June Random Post

By June 16, 2019 Random Thoughts

Hi Fitness Friends,

It’s been a while since my last random blog post. I’ve been hammering away at the book (you can preorder it on Amazon HERE) and working on various projects including an awesome study that I’ll tell you about as soon as possible. Here are my favorite articles over the past few months, a couple of links to podcasts I was in, and my most informative Instagram posts.


Here are some great articles and podcasts since my last newsletter:

THIS article on my friend Menno Henselmans’ blog does a great job of explaining the science behind processed and unprocessed foods and their effect on caloric intake.

THIS article on my friend Greg Nuckols’ blog is incredible. It was written by Eric Trexler and explains the science and research associated with metabolic adaptation.

THIS article by Chris Beardsley delves into a complicated and intriguing topic related to muscle damage and central nervous system fatigue.

THIS article showcases some of my favorite booty building exercises.

THIS podcast with David Iglesias features my thoughts on various topics related to glute training.

THIS podcast with Open Sky Fitness also discusses glute training along with other fitness related topics.


Here are my top Instagram posts since last newsletter:

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Three years ago, a study was published showing that quarter squats led to better jumping and sprinting results than half and full squats (Rhea et al., 2016). This was very surprising considering that two prior studies (Hartman et al. 2012, Bloomquist et al. 2013) showed that deeper squats led to better jumping improvements than shallower squats. However, it was the first study to examine the effect of squat depth on sprinting performance. ⁣ ⁣ I’ve presented this 2016 study at all my lectures while being sure to mention my skepticism. In fact, I was planning on carrying out a follow-up study myself, but Pallarés and colleagues beat me to the punch. ⁣ ⁣ As you’ll see in the graphs, deep squats led to better improvements in sprinting and jumping than parallel and half squats. This contradicts Rhea’s findings and is more in line with what most strength coaches believe to be true. You’ll also notice in the graphs that the law of specificity applies very well to the squat. If you’re a powerlifter, you should train to parallel most of the time, as the depth to which you squat will lead to the greatest gains at that squat depth. ⁣ ⁣ I’m a huge fan of full squats and have experienced tremendous success prescribing them to clients over the past two decades. If a client can safely squat deep, then I have them mostly perform full squats. However, some clients don’t tolerate full squats due to excessive butt wink, femoral acetabular impingement syndrome, or patellofemoral pain, and these clients are given parallel squats instead. Half and quarter squats still have a place in the training of athletes, and we need more research on this topic, but full squats should, in my opinion, be the default squat depth for personal trainers and strength coaches. ⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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I decided I'm going to start summarizing all the important studies I read (and have read) pertaining to glutes, so prepare for much more science on my page. ⁣ ⁣ This paper published last week shows that when you lift explosively, muscle activation increases markedly. As you can see, you get fairly similar glute activity whether you're lifting light, medium, or heavy, as long as you're aiming to accelerate the load as quickly as possible. ⁣ ⁣ Now let's discuss whether or not this has any practical implications. As per the rule of specificity, if you want to be explosive, you'll want to train explosively, and if you want to be strong, you'll want to train heavy. But most people lift weights for aesthetics purposes and aren't primarily concerned with power or maximum strength – they just want to look good. ⁣ ⁣ Many people would look at the chart and assume that you'd get similar muscle hypertrophy with light loads vs heavy loads if lifting fast. They'd think, "Instead of doing 5 x 5 with 85% of 1RM, I'll just do 5 x 5 with 30% of 1RM and lift as fast as possible. I'll get the same glute growth because glute activation will be the same." ⁣ ⁣ Unfortunately, there's more to the story than this. For reps to stimulate muscle growth, you need two conditions: 1) high levels of muscle activation, and 2) slow contraction speeds, to allow enough time for the muscles to generate maximum tension. The only way to meet these two conditions is to lift heavy or to lift light but train close to failure, since activation increases as muscles fatigue in order to maintain force requirements. ⁣ ⁣ Notice the differences in concentric rep duration – the heaviest loads require 5X more time than the lightest loads. This is why all reps using heavy loads stimulate muscle growth; they're slow with high levels of muscle activation. But for light loads to stimulate growth, they need to approach muscular failure (so they're slow and have high levels of muscle activation). So you can still get maximum growth using 30% of 1RM, but you'll probably need to do sets of 30 reps or more. Hence why strength training with moderate loads in the 8-12 rep range is more practical. ⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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Go to any public area and you will notice that glute size and shape varies dramatically between from one person to the next. In support of this, the study mentioned in the graphic looked at 93 individuals and found that although relative glute volume was similar between sexes, large inter-individual differences exist. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ If you look at the graph you will note that the biggest set of glutes belonged to a man at 958 cm3. The smallest set of glutes also belonged to a man and measured 198 cm3. This means that the normal variance in humans is around five-fold (484%) for gluteus maximus volume. One woman had glutes that were well larger than the average man (638 cm3 vs 565 cm3).⁣⁣ ⁣ This is the first post out of several that I will make on glute genetics in the upcoming months. I venture to guess that 60% of the way your glutes look is determined by genetics. However, even if you have small or flat glutes when you’re untrained, you can still obtain larger and rounder glutes, as you could just have a low starting point but be a great responder to resistance training. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ People tend to trust the advice of the most jacked personal trainers over their lesser jacked counterparts, but in my experience, the genetic elite rarely rise up to become world experts; it comes too easy for them. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ I don’t think there is anyone on this planet who has worked with as many women with great glute development as I have. I’ve noticed that in general, they don’t train any harder or smarter than many of my clients with lesser glute development, they just have better genes. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Always strive to be your best, but be aware of bodybuilding (and bootybuilding) genetics. #glutelab #gluteguy

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In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that every lifter should have around 6 lifts they’re striving to progressively overload. The truth is, there’s a lot of leeway here. ⁣ ⁣ Powerlifters are primarily concerned with the squat, bench, and deadlift, although many of them perform numerous variations of the big 3. But they don’t have the best physiques in the world; bodybuilders do. ⁣ ⁣ Bodybuilders typically perform variations of squats, bench press, and deadlifts. However, they also perform numerous other lifts with the same level of effort, such as lat pulldowns and military press. ⁣ ⁣ In my Booty by Bret program, we typically focus on one or two lifts a month while putting the other lifts on the backburner. ⁣ ⁣ You won’t be able to increase your strength every week on every lift, but by rotating your focus, performing new variations, changing rep ranges, or utilizing different tempo, you can keep giving yourself opportunities to set personal records. ⁣ ⁣ At @glutelabofficial, we tend to focus on hip thrusts, straddle lifts, leg press, Nordic ham curls, and seated hip abductions. My personal favorites are the squat, bench, deadlift, chin-up, and hip thrust, but many times, due to pain, I have to omit them. For my female personalized programming clients, I tend to focus on the military press and chin-up for the upper body. ⁣ ⁣ The main factor is finding lifts that suit your body. Not everyone is built to back squat, bench, and conventional deadlift, but most can find variations of these that work for them. ⁣ ⁣ Several months ago, I made great progress doing mostly smith machine hip thrusts, Nordic ham curls, and leg extensions for my lower body. ⁣ ⁣ As you can see, many roads can lead to Rome. ⁣ ⁣ As far as accessory lifts go, everyone has a weak body part they’re striving to grow. Find a single-joint lift that hammers that weak part and do it frequently. Just remember that a PR is only a PR when the same form and range of motion are utilized. ⁣ ⁣ #glutelab #gluteguy⁣

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Many of you have been following me for a number of years. Perhaps you saw great glute growth the first year or two, but now you’re frustrated because your progress has seemingly stalled. ⁣ ⁣ One thing is for sure: you cannot keep doing the same thing while expecting different results. A change is in order.⁣ ⁣ Here are some things that you should try: ⁣ ⁣ 1️⃣Look at your sleep, stress, and nutrition. Everyone knows how important these are, but still, many don’t optimize them. ⁣ ⁣ 2️⃣Try cutting your volume in half. Most of the strength and conditioning experts in the industry recommend performing 10-20 sets per week per muscle group. Some of my followers are doing 60 sets per week. Recent research has shown that doing too much causes you to go backwards in your progress. My glutes have grown in the past year despite doing only around 15 sets per week. They grew because I got stronger and ate a lot. ⁣ ⁣ 3️⃣Take a deload week. You can’t train balls to the wall (or ovaries to the wall) 52 weeks out of the year. You need to have some easy weeks thrown into the mix. This allows for full neuromuscular repair and recovery so you can keep gaining strength. ⁣ ⁣ 4️⃣Instead of thinking you need to push it harder, try training smarter instead. Pick a couple of glute exercises that suit your body well and strive to get strong at them in whatever rep range you prefer. ⁣ ⁣ 5️⃣Rather than going for PRs, go lighter for a month and just focus on the feel. ⁣ ⁣ Muscle, strength, and fat loss gains are never linear, and you must have patience. ⁣ ⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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I’ve been helping people achieve their fitness goals for 22 years as a personal trainer and during this time, nobody has ever said to me, “I want to be 30 lbs overweight for the majority of the year and then use extreme methods for a few months to get temporary chiseled so I can take a bunch of pictures during these lean months and use them throughout the year pretending that this is the way I look year-round.” ⁣ ⁣ Bulking and cutting started with male bodybuilders who would get down to 6% body fat on stage. Not only is this not sustainable, it’s not ideal for muscle building physiology. So they’d bulk up during the off season with the intention of packing on as much muscle mass as possible by pushing themselves year-round and would end up squatting 700-800lbs and benching 400-500lbs at the peak of their bulk. When they’d diet down again, they’d usually be rewarded with a slightly better physique than the last time around. ⁣ ⁣ In working with literally hundreds of bikini competitors in the past year, I can say with great confidence that 1️⃣ most aren’t getting too low in body fat to where they can’t build muscle, 2️⃣ most let their body fat get way too high during the off season, 3️⃣ most do not like the way they look during the off season, and 4️⃣ most do not train hard during the off season and only “turn it on” when they’re in prep. ⁣ If you genuinely love the way you look while you bulk and cut, have at it! But a better approach for the masses is to first get to a bodyweight you’re comfortable with, then stay within 10% of that weight and gradually recomp. This is what the vast majority of my clients did before I moved to San Diego. They trained hard as hell year round and every few months looked better and better. They didn’t live off of throwback Thursdays and flashback Fridays and could post a bikini shot any day of the week. ⁣ ⁣ There’s no research I’m aware of on bulking and cutting, and a moderate approach is just as effective an extreme approach but without the drawbacks – which include psychological distress, increased appetite, reduced insulin sensitivity, increased fat cell number, and having to buy a new wardrobe. ⁣ #glutelab #gluteguy

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Several years back, I trained this girl named Camille for an entire year. She was roughly 5’6” and 132lbs. She was already eating in a very healthy manner, so I told her to just keep eating the same way (around 1,600 calories and 110g protein per day). ⁣ ⁣ Over the course of the year, her bodyweight never fluctuated more than a few pounds. She went from squatting 65lbs to 215lbs, deadlifting 65lbs to 275lbs, hip thrusting 95lbs to 365lbs, bench pressing 45lbs to 105lbs, and being able to perform 3 bodyweight chin-ups. Her physique improved markedly despite zero change in bodyweight, and she looked very lean and athletic. She put on her pants from before she started lifting, and there was a 4-inch gap in the waist, but the glute area was very tight. ⁣ ⁣ When you recomp, you actually lose overall body volume because muscle takes up less space than fat at equal mass. Moreover, you add shape to the right areas and whittle off shape from the “problem” areas, which results in a much more aesthetically pleasing appearance. ⁣ ⁣ This is what happens with many of my clients, and every few months, their body composition and physique improves. Obviously, if an individual is markedly overweight or underweight, they will be placed on a calorie deficit or surplus, respectively. But many can simply keep their calories the same (though typically increasing protein intake) while utilizing progressive overload on a variety of lifts in a variety of rep ranges, thus becoming stronger and fitter. I’ve demonstrated this over and over, even with advanced lifters (see my post on Nikki from November 26, 2018). ⁣ ⁣ Bulking and cutting is a popular strategy. However, you do not always have to increase your calories to gain muscle, nor do you always have to decrease calories to lose fat. You can maintain caloric intake while training like a beast (recomping). It’s important to know about this option so you’re not under the false idea that you have to be fluctuating drastically in bodyweight to improve your body composition. ⁣You can also “gaintain” by eating at a very slight surplus and moving up in weight gradually over time, for example gaining 1-3 lbs/yr. ⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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Here are 4 ways to calculate your maintenance calories, in order from least to most accurate. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ I have not found much difference between using the simple multiplier in method 1 and the more complicated equation in method 2. The first approach assumes that you are moderately active and lift for an hour a day, 3-4 days a week. Of course, there are large inter-individual variances in metabolism and NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis). If you run around all day long at work, train twice a day, and fidget non-stop, then your maintenance needs will be markedly higher. I work with some bros that are at a 23 multiplier, and I’ve worked with sedentary people who maintain at a 10 multiplier. It’s important to note that methods 1 and 2 are mere estimates.⁣⁣ ⁣ Most of you will never use a food scale, so method 3 is a viable strategy. You’ll need to eat foods such as yogurts, meal replacement shakes, small cereal boxes, and anything that is small and pre-packaged and has nutrition information on the label. If you are willing and able to weigh and track, then doing a 7-day average while making sure your bodyweight stays relatively stable will give you the most precise measurement. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Maintenance calories is what you will use if you are “recomping” (see my post from two days ago). If you are striving to lose weight, you will use a 10-12 multiplier (on method 1), and if you’re trying to gain weight, you will use a 16-18 multiplier. In some cases, I’ve had to go down to an 8 multiplier for fat loss, and I’ve had to bulk some people at a 25 multiplier, but these numbers work decently well for the masses. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ You just need a starting point from which you can adjust. Plan on taking a month to hone in on your precise maintenance number. For example, let’s say your true maintenance number is 1,600, and you start out at 1,900. You’ll be gaining scale weight, so you would drop 100 Calories three weeks in a row and end up at the true number within a month. No biggie. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ In the next day or two, I will teach you how to divvy up your macros, so please keep the questions for this post related to calories and not macros. ⁣⁣ #glutelab #gluteguy

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I don’t post enough about the glute dominant back extension. In measuring glute EMG activity on probably over a hundred individuals, I can say with confidence that the back extension is a close second behind hip thrusts.⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ I started doing them with the rounded back and feet turned out in 2009 and posted the first of several videos on YouTube in 2010. I’ve used it with a majority of my clients with great success. I love it when a client nails proper form on their first try. For some lifters, form comes very natural, whereas other lifters have an incredibly difficult time uncoupling hip extension with spinal extension.⁣ ⁣⁣With practice they can usually get it right. ⁣⁣ ⁣ The rounded back shuts down erector activity, making this a purer hip extensor exercise. The straight legs lead to increased hamstring activity over the hip thrust. Turning the feet out increases glute activity and shifts the burden to the lateral hammies and away from the medial hammies. ⁣ ⁣ We add load via a dumbbell, a barbell held in the hands, or resistance bands placed around the neck or upper back. I like the traditional method (feet straight, back straight) with resisted variations, and I like the glute dominant variation when using just bodyweight.⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ This exercise is best performed in the middle or near the end of the workout. We like to perform 3 sets of 30 reps with 1-minute rest time in between sets. ⁣⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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Many of my followers want to know how many sets they should be performing per week for glutes. I can’t just provide a blanket statement, as the answer depends on a number of variables. Some of my followers with amazing glute development perform just 10 sets a week, whereas others perform over 40 sets a week and have nice glutes. This discrepancy has a lot to do with genetics and program design variables. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ How much volume you can handle heavily depends on genetics. Not only is there a huge genetic component to the amount of muscle damage you experience, but also to how efficiently you recover. I cannot perform nearly as many sets as many of my female clients because I get beat up easily. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ How you train matters very much as well. Exercise selection matters tremendously. Many years ago, I coined the phrase, “not all volume is created equal”. This is obvious if you lift weights. On the systemic front, deadlifts will beat you up much more than lateral band walks; from a muscular standpoint, lunges will beat you up more than glute bridges. Accommodating resistance such as bands and chains can be carried out for more sets too. Greater volumes can be performed with exercises that work less overall muscle mass and with exercises that stress short vs. long muscle lengths. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Tempo can impact volume. For example, if you stop the set and then perform additional reps in essentially a rest pause fashion. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Effort is paramount, as you won’t be able to perform nearly as much volume if every set is carried out to actual muscular failure. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Load can impact volume, as heavier loads tend to cause more form degradation and therefore greater joint stress. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Increasing training frequency can up your volume as well, as there’s only so much you can do on one given day. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Far too many people are obsessed with volume. They brag about their brutal 40-set sessions but are weak and have little to show for it. There’s an inverted U-shaped curve, and increasing volume is only a good thing if you can recover from it and progress in the gym. ⁣Most experts recommend 10-30 sets per week per muscle, but the glutes may be able to handle even more. #glutelab #gluteguy

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There’s a wrong way to hip thrust and several right ways to hip thrust. What you DON’T want to do is hyperextend (overarch) the spine and anteriorly tilt the pelvis, as shown in the first example. Nearly every time someone complains of back pain with hip thrusts, this is what they’re doing. ⁣ ⁣ Many coaches and physical therapists believe that the optimal way to hip thrust is to keep the entire spine (head, cervical, thoracic, lumbar) and pelvis as neutral as possible, as shown in example 2. You see @therock doing them like this on his IG and it’s fine. My problem with this method is that it’s way easier said than done. You go a little too heavy or do one rep too many and all of a sudden you’re overarching, which often leads to back pain. ⁣ ⁣ Keeping the chin tucked the entire time and trying to hold a posterior pelvic tilt is popular (example 3) but this way makes some people nauseous and can feel awkward. ⁣ ⁣ My preferred way is to look up slightly at the bottom and have a slight anterior pelvic tilt (which makes you stronger at the bottom of the movement) and then transfer to looking down slightly with a posterior pelvic tilt at lockout. This is shown in example 4. So chest up at the bottom but ribs down at the top. It takes some rhythm and coordination but is relatively easy to learn. ⁣ ⁣ The last 3 ways are acceptable, the 1st is not. Swipe left to see a video with voiceover (keep the sound on). ⁣ ⁣ #thethrustisamust #glutelab #gluteguy

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This table best summarizes what we currently know about building muscle. It’s based on hundreds of randomized controlled trials, review papers, and meta analyses. ⁣ ⁣ While we need much more research to be more certain about various topics, this table looks very different than what it would have looked like ten years ago. In other words, muscle scientists have done a great job with conducting meaningful experiments and expanding our knowledge base. ⁣ ⁣ Please note that these guidelines are for building muscle, not building strength or improving health. Special thanks to my good friends @bradschoenfeldphd and @james.krieger for their input. These bros are my go to guys for hypertrophy science. I hope this sheds some light on what is and is not important for growing muscle in the gym. ⁣ #glutelab #gluteguy

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The process of building muscle is very difficult, but maintaining muscle mass is very easy. Once you’ve built up a great physique, you can maintain it with very low volume or by doing fancy workouts that get your heart rate up but don’t do much for growing muscle. ⁣ ⁣ I see numerous fitness professionals lately who have grown massive followings from showing crazy workouts, doing daily workouts with no rhyme or reason to them, or performing workouts that are more aerobic than anaerobic. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this style, unless they pretend or lead people to believe that this will yield the same type of physique that they have. ⁣ ⁣ I don’t fully blame the influencers – hell, I post my booty circuits, and you ladies eat ‘em up! But I’m sure to tell you in other posts how important progressive overload is for your physique. At the end of the day, the onus is on you guys to do your homework and learn the truth. Doing a different workout everyday that gets your heart rate up and leaves you in a pile of sweat will not yield the same physique benefits as a program that has you building strength on the big basic lifts in a strategic fashion. ⁣ ⁣ Rare is the person who fucked around and wound up jacked. It’s not as sexy, but it’s the truth. ⁣ #gluteguy#glutelab

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All these bros askin’, “How much ya bench?” and I’m here askin’, “How much ya read?” ⁣ ⁣ Some of my followers are lifters who just want to get jacked, but many are trainers and coaches who want to become very popular and successful. Your knowledge will come from 3 equally important areas: ⁣ ⁣ 1️⃣Training yourself ⁣ 2️⃣Training others ⁣ 3️⃣Reading ⁣ ⁣ However, it’s a little more complicated. You have to experiment and incorporate what you learn. You can’t just do the same thing everyday. Try different exercises, run different programs, conduct experiments on yourself, then do the same thing with your clients. Train people from all walks of life. Create new protocols. Pay attention to the results. Learn about anatomy; learn about physiology; learn about biomechanics; learn about the principles of S&C.⁣ ⁣ Spend as much time reading as you do lifting, but don’t just read – listen to podcasts, attend conferences so you can make friends with like-minded colleagues, talk shop with practitioners, read published studies, follow the top experts on social media and devour everything they say. ⁣ ⁣ Do this for 10 years and now we’re talkin’. Do it for 20 and you’ll be in a good position to influence the entire industry. ⁣ ⁣ Nobody’s gonna pick up the weight or the book for you. If you’re lazy or just not passionate, it’ll be too hard to sustain. But if you build good habits and love strength and conditioning like I do, the journey will be fun. ⁣ ⁣ Eighteen years ago, I was scouring the Internet searching for strength training information during my prep period and my lunch break as a high school math teacher. The fuel for the fire has never diminished, and I turned my hobby into a rewarding career. ⁣ ⁣ Most people are solid in one or two of the above listed areas but are lacking in the others. You cannot be a true expert unless you spend adequate time doing it all. ⁣ #gluteguy#glutelab

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Here is how it usually goes: you see all these people on Instagram hip thrusting so you give it a try using light weight and you get it to feel good. Each week, you add some weight and it dawns on you that you can pile some serious plates onto the bar and still get it up. Pretty soon you’re heaving the weight around, overarching your back and failing to lock it out. You begin prioritizing your ego over your glutes.⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣ One day, you decide to go lighter. Maybe you’re at a new gym, or you’re just tired of packing so many 45’s onto the bar. You use this lighter weight and your form improves – you feel it in your glutes way more. A light bulb goes on and you realize that for physique improvement, it’s better to always feel the muscles moving the weight. You begin prioritizing your glutes over your ego. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Eventually you learn the true value of hip thrusting and all the variety that encompasses the movement. You employ bilateral, unilateral, and b-stance. You use bodyweight, dumbbells, bands, and barbells for high, medium, and low reps. You experiment with frog stances, feet elevation, smith machine variations, pause reps, pulses, dropsets, and knee-banded variations. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ You’re still trying to build your hip thrust but not just with 1RMs. You go for volume and rep PRs and strive for strength gains with different variations. You rarely compromise good form just to set a PR, and if you do you reign it in quickly and correct it immediately. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ I hope you can make it to step 4 and 5 quickly as it’s a nice place to be – it’s easier on your back and better for your butt. ⁣⁣If you started and remained all the while on step 5, props to you – you’re a better bro than most of us. ✊🏽 #glutelab #gluteguy #thethrustisamust

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Ten years ago, I stopped personal training all day long and began writing more. I replaced being on my feet for much of the day with sitting. Back then, I subscribed to the old way of thinking shown in the graphic. I feared that my glutes would atrophy and my strength would diminish. Much to my delight, I found that my strength increased and my glutes grew because I was more recovered when I trained. It was then that I began to question whether sitting is bad for the glutes.⁣⁣ ⁣ Over the years, I delved into all the research and one of my favorite studies had participants in complete bed rest for 60 days except for 3 brief training sessions per week. They did one set of progressively heavier supine machine squats. Even though their glutes were only active .07% of the time, their glutes actually grew. If you want glutes, you can sit and lie around for much of the day, you just have to eat right and train them properly by performing hip thrusts, squats, deadlifts, lunges, abduction, etc.⁣⁣ ⁣ Back to sitting. The hamstrings aren’t really shortened when you’re seated. Your posture doesn’t “stick” as long as you switch it up. If it did, we would all be in permanent posterior pelvic tilt. Just like you don’t get stuck in the posture you sleep in for 8 hours. Switching up your posture and taking breaks to stand and stretch every 20 minutes will prevent much of the negative effects of sitting.⁣⁣ ⁣ The reason why the entire industry thinks the glutes are especially prone to inhibition is because they are indeed weak and atrophied in most newbies. But the lack of glute development isn’t due to shortened hip flexors or reciprocal inhibition, it’s due to the simple fact that the glutes don’t get worked very much in everyday life. The highest glute activation you’ll see in activities of daily living is maybe 20% of maximum. The quads will reach 50% of maximum throughout the day when you stand up from a chair, climb stairs, etc. ⁣⁣ ⁣ Of course you should try to be active in life. But fear-mongering does us no good. Newbies have weak glutes because they don’t lift, not because they sit a lot. Same goes for the biceps. ⁣⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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Here are my top ten favorite hamstring exercises. Honorable mentions go to reverse hypers, kettlebell swings, stability ball leg curls, and sliding leg curls. ⁣ ⁣ There are numerous variations of these that are incredible, for example – single leg RDLs, single-leg prisoner 45-degree hypers, deficit stiff leg deadlifts, and 2 up 1 down eccentric lying leg curls. ⁣ ⁣ Glute ham raises used to be my favorite, however in the last year, I’ve been focusing on Nordic ham curls, and my glute ham raise strength increased without even doing them. My clients have seen great hamstring improvements from doing Nordics hard twice a week.⁣ ⁣ If you want your hammies to grow you should be doing straight leg (or semi-straight leg) hip extension exercises, as well as knee flexion exercises, as they build the hamstrings best. #glutelab #gluteguy

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I made this post for my mom, my dad, and the rest of my family and friends who need a sound training program and can commit to 2-3 training days a week. I figured the rest of you are in the same boat – you have friends and family who go to the gym but may not be performing a well-rounded program. You probably want to show them a simple template that ensures balance and comprehensiveness. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ I put together this simple template for anyone to follow. Pick a hip-dominant exercise, an upper body pull, a knee-dominant exercise, an upper body press, and a core exercise. Perform 2-3 sets of each in the 8-12 rep range and call it a day. Repeat this 2-3 days a week consistently and you’ll be golden. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ There are many other exercises that make up the various categories, but I only showed 3 of each. You can sprinkle in some single-joint work at the end of the workout if you’d like. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Most people neglect certain movements and fail to train their entire body intelligently. Adhering to this system prevents that while allowing you to use your time in the gym wisely and focus on the big rocks. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Don’t mistake this approach as something that’s only for beginners. It will also work very well for advanced lifters if you utilize the principle of progressive overload. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Share this with someone who might find it beneficial! ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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One of the most common questions I receive pertains to glute imbalances. The first thing I want to say about glute imbalances is that they are normal, which I’ll address in a subsequent post. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Nevertheless, if you do have one glute that fires harder than the other or is markedly larger than the other, I recommend doing 3 sets of 10-12 ankle weight single-leg reverse hypers before you start your actual training session. Just do this with the weaker/smaller side.⁣ Control the movement and squeeze the glute hard at the top. ⁣⁣ ⁣ Why this exercise? Because it won’t negatively affect the rest of your workout, and it does a good job of targeting the entire glute (upper and lower subdivisions). Single-leg knee dominant movements such as lunges, split squats, step ups, and pistols will cause a subsequent quad imbalance if you only did them for the weaker side plus they work mainly the lower glute and not the upper portion, and other exercises such as single-leg hip thrusts, single-leg RDLs, and single-leg back extensions seem to bring too many other muscles into play as well.⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣ I recommend that women use 10lbs, and men use 20lbs (two 10lbers) around their ankle. If you don’t have a reverse hyper, you can simply perform them bent over against the wall as shown in the second video. If you don’t have ankle weights, a Glute Loop will work fine. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Assuming that you don’t have a nerve issue supplying the glutes or an anatomical abnormality, this should help balance your glutes. ⁣⁣ #glutelab #gluteguy

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I’ve traveled all over the world and asked coaches how they teach the RDL and SLDL. They’re almost always the same. There seems to be no consensus. ⁣ ⁣ I teach the RDL as a top-down partial. It stops just below the knee caps. The shins remain vertical, and you push the hips back while allowing the knees to bend. If you sit back as far as possible and hold an anterior pelvic tilt, you can often feel a good stretch in the hamstrings. But if you have flexible hamstrings, you may not feel a stretch. Who cares? You’re still strengthening them and improving your deadlift lockout strength. ⁣ ⁣ I teach the SLDL as a bottom-up full range movement. To fine tune the stretch in your hammies, you may: take a wider grip, assume a wider stance, or stand on a box. Some people with poor hamstring flexibility may need to do this from blocks or out of a rack, or just not touch the bar down to the ground. You can also let the bar drift forward slightly once the bar passes the knees during the descent. The bar will touch down at around the front of the shoes. But if this doesn’t feel right, then don’t do it. If you’d prefer to do these standing on a box, you can round the upper back slightly as long as it feels okay. ⁣ ⁣ Unlike some coaches, I do not let RDLs go to the floor, nor do I ever do SLDLs with straight legs. This is how I’ve coached them for the last decade or so, and it’s served me well. You can adopt my coaching methods or not. But somebody needs to clear up the confusion between the two exercises. ⁣Swipe left to watch a video. #gluteguy #glutelab

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The glute ham raise (and also the Nordic ham curl) is an amazing exercise. We do them all the time at Glute Lab. However, we do them for the hamstrings, not the glutes. People think they work the glutes because of the name (glute ham raise), but simply analyzing the biomechanics of the GHR reveals that they are primarily a hamstring movement.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ The hips are 60-85% stronger in hip extension than the knees are in knee flexion. However, the knee flexion torque demands at the bottom of the movement are around double the torque demands of hip extension. The glutes simply keep the torso erect while the hamstrings curl the entire bodyweight up and down. In other words, the glutes contract isometrically to maintain neutral hip extension with no external load; there aren't any hip abduction, hip external rotation, or posterior pelvic tilt demands. EMG studies reveal that the glute max is activated to under 10% of maximum capacity, whereas the hamstrings are activated to nearly 100% (mean activity).⁣ The chart shows my own data with GHRs. ⁣⁣ ⁣ In short, do your GHRs (and NHCs), but know that they do not work the glutes much – they hammer the hammies.⁣⁣ #GluteGuy #GluteLab

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Planks are cool, but they will eventually become too easy, at which time you’ll want to know how to make them harder. The current world record time for holding a plank is 10 hours (seriously). ⁣ ⁣ I credit Russian coach Pavel Tsatsouline for getting our industry to start thinking about how to make planks more challenging. If you're like me, then you're not interested in holding a 10 minute plank; you'd rather go all out for 10-20 seconds. ⁣ ⁣ With the Pavel Plank, you’ll generate a ton of isometric tension in the glutes, abs, quads, and adductors, making it a full body muscular effort. Follow these six steps to plank as hard as possible:⁣ ⁣ 1️⃣ Narrow your base of support by bringing your elbows together⁣ 2️⃣ Place the elbows under the nose⁣ 3️⃣ Contract the glutes as hard as possible and bring a out a posterior pelvic tilt⁣ 4️⃣ Squeeze the quads to lock out the knees⁣ 5️⃣ Contract the adductors to pull the legs inwards⁣ 6️⃣ Pull the elbows to the torso and the toes to the elbows⁣ ⁣ Try 3 sets of 10-20 seconds. Your body may tremble while you’re holding the plank and you’ll definitely feel it in your abs the next day. Don’t try to up the duration over time. Just go for quality and strive for more total body effort. ⁣Swipe left to see a video. Try it right now and let me know what you think. #gluteguy #glutelab #paveltsatsouline

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Here’s the way I set up macros. Other coaches use different methods, but this works well for the masses. ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Start out by determining your caloric intake. You can swipe left to see a separate post on how to do that, but the graphic just shows maintenance calories. If you’re trying to lean out, you might use a 10-12 bodyweight multiplier; if you’re trying to gain weight, you might need a 20+ bodyweight multiplier. ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Next, you’re going to figure out your protein intake. Using 1g per 1lb of bodyweight per day tends to overestimate requirements for obese subjects, so the .8g per 1lb of lean body mass per day is more accurate, but the former is quicker. ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ After that, you figure out your fat intake by multiplying your bodyweight in lbs by .45. ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Now you have your calories, protein, and fat numbers set. You’ll figure out your carb intake by multiplying protein grams by 4 and fat grams by 9, then subtracting the sum of the two from your total calories and then finally dividing by 4. ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ The last step is to fine-tune everything over time. This is merely a starting point. ⁣⁣You may see better results going slightly higher on the protein end. Some people like to go very high on fats and keep carbs to a minimum (keto) and they see good results. It should be noted that the leanest physique competitors tend to go with higher carb and lower fat. Carbs and fats are roughly interchangeable, meaning that you can get more of your calories from carbs and less from fat or vice versa. You can also fluctuate your carbs and fats in a strategic (or non-strategic) fashion, as some people like to cycle their carb intake or have refeed days, etc. ⁣⁣This is where an experienced coach comes in handy – to help you make proper adjustments. ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ This graphic shows macronutrient recommendations for optimizing body composition. If you’re simply trying to be healthy, your protein requirements are much lower. Moreover, your caloric needs may change over time, depending on your muscle mass, activity level, fitness, and goals.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ Swipe left to the last slide to see two examples. I hope you find this to be useful! ⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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Black and white statements fall flat in strength & conditioning. A popular strength coach used to say that every single person should do heavy ass-to-grass full squats. This was recipe for disaster for people with poor hip flexion mobility as they inevitably buttwink excessively and end up with low back pain or injury. ⁣ ⁣ Squat depth is heavily influenced by bent leg hip flexion mobility (and relative tibia length) and hip thrust height is heavily influenced by hip extension mobility (and tibia length). I’ll talk about stiff leg deadlift depth and straight leg hip flexion mobility (and arm length) in another post. ⁣ I've listed the results of 3 different studies to show the variance in hip range of motion between individuals. Average hip flexion mobility is around 120 degrees, but one study showed 53 degrees for the minimum and another study showed 159 degrees for the maximum. Average hip extension mobility is 20 degrees with straight legs, but one study showed -12 degrees for the minimum and 42 degrees for the maximum. ⁣ ⁣ Swipe left to see some outliers here at @glutelabofficial. First up is @jayla513. She has the craziest hip extension mobility I've ever seen. I'm not controlling for anterior pelvic tilt, but you can see I can get her leg up to 60 degrees. Now watch her hip thrust form and note how high she comes up. Normally you'd see this form with some serious spinal hyperextension, but she's keeping her ribs down and posterior pelvic tilting! Most people stop far short of this height when hip thrusting as their hips run out of ROM much quicker. ⁣ ⁣ Next up are @alex.sterner and @jamiederevere. You'll note that Alex's top leg is nearly flush with his torso and I'm not allowing him to posterior pelvic tilt. If I abducted his leg more I could have pushed even deeper. Now check out their full squats – their butts almost touch the ground and you'll note no visible lumbar flexion. Most people cannot sink this deep on a squat and keep their spines relatively neutral like this. ⁣ ⁣ As a trainer or coach, don't force square pegs into round holes. Take anatomy and mobility into consideration when determining optimal depth and form. ⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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Time and time again, I’ve heard strength coaches and physical therapists say that the hamstrings don’t change length during the squat. They base this statement on the notion that the hips and knees move through similar ranges of motion. However, what they don’t know is that the hamstrings have greater moment arms at the hips compared to the knees, which means that every degree of hip flexion will cause greater length change than a degree of knee extension. ⁣ ⁣ Moreover, the joint angles and ranges of motion associated with a squat are dependent on anthropometry and squat style. ⁣In the graphic shown above, for example, a low bar wide stance sit-back-style squat with flat shoes creates a hip angle of 43° and a knee angle of 77°. In contrast, an upright deep front squat with squat shoes exhibits a hip angle of 66° and a knee angle of 42°. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Using methods from a 1990 article published in the Journal of Biomechanics by Hawkins and Hull, I estimated the length of the difference hamstring muscles at the bottom of both squat styles and included the Romanian deadlift for comparison. In the front squat, semimembranosus length decreased by almost 8%, while the other hammie muscles did not change much; in the powerlifting low bar-style squat, semitendinosus and biceps femoris long head increased 10-12%; the hamstrings lengthened 12-15% in the Romanian deadlift. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ I don’t completely trust this data, but it serves as a decent model and portrays the impact of squat style on hamstring length. ⁣Science rules! ⁣⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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The gluteus maximus is an understudied muscle. Many researchers avoid examining the glutes for obvious reasons. Since they comprise the buttocks, scientists aren’t always comfortable examining them. For this reason, we don’t have a lot of research to guide us on optimal glute training. ⁣ ⁣ Obviously, we can rely upon research on other muscle groups, but we must be cautious in doing so as the glutes are unique. They are the largest muscle in the body, they have unique architecture, they exhibit their highest EMG activity at the shortest muscle lengths possible (most muscles are activated highest in more lengthened positions), and they create the most active force in only a slightly stretched position. Therefore, we can’t assume that they behave and are bounded by the same rules as other muscles.⁣ ⁣ We have many unanswered questions as of yet. Are hip thrusts better than squats and deadlifts for glute development? And what about half squats versus parallel or deep squats? Though we have EMG research, we have no training studies comparing these while measuring actual glute hypertrophy. ⁣ ⁣ There is only one study to my knowledge looking at optimal glute volume when training to failure and it showed that 5-10 sets per week were better than 15-20 sets per week. But most female physique competitors perform much more volume than this. ⁣ ⁣ Should compound movements for the glutes be performed prior to targeted single-joint movements for glutes? Are abduction movements additive or redundant for glute growth if you’re already doing hip extension exercises? How often should we train the glutes? These are all unexplored. ⁣ ⁣ Research on other muscles suggests that 2 days a week is ideal, but most female physique competitors are training glutes more frequently.⁣ ⁣We can surely look to the literature to give us clues, but as of right now we must heavily consider anecdotes and logical reasoning/scientific rationale due to the absence of controlled research. ⁣ ⁣ My rule of thirds IG post from February 2018 makes the most sense to me for glute specialization training, but individual differences in anatomy and physiology must always be taken into account.⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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22 years ago, I decided that it was time to toughen up and start squatting. Every article I'd read informed me that squats were the King of Exercises and stated that they’d jack your testosterone and growth hormone through the roof so that all your muscles, even those in the upper body, would rapidly start growing! This turned out to be total broscience, but it convinced me to start squatting.⁣ ⁣ During my 1st squat session I hammered out sets with 95, 115, & 135lbs like a boss. A week later I was moving 185 lbs. Within a month, I was busting out 225lbs. I can still recall the feeling of my first set of 275lb squats. I proudly busted out 5 repetitions and my quads were on fire. Pretty soon I'd be squatting three plates!⁣ ⁣ Here's the crazy thing: In my mind, I was going deep – at least down to parallel. I was mortified to learn that what I thought were "deep squats" were in fact not even half-squats. They were quarter-squats. And I was using a squat pad because the bar hurt my traps, but I digress. ⁣ ⁣ Shortly after my big set with 275lbs, something very memorable occurred. A mountain of a man walked up behind me and uttered these life-altering words:⁣ ⁣ "Why don't you drop down to 135 and squat deep like a real man?"⁣ ⁣ I turned to look his way, but he didn't even look in my direction or alter his gait. It was as if I was too insignificant to be worthy of eye contact. From behind, he looked like he could squat a grand. In retrospect, I think it might have been Bill Kazmaier.⁣ ⁣ Lucky for me, in a rare moment of rational thinking at the age of 20, I decided to take the behemoth's advice. I stripped the plates off and reduced the load to 135lbs and performed 3 sets of 10 full squats.⁣ ⁣ I felt muscles working in ways they'd never worked before and the next day my glutes and adductors were toast. From there on out, I was a legitimate squatter. In the next year to come, my legs would grow like crazy.⁣ ⁣ More vital to my long-term learning, though, is that I realized the importance of full range of motion and proper form over loading. Of course, full range depends on the individual, but gains will come faster if you create a proper foundation. ⁣ #glutelab #gluteguy

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My biggest mistake as a young lifter was avoiding all the hard exercises because I couldn't initially do them. But it wasn't really my fault. You see, when I first started lifting, the Internet wasn't available, and we learned from bodybuilding magazines. Regressions and progressions aren't sexy, so nobody talked about them. The mags would depict some jacked bodybuilder doing heavy squats, or weighted chins or dips, and the reader would try to emulate these at the gym. I was freakishly skinny and weak when back then, so I couldn't perform a single chin up or dip and my squats had me folding up like an accordion. So, I never attempted them. I just pretended they didn't exist. For years I did leg presses, lat pulldowns, and bench dips, but no squats, chins, or dips. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ One summer I lifted with a friend who insisted that I do them. He would manually assist me on chins and dips and make me do the negative phase on my own, and he made me squat (I didn't go deep, but at least he got me doing partials). Had I known then how to regress these exercises and perform simpler variations, I could have been performing them and achieving a better physique much quicker. But in addition to not having the Internet, goblet squats weren't around, nor were resistance bands – those didn't gain popularity in gyms until the early 2000s. Newcomers nowadays have it much easier, but I digress. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ In 2013, I dubbed the term "Movement Pattern Continuums" to refer to the spectrum of variations of the same movement pattern, progressing from least to most difficult. Of course, where each variation goes along the spectrum is somewhat arbitrary, but it's very important for every coach and lifter to understand this concept so they can program according to the strength and fitness level of the client. For example, bodyweight box squats and goblet squats must be mastered before placing a bar on the back. ⁣ ⁣ If you currently can’t do a certain exercise, figure out a way to make it easier and gradually work your way up to it. A good knowledge of regressions often separates the good trainers from the great ones. ⁣Swipe left to watch a video on the topic. ⁣ #glutelab #gluteguy

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There are many ways to achieve a solid glute workout, but here’s a really good system. ⁣ ⁣ First, pick an exercise that’s conducive to going heavy on (usually a compound glute movement) and do a few sets to failure in a lower rep range. You might stick with this same movement for a few weeks, trying to beat your records each time. The goal here is progressive overload. ⁣ ⁣ Next, pick a couple of exercises that you don’t go quite as hard on. Hit these for moderate rep ranges and switch them up each week. Here your aim is to feel the glutes working during the movement and to use pristine form. Goal for these is to achieve a strong mind muscle connection. ⁣ ⁣ Last, pick an exercise that finishes off your glutes and gives them a solid burn. You may choose to superset these with another movement or to incorporate an advanced method like a dropset, but the main goal here is to achieve a pump in the glutes. You’re not going to complete, utter failure, just til the burn becomes hard to tolerate. ⁣ ⁣ This system would actually work great for any muscle group, but hey I’m the Glute Guy after all. Do this 2-3 times per week and now we’re talkin’. This fits in well with my Rule of Thirds system for glutes that I posted in February of 2018. It’s better to set up programs on a monthly basis rather than a daily basis, but I’ll save that for a future post. ⁣ FYI, a straddle lift is a blend between a squat and deadlift and is done while standing on a deficit using a loading pin, BC T-Bell, or lever system (I’ll post about this tomorrow). XR stands for extra range. There are obviously many additional great exercise options I failed to include due to limited space. #glutelab #gluteguy

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I wish I had learned this earlier in my lifting career. What will make you the strongest over the long run is being pain and injury free. If your back isn’t feeling good, don’t train through it; instead train around it. ⁣ ⁣ There are so many options. A little bit of discomfort is okay, but too much is a slippery slope. Don’t slam 4 ibuprofens and warm up for 30 min just to do some heavy squats or deads that still hurt. You’ll never reach your ultimate strength potential and achieve your best physique this way. A better solution is to avoid the NSAIDs and bust out some single leg work, high rep posterior chain work, hip abduction work, etc., then head home and live to train healthily another week. ⁣ ⁣ Exercises like Bulgarian split squats, hip thrusts, and glute ham raises hit the same muscles as squats and deads and will keep them strong. You don’t always have to be squatting and pulling heavy.⁣ ⁣ Listen to your body, pay attention to biofeedback, and make adjustments to your training on the fly. It will pay dividends in the long run. You don’t want to be jacked at 30 and broken at 40. Train hard and smart, not hard and moronic, and don’t be shortsighted. The goal is to look and feel good when you’re 80 too. ⁣ #glutelab #gluteguy

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MOVE FROM THE STERNUM DOWN⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ For the past 12 and a half years, I’ve been on a quest to popularize the hip thrust exercise and teach you the best way to perform it. In the beginning, I didn’t give any cues to help with spinal and pelvic posture – I just had people thrust and let the chips fall where they may. Some people would develop low back pain, which led me to the development of the American hip thrust. We don’t do the American hip thrust much anymore because I’ve sort of merged the American and traditional hip thrust by having clients hinge at the lower scapulae region and maintain forward head position. The cues “head forward” and “ribs down” emerged, which helped a lot of people avoid experiencing back pain because these techniques lend themselves to posterior pelvic tilt (or simply the prevention of anterior pelvic tilt and lumbar hyperextension). ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ If you came to my Glute Lab for the past year, you’d laugh as I’m always grabbing the backs of people’s heads and making sure they keep their head in place while they hip thrust. Lately, I’ve been utilizing another cue: move from the sternum down. Most clients are used to hinging along the bench and rocking back and forth. When they use the sternum cue, you see less hinging/rocking and more pelvic tilting. Note the reversal of the angle formed by the thoracic and lumbar lines in the graphic. Swipe left to see video demos. ⁣ ⁣ Again, this reduces erector activation, causes people to feel their glutes working more, and prevents incidences of low back pain and discomfort. There’s a sweet spot that looks and feels best, however. Notice in the videos that @jamiederevere rocks back and forth a little bit, but not excessively. I hope you find this useful. ⁣⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab #thethrustisamust

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A side effect of working hard and putting out good consistent content is increased money, followers, and influence. Most people measure their career success by financial profit or fame while overlooking influence/credibility, likely because it’s hard to measure and often taken for granted. Out of the three, influence/credibility is the most important and the most under-appreciated. ⁣ ⁣ When you’re one of the most credible persons in your field, you don’t have to pitch any business deals – people come to you (book publishers, magazine editors, podcasters, event organizers, and promoters). You get asked to speak in a foreign country multiple times a week. The coolest thing about having such high levels of credibility in fitness is the fact that you can actually positively influence the way the world trains. ⁣ ⁣ Ironically, the term “influencer” (or “fitfluencer” in our field) has become popular, but I don’t think most influencers are actually that influential, as it’s not simply about having a large number of followers. ⁣ ⁣ This weekend, someone said to me, “You’re the only fitness person I follow who I completely trust. When you say something, I believe you’ve done your homework, and I don’t question or fact-check it.” Real power is being followed by the top people in your field (all the trainers and coaches) and knowing they’ll listen to what you have to say and implement your advice. Unfortunately, it’s also the hardest of the three to attain. ⁣ ⁣ Being jacked alone doesn’t automatically give you credibility; you also have to know the science and you can’t sell out. It takes years of consistency to get you there, but it’s the greatest reward. ⁣ ⁣ I urge you to go the extra mile and take the path less traveled by. ⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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I’ve been teaching the Bulgarian split squat this way for 13 years since the days of my first gym in Scottsdale called Lifts, and it’s always served my clients well. I’ve never seen another coach teach them this way, so I’m interested to hear your feedback after you try it. ⁣⁣ ⁣ Begin by draping your rear leg over a rounded pad (can use a smith Machine and thick par pad for this or get creative) positioned at below knee height. ⁣ ⁣⁣ Instead of stepping out much further and dropping the rear knee straight down, take a more shallow stride while shifting your bodyweight forward and hovering over the lead leg. Then you drop down/back diagonally until your knee almost touches the ground. At the bottom, your body will be leaning forward around 35-45 degrees and your front knee will roughly be lined up with the front of your lead foot (give or take a few inches in either direction). ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Note that you descend in a straight diagonal line, not down then back in a rocking/arced motion. At the bottom, you won’t be upright with your butt almost touching the rear heel as if you were attempting to stretch your rectus femoris. ⁣You want most of the load on the front leg with your rear leg just there for stability. ⁣⁣ Like most exercises, this is much easier to teach in person than over the internet, but hopefully you can figure it out. Make sure to swipe left and watch the accompanying video. Give it a try and see if you like it. ⁣⁣ #glutelab #gluteguy

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So many people are working hard in the gym but they’ll never reach their goals because the way they train doesn’t cause the adaptations they desire. ⁣ ⁣ I love training. If spending 4 hours a day in the gym 7 days a week led to better results, I’d do it. But it doesn’t, and it’s not about just showing up and putting in the work. There’s an art and a science to it all and the more you know, the better your chances are of succeeding. ⁣ ⁣ Strength and Conditioning is every bit a mental game as it is a physical game. And trust me, the process is much more enjoyable and sustainable when you’re actually making progress instead of spinning your wheels. Knowledge = Power. ⁣ #glutelab #gluteguy

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The theoretical "perfect glute exercise" would provide consistent tension throughout the hips' full arc of motion, utilize all three functions of the glutes by providing varied levels of resistance in all three planes and starting off in hip flexion with slight adduction and internal rotation and finishing in hip hyperextension with slight abduction and external rotation, and keep the knees bent to minimize hammy and maximize glute contribution. ⁣ ⁣ But these conditions would require an expensive machine with a CAM or different plate loading positions and would be hard to fit to the masses due to differences in height and anthropometry. So the perfect glute exercise would need to involve free weight. Should it be vertical or horizontal? Bilateral or unilateral?⁣ ⁣ Standing/vertical glute exercises are closed chain, arguably the most functional, the hardest eccentrically since they get progressively harder as you descend, and load the glutes best in a stretched position, which gets you sore. But standing exercises don't load the glutes as much in an extended position. You can combine vertical with horizontal loading by securing a band or cable unit positioned behind the lifter, but this usually makes it awkward.⁣ ⁣ Supine/horizontal glute exercises maximize the load at end range hip extension, which is the zone that elicits the greatest glute activation, provide consistent tension on the hips to deliver a solid burn and pump, and allow the knees to stay bent. But supine glute exercises don't load the glutes as much in a flexed position. And although a band or loop around the knees can help, neither vertical nor horizontal exercises maximize loading on the glutes in the transverse or frontal planes.⁣ ⁣ Bilateral glute exercises involve greater overall loads and elicit larger hormonal outputs, but they're usually harder on the low back, knees, and/or hips. ⁣ ⁣ But none of this really matters. Coming up with the perfect glute exercise is an exercise in futility. You can experiment in the gym all you want, but you're never gonna get the best of all worlds with one lift. Do a variety of movements to maximally develop the glutes. ⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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For all my peeps out there who struggle with squat depth, here are 5 drills you can do before you squat to help you get deeper.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ 1️⃣Quadruped Rockback – get on all fours with a wide stance, sink back into deep hip flexion, stretching your groin and glute muscles.⁣⁣ 2️⃣Ankle Prying – get down into a squat, lean to one side and push the knee forward while keeping the heel down, stretching the lower calf region.⁣⁣ 3️⃣Foam Roller T-Spine – get down on the ground in a supine position with a foam roller placed underneath the upper back and your hands behind your head. Use your thoracic extensors to arch the upper back over the foam roller.⁣⁣ 4️⃣Ankle Rocking – from a kneeling position in a deep lunge, push the knee forward while keeping the heel down, striving to feel the stretch in the lower calf area.⁣⁣ 5️⃣Squat Adductor – get down into the bottom of a squat and use your elbows to push your knees outward, stretching the inner thigh muscles.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Do 3 rounds of 6 reps of each of these then proceed to your squat workout.⁣⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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I’ve been trying to convey the importance of progressive overload to my clients at Glute Lab lately, and it’s made me realize that it’s a poorly understood concept by the masses. Many people think it simply means maxing out every session, which doesn’t come close to encompassing what progressive overload truly entails. ⁣ ⁣ For starters, it can involve any rep range. If you do hip thrusts with 155lbs for 3 sets of 10 and in two months, you do 3 sets of 10 with 175lbs, you’ve utilized progressive overload. If you increase your 1RM deadlift by 30lbs in a year, you’ve utilized progressive overload. If you can do 1 set of 50 bodyweight lunges, and in a month, you can do 100, you’ve utilized progressive overload. It can involve pyramids, too. Let’s say you do sets of 10, 8, 6, and 15 reps with 135, 155, 175, and 95lbs on your barbell glute bridges, and in 3 weeks, you get sets of 12, 10, 8, and 15 with the same loads, you’ve utilized progressive overload. If you could military press 65lbs for 8, 7, and 5 reps, and in 3 weeks, you increase your 3-set total by 4 reps (say 10, 8, and 6 reps), you’ve utilized progressive overload. ⁣ ⁣ Progressive overload can involve doing more reps with the same weight, more weight for the same reps, same weight for same reps with greater range of motion or better technique, or more sets with the same weight and reps. ⁣ ⁣ You have to be scientific about it and control the variables. Cutting your chin-ups short to get an extra rep isn’t progressive overload, and neither is rounding your back excessively in order to deadlift 10 more pounds. ⁣ ⁣ It will never happen in a linear fashion; the body works in waves. Milo of Croton is a cute tale used for teaching the concept of progressive overload, but it’s unrealistic. It gets harder to set PRs the longer you’ve been lifting. Eventually, you’ll need to specialize in 1 to 2 lifts at a time in order to make progress, and you’ll need to switch exercises and strategies. It requires 24 hours a day to optimize it since sleep, nutrition, and stress heavily influence recovery and performance. ⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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When I first began writing about glutes, I felt like it was my job to educate the general public. Now, with so many other glute experts out there, I feel like it’s also my job to educate and keep them informed. ⁣ ⁣ Several times a day, I see a post that says, “This works the side-booty,” or, “This works the glute-ham tie-in region.” As you can see with @ronniecoleman8’s glutes (they were mammoth back in the day), there is no side-booty. Research shows that you cannot target muscle fibers from an inner/outer perspective. In other words, you can’t work the inner pecs or outer glutes, etc. ⁣ ⁣ You can, however, target fibers from different subdivisions. This is easily understandable in muscles such as the deltoids, where you have anterior, lateral, and posterior compartments. In the case of the gluteus maximus, you have an upper and lower subdivision. You can envision how they could have different functional roles. ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ I’ll make a different post detailing the various roles and levels of contribution during each task that involves the glutes. In the meantime, please avoid saying that you do this exercise for the side booty, this exercise for the glute-ham tie-in, etc. ⁣ ⁣ You definitely feel hip abduction movements on the lateral aspect of the glutes, but it’s the upper outer portion because they work the upper subdivision of the glute max along with the glute med and min. And you definitely feel certain movements (usually single-leg or squatting variations) in the lower glute and upper thigh area, but having nice glute-ham tie-ins is more of a matter of conditioning, not strength and hypertrophy. ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ I hope this helps! #gluteguy #glutelab

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When I initially stumbled across research showing how easy it is to maintain strength, I had a hard time believing it. But then I began experimenting in the gym (I’ve posted many of these experiments on my blog) and found it to be true, especially when you’re pushing other lifts that may transfer over. ⁣ ⁣ Gaining strength is very hard (especially after you’ve been lifting properly for a couple of years), but maintaining strength is easy. Since your physique is highly influenced by your relative total body strength, it makes the most sense to take advantage of the maintenance phenomenon and prioritize 1-2 lifts at a time. ⁣ ⁣ In other words, don’t try to build your squat, deadlift, hip thrust, lunge, bench press, incline press, military press, dip, chin-up, and row strength all at the same time. Instead, pick 1-2 lifts, focus on them by performing them (or similar variations) first in the workout with more volume. Do lesser volume for the lifts that are on maintenance mode and know that they’ll get prioritized down the road. Rotate the exercises that get prioritized each month. ⁣ ⁣ If you do this in a strategic, sequential fashion, you will experience better results and continue to gain strength and improve your physique. ⁣ ⁣ This is what I do in my Booty by Bret program and it works incredibly well. This method of periodization has the side benefit of building a balanced physique that is not hampered by overuse injuries. ⁣ ⁣ In the video, I explain the rationale by using an analogy of ball juggling. I could have achieved much better results had I understood this and developed this system 20 years ago. Hope it all makes sense. Now go build them balls! ⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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Many of you are like me – borderline addicted to the weight room. You’d probably see better results if you took more rest days or split up your workouts, but you love lifting and working your entire body at once. Several years ago, I developed the compound / bro system for the gym addict that still wants to see good results.⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣ Here’s what you’re going to do: on days 1, 3, and 5 (for example – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), you’ll perform compound lifts with low to moderate rep ranges (1-10 reps) and greater rest time (3 minutes). On days 2 and 4, and possibly on day 6 (for example Tuesday and Thursday, with Saturday being optional) you’ll perform more targeted, isolated movements with moderate to high rep ranges (10-30) and shorter rest times (1-2 minutes).⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣ I created a fairly comprehensive list above but obviously there will be other movements that you can perform as well. The main goal is to work the entire body every session, but alternate between taxing and non-taxing workouts. We still need to address effort. You’re going to push yourself harder on the compound days and leave more reps in the tank on the bro days. With the bro days, you’re looking to feel the burn and get a pump, but you’re not going to failure or trying to utilize progressive overload. Use the mind-muscle connection with very strict form.⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣ If you push yourself too hard on the bro days or get too sore, the following day’s workout will be compromised, preventing you from getting stronger and gaining muscle. It takes a couple of weeks to really get the hang of this system, as you’ll learn the best exercises for you and exactly how hard to push yourself to where you’re still fresh the following day.⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣ When I was doing compound / bro, I loved doing frog pumps, extra range side-lying hip abductions, lying leg curls, cable lateral raises, prone rear delt raises, and face pulls. I’d get a nice glute and delt pump and still crush some heavy weights the following day. Full body training is very demanding, and most people screw it up by doing too much. This system will allow you to make gains while satisfying your daily urges to lift.⁣⁣ #gluteguy #glutelab

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I see way too many lifters use great technique throughout the set and then let it all go down the tubes on the lowering/negative/eccentric portion of the last rep. ⁣ ⁣ This probably happens because people don’t understand that the lowering component indeed contributes to building muscle. So make sure you control the weight on the last rep and accentuate it if you can. ⁣ ⁣ This applies to all upper and lower body exercises that end at the bottom position including chin ups, military press, deadlifts, and hip thrusts (it doesn’t apply to bench press, squats, etc. because you end in the top position – after the concentric portion). ⁣ ⁣ Every little bit helps! #glutelab #gluteguy

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How to Pump it Like a Frog 🐸 ⁣ ⁣ When I first posted about frog pumps several years back, people raved about them. But eventually, other people started speaking up, saying they didn’t feel them working their glutes much. This caused me to start polling my seminar attendees to determine the percentage of people who do and don’t like frog pumps. ⁣ ⁣ 1/3 of lifters love them – these are people like me who tend to walk in slight hip external rotation and feel better flaring the feet out on most lifts ⁣ ⁣ 1/3 of lifters are neutral about them – these people tend to like all stances fairly equally⁣ ⁣ 1/3 of lifters don’t like them at all. These are the types who keep their feet pointed straight ahead during squats and don’t like turning their feet out with most lifts⁣ ⁣ Some of the people who don’t like frog pumps simply don’t know how to do them correctly. I created this graphic for those individuals. ⁣ ⁣ You don’t abduct as far as possible; spread to around 2/3 of your total available ROM and hold it there. Make sure your feet are scooted back towards your butt. Push through the heels and not your toes. Keep the ribs down. ⁣Many people like it more when using a band (I don’t). You may need to go super high reps or use a heavy db to really feel the burn. Athlete: @jamiederevere ⁣ #glutelab #gluteguy #frogpumps #frogpumpsfordays

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