Last week Strength Coach and Sprinter Keats Snideman came to BCSC (Bret Contreras Strength & Conditioning aka Bret’s Badass Garage) for a specialized glute and sprint-specific strength workout. This was actually his second workout in my garage as he’s making a concerted effort to maximize his glute strength and attempt to get stronger in the anteroposterior (max speed sprint) vector. Keats is a very well-respected individual in the sport-specific training community as he’s been at this for many years. He’s been there, done that, and is a bit of a wise owl. He’s known for being open-minded yet highly skeptical. The fact that he immediately approves of these exercises is a testament to the exercises’ effectiveness as it’s just not possible to “pull the wool” over Keats’ eyes. Here are the clips from his workout:
1. Barbell Glute Bridge
This short-range movement allows you to use a ton of weight and maximally activate the glutes.
2. Barbell Hip Thrust
This variation allows for more range of motion around the hip joint.
3. Single Leg Hip Thrust
Note that in my garage I use a Skorcher (a machine that I invented) to go really deep. You can mimic this by using two benches.
4. Band Hip Thrust
Again, at my garage I use a Skorcher for the band hip thrust which really accentuates the end-range contraction. This is very difficult to mimic as the band tension comes from far below the exerciser.
5. Pendulum Quadruped Hip Extension
Note that the knees stay bent to decrease hamstring contribution and increase glute contribution and the hands brace against the side rails to allow for irradiation and transfer through the lat, core, and thoracolumbar fascia into the glute.
6. Pendulum Donkey Kick
This variation utilizes knee extension with simultaneous hip extension and would better transfer to acceleration sprinting as the directional load vector is a blend between anteroposterior and axial. Note that Keats is fatigued and has tremendous difficulty controlling his core. This exercise is extremely challenging for the core, glutes, and quads, and is very difficult from a metabolic perspective as well.
As you can see, Keats is one smart dude. I should mention that prior to these glute exercises Keats had done sprints, cleans, deadlifts, and ultra high step ups. Keats had a race shortly after his first workout in my garage and he did very well. He speculated that these exercises helped him power through the sprint cycle and activate his glutes more efficiently even though he had only performed one workout! Indeed, a good strength training program can have dramatic short-term effects that can be seen rather quickly as well as long-term effects that are realized from many years of training.
Still squat and lunge, still do Olympic lifts, still do plyometrics and ballistics, and certainly still sprint! But make sure you add in some anteroposterior exercises as well such as barbell glute bridges, barbell hip thrusts, and pendulum donkey kicks for maximum glute power and sprint speed development. Hope you enjoyed the post!
A Frenchman just became the first white man to run 100m under 10 seconds (today).
Not meant positive or negative, just interesting note on the sprint topic.
Yeah, I saw that earlier today on the speedendurance.com website. Very interesting indeed!
BC….I’ve read a lot of Keats articles over the past few years, and have always respected his knowledge…..but it’s really great to see these professionals actually go through challenging workouts, and see that they practice what they preach. I’ve known some so-called icons that can’t dead lift their own body weight…..so from that perspective, it’s nice to see Keats stand up the challenge of your garage. Now lets get some of these other cats into the garage, and put them through their paces.
FF in AZ, and ex MLB Strength Coach
Thanks Dave! I agree. Coaches need to be fit to “walk the walk” and to test out new exercises and methods. So far every strength coach who has tried these exercises has loved them.
Here is the Frenchie’s sprint video. I can’t find a normal motion, but he uploaded this version himself to his own Youtube account:
From about 1:18 on, you can see his glutes. They look prominent, but I’m not an expert.
Here’s a video in real-time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ymUuSOaCN0
Thanks, yeah my video was wrong. From some other race. Kind of weird that he uploaded it the same day he broke the record.
Do you have any technical comment on his physique and/or running form? Like is there enough to know whether he is a poster boy for bug glutes or if you think he could increase his speed with more assistance lifts?
It’s easy to be a “backseat coach” but I would say that his mechanics and glutes could definitely improve and therefore shave some time off of his 100. Since hip thrusts are very new, most sprinters aren’t doing them. So of course I believe that he could benefit from doing hip thrusts, pendulum quadruped hip extensions, etc. since the anteroposterior vector is probably being ignored in his strength training.
Bret, thanks for the kind words. The blog turned out well and I sure was tired after all those glute exercises! Can’t wait to get going on them again after my vacation up here in MN!
You’re very welcome! It did turn out well.
I probably should have mentioned that you had already done sprints, cleans, deadlifts, and ultra high step ups before doing these! Maybe I’ll add that into the blog.
Talk to you soon.
nice video. also some good tips are availabe on
Thank you Mr. Contreras for all of your enlightening ideas. Just from reading your post
on LVT, i realized how mistaken i had been by focusing so much time on front squats and box squats. As a current highschool athlete (baseball), my neglecting of the patterns had given me less than remarkable transfer of strength to the field. With the implementation of your thoughts, I have become faster and a better ball player. So let me just say thank you! With that being said, i have a few questions…
1- my front squat is 1.5x my body weight and my box squat is 2.2x body weight, would it be benefitial to decrease my focus on axial loading lifts and add more lifts such as the hipthrust as a main movement instead of accessory?
2- what movements would have the most carry over into “rotational power”? it seems to me that simply strengthening my core via pallof presses and chop/lift movements isnt enough due to the importance of hips in hitting.
3- what movements would you say that every baseball player should have as a staple in his strength and conditioning program?
4- how would you lay out a sample training week? currently i follow michael boyle’s 4 day/ week training model.
Thank you again Mr. Contreras! Keep up the excellent work sir!
Matt, thanks for the kind words, and I’m glad you enjoy my ideas.
1. Axial loading is still king, always work hard on axial loading (even if you’re already strong).
2. My favorite is band hip rotations but they’re very hard to learn how to do. I have videos of them on my Youtube page. If you do them right you feel them mostly in the glutes but also in the obliques. After that it’s cable woodchops (horizontal, not diagonal), and Pallof presses. Cressey’s recoiled shotputs are great too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQow2k0Sci8
3. Squats, deadlifts, lunges, hip thrusts, push ups, rows, woodchops, band hip rotations, recoiled shotputs, slideboard lateral slides, sprints, plyos, etc.
4. So many ways to set one up…Boyle’s is a great model. You could do a 3-day full body or a 4-day lower/upper split as well. I like to do a warm-up similar to Boyle’s, followed by speed, power, strength, and conditioning. For strength work I’d go with something like this: squat variation, bench press variation, deadlift variation, chin up variation, hip thrust variation, military press variation, row variation, anti-extension core, anti-rotation core. Unilateral lifts can be used in place of bilateral lifts.
Hope that helps!
Thanks for the sppedy reply!
For acceleration and up to 60 yrds, would a hip thrust or a glute bridge be more transferable?
Also, how would I incorparate both into a phase?I was thinking an iso-hold with one and sets of 8-10 on the other. or should i just do the tradotional exercise for both glute bridges and hipthrusts in the same cycle?
I’d say hip thrust due to increased quad involvement and more ROM, as the acceleration phase is more quad-based and there’s more ground contact time. If you’re relatively new to them then don’t do anything fancy such as the isoholds. Just work on getting stronger at both. You’ll be able to use 20-25% more weight on bb glute bridges than on hip thrusts. Let’s say you do a lower/upper split, you can do a glute bridge on one day and a hip thrust on the other. If you do a full-body program you could do something like squat and glute bridge on day one, Bulgarian squat and hip thrust on day two, and front squat and deadlift on day three. Again, lots of ways to skin a cat.
Bret: Love your kindness in answering people’s questions and not banning me…uh…yet. 😉
On Topic: I’m wondering about whether I should do hip thrusts or bridges? IF YOU HAD TO PICK ONE!
1. (you) You’ve talked some about the difference of the two lifts (which are nonetheless very similar at least in appearance). I think it would be an interesting article (if you need more topics, probably don’t!) to compare and contrast the two exercises. I guess both the mechanics of what is exercised, as well as thoughts about which to use when in terms of efficacy, convenience, fit for different needs, etc.
2. (me) I’m planning on doing one or the other in my LB split day. I can’t tolerate squats/PL-DL or LP cause of kneeds. So looking to exercise glute still, as well as get some whole body sweat pop and tiredness. And I just want to do one of them, and kinda hate changing my program around (really like sticking with something and learning it and just working on more pounds, am a year into lifting and still getting newbie gains and just psychologically vastly prefer sameness to variety…may change when I plateau, but for now…like sameness and just working on getting stronger). Here’s current program, with XXX being the spot where I would do CHT or CGB.
(all lifts are 2 times 10, alternating exercises except as noted and circuiting entire workout. I use push-pull to try to do active rest.)
Single-leg, straightleg, L leg lifts (10L, immediate 10R)**
lying cable bent-leg, leg flexions
anterior tibialist isometrics, alt legs, with dumbell on toes
glute machine (like quadriped but an older LF machine, alternate L-R twice, all through…have to put extra weight on the stack, but works for now)
ladies no muscle
ladies yes muscle
leg extensions (I can better control and tolerate these on knee)
farmer’s walk (for fun)
(I do daily calf, foam roll and leg flexibility at a separate time, really with more of a therapy emphasis, but some msucle exertion.)
(I try to avoid legs cardio on legs lifting days, swimming instead, and then cycle/blade/run (for fun really) on the UB lift days. Find my joints tolerate that better.)
My thinking was probably try the CHT, since it is more range of motion. I messed around in the gym and no one seemed to mind. I lift in an inner city gym and people totally respect anyone doing anything…not self consious. The two exercises, seem equally convenient. I’m going to try the regular bar pad for now…killed me sans any pad…we’ll see if I need thick pad. If my knee starts hurting (didn’t at BW or low loading), then I will switch to bridges as you say they involve less quad. Actully if I can sneak in a bit of quad activation without it hurting patella, that’s all for the good. I guess I answered my own question…but do you agree? CHT>>CGB? 😉
*I’m contemplating switching from the RDL (slight bend in knee, to truly stiff legs). Since I’m adding a XXX Contreras glute exercise, maybe I should target hamstring more than glute on the deadlift. donno though….
**sounds dorky, but these L seats are the most intense part of my workout. I do a pull, not a kick and since I’m in support for 20 at a time, even the core and upper body gets hammered.
1. Good idea for article. I’d say 90% of the feedback I receive from coaches and lifters is on the hip thrust. For some reason the bb glute bridge never took off, which is unfortunate as it’s great too. I always go with the bb glute bridge first when teaching beginners as it nearly always results in burning butt muscles (which is a big indicator that you’re doing things correctly). After a few weeks I alternate between both when in my client’s programming. As for me, I almost always do hip thrusts simply because I’m so strong now I slide backward when I do barbell glute bridges with 545 lbs and have to keep readjusting. The bench for the hip thrusts prevents me from moving around.
2. I’m not comfortable with your decision to abandon squats. Can you do them with bodyweight? Why do your knees hurt? Are you too quad-dominant? Do you have poor single leg stability? Excessive trigger points? I’d love it if you could get to the bottom of why you hurt when you squat and attempted to fix the problem rather than dance around the issue. You may very well be correct in that squats just aren’t good for your body, but I certainly wouldn’t give up if I were in your shoes.
3. Yes, I agree; you answered your own question. I’ve never seen hip thrusts cause knee pain so you could definitely use the extra quad activity from the hip thrusts.
4. I would never go with truly stiff legs in the sldl. I’d always go with the RDL; it’s much safer and more functional IMO. You’ll still get tons of ham activity from the RDL and even if you were to bend at the knee your knees can use all the knee extension they can get right now as your quads need functional strength as well. I don’t like how most do RDL’s with a huge low back arch and anterior rotated pelvis. I prefer more neutral lumbar curve as well as neutral pelvis with heavy glute “pushing” toward lockout.
5. The L seats definitely seem brutal. I’ll have to give them a try.
Thanks man. You rock.
Good stuff guys—make sure to work that Keats character hard. hahah!
My hampton pad should be here later this week, so I am excited to give some of these a try.
Mike T Nelson PhD(c)
Mike, most people who start doing hip thrusts no longer feel that squats, deadlifts, and lunges “work the glutes” much. In other words, once they feel the glutes working as hard as they do in barbell hip thrusts and barbell glute bridges, they just don’t feel that the other lifts do a great job in targeting the glutes. Personally I feel I can do a great job using my glutes during squats and deads but I agree with the others in that it’s just not the same (as the anteroposterior load vector makes the glutes contract as hard as possible at lockout. Anyway, I thought you’d appreciate the feedback I commonly receive and I’m very curious to hear your feedback after you’ve gotten a few workouts under your belt with the Hampton thick bar pad. Thanks!
I’m a rebel so I’m going to try the regular bar pad. Even 135 with the naked barbell was painful. Will have my towel nearby for augmentation. Should be ok at lighter weights. I guess I could buy the HBP, but I lift in a YMCA and am really trying to resist having to walk around with a bag full of goodies, just like to change and then use their gear. Of course, if I relent, then I can have all sorts of personal accouterments I carry around with me. They do have a no bags in the freeweight area policy for safety (although I see people blow it off)…and I don’t want to lose crap either. Or I could just buy one and give it to them…
A regular pad may work up to 225ish, especially if you also have a towel. I used to have some “goodies” that I carried in the trunk of my car (HBP, 2-board, fat gripz, ab wheel, chalk, etc.) so I could bring one or more of them in depending on the training day. I don’t like lugging around stuff much either but if you want the best results you go the extra mile. I wouldn’t buy one and give it to them as you’d be super annoyed when you wanted to use it but couldn’t because some idiot was using it on the smith machine for 20 pound squats. Maybe you could ask them if they had a drawer they could store it in so that you could be the only user…
Great post Bret!
I know I’ve e-mailed you before about posting stuff concerning your methodology and sprinting and here it is! Thanks for listening! I am eager to see more!
Thanks Will! There will be more to come.