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Random Thoughts

By December 21, 2012January 11th, 2014Random Thoughts

I haven’t posted a random thoughts post in a while. I like these because I can post links to recent articles that I’ve written, embed cool videos that I’ve recently watched, and mention any other relevant or important information. I’ve actually written four good pieces for you and filmed a very good instructional video, which you’ll see below in #1-4. Here are 12 random things:

1. TNation Articles (Contreras Files Practical Editions)

Whenever I’m lifting or training clients, I jot down things that pop into my head on a sheet of paper. I recently assembled them into two different articles. Past Contreras Files editions on TNation focused mostly on the literature. These two focus more on practical advice for coaches and lifters. These were well-received and I received some good questions in the comments sections:

15 Practical Tips

15 More Practical Tips

2. TNation Article: Gutting the Glute Ham Raise

I just got THIS article published yesterday on TNation. Check it out and read the comments section…got some good questions.

Cliff Notes: The GHR is great for the hammies, but not very good for the glutes.

3. Important Video on Lumbopelvic Biomechanics During Squats, Deadlifts, Hip Thrusts, and Back Extensions

This video was embedded into one of the TNation articles and got a very good response, so I felt it important to embed it here on my blog as well. Watch it and chances are the whole lumbar, pelvis, and hip thing will “click” regarding hip extension exercise.

4. Guest Blog on Tony Gentilcore’s Site: Critiquing an Uncritical Coach

HERE is an important article for you to read. From speaking at various seminars, reading various blogposts, and perusing various forums, I’ve realized that “experts” can say just about anything these days and it goes unchecked. This is very frustrating, as I spend a large proportion of my life sifting through the literature, checking my facts, and researching to try to ensure that the information I dole out is legitimate. While some of my colleagues go to great lengths to check their work and take pride in their credibility, others seem to spew nonsense and just make stuff up. The uncritical reader will believe anything, and due to these types of “experts,” it makes my life more difficult in educating people as I have to spend time correcting misconceptions.

The piece on Tony Gentilcore’s website represents the epitome of a meathead strength coach who seems empowered by his ability to utter b.s. I try to equip my readers with the tools necessary to spot these kinds of experts and notice red flags. Give it a read, I think you’ll like it. I tried my best to remain professional this time around.

5. Relative Hip Thrust Strength Record for Males

Simon might be the strongest pound-for-pound hip thruster. He’s working his way toward a 4X bodyweight hip thrust!  Right now he’s at 3.5X. Incredible!

6. Chinese Weightlifter Back Squats 200kg x 13 Reps at 17 Years of Age

Talk about good leverages for squatting!!! This 17-year old is repping out with more than my max!

7. Koklyaev Totals 2,221lbs/1,007.5kgs Raw

A raw 1,000 pound total! Looks like he had a lot more in him too!

8. The Glute Squad

A couple of my girls competed a while back and had these pants made without me knowing. Hilarious!

9. A Very Fit 17-Year Old Girl

Here’s another 17 year old doing some amazing things!

10. Get Your Hips Through on Speed Deads (Dynamic Effort Deadlifts)

Watch Andy Bolton doing speed deads (with almost 500 pounds haha). Notice how he pushes his hips forward up top? Don’t arch the back to finish off extension; push the glutes forward.

11. Speed is King!

Speed is king when it comes to ground-based sports. Don’t believe it? Check this video out!

12. Top 7 Fitness & Nutrition Experts

I was recently named one of the top 7 fitness and nutrition experts HERE. What an honor! It’s good to be noticed every once in a while.

That wraps it up. I hope you have a Happy Holidays!


  • chuck says:

    OK, who is in the last photo in this post?

  • Mike says:

    Hi Bret, since this is a random thoughts post, I thought I would ask a somewhat random question. How do you suggest that in-season athletes adjust their glute training? Do you suggest doing heavy barbell glute bridges and hip thrusts along with single leg hip thrusts during the season with decreased volume (I do one bilateral weighted bridge or hip thrust on my first leg day of the week and then a form of single leg thrust on my second lower body day per your suggestion in Eric cressey’s show and go. It has worked wonders btw for both glute strength and reducing knee pain.) I am about to move to in season training for basketball. Any suggestions about how or if I should modify my glute training? Thanks.

  • Math. says:

    Your random thoughts are always entertaining to read. That 17-year-old girl is no joke ! Not to mention that asian kid; his form is damn near impeccable. However, he should force his knees out more, I noticed they caved in a little, but well, I’m noone to judge someone parallel-squatting such a load for reps.

  • Derrick Blanton says:

    Random Thoughts! Whoo hoo!

    BC, following up on #6, and the short femur squatting advantage: Are we not talking about a femur to torso RATIO, i.e. the RELATIVE length of the femurs to the spine?

    I know this particular lifter was used in a T-Nation discussion on squatting leverages. The author took the contrary position that a long torso in reality works AGAINST squatting leverages; stating that he felt like yes, this lifter DID have short femurs, but DID NOT have a particularly long trunk. He surmised that if this lifter possessed a shorter torso to go with his short femurs that he would be able to squat even more advantageously.

    I found this logic unpersuasive, and here’s why: The length of the femur is a relative reference point of leverage which exists within the greater framework of the overall skeleton. Much like a seesaw: it doesn’t matter how long the board is, it matters where you put the fulcrum in relation to the other side. The board could be 100 feet long, but if you put the fulcrum at 30 feet, it’s the same leverage as if the board were 10 feet long, and you put the fulcrum at 3-feet. Make sense?

    Every time I see a lifter such as this, they always appear to have a proportionately long torso to their short femurs. This would include almost all the Olympic studs who take home the hardware.

    Seems to me that if you shortened the lifter’s torso length, then you just create a new relative ratio of spine to femur, and the effective leverage is no different than a 6’9″ basketball player squatting with long femurs, and a comparatively short torso, just on a smaller overall scale.

    Doesn’t the longer torso to femur ratio in effect create a longer “can opener”, “shovel”, or “wrench” style lever at the hip increasing the short femur torque?

    (This is not the easiest thing to try and describe, does it make a bit of sense? :))

    • Derrick Blanton says:

      Also, #9 is very impressive, a testament to her hard work, and likely some good coaching as well. But please, lose the gum. It will end up lodged in your windpipe.

      Safety first, you young whippersnappers!

    • Sven says:

      I agree with you. Also, a shorter torso (in relative terms, yes, of course!) means more forward lean, which would negate the benefit of having a shorter lever from the hip to the bar, right?

      • Derrick Blanton says:

        Excellent, Sven!

        So let me tease this out: The upright balanced, loaded posture, made possible by a long torso and a short femur, reduces the amount of active torque at the hip, and by extension (pardon the pun), increases the torque at the knee. Did I get that right?

        I see that my “wrench” analogy is flawed from a mechanical standpoint, since the force on a wrench is applied at the end of the longer lever, and this would be impossible for a human squatting (exerting force at either hip or knee fulcrum all the way from the end of the torso lever (head,neck). Your idea makes a lot more sense.

        Another interesting thing I noticed when watching the Olympic weightlifting this year, particularly amongst the dominant female Asian weightlifters was this lo-oo-ong torso/short leg anthropometry, and almost zero lumbar lordosis, and thoracic kyphosis. Their spines were nearly flat as a board from cranium to sacrum. Some of them also seemed to have very little glute development as well. Just a long, flat line until the hamstrings, and massive, massive quads.


        • Sven says:

          Cheers, Derrick. I don’t know, but my understanding is that the short femurs reduce the torque at all joints. At the hips and quads. Even the ankle as less dorsiflexion is required. Now, do relatively short femurs make squats more quad dominant? I don’t know. Maybe Bret has some data? 🙂 (Also, the same quad mass will not look the same on a short femur as on a long femur, right?)

          • Bret says:

            Guys, I actually filmed a video on Wednesday that will shed light on this. It’s about torque, and I actually show you how to calculate the torque on the joints for squats and deadlifts. Sven, you’re spot on. I’ll post the vid next week. Great conversation!

  • Kellie says:

    Great thoughts! Simon is a badass. Is he your client?

  • Dan Pope says:

    Great post, I’m a huge fan of Koklyaev and it’s always fun to see Andy Bolton pull 500lbs like he’s going to clean it.

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