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Three and a half years ago, Emily Nodine was watching a YouTube video I had posted titled Strong Female Booties. She was very inspired and thought to herself, “I hope one day I’m as strong as those ladies.” To make a long story short, she purchased Strong Curves, joined Get Glutes, gained a bunch of strength, wrote me a guest blogpost HERE (in December of 2013), fell in love with powerlifting, joined a powerlifting gym and competed in a couple of meets, quit concerning herself with progress pictures, joined Strong by Bret, started performing the Strong by Bret powerlifting program, and ultimately ended up being stronger than all the ladies in the original video that once inspired her.

I’ve written before about STRENGTH STANDARDS to give people goals to shoot for, but compilation videos go a long way in inspiring people too. Emily has some seriously well-rounded strength. In fact, I’ve never trained any female lifter in real life (I have online, but not at my gym Lifts back in the day, and not in the Glute Lab) who could pull off all the feats of strength that Emily can (see list below). But what’s awesome is that although Em is a powerlifter who trains primarily for strength gains, she’s always maintained an incredible physique. Funny how that works! (For similar anecdotes, please read Kristen’s story HERE and Tawna’s story HERE.)

I recently asked Em to create a compilation video because I have a hunch that it’ll inspire a ton of you out there. In the video, here are some of the lifts you’ll see:

– Back squat: 185 lbs x 3 reps
– Back squat: 210 lbs x 1 rep
– Barbell reverse lunge: 135 lbs x 10 reps
– Bodyweight chin up: 12 reps
– 30 lb weighted chin up: 3 reps
– 45 lb weighted chin up: 1 rep
– Barbell hip thrust: 345 lbs x 8 reps
– Barbell hip thrust: 405 lbs x 3 reps
– Bench press: 135 lbs x 4 reps
– Bench press: 150 lbs x 1 rep
– Sumo deadlift: 235 lbs x 5 reps
– Weighted back extension: 100 lbs x 10 reps

If you’re a woman and you can bench 135 lbs, perform over 10 chins (and one rep with 45 lbs), hip thrust 405 lbs, squat 200 lbs, and deadlift 275 lbs, then you’re damn impressive!

Here is a 3-year chart of Emily’s strength gains on “The Big Four” (the Strong by Bret ladies call squats, bench, deads, and hip thrusts “The Big Four,” which is funny because I add chin ups to that group and call it “The Big Five” – powerlifters just say “The Big Three” and refer to squats, bench, and deads).

Emily Strength Graph

Emily is 33 years old, 5’6, 128 lbs, 18% body fat, and usually wears a size 2. Her upcoming goals are a 300 lb deadlift, but I’d like to help her squat 225 lbs and deadlift 315 lbs (she will get there in time). Emily wants to thank Shelley, Kristen, Lucy, and Maleah for their help in making the video. It was an SBB (Strong by Bret) team effort.

I hope you’re inspired!


  • Jenny Weaks says:


  • Maureen says:

    Very inspired 👍🏻

  • Hannah says:

    Love it! Way to go Emily. Setting some new goals here 🙂

  • stanley says:

    Is it safe to say, that I really like her total leg developement? … And those chins/pull ups are really badass …

  • Keeley says:

    Way to go, Emily! What Bret said- damn impressive. Beastly, badass, and so very inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

    • Emily steezy says:

      Thanks Keeley!!! I’d like to add an addendum that video support credit also goes to the Lovely Keeley 🙂

  • Ally says:

    SO impressive!

  • Rachel says:

    WOW. Incredibly inspiring!!

  • Tara says:

    Awesome job Emily!

  • Shelley says:

    Emily, you are amazing! Emily is one of the most encouraging and supportive lifters out there. Thanks for being our “pusher”!

  • Kevin says:

    I have been in a rut lately with my exercising routine until I saw this so thank you for a great wake up call! Inspiring great stuff.

  • Sarah G. says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes! LOVE IT!
    Fabulous work, Emily!

  • Teresa says:

    Very inspiring Emily! Love this!!

  • Jim says:

    Bret, have you found that hip thrusts have transferred over to measurable athletic performance like sprinting. It seems based off your chart that there is a progressive lack of transfer between hip thrust strength and squat and deadlift strength. I wonder if the same is true or not for sprinting. I believe in an article over on T-Nation you stated that sprinters typically display the highest levels of glute activity and have the highest hip thrust strength without training the movement when compared with bodybuilders and power lifters, does the same hold true for Olympic lifters? I also read the brief article on hip thrust holds over on T-nation where you maxed out with 675, has this display of strength lead to increased sprinting ability or other explosive athletic display for you? Is the relationship relatively linear or does it show the same progressive lack of transfer that seems to be the case with the squat and deadlift? If the transfer is progressively lacking as hip thrust strength increases what then could be the resultant weak link if we know that glute activity is associated with high level explosive athletic performance and how might we address that weak link in training?

  • Thank you for this great video. It is definitely motivating. I am 52 and competing for the first time in June. Emily’s numbers are very impressive. Seeing things like this inspire me to continue to give it my all. I started with the Strong Curves two summers ago and loved it!

  • Laura Sullivan says:

    You GO Girl!!!…You continue to be an inspiration Emily!!

  • Sarah says:

    Bad ass bitch. Awesome work!

  • msytc says:

    Wow! That is great! Thanks so much for sharing this.

  • kevin says:

    What was her bf when she started? And did her diet stay the same from before she started?

    • Emily says:

      Kevin, I was pretty lean when I started because I was a competitive road biker. But the interesting thing is that my weight has remained the same througout this whole process (with a few temporary fluctuations)! I’ve definitely put on a little lean mass in my lower body so I must be at least a bit leaner than when I started. I’d guess I started out around 19 or 20%? Honestly, this if not something I monitor closely or try to manipulate in any way, as my goal is to gain strength not to change my physique… The only reason I have any clue what my body fat is is because my naturopathic doctor tested it while performing some other tests.

      I’d say that my diet has stayed pretty much the same also but I don’t track calories or macros or anything so I don’t have any data to support this.

  • Joy says:

    The whole lot were awesome and I’m in total admiration. But when Emily got to the bench press, what she did with her back scared me to death!
    Great work girl but please have somebody check that out.

    • Joy – that’s powerlifting. Everybody in PL tries to bench like that, it’s the sport. It’s not dangerous, nobody I’ve trained has ever hurt their backs this way. Some have discomfort but they can modify and feel fine. It allows for heavier loads to be lifted.

  • Karen says:

    Very, very inspiring! Hard work definitely pays off.

  • Linda says:

    Thanks for this, it’s fabulous! I’m saving this to play before I lift, as an inspiration!

  • Kikko says:

    Truly impressive and inspiring!!! I also do weight-lifting but as I progress (= lifting heavier weights), I am having problems to hold onto the bar. My hand grips are not strong enough. How can I strengthen my hand grips?

  • Katelyn says:

    What a small world! I live in Portland, ME and have seen Emily at World Gym. I also used to workout at Dyna Maxx. This is cool — way to go Emily!

  • Eloise says:

    Watch me !! 🙂

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