December Random Post

By December 10, 2018 Random Thoughts

Happy Holidays fitness friends!

I wanted to share two podcasts, a new blog post, and the Instagram content that I’ve been cranking out over the past couple of weeks. I hope you enjoy!


In my latest BLOG POST, I talk about my experience with only performing three lifts (hip thrust, leg extension, and leg curls) and how they allowed me to maintain my deadlift and squat strength. You can see the video HERE.


The Fitness Devil Podcast

In THIS podcast, we talked about my journey to opening up Glute Lab, gym etiquette, and how I handle the criticism I receive in this industry.

Barbell Shrugged Podcast

First thing’s first. I did not come up with the title. I would not have approved of it if they ran it by me, but they didn’t. If you listen to the podcast, you’ll realize that this was not the gist of my talk and that there are some excellent nuggets of wisdom to glean. I used to write for TNation back in the day, but stopped because they’d pull this clickbait crap on me and change the names of my titles to controversial ones that would rile people up. But I digress. In THIS podcast, you’ll learn why my empowerment model is far more effective than the dependency model that pervades the rehabilitation industry. Quit labeling people as dysfunctional!


Here are some of my most popular recent Instagram posts:

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In working with over 200 bikini competitors in the past year, one thing that fascinates me is the varying types of approaches to prep. Different physique coaches have different methods, yet each can lead to a pleasing result on stage. ⁣ ⁣ Nevertheless, there are many misconceptions associated with bulking and cutting. There’s a belief that when bulking, you should do less training volume and perform more compound exercises with heavier weight for lower rep ranges with longer rest periods and stick to the basics. In contrast, when cutting, many believe that you should perform more single-joint exercises with less weight for higher reps with shorter rest periods and include more variety.⁣ ⁣ These notions are false. There will be some differences in training, but for the most part, the only needed changes are dietary. You’ll need to reduce calories in a prep. Some research indicates that you should slightly elevate your relative protein intake, and cardio might increase depending on the rate of progression. I’ve trained several high level competitors who did zero cardio during prep and ended up looking their all-time best – even some who competed on the Olympia stage. ⁣ ⁣ If you’ve been training hard consistently for a long time, your strength levels will indeed change. Absolute strength on common barbell lifts will drop, whereas relative strength on common bodyweight exercises will increase. You probably won’t be setting any squat or hip thrust PRs, but you’ll become a boss on chin-ups. ⁣ ⁣ What builds muscle best in a surplus maintains muscle best in a deficit. In other words, you can use the same exact training strategies to bulk or to cut.⁣ ⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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One of the most annoying aspects of my job involves trying to convince people that “advanced” routines aren’t necessarily better than “basic” routines. Trust me – if I wanted to razzle and dazzle anyone, I easily could. There’s no one more skilled than me at coming up with crazy variations, dropsets, different tempos, supersets, and burnouts. However, the basics form the foundation of every good program. ⁣ ⁣ The routine shown at the bottom of the graphic is an amazing lower body workout for anyone. If you think that this workout is too “basic” for you, then quite frankly, you don’t know what you’re doing in the gym. Yes, it’s “only” 12 sets, but if you know how to push yourself and you’ve built up your strength, it will crush you. Doing squats, deadlifts, and hip thrusts in the same workout is very demanding. Getting stronger at these lifts will build your entire lower body. ⁣ ⁣ The problem is, many lifters have not mastered the art of pushing themselves to failure, they don’t understand how to properly implement progressive overload, and they over-value variety and novelty. When I write programs for people, I have a goal in mind. If I write you something like what’s shown in the bottom workout, it’s because I want you to build your compound bilateral strength. If your coach prescribes you something similar, don’t second-guess him or her. ⁣(The top workout is also great… don’t get me wrong.) ⁣ Last year, my client @mahsa_ifbbpro could have done the bottom workout with 405 lbs for 3 sets of 8 on the hip thrust, 185 lbs for 3 sets of 6 on the back squat, 205 lbs for 3 sets of 10 on the stiff leg deadlift, and 130lbs for 3 sets of 20 on the seated hip abduction machine. If she did a similar workout 3 times per week, this amounts to 36 high quality sets for the glutes. Her glutes are massive!⁣ ⁣ The bottom line: every exercise and method has its place, but never underestimate “the basics”. ⁣ ⁣ Maybe YOU need to be more “basic” if you want to see results. ⁣ ⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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In high school, I was so sick and tired of being so skinny that I vowed to change it. I gained 70 lbs in 2 years by stuffing my face all day long. My nightly dinners consisted of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Ramen noodles, and a bowl of cereal. My dad would make my sandwich sometimes and I’d scold him for not loading it up to the max with peanut butter. Turns out I was consuming a thousand calories from the PB & J sandwich alone. This was great for bulking, but it’s the worst thing you can do if you’re cutting. The pic on the left contains 21 grams of peanut butter whereas the pic on the right contains 121 grams. This amounts to a difference of 563 calories! Most of you are trying to lose weight. If so, you’d be foolish to just wing your portion sizes like me. The vast majority of people consume many more calories than they think. This has been shown to be the case in several well-conducted studies. People swear they don’t eat that much, but when they actually weigh and track, they realize that they were grossly underestimating their actual intake – often by 40% or more. They assume they’re consuming 1,500 cals per day but it’s really more like 3,000. Bottom line: take the time to understand portion sizes per type of food you’re consuming. Also if you hip thrust then peanut butter ends up going straight to the glutes 😉. #gluteguy #glutelab

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Teaching optimal hip thrust form is complicated. While the occasional lifter prefers and functions better staying fairly neutral in the head, neck, and spine, the vast majority of lifters do best maintaining a forward head position, which leads to ribs down and a posterior pelvic tilt. It’s not just the forward eye gaze; the whole head has to maintain its forward position. You’re not hinging around the bench; the body mass above the bench stays relatively put, while the body mass below the bench is where the movement occurs. ⁣ ⁣ The astute science geeks out there will rightfully point out that posterior pelvic tilt is associated with some lumbar flexion, and that lumbar flexion under load can be problematic. However, lumbar flexion is only dangerous when the discs are simultaneously subjected to compressive forces. With this style of hip thrust, the glutes are driving hip extension and posterior pelvic tilt, and erector spinae activation is greatly diminished. Core activation is what creates the bulk of the compressive forces, so with the erectors more “silenced,” the discs aren’t as compressed. This makes the exercise very safe. In fact, it’s safer than the “neutral” technique because as you rep to failure or go a bit too heavy, you will inevitably arch the chest and hyperextend the spine, which can lead to lower back pain. ⁣ ⁣ We have 200 members at Glute Lab hip thrusting day in and day out, and there have been zero injuries to date. Considering how heavy we go, this is astounding. ⁣ ⁣ Please watch the video for a visual demonstration. ⁣ ⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab #thethrustisamust

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In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang describes how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. When training for maximum muscle growth, you need to be getting stronger over time in certain movements. However, sometimes you shouldn’t concern yourself with quantity and should instead focus on quality. You can do this by focusing your attention on the muscle being worked during the lift instead of on carrying out the task as explosively or efficiently as possible. These two strategies are known as progressive overload and the mind muscle connection, and both are necessary to develop maximum muscle hypertrophy. One without the other will yield inferior results. I typically perform the first 1-2 exercises per day with the goal of hitting some type of PR, and then the rest of the workout is done with a focus on the feel and not the weight. #gluteguy #glutelab

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Talk to any bodybuilder, and he'll be able to list off his favorite exercises for each body part. And it's different for every bodybuilder. The differences arise on account of body segment proportions, joint mobility, tendon attachment points, muscle architecture, coordination, and injury history, to name a few. Nevertheless, you should know your favorite exercises that combine to best work the entire body. For me, it's the bench press for the pecs, the wide neutral grip pulldown and chest supported row for the back, the military press for the delts, hip thrusts for the glutes, squats for the quads and glutes, deadlifts for the hams and glutes, and Nordic ham curls for the hams. ⁣ ⁣ Your list should be different from mine. And your list will change over time. For example, I used to like weighted dips and chins, but these don't suit my body well anymore. What's the importance of this list? Over the years, every time my legs and glutes are jacked and swole, it's when I'm kicking butt on hip thrusts, squats, and deadlifts. Lately, I've been doing tons of Nordics and have made them a staple. And every time my pecs and shoulders and lats are jacked and swole, it's when I'm kicking butt on bench press, military press, pulldowns, and chest supported rows. ⁣ ⁣ You need to care about your strength on your top 8 lifts and be striving to best your PRs, as this is how you make progress over the years. When I can beat these numbers, I'll likely have a better physique: ⁣ ⁣ full squat – 315 x 10⁣ deadlift – 500 x 10⁣ hip thrust – 585 x 10⁣ bench press – 275 x 10⁣ military press – 185 x 10⁣ pulldown – 225 x 10⁣ db chest supported row – 220 x 10⁣ Nordic – maintain control throughout the entire lowering phase⁣ ⁣ You can and should shuffle your lifts around and rotate lifts in and out of your programs, but never take your eye off of your strength on the big lifts that suit you well. You may prefer dumbbells over barbells, you may prefer single leg over double leg, you may prefer certain machines, but whatever the case may be, make sure you're trending upward over the long haul. ⁣What are your top eight lifts? ⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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Take any popular glute exercise, and you'll find numerous experts who rave about it and other experts who claim that it's ineffective at building the glutes. Opinions are all over the place. ⁣ ⁣ There are two reasons for this. First, human hip anatomy and glute architecture differs markedly from one person to the next. What works well for one person doesn't necessarily work for another. Hence why we must experiment and work with a wide variety of individuals prior to drawing conclusions. ⁣ ⁣ Second, there isn't a single published study comparing the effectiveness of one glute exercise versus another on actual gluteal hypertrophy. There are indeed plenty of electromyography (EMG) studies, but we need longitudinal research using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to support our theories. Until then, we must rely on anecdotes and logical reasoning. For example, I take into consideration the data I obtained during the numerous EMG experiments I've conducted with clients over the years, the quality of contractions I feel when I palpate clients' glutes during training, the sensations I feel when I perform the different exercises, and the feedback I receive from clients. ⁣ ⁣ At @glutelabofficial, we train hundreds of clients each month with the primary goal of building their glutes. For this reason, we feel that we have a good handle on what works best for the masses.⁣ ⁣ This post lists individual exercises, but I want you to think more about the movement patterns they represent. For example, you may prefer smith machine hip thrusts over barbell hip thrusts, or knee banded dumbbell glute bridges over barbell glute bridges, or goblet squats over back squats, or sumo deadlifts over conventional deadlifts, or a specific type of lunge like a curtsy or deficit lunge, or kickbacks off of a pendulum unit instead of a cable column, or maybe you prefer single leg leg presses or knee banded high and wide leg presses over standard leg presses. At any rate, these patterns will serve you well, so make sure you're including most of them in your weekly routine. ⁣ ⁣ #glutelab #gluteguy #thethrustisamust #bootybybret⁣

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Each month, I think up something challenging and then test it on Glute Squad guinea pigs @brianna_fit_ and @chrisannanorthrup. I have two new protocols to share, but before I do so, I realized that I never made my pyramid protocol or ladder protocol into graphics.⁣ ⁣ I’ll post the ladder protocol tomorrow and the new protocols next week, but here is the pyramid protocol. Many of you did this for a month and saw good results from it. I originally showed my clients @cabalstrong10, @domscottfit, @chrisannanorthrup, and @brianna_fit_ doing this on July 31. ⁣ ⁣ If you already did this, then I wouldn’t do it again until several months have elapsed. But it you haven’t tried it, I recommend you give it a go, unless of course you’re doing one of my personalized programs or Booty by Bret.⁣ ⁣ The first graphic showcases the protocol and the second graphic (swipe left) provides an example month. In the future, I won’t be double posting protocols – I’ll be sure to create graphics like this so they’re easy to follow (and share). ⁣ ⁣ Adjust the loads shown in the example according to your strength level and strive to beat your total reps each week. In the example shown, total reps for the month went from 50 to 64. This is progressive overload and it builds the booty. Make sure your form and ROM remain the same throughout the month. ⁣ Edit: this is for the hip thrust exercise, it’s done once per week (but you can train glutes on more days), rest is 2 min in between sets, tempo is one up one down no pauses, ROM stands for range of motion, and you only do it for 4 weeks because it’s brutal and you can’t keep beating PRs indefinitely…switch to another protocol. ⁣ #glutelab #gluteguy #thethrustisamust #bcpyramid

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This is the descending ladder protocol that I shared a couple of months ago. It’s probably the most popular glute burnout we’ve come up with at @glutelabofficial. My trainers @arbryce and @alex.sterner actually came up with the workout, but the BC Ladder has a nice ring to it (just like the BC Pyramid which I posted the other day). We start beginners off at 10 or maybe 12, but advanced lifters can work their way down from 15. This means 15 knee banded bridges, then 15 knee banded supine abductions, then 14 and 14, then 13 and 13, then 12 and 12, until you get down to 1 and 1. It’s brutal and burns the booty like no other. Word on the street is that some folks can do 20 on down with no rest. I can barely do 10 without stopping. Thanks to @just_drea_marie and @leidatorno for being my models. Edit: this is done once a week, with no extra load, at the end of the workout, and the abductions are performed in the bottom of the bridge position (you can do from the top too but it’s harder this way). #gluteguy #glutelab #bcladder

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Which is better to perform: barbell hip thrusts or barbell glute bridges? Well, the obvious answer is to do them both. But if you could only do one of them, the answer is, "it depends." Firstly, if you happen to feel one working your glutes way more than the other, then you should probably stick with that exercise most of the time. However, you can often learn to feel a movement more over time by adjusting foot and stance width and altering your mechanics. If you feel both of the exercises working the glutes similarly, then you should probably perform the hip thrust more often, simply because of the increased hip range of motion and barbell displacement.⁣ ⁣ If you take a look at the chart, you'll notice that the hip thrust moves the hips through a much greater range of motion and barbell distance. If you use a taller bench and/or elevate the feet, you can get even more hip range of motion and barbell displacement out of the hip thrust. You'll note that the hip thrust works more quad than the glute bridge but displays a similar amount of glute, ham, and adductor activity. However, this data was estimated based on experiments on 4 individuals and conditions weren't controlled. In the future, I'll carry out and publish a study examining the two so the data is more accurate, and I'll look into more variables. ⁣ ⁣ The important thing is to be performing at least one movement in your program that strengthens end-range hip extension and works the glutes hardest at short muscle lengths – this is the zone of maximum glute activation. For example, a hip thrust, a bridge, a back extension, or a reverse hyper variation. You should also be performing at least one movement in your program that strengthens flexed-range hip extension and works the glutes hardest at long muscle lengths. For example, a squat, a lunge, a deadlift, or a good morning variation. And you should strengthen abduction and external rotation too. The glutes do a lot of things so we must train them in a variety of movement patterns and vectors. ⁣ #glutelab #gluteguy #thethrustisamust⁣

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This is one of the most important posts I’ll ever make, and I’m going to use my badass 4’11” and 96 lb client little @nikizager as an example. ⁣ ⁣ The picture shows her progress from last year to this year. She started coming to Glute Squad eight months ago but was inconsistent and averaged just a couple of sessions per month. Four months ago, she buckled down and started showing up twice a week. ⁣ ⁣ She came to me five weeks before her show, and I handled her training, nutrition, and prep. This is when I cracked down and started having Niki train with me in person one on one. For five weeks, we did just 7 exercises: hip thrusts, Nordic ham curls (NHCs), machine seated hip abduction, military press, chin ups, close grip bench, and feet elevated inverted rows. She trained 3-4 days per week with just 10 sets per session but set PRs every session. ⁣ ⁣ She went from 125 lbs for 3 sets of 12 to 245 lbs for 3 sets of 12. She vastly improved her lowering during NHCs and got much stronger at seated hip abduction. She went from being able to perform 3 reps with the 45 lb bar on military press to 15 reps with the bar and 5 reps with 55 lbs. She went from being able to perform 3 bodyweight chin ups to 8 and could do 4 reps with 10 extra lbs. Her cg bench and inverted rows improved substantially as well. She weighed 96 lbs throughout the entire process. ⁣ ⁣ This challenges everything the majority of fitness professionals believe with regards to physique training. ⁣ ⁣ • No bulking and cutting all year⁣ • No dieting all year⁣ • No cardio all year⁣ • No peak week tricks⁣ • Volume went down during prep⁣ • Set PRs all the way into her show ⁣ ⁣ How did we do it? Just steady recomping via progressive overload. This is way too simple and common sensical for the vast majority of competitors, so they’ll undoubtedly keep doing things the old fashion way. But if you’re sick and tired of spinning your wheels and being miserable throughout the process, please consider doing things my way. Those who have worked with me individually (@brianna_fit_ and @chrisannanorthrup will attest) are astounded at how much easier and less stressful it can be. ⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab #thethrustisamust

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In the past few weeks, I’ve posted the BC Pyramid and the BC Ladder protocols. Before I present the protocols to my followers, I test them out here at @glutelabofficial. ⁣ ⁣ @chrisannanorthrup and @brianna_fit_ performed the Glute Ham Destruction protocol and used 225 lbs, 315 lbs, and 365 lbs for their hip thrust loads. They used a stopwatch to make sure they were pausing for the full amount of time. ⁣ ⁣ You’ll perform 3 AMRAP (as many reps as possible) sets of pause hip thrust, which will fry your glutes. Then, you’ll perform Nordic ham curls with 3 pulses at the bottom as shown in the video to blast your hammies. Finally, you’ll perform DB 45-degree hypers to finish off your entire posterior chain. ⁣ ⁣ Selecting the proper loads for you hip thrusts sets is arbitrary, but try to pick something that has you performing 5-15 reps. ⁣ ⁣ This is to be performed once a week for 4 consecutive weeks, and the goal is to increase the number of total repetitions you perform on the pause hip thrusts. ⁣ ⁣Model: @jamiederevere #gluteguy #glutelab #thethrustisamust

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Are you a physique competitor who is a victim of terrible advice from your prep coach? Maybe you are, but are not yet aware that there’s a better way. ⁣ ⁣ Now that I’m working with hundreds of bikini competitors, I’m blown away by how horrendous the coaching is out there. Here’s the cycle: ⁣ ⁣ 1️⃣ You work hard to put on muscle mass on your own. ⁣ 2️⃣ Your coach prescribes you tons of cardio and puts you on a freakishly low calorie diet. The resistance training routine sucks and the coach never looks at your form or asks if you’re progressing. ⁣ 3️⃣ Your coach runs you into the ground, but you actually look pretty good because of the hard work you did on your own prior to working with said coach. ⁣ 4️⃣ Because of the overemphasis on starvation and cardio and underemphasis on proper resistance training, you lose muscle and shape, and you look a little bit worse at each successive show. ⁣ 5️⃣ Since you’re losing muscle, the only way for you to look competitive is to keep coming in lighter and lighter. You’re metabolism diminishes due to decreased muscle mass and NEAT. Eventually, your coach might even suggest that you go on Anavar, T3, and/or Clenbuterol because he’s too ignorant to realize that it’s his inferior program that’s making you look worse. ⁣ 6️⃣ Now you’re devastated because you’re working so hard but backtracking. ⁣ ⁣ If this sounds familiar, fire your incompetent coach and find someone who actually studies the science of physique training and cares about you as a human being. The only reason why many of these coaches do well is that they inherit already-successful clients, they take on hundreds of clients and highlight the select few who place well, and/or push drugs on their competitors. ⁣ ⁣ Proper progressive resistance training should be the backbone of any physique competitor’s program. Muscle creates shape and enhances the metabolism. ⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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