Random Thoughts

By March 26, 2013 Random Thoughts

Hi Fitness Peeps! I have some exciting news to share with you today.

1. Strong Curves Book Release Party this Saturday in Phoenix, Arizona from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm

This Saturday (March 30th) I’m going to host a Strong Curves book release party from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Location is here:

Arizona Training Lab
3031 E. Indian School Rd. Suite 15
Phoenix, AZ 85016

Sorry for the last minute notice, I just thought of it today. If you live in Arizona, please come by. Here is what’s on tap:

  • Free one hour presentation on The Science of Glute Training
  • Free one hour practical session on various glute exercises (learn by doing)
  • Free autographed Strong Curves book to first 30 people who reserve spots

This is a free $200 value! If you’re interested in attending, please email contactus@aztraininglab.com to reserve your spot. If you’re a lifter, a trainer, a coach, a physical therapist, or an athlete, please show up as I’d love to meet you and share my knowledge with you! Please pass the word along with your network if you live in Arizona!

2. Can Booties Really Change?

I just posted a testimonials page on my website (see the last tab). I wanted to do this so people can see that booties can change shape dramatically through proper training. Hopefully this will inspire some people! Click HERE or just click on the tab to see the pictures.

3. Are All Hip Extension Exercises Created Equal?

I just got THIS article published ahead of print today in the SCJ. If you’re a student or an NSCA member, pull it up as it’s one of my favorite pieces of work to date. It discusses good mornings, 45 degree hypers, and horizontal back extensions, their hip extension torque angle curves, and implications on adaptations and program design.

4. Rhino 2,303 Raw Total

Stan Efferding is from another planet! Check out the explosion out of the hole during squats and off the chest during bench. Keep in mind this is RAW!

5. Intensity of Load and Intensity of Effort

Steele wrote a great article HERE on intensity. Check it out – you won’t be disappointed!

6. Glutes to the Max

There aren’t many studies comparing glute resistance exercises against each other. ACE did one in 2006 HERE. This is a good experiment to read. Though it’s unpublished, the researcher is legit.

7. Glutes and Cardio

There aren’t many studies comparing glute cardio methods against each other. HERE is an unpublished one worth checking out.

8. Awesome Podcast with Layne Norton and Jake Wilson

THIS is a freakin’ awesome podcast on cardio and HIIT by two badass dudes whom I respect a ton. Listen to it and learn a lot.

Layne Norton

Layne Norton

9. Growth Hormone Myths

HERE is a sweet article (also from Layne) on growth hormone myths. Check it out!

10. Why is There a Sticking Region During the Bench Press?

THIS is the most scientific articles I’ve ever read on the bench press. Thanks to Chris Beardsley for writing it. Powerlifiting nerds – enjoy!


11. Looking for Online Training?

My friend Sohee Lee is kicking off her women’s-only online group coaching in a few weeks and is looking for ladies who are sick and tired of being sick and tired and are ready to finally work their way toward their dream bodies. I don’t take on new online clients, so if you’re looking for one on one support email Sohee at sohee(at)soheefit(dot)com for pricing and details. She’s big on hip thrusts so you know she has my seal of approval!

12. Looking for Personal Training in Phoenix/Scottsdale?

My training partner Charles Staley is currently taking on new personal training clients (I’m not). I can vouch for his badassery – we pretty much think the same way and our training facility rocks. If interested in his services email charlesstaley(at)me(dot)com for pricing and details.

13. Facebook Quotes from Yours Truly

Here are some quotes from my Facebook Fitness Page this week:

Trained two bikini competitors for the first time today. They’ve been doing hip thrusts for several months with just the bar and were unsure about form. With instruction and encouragement, they were able to do 115 x 10 and 135 x 5. Sometimes people go too heavy on hip thrusts and don’t use a complete ROM or control the load, but other times people go way too light and don’t challenge their glutes. We need more trainers and coaches who are experienced with hip thrusts to teach the masses how to do them properly!

A 16″ bench is good for most people for hip thrusts. Those who are 5’0″ tall should use a 14″ bench. Many gyms have benches that are too high (one of our benches is 21″ high!), so this is where aerobics steps and risers come into play. Padding in the form of Hampton thick bar pads and Airex Balance Pads are huge to prevent hip pain which inhibits the glutes. And unfortunately most gyms don’t have bumper plates which are ideal for hip thrusting with beginners as standard 25 and 35 pound plates don’t allow the lifter to roll the barbell over their legs, making it very inconvenient to get into position.

One of the most annoying aspects of working with clients is when they’re also working with other trainers, coaches, or therapists. Most people in fitness need to be “the expert,” and so they’re typically dismissive of the other team members’ methods. One client is rehabbing from a torn quad and I have him doing rack pulls. The physio has a huge problem with this, but he’s giving him exercises that place far more loading on the knee joint. A bikini competitor I work with has a number one goal of increasing glute size, but her coach will only let her do one lower body day per week. As a fit-pro, you can give the client an ultimatum and make them decide on one coach/expert, but another strategy I’ve found to be effective is to “trick” the other coaches into coming up with the method on their own (ask your coach if there’s a deadlift variation that spares the quads and targets the hams, ask your coach if he thinks a weak body part should be trained more frequently)? If you put the power in their hands, they’re more likely to be in approval of the method, so everybody wins.

When seeking optimal body composition for competition, you have to build a base. If you’re performing 2 hours of cardio per day while consuming only 1,000 calories per day, where do you go from there when you want to peak? Adding in more cardio and dropping calories will backfire and can easily lead to long-term metabolic damage. I’ve had good success having clients avoid cardio or just doing a couple of light 20-30 min sessions per week during the “off-season,” and then ramping up in the final 4-8 weeks before competition. Focus on building strength and consuming adequate calories (building metabolic capacity) so your body will react favorably for peaking purposes.

Three months ago I convinced an online client to train for an upcoming powerlifting competition. He’d been performing bodybuilding training for several years, and I wanted him to prioritize strength gains. His competition is in another month, and he’s put 35-50 pounds on all of his lifts. But more important per his goals is that he’s packed on 8 lbs of muscle without gaining any fat. He’s had to buy new jeans. Powerlifting combined with a good diet equals a good physique. Bodybuilding training is ideal for hypertrophic adaptations, but don’t ever ignore good old progressive overload in lower rep ranges.

One of the most important components to personal training is demonstrating the exercises prior to having the client perform them. We all get lazy from time to time and think we can get by on verbal instruction alone, and we’re quickly reminded that visual plus verbal cues are far superior for motor learning. Put yourself in the client’s position – how frustrated would you be if you were trying to perform an exercise without first seeing it done? This is another reason why personal trainers should “walk the walk” – demonstrating full squat, deadlift, hip thrust, lunge, and back extension form all day long is tiring and requires “on the fly” mobility.

Many of my female bikini and figure competitor clients had past trainers who made them adhere to bulking and cutting phases. If you like bulking and cutting, then have at it. But I encourage my clients to try to look great year round and never get too out of control (10 pounds over competition weight for women). We train to look good and it’s hard to stay in good shape, so why purposely let yourself slide to the point where you don’t like the way you look? Peaking for a competition is much easier when you’re in good shape, and nothing beats the confidence that accompanies feeling lean and strong at the same time. Just my two cents!

The cat-camel drill is an excellent way to teach new clients spinal position. Show them full spinal flexion, show them full spinal extension, then teach them neutral. Tell them that “rounding” means flexion, and “arching” means extension and cement that into their brains as they need to know the difference. I once made the mistake of telling a client to arch during a squat without making sure she knew what that meant beforehand. To her, arch meant flexion, which is not something you want when someone has a barbell on their back! This is why cues like “chest up” are so valuable as they aren’t easily misinterpreted.

Just responded to peer-reviewer comments for an article I co-wrote with Chris Beardsley for the Strength & Conditioning Journal. I say this every time, but this might be my favorite article to date (Chris is the first author and did the majority of work on it). The peer-review process is unpredictable, many times you get peers who seem to sabotage or make your articles worse, but every once in a while you get a badass who actually helps take your article to the next level, which is how it should be. In this case, we had a well-versed biomechanist who made some excellent suggestions. I wish I knew who the reviewer was – if I did I’d invite him to be an author from time to time!

The other day someone wanted to know which individual has influenced my training the most. I had to think about this carefully, as I’ve learned a thing or two from damn near everybody in the strength training industry. However, when thinking about the way I actually train people, the way I teach the lifts, the way I construct programs, and the way I lift, I’m going to have to go with David Tate. So from the bottom of my heart Dave – thank you very much – you’ve made me a much better trainer and lifter.

That’s all for this post my friends! Have a great week.



  • AZtrophy says:

    Just saw the email come through and wanted to jump on it. It appears to be strictly for your women’s guide though and wondered if all of the content is tailored that way or if a guy looking to build a better posterior chain might be a good candidate to attend?

    I’m local so this would be an awesome opportunity but not looking to be the lone creeper amidst an all-female attendee list.

    • Bret says:

      Eric – it’s written for women but applies to men (I train this way!). Trust me, you’d like the book. And you won’t be the only guy there.

  • ggs says:

    Wow…If only I lived in Arizona…My bucket list was almost overflowing…I asked my bubby hey how would you like to go to Arizona this weekend…to my surprise he said yeah…short lived excitement…. he thought I was talking about Arizona Steak House…Maybe some other time… for all those lucky people fortunate enough to attend ENJOY …

  • kristy says:

    I just reserved my spot. I am so excited about this. Looking forward to meeting you Bret and getting more insight on how to build my glutes. I’m currently doing month two of GET GLUTES program, I love it.

  • Chris says:

    Brett, I love your blog and I appreciate that you take the time to send out all this great material. But, I can’t lie, when I see your email hit my inbox I often put off reading it a few days because I know it will be so jam packed with info it will take me a while to get through it. I am a motivated guy and love this stuff so I always get to it, but you may want to consider reducing the content to make it a little more digestible. I can’t believe I’m suggesting give less information, but I am. Thanks for your efforts and knowledge!

  • Kimm T says:

    Shoot! I would love to go unfortunately with it being Easter weekend, opening day for my son’s baseball league, having family in town, and a family reunion to attend, I am unable to go 🙁 Hopefully you will be able to do another one in the near future!

  • Ted says:

    Bret, I just love your stuff. Congratulations on your new book.

    If you have the time, what is your opinon on this piece?

  • Shelley says:

    Hi Bret,

    I am a client of Kellie’s and I live in Canada. Your book is out here. My copy just arrived today and it is amazing!!

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