Random Thoughts

By February 21, 2014 Random Thoughts

Hi Fitness Friends, I’ve got some great articles, videos, rants, and before/after pictures for you to check out. Just helping out so you can stay on top of things!

Fun Game

People slow to react are more likely to die prematurely

I was reading THIS article in the LA Times which discusses the link between reaction times and premature death. In the article, they linked to a fun little game that had me hooked for a solid half an hour.

Click HERE to find out how fast your reactions really are! The lowest score I got was .1668 (rocketing rabbit). Can you beat me?

Glutes copy

Good Articles

Does repetition speed affect hypertrophy?

Click HERE to see Chris Beardsley tackling the topic of repetition speed in relation to muscle hypertrophy.

Does eccentric training lead to more hypertrophy than concentric training?

Click HERE to find out whether eccentric training really does seem to be better for hypertrophy than concentric training.

My Experience at the Assessing Movement Conference

Check out THIS detailed write-up of the ‘Assessing Movement Conference’ between Gray Cook and Stu McGill. Kasey Esser took some great detailed notes on this one.

Review-Stanford Summit with Stuart McGill and Gray Cook

HERE is another review of the meeting between of the minds with Stu Mcgill and Gray Cook.  Another great write-up and fantastic performance by both presenters.

Interview with Mike McGuigan

Check out THIS interview with Mike McGuigan one of my professors at AUT.

It is not just the brain that changes itself – time to embrace bioplasticity?

Click HERE for a good read on bio-plasticity and the brain by Lorimer Moseley 

Why the lats are so important in the bench press

HERE is an article discussing the importance of the often overlooked lats during the bench press.

Resistance Training Promotes Increase in Intracellular Hydration in Men and Women

Check out THIS Superhuman radio podcast with my good friend Brad Schoenfeld speaking about resistance training protocols to increase intercelluar hydration in men and women.

Is your Vitamin D supplement helping or hurting you?

HERE is an article on many things related to Vitamin D supplementation. Take a look.

Q&A: Brad Schoenfeld on Maximizing Muscle Growth

Take a look at THIS Q & A with Brad Schoenfeld on Stack.com speaking about maximizing muscle growth.

Strength training: Barbell hip thrust

HERE is an article on the hip thrust for Athletics Weekly by Anthony Robustelli and yours truly.

CARB CONTROVERSY – Why low-carb diets have got it all wrong

HERE‘s a great article from Brian St. Pierre on the science of low carb dieting.

Good Videos

Valentin Dikul – Strongest Glutes Ever? 

I never saw this until recently. This dude Valentin is insane. His strength was so far ahead of his time, and he did it all…squats, deadlifts, bench, kettlebells, gymnastics. Click HERE to read more about him. Below he’s doing a pyramid (crazy glute bridge isohold maneuver) with around 2,000 lbs – no big deal.

The Animal Underground: Andrey Malanichev Squats 926 lbs x 3

These can almost be considered speed squats!

Kent Fleming 970 RAW w Wraps

Check out Kent Fleming riding out a smooth 970lb back squat RAW with wraps


Andrey Malanichev All Time WR Squat – 1,014 lbs

Watch Andrey Malanichev break the all time WR squat at 460kg (that’s 1,014 pounds raw – no briefs, and no squat suit). Check out that speed!

498 lbs Raw Bench @ 148

Lei Liu breaks the all time WR parapeldgic bench press with an easy 498lb bench at 148lbs. Amazing.

Eric Lillebridge UPA Nationals 2014

Eric Lilliebridge doing what he does best and throwing ridiculous amounts of weights around with seemingly little effort – he set several records here.

Shanghai Tower (650 meters)

Does this video give you a panic attack? Take a trip up to the Shanghai tower…I hope your not afraid of heights.

SK Energy TV Spot, ‘A Trabar’

I don’t really know exactly what is said in the commercial. What I do know is that there is some grocery bag lunges and hip thrusting of cars.

FB Rants

Here are my Facebook rants from the last week or so:

“Son, lighten the load and do it right. You ain’t buildin’ muscle, you just strokin’ your ego.”

“There isn’t a single serious lifter I’ve ever known who doesn’t experience minor injuries or bouts of minor pain (low back pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, etc.) throughout the course of the training year.

As a younger lifter, I trained through the pain, and this usually led to more problems. As I’ve matured as a lifter, I learned to train around the pain, which has led to much better outcomes.

Knee acting up? Maybe I can do RDL’s and back extensions pain-free. Back acting up? Maybe I can do walking lunges and high step ups pain-free. Shoulder acting up? Maybe I can do rows pain-free.

I’ve found that it’s much better to go to the gym and do what I can while listening to my body than to stay home and wait for the issue to completely clear up. I can work on weak links, train other bodyparts/movements, get the blood flowing, and maintain fitness, all while building confidence and signaling my brain to chill out with the pain response.

The area in question receives a dose of therapy because while at the gym training other regions, the joint moves through a range of motion and the muscles contract isometrically, which promotes recovery.  When the issue starts clearing up, I use a graded approach in training the area directly, and quite often I’m back in business very quickly.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to serious injuries, and it’s darn near impossible to make broad recommendations pertaining to injury and pain. But the point of this post is to inform you that these setbacks happen to every lifter. Over time, you learn how to deal with them more efficiently by paying close attention and making wise training decisions.” 

“Building an impressive physique is NOT just about going to the gym and “putting in the time.” One could easily go to the gym 5 days per week and see lackluster results. In fact, you see this with the majority of commercial gym-goers. What are typical commercial gym-goers failing to do properly? 1) Performing the best exercises for their goals, 2) Getting stronger over time (this is paramount), 3) Following a intelligently-planned program that pushes the intensity but still allows for optimal recovery, and 4) Eating properly for their goals. Each of these components are critical for long-term progress. For maximum results, train hard, train smart, and eat smart.”

 “Crummy training days usually don’t indicate that you’ve lost strength; they typically indicate that your strength is being masked by fatigue. When the central nervous system (CNS) is drained, your muscles will not contract maximally. However tempting it may be, avoid training “harder” on crummy days and instead ease up on the gas pedal. What you’ll commonly find is that your body will recuperate and your strength will rebound.”

“The glutes prefer a stable environment for maximal activation. If the goal is to develop the glutes, there’s no need for instability training. Hip thrusts, squats, deadlifts, back extensions, and lunges will give you the most bang for your buck. Lateral band work will give you some extra upper glute development. If you want to develop better balance, single leg RDLs and pistol squats can be employed. Notice that these are all performed on stable ground – no stability balls, suspension systems, Bosu balls, core boards, wobble boards, dyna discs, or Airex balance pads needed (actually, the Airex pad can be used as a cushion between the bar and the hips during hip thrusts).”

“Just because you bought some food from Whole Foods or a similar type of store – it doesn’t automatically mean it’s healthy. Make sure you read nutritional labels to see ingredients, calories, and macros.”

“Doctors are not the experts of strength & conditioning. There are some who know a ton, and some who know zilch pertaining to our field. If you receive some advice that doesn’t seem accurate, don’t be afraid to question it or obtain a second opinion. Better yet, educate yourself on the topic and form your own opinion based on research and expert opinion from the medical and S & C fields.”

“I used to not see the point of low load glute activation work. What’s it going to do that heavy hip thrusts, squats, and deadlifts won’t do? Over time, I realized that I was wrong, after dozens of lifters emailed me informing me that doing some light glute work prior to heavy lifting augmented their mechanics and improved the way they felt during the session. If you haven’t experimented with it yet, give it a try. Conversely, if you have experimented with it and don’t find that it helps, don’t be afraid to drop it. But the way I see it, a couple sets of x-band walks, glute bridges, and multi-directional lunges before the workout won’t hurt you, and it just might improve your performance. Remember, the goal of glute activation work is quality, not quantity.”

 “I can’t understand for the life of me why so many fitness professionals tell their followers to just squat for glute growth. For years I’ve been advising my followers to employ a variety of glute exercises including hip thrusts, squats, deadlifts, barbell glute bridges, lunges, back extensions, and more, and the response I’ve gotten has been phenomenal. If you want to maximize the shape of any muscle, you’ll get better results from performing several exercises compared to just one.”


Glute Lab: Where Glutes Go to Grow

Glute Training Feedback

Bret, gotta say these hip thrusters are very useful, not only do they help with performance and size but they are like rehab for my lumbar spine. Sometimes when I Squat and Deadlift the old back can be tweaked or stained and every time (which is all the time) I do Hip Thrusters it takes all the pain away and makes my back feel great. Thanks for a great exercise – Jeff.

Bret, you come out with better content in one week than 99% of online fitness professionals do in an entire year. Thanks for all you do for the industry! – Jake

As I was finishing up my work out yesterday I had a big muscled up fella stop me.  He told me he had been lifting for over 40 years and that I had some of the best form he had seen in any guys or girls throughout the years.  I dropped your name of course and told him you had VERY high standards when it came to form 🙂  He went on to say that the great form had obviously paid off based on how I looked.  He was very sincere and not creepy in the least as he was telling me this–a rare find at the gym. 

Anyway, I just wanted to say that the high I got from that compliment ranked right up there with some of the PRs I have set.  When I first started GG it took some time before I felt comfortable and confident in the weight room with all of the guys around and yesterday I felt like I had earned some respect and admiration. 

I have often talked about how this program can give you so much more than a better backside when you take the focus off of where you want to be instead of where you are and this is just another great example of that.  Good things come with consistency over the months.  I know to some this may not seem like the biggest or best compliment but to me it was awesome. – Tammy

Bret when I first found you I was desperate, I emailed you asking for advice because I had all the sudden started walking 4-5 miles daily and dropped weight fast. My husband who used to complain I was to big, now started saying you completely lost your butt, and to much weight, now I do have to say though it wasn’t muscle it was just big. So I went on a search found ” the glute guy, saw the picture of the girls and thought thats what I want, round teardrop bottom.I wanted one that sits up and is firm and round, so I emailed you asked you for advice and you encouraged me, that walking didn’t make me lose my butt, but I lost the fat, I simply needed to start building the muscle. So I followed you like a groupy that was obsessed, I hit it hard, I started with nothing simple no weights, just add butt exercises to my walking, and am now proud to say I am in a gym using heavy weight, however am limited to some exercises because of a bad car accident I shattering all of the cartilage in my right knee, and shifted disk in my lower back, this is very frustrating because deadlifts, single leg lunges on smith machine are out of the question -.-. None the less I don’t let it slow down my progress, I persevere and do what my body allows me to even pushing through the pain in some exercises, my husband LOOOOOVVVEEEESSS my butt, he couldn’t be happier, my workout partner is now hooked on your site as well. She wants my butt, I want her waist. Anyway I simply hadn’t had the time butt 😉 I wanted to thank you so much, you have been a hugh inspiration in my workouts, and I am always watching for new videos. I can’t send you my undies pictures, but I will be buying a bikini soon and sending you pictures. I hope you like what I have accomplished, you gave me the instructions and now I have a butt I have only dreamt of having. I can’t wait for summer. I will be sending you pictures soon. Once again thank you so much for being so kind, for guidance when I needed it most and for being such a caring person. Your the best and yes you should proudly post pictures and label them “butts by Bret” this is your baby and nobody, and I mean nobody as long as the other part is ok with it should tell you how to run it. Thankfully yours La Tasha

2 17

“Follow @bretcontreras1 and read his blog! Very informative! He’s the glute guy haha”

"Trying to reshape and add more muscle. Concentrating on my glutes. Now week 8 into the gorgeous glutes program and eating more food. Pic on the left was taken today and pic on right was 1 month post comp last year (same weight as well) Thanks so much @bretcontreras1 - rocifit"

“Trying to reshape and add more muscle. Concentrating on my glutes. Now week 8 into the gorgeous glutes program and eating more food. Pic on the left was taken today and pic on right was 1 month post comp last year (same weight as well) Thanks so much @bretcontreras1 – rocifit”


“I’ve been told you cannot work out your glutes alone…it’s not possible…better to just squat…but I added hip thrusts to my workout and will keep it. I’m still almost the only one doing them in my gym. – Elin”


I love #reposting this pic because in my life I’ve either been skinny/curveless or kinda thick with no distinct curvature lol. 9 months is not a lot of time at all to build a shelf you can be proud of. I became obsessed with glutes last year and 1 of the major influences on my training was @bretcontreras1 blog. He introduced me to hip thrusting among many glute activation exercises and opened my eyes that lightweight/bodyweight exercises shape the glutes – Jessica

Hi Bret. I have just received a copy of Strong Curves and after a quick browse Im blown away by its content. It has way more information than I expected and the descriptions and quality is outstanding. Im not normally into blowing someones trumpet so much but you have done a great job on this.

I have purchased so many products from more than likely some of your mentors in the past and although the content is excellent I feel there could be a bit more bang for your buck. I understand this is a living for them also but some of the prices are a bit high. 

Im so grateful to guys like yourself providing quality material at an affordable price for most. I have recently included some of your training principles in my own training and my clients. Im excited about the prospects they will bring. 

After suffering long term lower back pain and hamstring strains, I have found targeting the glutes specifically for the past 3 months has yielded great results. Strength in the glutes and relief in the lower back. A bit of a butt lift also! If it wasn’t for you Id still be suffering. Actually Im suffering in a different way because of you now. Thanks again Bret. You’ve gone to the top of my Go To Guy list for training related information. Keep up the excellent work. – Graeme.

Hey Bret, I inboxed you some time ago on your page in regards to a back injury I had (a disc herniation) that was causing me pain and preventing me lifting. You advised that I look into chronic pain and how to deal with it, and made some suggestions. To be honest that inbox changed me life. I read the article on your Blog about pain, and the story was identical to mine. I have gone from squatting nothing to now doing 140kg for reps in a few months. I just wanted to thank you for your help and the contributions you make to the industry. Thanks, Bret. – Brent

Hi Bret, I have attached a couple of pictures. I wish I had taken some “before” pics, but unfortunately i don’t have any.  Let me just give you a brief history: I am a mother and a personal trainer, 30 years old, and my butt and my thighs used to be my worst body parts. I used to be very insecure about them. I started training hard about 8 years ago, but never really knew how to go about transforming my legs and butt. My husband, who’s Brazilian from Rio, helped me a lot by introducing heavy squats, deadlifts, sumo squats, kickbacks with cables and ankle weights…etc and I improved a lot, but, I was always looking and searching for more ways to enhance and improve the glutes.

About 5 years ago, I came across one of your first articles on T-nation, and I could not believe that there was a professional out there who knows everything about butt training, EVERYTHING!! Since then, I started reading your articles and following you, you became my reference and source of information when i train myself and my clients.  Then I bought Strong Curves, and that was it, my progress just leaped!!! Not just the looks of my butt improved, but also my athletic performance. My overall strength increased. I can squat, deadlift and hip thrust much heavier! 

My advice to every woman (and even man), whether you are genetically gifted with strong glutes, or not, whether you want to transform, improve or just maintain your overall physique and body strength, is to get Strong Curves!!! 

Thank you Bret for your continuous research and passion.  – Missy 


I ordered your book to strong curves the barbell bridges really changed my glutes and I now have lovely curves and bigger bum. Nataska


Before and After

Love your program first time in 20 years of working out that my butt actually changed shape, got smaller and tightened up. – Melanie


Instead of posting a glutes pic, here was yesterday’s side effect of #hipthrusts. – Craig


Thank you for all that you do Bret! #️4glutes


I can’t believe I for real used to look like that…not so long ago. Whew. I’m now completing 6 reps of glute bridges at 425lbs! – vannahlee

I have been doing your exercises for only a few weeks and my butt has lifted dramatically. I never thought I would have a nice butt. Thank u soo much for all the time and research u have put it has really helped me a lot. Thanks bret!!!! Oh and my boyfriend loves the results too lol – oceangirl

Hi Bret, I just want to say a big THANK YOU for Strong Curves!  I started the beginners program on January 2., and now, after 7,5 weeks, I have better results on glutes and hamstrings than I’ve ever had, and I’ve been lifting, on and off, for 25 years! Looking forward to seeing the results for the months to come Thanks again – Anne


I wish I had taken a before picture. It was all hip thrusts. thanks for your page – Katie

It was a great feeling when I pulled my self up with 10kg extra weight during a chin-up. I never dreamt of being able to do that. GG isn’t just great for the lower body, my upper body has never been this strong and looked as good as it does now. I’ve been lifting weights for years and always wanted defined arms and back. And yesterday, my 17 year old daughter said to me, “mom, your arms have gotten defined.” Proud moment! Oh how I love this program and this community of strong and encouraging women and the best coaches ever. – Irene


  • Robert says:


  • JR says:

    What Robert said.

  • Robert says:

    Brett, your glute gym is not complete until you get a Supercat or Bear by Powernetics.

    Keep up the great work!

  • Robert says:

    The sheep game. 1.4904, I was coined a sluggish snail & they suggest I have a cup of coffee. Hahah, how funny. I would say without a doubt the Coors Light I just downed 40 mins. ago did not help my cause.

  • great article and strong motivation. thank you!

  • Johnny says:

    Google says her name is Mayra Cardi.

  • JXD says:

    “People slow to react are more likely to die prematurely”

    Natures answer to improving reaction times;

    “In a recently published book, Blinded by Science, the author Matthew Silverstone, proves scientifically that trees do in fact improve many health issues such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), concentration levels, reaction times, depression and other forms of mental illness.”

  • African Booty Scratcher says:

    I think glutes training is awesome but my only concern is how to program them without causing a structural imbalance. I mean are we doing the same thing as those who give “special” attention to their biceps or chest or other muscles?

  • Dunkman says:

    So Bret, for the record… are “Baltic Body Bridges” and “Automobile Arches” now officially a part of your Get Glutes program? I guess I’m on board, although it does seem to be pretty manpower and equipment intensive.

  • JXD says:

    “Strength training: Barbell hip thrust.

    “Considering that VERTICAL forces tend to plateau after approximately 70% of maximum running velocity is achieved, horizontal forces continue to increase as velocity rises.”


    Considering sprinting needs compliant tendons…

    “Bolt is able to run at a greater velocity but with lower stiffness compared to his competitors;

    If tendon compliance remains HIGH, how is it possible for vertical forces to plateau?.

    Remember, strength training/stiffness (Barbell hip thrusts) negatively affects tendon compliance.

  • Kenny Croxdale says:

    Brad Schoenfeld on Maximizing Muscle Growth

    This is provide some good information.

    The Host Carl Lanore

    One of his question to Brad (from Carl) is on the hydration effect of anabolic steroids.

    Intracellular fluid creating an electrical charge of a cell.

    This electrical charge dramatically increasing strength.


    Both of these dramatically increase water retention.

    What I found as a lifter in the in the using them in from 1977 to 1987, was a substantial increase in water weight (8 lbs of water weight gained).

    This increase in water weight, in part, drove my lifts through the ceiling (as well as other lifters).

    With that said, other method can produce a similar effect

    Cell Voluminzing

    Creatine is recognized for it’s cell volumining effect.

    Essentially, the same effect occurs with it as with the anabolic steroids in regard to water retention.

    Carb Loading

    While there is a decrease in strength performance in a dehydrated state, there is a definite bounce with strength when the cells are superhydrated.

    The Anabolic Diet

    That was one of the things that I learned when trying Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale’s Anabolic Diet.

    The two day carb load produced a definitive increase in strength for myself an others.

    Brad’s Reply

    Brad stated that no studies have be preformed on it. He went on to state that he doubted is would have a positive effect.

    Brad provide some great information in this interview, as always…now the but…

    But he is not up to speed on this issue.

    I understand that unless you have personally experienced it, been involved with individual/or research it, you simply don’t know.

    Kenny Croxdale

  • Shane McLean says:

    Great work Brett. How do I get a job where women send me pictures like that? Awesome

  • Grant says:

    Great info on Dikul in PTTP Pro that shares some additional background & training info (although he kept it a bit of a secret).

  • Åsa says:

    Hi Bret! First, absolutly love your blog and have included barbell glute bridges and hip thrusts in my training, and still I have only seen one other person doing hip thrusts at my gym in Stockholm, people are missing out indeed 🙂 To my question, what is your take on dimples of Venus? Are they genetic or can you get then by proper training? Thanks! Åsa

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