to the double-overhand heavy kb deadlifts.
  • If I were to keep The Glute Squad going, I have no doubt that in 6 months they’d each be able to hip thrust 225 for high reps and kb deadlift 203 for high reps. Sammie and Anne would probably get to a 405lb hip thrust, a 203lb x 20 kb deadlift, and would be able to swing the 106lb kettlebell for reps as well.
  • Pound for pound, it appears that women have stronger glutes than men. Do the math!

 

46 thoughts on “Strong Female Booties – Stronger than Most Male’s in Fact!

  1. Melly Testa

    I have to admit, you make me want beautiful glutes. In college one of my roommates told me, “You have that disease, noassatall!”. She was Jamaican, and although it was meant as a taunt, I loved it. I am working with Marianne Kane now, and my ass is on the agend, thanks to you.

    Reply
  2. Kit Laughlin

    We call that same disease “negative arse”—you know, when the jeans are so bereft of glutes that the material hangs straight down from the belt line (assuming a belt!). Nice work, Bret.

    Reply
    1. Bret Post author

      Thank you Kit!!! I had a negative arse as a kid and in high school – hence my obsession with glutes! I was, however, able to turn it into a positive arse haha!

      Reply
    1. Bret Post author

      It’s actually a huge topic for Sports Science – but I’ve thought a ton about it. You’d need to factor in bodymass (torso, legs, etc.) when calculating the hip extension torque in the hip thrust (which is NOT easy to do, I’m working on a formula with a world-class engineer right now). But I think women will get the edge – I don’t know of any males who can do a 3XBW hip thrust. You might be close…

      Reply
      1. Derrick Blanton

        When comparing males and females on a BW ratio, males are always going to be “penalized” for having more skeletal muscle and heavier bone structure in their upper body which contributes absolutely zilch to the HT, but still gets factored into the ratio.

        In this comparison, the men’s upper body mass truly is “non-functional”, and in the case of the back extension, extra load to be erected!

        I mention this only because I value science, not b/c I’m petty and jealous of Sammie’s powerful glutes…(long pause) Well, maybe a little…

        Ha ha! Nice job, ladies! (and BC).

        Reply
        1. Derrick Blanton

          Maybe a more accurate direct comparison would be your prone quadruped hip extension using the reverse hyper?

          Of course to be absolutely fair, you would need to externally brace the upper body with some kind of restraint, as the aforementioned male upper body weight would now turn into an advantage as a stronger “anchor” to extend from.

          (Yes, I actually do sit around and think about this type of stuff.)

          Reply
        2. Bret Post author

          Derrick, not true my friend. You simply calculate the hip extension torque requirements by combining those required to raise the body mass (a bodyweight hip thrust) with those required to raise the barbell.

          I did this with an article I’m publishing on back extensions vs. 45 degree hypers vs. good mornings. Very easy in those movements. Not so much with hip thrusts – very complicated there.

          Trust me – I’m trying to figure out ways to justify my inferior pound for pound glute strength to my girls as well haha!

          Reply
          1. Derrick Blanton

            Ha ha, I know, right?

            But BC I’m not sure that you follow my thinking here.

            RE: HT’s only: We are not just considering how much the BW factors into the total per lift, but how much it adds in when multiplied on a pound for pound comparative basis.

            If I weigh 185, and 60% is in my upper body, then 60% of my BW to HT ratio is non-functional, i.e., not contributing to lifting the load. But that 60% still gets multiplied as additional load.

            So to triple BW, I would need to HT 555, (185×3). Only 40% of my BW is involved with the actual thrust. Yet, the remaining non-lifting mass still gets tripled for the new load.

            In this scenario, the best thing I could do would be to lose as much skeletal muscle as possible up top, to bring that ratio down. The 110-lbs. of upper body gets tripled to 330-lbs. (60% x3= 180%)

            As opposed to a woman, (or heck, a slender male), who weighs 125, with only 40% her non-contributing BW up top, (40% x3+120%)

            That’s a 60% additional “tax” on muscle mass that is not helping lift the load.

            I suppose you could compare this to a pull up champ based on BW percentages, the best thing he could do would be to roll himself around all day and let his legs atrophy, and so the percentage of mass relative to his power source would go down.

            Make sense, or am I missing something?

            And if that doesn’t float, then I’m going with Chuck’s “cross-sectional” mass argument below! :)

  3. Grace

    If you are a female, just starting hip thrusts . . what weight would you suggest beginning at and how much and how often do you increase that?

    Reply
    1. Bret Post author

      Grace, I’m going to post a blog about this topic soon. I’ll list actual progressions that I used with clients.

      In general start out with bodyweight and gradually increase. There’s no harm in being patient, as long as you know where you want to end up!

      Reply
  4. chuck

    based on the geometry of the female body, would you also say they have greater relative glute mass then men too? could this explain the higher relative strength?

    Reply
    1. Bret Post author

      I see where you’re coming from, and this is a good question. I don’t know the answer to that. Will add this to the list of future research haha!

      Reply
      1. chuck

        i hope you know i am serious. women have wider hips than men thus it would be reasonable to think that their individual glutes would be wider and have more mass.

        Reply
        1. Bret Post author

          I agree Chuck! I realize that you are serious. But what I’m wondering is if the increased relative width does in fact lead to higher relative cross-sectional area (actually PCSA, or physiological cross-sectional area, is the more relevant measurement, as it takes into consideration the “true” muscle force by factoring in the pennation angle).

          It is possible that while female glutes are wider, male glutes are thicker (in the sagittal plane).

          But I think that you could indeed be correct.

          Reply
  5. chuck

    also, it seems you would be getting pretty strong just by spotting those heavy hip thrusts. regarding the KB deadlifts, does a wider, toes out stance hit the glutes better?

    Reply
    1. Bret Post author

      Good observation! It’s excellent deadlift practice (submaximal training) throughout the week.

      As for your question, I don’t know. On the one hand the glutes are in a more favorable position to produce force. On the other hand the sagittal plane moment arm is reduced. I think it would though.

      Reply
  6. Dee

    What’s the best way to do hip thrusts if you don’t have someone to place the bar across your hips. Having embarassed myself once at the gym, I would like to avoid doing it again…

    Reply
      1. Dee

        Thanks! I really need to work on my glute strength – how often should I do these and can I do them on the same day that I squat or deadlift?

        Reply
  7. maureen

    I have not tried the hip thrust yet…still in the corner doing glute raises..I got 205 for eight reps.. after I finished my sets i put on 135 for higher reps (23) …It was so light I thought it was going to fly off it blew me away..it was just a few weeks ago when that was heavy…i have been doing them in the gym about six weeks now..i prefer to keep continous tension and not let the bar hit the floor…is this ok…when I reach 225 I am going to move on to hip thrusts which will mean going into the middle of the gym where the benches are and getting crazy ass looks…I just want to thank you and your girls for the motivation..the information and the videos…

    Reply
    1. Bret Post author

      Maureen, you can set up aerobics steps with risers and use them so you don’t have to be in the middle of the gym. Start doing hip thrusts right away, you don’t need to wait. They’re harder so you’ll have to go down in weight just a bit. Keep it up!!!

      Reply
        1. maureen

          today was leg day and i did what you said to do..I got the risers and did 5 sets of 135 rep range 8-15 with a pause hold at the top…I had two different people come over and ask me why I dont just use the ab machine…I laughed and told them i was working my glutes…I should have said ass because they still looked confused..thanks again….I am on my way to gluteal perkiness
          and power…

          Reply
  8. J Eliott

    Loved the vid, best thing is that those girls are still hot, unlike bodybuilding women (my opinion YMMV) that vid is evidence that girls can lift heavy without “bulking”. As you probably know about 98% of women think if they lift heavy they will wake up one morning looking like a shehulk.

    Reply
  9. gregory

    Could be to do with recovery and focus of resources, the females concentrate alot on glutes, where as men perform more whole body physical labour, perform more whole body sports, work more whole body muscle. ie systemic? and not as wholy focused on having sexy glutes? focal? p.s. i want the strongest sexiest, high performance glutes i can get im male pps i love female glutes love your work bret keep going yo.

    Reply
    1. Bret Post author

      I’ve trained males in the same fashion though, and while they have much more absolute glute strength, their relative glute strength doesn’t outmatch that of the women. So I think it’s anatomical in nature. Thanks Gregory!

      Reply
  10. Michael Zweifel

    Hey Bret, this is my first time commenting, but I’ve followed you for a couple of years now, and must say you’ve done a wonderful job of advancing my learing as well as many others. The content you post is great, keep up the great work!

    My question is I notice you use a smaller bar (curl type) for the hip thrusts with your girls. I’m wondering how much you think this effects the lift in terms of stability, torque, and total force due to the shorter lever arm, compared to a normal barbell. I’ve never done the hip thrust with that type of bar, but from just watching I was thinking that there might be some definite advantages from using this type of bar and the amount of weight one could do.

    Since you’ve done this variation as well as every variation imaginable I was just wondering your thoughts on if this bar allows for heavier weights, the differences in torque and stability, and any other differences you might have noticed.

    Thanks! Hope this questions hasn’t been asked before and I’m making you repeat yourself.

    Reply
    1. Bret Post author

      Michael, great question (you should comment more often).

      My friends Ben Bruno and Kellie Davis have mentioned the same thing to me. I have done them both ways but I can only fit 375 onto the easy bar so it’s hard to tell. The easy bar does feel easier though.

      How to explain this? The moment (lever) of the resistance arm is not affected since that’s in the sagittal plane, not the frontal plane. So leverage can’t explain it. But perhaps frontal plane stability is increased (but it’s a very stable lift) due to the bar not shifting around???

      I agree that it seems easier, but biomechanically I don’t know how to explain it. Would using a narrower bar for squats and deadlifts make it easier? I don’t think so…

      Cheers!

      Reply
      1. Michael Zweifel

        Thanks for the response. Good point on the Squat on DL, it would be interesting to see if there would be any differences. I feel the DL might be slightly easier with a shortened bar, squat on the other hand don’t think so (with how big some guys are and how wide they place their hands, the bar probably couldn’t afford to be much shorter).

        But I agree with you it probably has mostly to do with greater stability and like Derrick said less wobble. With a regular barbell it definitely takes some work keeping the bar balanced, stable, and controlled.

        Anyways those are some strong fing glutes by those girls. Truly impressive!

        Reply
        1. Eugene

          Seems to me you need a spotter to lift the short bar into position. The Olympic bar you can use unaided for hip thrusts. Not everyone has a spotter like Bret to lift and remove the bar. Comments?

          Reply
  11. Derrick Blanton

    Seems to me the longer the bar, the more each asymmetry gets magnified. So the shorter bar may minimizes left to right wobble. Look at it from the opposite perspective: could you HT as much if the bar were lengthened to 9-feet? Ten feet?

    Possibly, but I doubt it. Maybe if you are exactly as strong from left side to right. But the minute one glute exerts more power, and the angle on the bar starts to shift, there goes some valuable CNS drive to “correct”.

    Reply
    1. Jim Thompson

      Reminded me of an observation I had a couple of days ago. I was doing a squatting (movement) analysis on several untrained new gym members. I noticed all of them (they are all unrelated to each other in every way) have more right glute development. In the absence of other possible causes (injuries) I am wondering if this is RBD (right butt dominance!)like being right-hand dominant. What say you?

      Reply
      1. Derrick Blanton

        Jim, this is a conundrum!

        I would have guessed the opposite, unless they were all left-handed, which seems unlikely. When you say they were more right glute developed, do you mean hypertrophied, or that they were favoring one side on the squat?

        I’m right hand dominant, and my left glute is stronger, bigger, and more comfortable bridging on one leg HT’s, planks, etc. It’s a bit counter-intuitive but I tend to shift more weight to the right side when I squat, which on the surface may seem like I’m right glute dominant. In fact, my left glute is torquing so much harder that it is forcing the pelvis and the load over to the right, like a mini-Cossack squat effect. As I bring up my right glute, I’m beginning to squat more evenly, ala driving the load back to the center.

        I always assumed the opposite hip of my dominant hand was stronger because I’m constantly anchoring with it, and performing tasks with the right hand. Along those same lines, my left bicep is noticeably bigger, b/c I’m usually carrying stuff in my left arm which frees up the right to perform those tasks.

        Interesting!

        Reply
      2. Bret Post author

        Yep, the majority of folks are right-handed and are also left-limb dominant with unilateral lower body movements. When you kick and jump, you plant off of the left leg and use the right for hip flexion propulsion. So the left is usually more stable with most folks (who are right handed). If they shifted toward their right side, I’d agree that this would be an attempt to put more loading on the right leg (which is not in agreement with what I’d think would happen). Cheers!

        Reply
    2. Bret Post author

      Funny! That’s exactly what I first thought of…if you had a 10ft bar would it change things. I think it would indeed, but by how much? And with the hip thrust, how much a difference does it make going from say 7 feet to 4 feet? Maybe a 10% advantage, which is still huge. Good thoughts!

      Reply
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  13. Eugene

    I thought only bench support under scaps ie across shoulder girdle but it seems all these girls have bench support across thoracic spine. What is correct execution Bret? Thanks, gene s.

    Reply
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