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Random Thoughts

By January 28, 2012March 7th, 2014Random Thoughts

Here are some more random thoughts for the week.

1. Lolo Jones Training

Lolo is known as the best female 60 meter hurdler in the world, not to mention one of the best 100 meter hurdlers. I’m very impressed with what I see in this video and find Lola’s work ethic, attitude and confidence to be admirable. Here is an inspiring video of her training:

2. Inspiring Ray Lewis Speech

This LINK will take you to a very inspiring speech that Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens uttered following their loss to the Patriots. Coaches should take notes and offer similar comforting speeches following a good season to their teams.

3. Do Single Joint Exercises Enhance Functional Fitness?

My friend Brad Schoenfeld and I just got another article published in The Strength and Conditioning Journal on the topic of single joint exercises. We provide a great deal of reasons why you shouldn’t write-off single joint exercise and I think you’ll agree with the article if you’re able to check it out. If you have access to the NSCA journals then I recommend that you give the article a read. If you don’t, I’ll give you the cliff notes and provide you with our conclusion:

Exercise selection should not be viewed as an either/or decision. Although the principle of specificity dictates that multijoint movements should comprise the basis of functional training programs, evidence suggests that single-joint exercises can also play an important additive role. Augmenting traditional functional training programs with single-joint exercises can promote synergistic improvements in muscle strength that ultimately transfer into increased performance of daily activities and sports performance, over and above that which can be achieved with multijoint training alone.

4. “Seeing” Glute Activation

Having spent so many thousands of hours training people, testing gluteal EMG activation, palpating people’s glutes while they perform various glute exercises, and learning about biomechanics, I can simply watch somebody lift and tell whether they’re using their glutes. Two cases in point:

A) Konstantin Konstantinovs – Warning – this video will jack your testosterone levels up 35% so beware. Check out his deadlifts at around the 4-minute mark. Konstantin uses his glutes for sure.

B) Marianne Kane – Not to be upstaged by Konstantin’s glutes, here’s Marianne of myomytv performing a glute workout. Watch at around the 5:45 mark where she does kettlebell swings. This is some serious glute power.

What I want to know is, whose accent is cooler – Konstantin’s or Marianne’s?

4. More Hip Thrust Methods

Speaking of the glutes, I’ve been trying to teach my readers various hip thrust methods. I’ve recently shown you the rest-pause method as well as the constant tension method. Here are two more methods; the pause-rep method and the isohold method.

A) Pause-Rep Method – Here I am performing 5 reps with 315 lbs with a 5-second pause up top. This is absolutely brutal!

B) Isohold Method – Here I am performing a 25-second isohold with 405 lbs. Keep those glutes squeezed up top which pushes the hips forward and prevents anterior pelvic tilt.

5) Strength Curves

Some strength training exercises have ascending strength curves, some are more constant, some are bell-shaped, and others have descending strength curves. An exercise with an ascending strength curve means that the exercise gets easier throughout the concentric portion of the repetition which makes the exercise easier up top compared to the bottom portion of the exercise. Here are two videos to demonstrate of the squat exercise which demonstrates this phenomenon.

A) Here’s some strong dude performing a 400 lb squat for 13 reps.

B) Here’s the same guy performing a 1,000 lb squat lockout.

Clearly folks are much stronger at the top of the squat compared to the bottom of the squat. It’s important for lifters and strength coaches to understand the various strength curves provided by different exercises.

That’s all peeps! Have a great weekend. BC


  • levi says:

    Those hip thrust look brutal. Add them to the “to test” list.

    Thanks Bret!

  • I just watched this after a morning workout consisting of 10X3 deadlifts. After watching the Russian video I’m amped to go lift again. Jesus that guy’s strong.

  • Finally, someone else notices Marianne’s accent! Figures it would be you. ‘Cool’ isn’t the first word that I think of though.

  • Morgan says:

    Well, that pause was more like three seconds than five, but still impressive. 🙂

    • Bret says:

      I was actually going to discuss that…either a slow 3 second count or a fast 5 second count HAHA. I count fast, as do most of my clients, so for these types I tack on 2 more seconds so they end up giving me what I want.

  • Tom says:

    Inspiring videos, I can’t wait to get up tomorrow morning and get back in the gym! I just want to give another shout out to Lolo Jones, I went to high school with her and couldn’t be more proud of her!

  • moss says:

    hi bret!
    would you consider BB hip thrusts to be superior to the RDL? i mean, the hip thrust just looks like a supine version of the rdl?

    • Bret says:

      Moss, I don’t consider either to be superior to the other; it depends what you’re after. The RDL is superior in some ways while the hip thrust is superior in some ways. I’ll write something up on this in the future. But they’re definitely not interchangeable. This will make sense when you understand the biomechanics. BC

  • Jay says:

    Hello Bret,

    About strength curves for the squat, a lot of coaches say you should use some form of accommodating resistance, i.e. bands, chains. I understand why Westside guys use them, because they are double ply, it helps mimic what it would be like in competition. But, for say an athlete, i.e. a fast bowler, are they beneficial. I currently squat to parallel without chains, bands.

  • Dominic says:

    Great set of videos but god almighty lolo jones can’t snatch at all!! Her push press was fairly shocking also. Would be nice to see what she could do if she was being trained right

  • Andy says:

    I tried the pause-rep hip thrust today and failed. The hip thrust was easy, but the hold was non-existent. Only 135 lbs. and my hips still dropped about 3 inches from the top of my range of motion, so I put my shoulders on the floor (glute bridge?) and I was finally successful with 135. Then I returned to the hip thrust with body weight and the hold was a success. I was pushing through my heels and keeping my knees bent at about the same angle as Bret demonstrated in the videos. Maybe my hamstrings or quads were taking over? I can feel my glutes working a lot when I sprint, but not so much when performing other exercises. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • Matt B says:

    Wow! I’ve never heard of Lolo Jones but I’m totally a fan now. Hey, does anybody know what that rapid clean and jerk with the hop step is called? Thanks for the post!

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