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Random Thoughts

By September 16, 2012January 11th, 2014Random Thoughts

Hi fitness folks! Here are 12 random things for you:

1. Strong Curves Update

I’m dreading delivering this update but here it goes. I just received word from the publishers that Strong Curves will be released on April 2.

Here’s the low-down. They wanted the manuscript to be completed by the end of May, and Kellie and I complied. However, they weren’t satisfied with our manuscript as the exercise index simply listed exercises; it didn’t contain a detailed description or instructions. I was actually very happy that they wanted us to go into further depth on each exercise as I assumed that doing so would make the book too wordy. So we had to go back to work and finish off the exercise descriptions. This is about as fun as doing 20-rep squats, so it took us a while to complete. As a matter of fact, it took us a couple of months to compile the instructions for 200+ exercises.

At any rate, the final manuscript is complete, but the publishers are juggling other projects and working our book into the mix, so it will take some time to get it just right. But please understand – this is my first published book and I really wanted it to be top-notch. So I’m very glad that the publishers demanded high-quality. They allowed us freedom to include all the content and pictures necessary to deliver the best book possible, and this book will stand the test of time. The way I see it, it’s the best damn book for female training out there, so please be patient and don’t curse me too badly! My sincere apologies for taking so long with this – it’s definitely been a learning experience.

2. I’m Presenting at the Windsor Summit in Canada on October 12-14

If you’re in the neighborhood, you should attend! Click HERE to register.

3. Wrap-Up on Shoulder Packing Post

Last week I posted a guest blog on shoulder packing, and it received tons of comments and discussion. One thing I’m good at is knowing  how much I know and how much I don’t know about a particular topic. I’m definitely not the world’s expert in shoulder/scap/t-spine mechanics, but I’ve really enjoyed delving into the topic, researching it, and formulating some of my own thoughts. Here is a consensus that I wrote at the bottom of the post that wraps up the info from the post and the comments:

  • During unloaded arm elevation, the scapula upwardly rotates 60 degrees while the humerus rotates 120 degrees in the glenoid, for a 2:1 ratio of glenohumeral to scapular rotation. Varying reports in the literature exist, so this is a general figure.
  • During heavy overhead movement, the scapula don’t rotate as much as more stability is required. A 4:1 ratio has been reported with heavy exertions.
  • No research exists showing scapulohumeral rhythm during overhead pressing with lifters with various dysfunction compared to normal lifters.
  • Gymnastics coaches and Mark Rippetoe recommend actively shrugging the shoulders during overhead movements (gymnastics moves are closed chain though).
  • The majority of physical therapists and strength coaches who specialize in corrective exercise recommend limiting scapular elevation and often offer the cue “back and down” or refer to “shoulder packing.”
  • Many coaches ignore the “shoulder packing” and “scaps down and back” cues.
  • All three of these practices have been employed with success, and anecdotes exist advocating all 3 methods.
  • Upper trap dominance has been suggested as a potential cause of altered scapulohumeral rhythm, as has weak lower traps and weak serratus anterior. Shirley Sarmann has proposed weak upper traps as a major player in disturbed scapulohumeral rhythm. In addition, excessive thoracic kyphosis, lack of thoracic extension strength, and even flat back posture has been implicated in altered scapulohumeral rhythm.
  • The “back and down” and “pack the shoulder” cues could easily be improperly decoded by the lifter, so coaches should make sure to properly encode/explain their cues to avoid misinterpretation and faulty lifting patterns.
  • Logical/scientific arguments can be made that active scapular elevation during overhead lifting is problematic and could lead to a lack of centration in the glenoid, but this is yet to be shown in the literature.
  • Best practices, safest mechanics for overhead lifting, and best cues for overhead lifting are yet to be determined as more research is needed.
  • The Turkish Get Up is a different animal and should most likely be cued with the scaps down.

Coincidentally shoulder-specialist Eric Cressey recently produced the video below and it broaches upon some of the same topics.

4. How Does Squat Depth Affect How Hard the Various Leg Muscles are Working?

Chris Beardsley is the man when it comes to Sports Science. He recently reviewed another important squat study HERE. Make sure you check it out!

5. What Causes the Bilateral Deficit in Jumping?

HERE Chris writes about the bilateral deficit in jumping. This is important science for coaches. Here are the cliff-notes:

Humans jump higher using two legs than with one leg. However, they cannot jump twice as high with two legs as with one leg. This concept is called the “bilateral deficit”.

This study shows that 75% of the bilateral deficit can be explained by the fact that one-legged jumping is characterized by longer ground contact times, and the muscles therefore have greater time to produce force (as dictated by the force-velocity relationship).

The remaining 25% of the bilateral deficit can be explained by the fact that during a one-legged jump, the muscles are activated to a greater degree right off the bat because one leg is supporting the body, compared to two legs supporting bodyweight in the case of a bilateral jump.

Finally, this study refutes previous research showing that reduced muscle EMG explains the bilateral deficit. In this study, peak muscle activity during a bilateral jump was generally only reduced by around 5% compared to a one-legged jump.

6. Strength, Flexibility, and Endurance Research by Chris Beardsley

HERE is another recent article of Chris’s that discusses some new research on flexibility and endurance. He’s on fire lately!

7. Recent Interview

Just the other day I was interviewed HERE by the Martinez twins. Check it out!

8. High Frequency vs. Low Frequency

I always love reading articles from guys who lift heavy and train hard, and therefore I’m a big fan of Tim Henriques’ articles. Tim offers great insight into program design, and his latest article mirrored many of my thoughts from my presentation in KC at the Fitness Summit in May. Click HERE to read the article on TNation.

9. Sweet Video

Such a good blend of athleticism!

10. Primal Speed Sprinting Workshop

My buddy Keats Snideman and his twin broseph Franz are hosting the first “Primal Speed Sprinting Workshop” in two weeks on September 30 in Tempe, AZ. Click HERE to learn more about it. They’re also doing an HKC (Kettlebells) on the 29th in Tempe. Click HERE to learn more about that. Keats and Franz are great so definitely consider attending if you’re in the Phoenix area!

11. How to Think for Yourself – Layne Norton

I really enjoyed this video from Layne Norton. Sometimes I think we’re related as he echoes many of my sentiments!

12. Brad Schoenfeld Interviews Alan Aragon

My buddy Brad recently interviewed my buddy Alan HERE. If you don’t follow Alan then you should start!


  • Bibabu says:

    Strong Curves pre-ordered. It will help me to convince my french female gym mates to train like men.

    Cédric, France.

  • Melly Testa says:

    I will be purchasing your book. You bet, without a doubt. I love your site, your enthusiasm, your encouragement. I am sure both you and Kelly did a great job, no need to apologize. Read your interview too. Nice job.

  • Miriam says:

    I’m not cursing, I’m pre-ordering. But it is a bit of a disappointment to have to wait this long 🙁

  • Bret says:

    Thanks for not being too upset everyone! You have every right to be highly annoyed – the delays go on and on and on and on. First the eBook was delayed, then we turned it into a real book and it’s been delayed, etc. I’d be a bit upset if I were in your shoes, but I’ll try to keep putting out good blog content until the book is out to make up for it. Cheers!

  • moss says:

    of the 200+ exercises in your book, how many use selectional or cable machines, and how many are free-weight?
    you wrote “the best damn book for female training”; please tell me in what way women should or must train differently from men?

  • Kellie says:

    Thanks for all of your support with the book. Though we are disappointed not to bring you the book in the time frame originally discussed, we plan to take this opportunity to build upon Strong Curves a tremendous resources for women. Good things are in the works. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing the update, Bret!

  • Chris says:

    Why does Layne care what others say/think? First off, a ton of people on the net that talk shop about this stuff aren’t scientists like him or lack any formal exercise science education. Second, people are passionate and sometimes illogical regarding their training/nutrition beliefs because belief is required for adherence to them. If they don’t believe 100% in them they won’t follow it consistently. So, in some ways is takes being illogical in order to have a sufficient commitment to whatever strategy you’re using. If you “thin for yourself” it’s easy to make an excuse for yourself for not dieting or training with 100%. If you believe in someone else’s concept it’s easier to adhere to by not questioning it. Some in many instances not questioning provides better results by providing consistency.

  • Maria says:

    So how do we pre-order your book? Thanks for teaching us so much!

  • Eric Bach says:

    Awesome post, I look forward to the book.
    The research/article on squat depth is great and should be part of every coaches repertoire.

  • karina says:

    I truly enjoy reading this post and thank you so much for the information you give us!! I look forward to purchasing the book! Have a good week handsome!

  • Caroline says:

    Is the book available now from amazon in the uk the same…or a different edition? Should I wait for your improved version?

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