Operation Get Strong & Sexy: Week Three

Welcome to week 3 of Operation Get Strong & Sexy. In case you missed the first two weeks, click HERE and HERE to see what this is all about. Basically, my clients Erin & Sammie decided to set a date for a powerlifting competition (now 4 weeks out). Though they’ve done bodybuilding training and competed in bikini competitions, they’ve never competed or trained for a powerlifting competition. We’ve decided to film and broadcast our journey. We are training at Revolution Training System in Tempe, Arizona – a badass gym as you can see.


Highlights for this week were:

  1. Improved form (Erin less knee valgus during squats, Sammie better knee valgus and leg drive during sumo deadlifts)
  2. New assistance lifts employed (back extensions, barbell glute bridges, pause squats, military press, inverted rows, good mornings)
  3. PR-city!
  4. Erin got PR’s in all 3 powerlifts. On session six she hit a 135 lb squat, 165 lb deadlift (she’s even stronger with sumo), and 95 lb bench
  5. Sammie also got PR’s in all 3 powerlifts. On session six she hit a 205 lb squat, 255 lb deadlift, and 95 lb bench
  6. Session 5 was on Tuesday and Session 6 was on Thursday, so the girls were still sore and beat up a bit on Thursday
  7. They’ll get a much needed four days off and will be recharged for week four


Here is the footage for week three:




  • Kim says:

    Awesome PRs. Sammie makes deadlifting look easy.

  • Polina says:

    Hi Bret!
    It’s nice to see how your trainees progress each week.
    It looks so cool , the weight they use on the hip thrust .I am stuck at 80 kg for 5 reps. Don’t know what to do in order to progress from there.
    May i add a video of myself perfoming it for you to see and comment? (if possible)
    Another question I wanted to ask you is about the back extension.
    Is there a difference between the machine you use in the video and the 45degree
    back extension? ( It’s the one I have in my gym)
    Do the girls follow a specific meal plan prior to the competition?

    Have a nice day,

    • Bret says:

      Polina, definitely post a video so I can see your form!

      Yes, but not much difference so use the 45 degree.

      No, Erin is vegetarian and just needs to consume more calories, and Sammie eats very well and manages her intake.

      So I don’t mess with anything.

  • brianna says:

    Do you give them advice on diet as part of preparation for the powerlift competition? Compared with what they may be eating when they are not preparing for a competition.

  • Polina says:

    Hi Bret’
    I was wondering if you provide onlne coaching services?

  • Angelina says:

    So impressed with these girls – I’m excited to see how they do!! They ROCK Bret!

  • Erin says:

    Hey there…very cool to see the progress these young ladies are making. Just a suggestion: It would be beneficial to have them training in converse shoes, rather than running shoes. They will notice a huge difference in the lifts, especially in squats, they will feel more stable. Also, since those are the shoes they would need to compete in, it’s better to start earlier, rather than later towards the meet. Just my two cents…and yes, I am a competetitive powerlifter 🙂

  • Meghan says:

    So they are only training two times a week? the rest are FULL REST days? What exact lift protocol are they doing?

    • Bret says:

      Sammie – twice, Erin – 5X/wk. I’d prefer for them to train 4X/wk with me, that would be optimal IMO, but we’re doing the best we can given our schedules.

  • Meghan says:

    P.S are they getting leaner or just stronger… are you measuring BF? About how much are they eating a day to get stronger…..

    • Bret says:

      Not measuring BF or weight. Will inquire about calories today – not sure. They’re likely getting better at the 3 powerlifts due to mostly neural improvements, but their glutes are already getting more muscular from all the extra glute work.

  • Kim says:

    Loving these vids and all the info. Thanks Bret! I am also interested to know if they only lift 2x’s per week, are all the other days rest days or are they incorporating something else on those days. Way to go ladies!

    • Bret says:

      Sammie just does the two days, Erin does some extra work on her own several days per week but it’s light, targeted work (no heavy work). I don’t believe that this is optimal by the way…I’d prefer to train them 4 days per week, but I’m too busy right now. But as you can see, we’re doing just fine with this approach 🙂

  • Angela says:

    Hi Bret! Any idea why when I do the hip thrusts using a weight bench height versus short 8″ step irritates my low back?
    Thanks again for your amazing book, knowledge, and Strength of Evidence podcast. Hope a new podcast is coming up soon!

  • Jennifer says:

    Hi Bret! I notice that Sammie does not use the clean grip for her front squats. I have trouble with this position myself, so I use the cross-arm position instead. Do you feel it makes a difference? The cross-arm method seems a bit unstable, and I am not certain what my particular issue is with the clean grip. It feels very awkward and unstable, but perhaps since I am not used to it? Even using just the bar alone is difficult with the clean grip.

  • J.J. says:


    Damn, they’re great – it’s so interesting to follow these girls!

    I got a question: I am following your Strong Curves-programme working out 3 or 4 times a week.
    Every time I’ve done a workout with 3 sets of any variation of the deadlift I am incredible sore in my harmstrings in several days afterwards, and it impacts the following day’s workouts in a baaaad way!
    Do you have any suggestion?

    I was thinking of doing only one set of deadlift until my hammies are so used to them that I don’t feel that sore, but shouldn’t I then add two sets of another exercise….?
    I really want the DL-pattern in my workout!

  • Santa says:

    Hi Bret,

    I have the same question as Angela. I am 4’10 and if I try to use a regular work bench it hurts/irritates my back. Would you suggest using a step instead and do you think the irritation is because of my height?

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