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Random Thoughts

By November 6, 2012July 20th, 2015Random Thoughts

What’s up my bruthas and sistas in fitness? I’ve got some good stuff for you this week! Here are 18 random things:

1. New TNation Articles – “20 Almost Laws of Strength Training” and “8 Laws of Strength Training”

Part I might be my favorite article that I’ve written to date. Lots of good questions in the comments section too. Check it out HERE.

Part II was just posted today. Click HERE for the link to that.

2. Lots of Great Feedback from Lifters Taking my Advice and Employing Heavy KB Swings

Last month TNation posted THIS article of mine on heavy-ass kettlebell swings (HAKS). In the article, I teach people how to go heavier on swings. You can either:

  1. Best option, highest cost Buy heavy ass kettlebells (Amazon sells “Monster” kb’s, and Walmart sells a 100 pounder for $146 with free shipping – these are not affiliate links)
  2. Next best option, next highest cost Buy a Hungarian Core Blaster or Kettleclamp (not affiliate links)
  3. Or Buy a Plateau Buster (not an affiliate link)
  4. Worst option, most affordable (by far) Make your own t-handle for under $15. If you go this route, make sure you duct-tape the edges of the handle so they can’t dig into your thighs. See the Youtube video details for a list of items to purchase.

Since this article emerged, I’ve received great feedback from various coaches and lifters who took me up on my advice and decided to start doing heavier swings. I’m not telling anyone to stop swinging lighter kettlebells – those are great too! I’m just telling people to start incorporating heavier swings as well. Try them and I’m pretty sure you’ll like them!

3. Pavel has a New Website

Pavel Tsatsouline just started a website: StrongFirst

Many of my readers know who Pavel is – he’s incredibly knowledgeable about strength training.

4. “Mini” ABC (Ask Bret Contreras) Post:

Dear Bret: Many women hyperextend their lumbar spines on compound lifts. Myself included. Adding extensive glute work…it should help prevent, right?

Not exactly. Check out a post (and Youtube video) I wrote HERE titled Muscle Strengthening doesn’t Fix Form; Motor Control Training Does. You do indeed need strong glutes to prevent the pelvis from anteriorly tilting during heavy hip extension exercises. However, you always need to ingrain new strength qualities into your motor program in order for the form to stick. This takes consistency. The best approach is to perform glute and ab exercises such as hip thrusts, American deadlifts, and RKC planks (I wrote about fixing anterior pelvic tilt in THIS article titled Don’t be Like Donald Duck and it shows those exercises), but more importantly to practice perfect form over and over during your deadlifts, squats, etc. Learn where neutral lordotic and pelvic positions are (actually I like a slight arch on squats and deads but not too much) and then learn to set up that way automatically (and not allow the lumbar extension and anterior pelvic tilt to creep in during the set). So use this multi-pronged approach and your problems will be solved. Best of luck!

5. Great Article on Trial and Error and its Importance in Science

Click HERE to read the link. Just because something makes scientific sense doesn’t mean it pans out in the real world!

6. Great Quote from Dr. Sharma

Telling an obese patient to eat less and move more is like telling a depressed patient to cheer up.

7. Great Quote from Eric Helms

Telling someone not to eat carbs post workout because it blunts GH response is like telling someone not to lift weights because it increases cortisol.

8. Which Term is Better: “Health Lift” or “Dead Lift”?

I saw a post on Facebook from Jon-Erik Kawamoto on the origins of the name of the lift we now refer to as the deadlift, so I asked him to summarize the info for my readers. Here’s what he wrote:

It all started with the era of the strongmen during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Muscular strength and feats of strength were being promoted in Europe and North America. In 1859, a doctor by the name of George Baker Winship toured North America, performing feats of strength while promoting an exercise he called the “health lift” – essentially a partial range of motion deadlift. However, in 1879, William Blaikie criticized Winship’s “health lift” for causing “undesirable effects” such as hypertrophy of the forearms, vastus medial is and the trapezius muscles. Blaikie thought this “bulk” would result in slowness. We all know this myth was later debunked in the 1900s. – Paraphrased from Strength Training for Sport by William Kraemer and Keijo Hakkinen, 2002

Just bustin’ out some health-lifts…no big deal.

9. Barbell Hip Thrust Getting Some Much Deserved Praise

Shape Magazine recently declared the Barbell Hip Thrust as the best butt exercise of all-time. This made me happy as many women’s fitness mags play into their readers’ fears by avoiding barbell exercises and sticking to bodyweight lunges and Jane Fonda movements. That’s a good start, but it won’t build an impressive booty! Check it out HERE.

10. The History of Weightlifting

Here’s a cool video for weightlifting aficionados:

11. Cool, Athletic Resistance Training Video

How can this not make you feel warm and fuzzy inside?

12. Gangnam Style

Up to 653 million views and almost 4.8 million “likes.” That’s gotta be a record!

13. Repair Your Thyroid

An alarming number of figure competitors find themselves in thyroid trouble due to poor preparatory practices. HERE is a good article on thyroid health.

14. Great Glute Questions

Last week I posted a blog on hip thrust progressions and I got a ton of great questions in the comments section. Check it out HERE.

15. Good Article about Evidence and Science by Anoop

I liked this article from Anoop HERE.

16. The Statics and Dynamics of Pelvic Mechanics

This article looks incredibly complicated. I’ve put this one off and haven’t read it yet, but it might be very good. At least it looks good at first glance! Lots of cool pictures of the pelvis and related structures. Click HERE to read it.

17. Good Sports Science Schools in the United States

I’ve been getting emails from lots of readers asking for good Sports Science schools in the U.S. Here are some links:

1. East Tennessee State University

2. Springfield College

3. Barry University

I’m sure that there are lots more, such as UConn, USC, UNLV, Univ of Col, OSU, etc.

18. Joe Rogan Interviews Victor Conte

THIS was an interesting interview with the man behind the BALCO scandal. Much to my chagrin, Victor is misinformed about certain things. However, I enjoyed his insight on various topics.

Have a great week my friends in fitness!


  • kylee says:

    You inspired me to move up from 30lbs to 50lbs! That is the biggest my gym has and I did 100 swings today for my cardio. Super happy with how I have progressed in a couple weeks, thanks for the inspiration! I also love how you use women in many of your posts, I hope that I inspire other women to lift heavier when they see me in the gym the way your athletes do to me!

  • manuel says:

    Thanks for the articles.

    An aside: The health lift is also mentioned in one of Pavel’s book. (I forgot which).
    IMO it is explicitely a rack deadlift, not a full deadlift.
    I can pull from the rack very heavy and quite often and feel very food after it. After doing full deadlift I feel beat up and can only do it once per week or less.

  • stephane says:

    I don’t feel comfortable with the hips thrust. I tried with a single bar and I don’t like it.

  • levi says:

    Where does Conte go wrong?

    Also, this a treasure trove of info. Good stuff, Bret.

  • Lauren says:

    Springfield College is amazing for sports science! I went there and loved it!

  • ggs says:

    Great article on the Thyroid. I was diagnosed with Graves disease 15yrs ago. Treatment was radioactive iodine and synthroid for the rest of my life. I wish this article was available then. Thanks for keeping us informed.

  • Andy... says:

    Thyroid dysfunction is all about putting the wrong stuff into your body which sets off the autoimmune condition. No suprise whatsoever at the amount of people it affects.

  • Eric says:


    Looking at the design of the Hungarian Core Blaster (and your homemade design), I realized I already had something right here at home I could use in a similar fashion. One of those old D.A.R.D (tib. ant. strengthening contraption – I’ve already tried it just quickly with 125 lbs and it worked perfectly!

  • Eric says:

    As far as thyroid health, as someone in the comments to the link you posted already referred to, I’d highly recommend getting familiar with the work of Ray Peat, Constance Martin, Hans Selye and Broda Barnes, among others. The strategies for insuring a healthy thyroid function (and accompanying healthy metabolism and cellular respiration) are pretty straightforward but, sadly, seriously misunderstood and riddled in half-truths and myths.

  • Teresa M says:

    Plateau buster is quite a cool option! I got modular one (unloaded = 13.2 lbs). I used it in one 3-week rotation with lots of swings and worked up to 83-lb swings, 2 sets of 10 (after having done 2H and 1H sets with 35, 40, 44, and 53, and 2H sets of 63 and 73). I expect to cycle more HAKS back in again soon.

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