Random Thoughts

By November 4, 2013 Random Thoughts

Hi Fitness Peeps!

Here is this week’s random thoughts post.

Good Articles and Videos

Hip Thruster Sighting!

This is the first video I have seen on the net of the first batch of hip thrusters that was sent out.  IFBB Pro Holly Mitchel pumps out a set of banded hip thrusts at Live Fit Cincinnati.

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Vote for Joe Kenn for NSCA Coach of the Year

Click here to VOTE for Carolina Panthers strength and conditioning coach Joe Kenn for NSCA Coach of the Year.

Nick Horton & David Dellanave Interview

HERE Nick Horton interviews David Dellanave, the owner and head strength coach at Movement Minneapolis.  David teaches you how to improve your deadlift, avoid injury and be a better coach.

The Train to Be Awesome Guide

Click here (not an affiliate link) for Nia Shanks’ new product: The Train to be Awesome Guide, Become a Stronger More Awesome Version of Yourself.  Nia talks the talk and walks the walk.

Why The Internet Is Full Of Morons Who Are Always “Right”

HERE is a very insightful article by Nick Horton. Loved the quote in the beginning!

Glute Squat

In this video Charles Glass has IFBB figure pro Sherlyn Roy perform the Glute Squat on a smith machine. Very Interesting. Charles has helped train more bodybuilding champions than just about any trainer in the world. Check it out!

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Pre Race Glute Jitters

Here female sprinter Ivet Lalova demonstrates some pre race “glute jitters” while waiting for her race to start.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TGTm9HBKH0]

17 Year old Female Athlete Killing it

Here is 17 year old Suzanne Svanevik training at Bergen Performance Center demonstrating some awesome feats on strength.

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To Valgus or Not to Valgus?

This is an awesome 6-part series from Bob Takano, covering aspects pertaining to the “knees out” discussion, with commentary from some very intelligent people:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part 6: The Finale

Now, I’ve been a “knees-out” guy, but I’m not close-minded to hearing the opposite parties’ arguments. Here’s part of Bob’s conclusion, after weighing the evidence form both sides of the argument:

There are literally thousands of university trained, professional weightlifting coaches that have been coaching these athletes for the past several decades.  They are employed by the ministries of sport in a wide variety of nations and are granted significant financial rewards and societal esteem for coaching athletes to the medal podium.  If the simple act of turning the knees further out would have provided their lifters with an advantage in competition, it certainly would have been put into play by this time.

Tools to Detect Overtraining

THIS is a great post in our Strength and Conditioning Research review on diagnostic tools used to detect overtraining.

American Weightlifting: The Documentary

Here is a trailer for a new documentary coming out called American Weightlifting.  I’m very excited for this…Greg Everett is a top-notch Olympic coach and I value his insight and information.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syf1JRCEBoA]

Nathalia Melo Interview

CLICK HERE to check out an interview I did with Nathalia Melo.

Nathalia Melo

This is just a screenshot; click on the link to see the vid and watch the interview.

NEW Get Glutes T-Shirt

Check out THIS new Get Glutes t-shirt.  If you have some sweet buns you can’t go on without one.

t-shirt-front

Looking for Some Help With a New Website?

Matt and Anna built the Hip Thruster website for me in record time with an amazing level of customer service. Not only did they provide a complete website build from the ground-up, they gave great advice across the board. I can definitely recommend them if you are in the market for a new site!

Female athlete

Sprint Training Lecture at Athletes Performance

Yesterday I attended a lecture at Athletes Performance that was fantastic! Angus Ross, who is in my opinion one of the brightest minds in sprint training (he’s a researcher and a T&F coach so he knows the scientific and practical side of training), delivered a thought-provoking seminar on how to utilize eccentric training and detraining to increase muscle contraction velocity. Dan Pfaff, a sprint legend, was also in attendance, so I was very happy to meet him too.

BretDanAngus

See Why We Have An Absolutely Ridiculous Standard Of Beauty In Just 37 Seconds

If I’d known about this link earlier I would have embedded it into my “Loving Your Body” post from the other day. Click HERE to check it out! Details the magic of photoshop!

Glute Training Feedback

I’ve received a ton of great feedback since the last random thoughts post from lifters stepping up their glute training. But more importantly, the feedback lately is heartwarming and sentimental. I feel like my hard work is finally paying off and that I’m really making a difference and helping change lives. Receiving such incredible testimonials never ceases to make my day. Here it is!

I had already start training my glutes for about 3-4 weeks ago with the exercices you advised because I thought like many others before that squats and lunges (done it for about 7 months) were the best for developping my glutes but I couldn´t really see any big changes, I have gained but it´s like I reached a point where I couldn’t get my glutes bigger. But since I began with hip thrust, glute bridge with BB and so on, I began to see a rapid change. – Athena

Bret, I am in week 10 of the beginner series in Strong Curves. I took your advice and started adding a fourth set of hip thrusts with lower weight (135lbs) and quick, higher reps a few weeks ago… woah, talk about glute pump! I am seeing great progress thanks to all of your research and advice! Thanks for your hard work!! – Emily

Whoa, Bret!!! The little tweaks in my form are paying of SO MUCH already! I can feel so much more glute activation in my glute bridges with the rib cage adjustment and hip thrusts with my feet placement. I was stronger and had a way more intense pump after my sessions. Very exciting to see where my glute development goes from here! Thanks again:) – Tanis

Hi Bret. Glute bridges were something I incorporated into my gym routine nearly seven months ago. Since then, the progressions have been phenomenal; I cant deny that my glutes have adhered to a whole new size and shape since I’ve discovered them. This shape has improved even more so with my incorporation of hip thrusts. I would love to send you a few videos of my progress with the two movements, just to make you proud (lol). Also, I sincerely thank you for all the informative articles you’ve produced. I never fail to Google your name once every couple weeks just to see if anything new has popped its little head out into the world wide web. As for a before picture, this was the best before picture I could find (first pic). Apparently I never thought my butt was photo-worthy. So as you can see, not much going on here. I even took the liberty of pointing out my virtually non-existent derriere. This was about a year ago. Next picture – same pants. This was me about 3-4 months ago. I was only doing glute bridges up to this point. Third pic – I took this yesterday. I’ve lost some weight since the middle picture (well, probably just lost fat, as I’ve been working out more) and in this pic I’ve been hip thrusting for the past three months as well. My waist/bum ratio has widened another inch, thanks to them. Ive gone from a 35 inch hip measurement (it was more like 34.5, dang you, genes!!) lol to 38. Thanks Bret! – Hailey

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The last 4 years, I have been training 4-5 times a week with full-body-workouts at my own homegym at my garret (usually High-Intensitiy-Intervall-Workouts created by myself, or Bodyweight-Workouts from Zuzana Light from bodyrock.tv).  Those workouts gave me some great results, I became stronger and leaner… but unfortunately I also lost a little bit of size of my glutes. I tried to gain some size back on my glutes with tons of lunges, squats, step ups….. my glutes indeed got a round and perky but it seemed impossible to me to gain on size!  I´m only in month 2 right now, but I found Bret´s homepage this may and since then I have integrated hip-thrusts 3-4 times a week into myself created workouts.  Therefore I´m already able to hip-thrust 100kg. (220 pounds) 3 x 8 reps.  Below are two pictures of me: the first one is before doing hip-thrusts, the second one is after doing hip-thrusts for 5 months (I´m sorry for the bad quality… but I took both pictures against a mirror) – Sabine

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Hey Bret, I finally got around to starting the Strong Curves program and am SO impressed. It’s a blast and the results I’m getting are great! I had to update my progress photos this morning and was shocked at how my side-butt (haha) had improved. Also, today I managed to hip thrust 115×20, which I was really proud of since I hadn’t regularly been doing hip thrusts or high reps. Just wanted to say thanks for the great program! – Juliet

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I would only hip thrust once per week until I completed Bret’s 30 day hip thrust challenge. I was reluctant to do the challenge, believing that I know my body pretty well and that everyday would be too hard and I’d burn out or too easy and I’d see no results. I did it and I was amazed! Now, I continue to alternate some form of thrusting every day! The craziest thing is that I can’t imagine working any other body part 6-7 days per week. I eat like a pig, am getting better ab definition and my glutes are the biggest and strongest they’ve ever been! 

I have been training with weights and various forms of cardio for years and have seen more dramatic changes in my body in the last 2 months than I have in the last few years! I was really reluctant at first to commit so much to thrusting, and now I have finally bought a copy of Strong Curves on Amazon. I must admit that I still feel a bit self conscious as a man with all of my workouts oriented around glutes, but really… Who cares?! Squats are strange too, but they are accepted. And if you alternate insanely heavy weight with body weight every day, your glutes will be asleep with your knees, back and quads destroyed!

Speaking of squats… I still see so many sites and magazines with the same old tired routines of 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps of ATG squats, etc. Personally, I have been squatting for years and I am strong and my form is clean. My glutes were cool, but NEVER have I had a pump in the glutes and hamstrings as I have from hip thrusts, glute bridges, and all of the other targeted glute work! I ran hill sprints and alternated them with bodyweight marching hip thrusts yesterday, I felt like a machine… Faster, stronger with no soreness and no ‘roids! Hip thrust has my vote 110%.  Thanks again Bret, Kellie and Marianne! – Michael T.

For the last two weeks I’ve been trying new things w/ the HT.  Higher reps (which has a gag factor at 20-25 reps, heavy ass weights (which I don’t really prefer), and yesterday I tried dropping weight and doing slower reps w/ a slight pause and glute squeeze at the top of each rep –Nathalia Melo inspired-  (which has a post-workout sit down “ouch” factor even the day after).  These lovely sets were super setted w/ band abductions 25 reps w/ a slight pause after each rep.  I only used 185 pounds and could only get 15 reps before I wanted to die which is crazy since I had done 295×8 on Monday. Huge booty pump but beware of the following day soreness! – Tammy

Thank you, Bret for helping me to develop some award winning Strong Curves! I earned my #Wbff pro card in bikini this past weekend. All my extra glute work is paying off J – Teri

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Hi Bret, I’ve been following your blog for just over a year now and absolutely love and appreciate all of the knowledge that you give to us for free. I know that you have put countless hours into your research and just want to let you know that it really shows. This is just another email letting you know that all of your hard work really is paying off. (I pre-apologize for this being so long.)

Back in 2007, I was playing college basketball and in practice one day I sustained a lower back injury. I was pushed from behind while in the air shooting a lay-up and when I landed I hyperextended/crunched my lumbar vertebrae. It caused severe pain as well as numbness up my back and down my legs. I went to a bunch of doctors and therapists and they had me take a bunch of tests and basically just sent me home telling me that they didn’t see anything wrong and it would get better with some rest. Well my basketball career ended shortly after that injury, I hardly slept at night because of the pain and could not do a lot of the activities that I used to do. This was devastating to me, especially only being 18. I took 6 months off from all activity because “the professionals” told me that I just needed to rest. After about 6 months off and it still had not gotten better, I decided that I needed to take things into my own hands and figure it out for myself because “the professionals” that I was PAYING to figure it out, didn’t care enough to help. I met my future husband shortly after that hacienda and started lifting. The painful, numbing spasms stopped shortly after that. This was the first sign of improvement. I still had the pain but it was tolerable knowing I didn’t have to worry about a crippling spasm happening at any given time. I then added chiropractic and that helped for a little while but my hips would always go back out of alignment within the next few days after the appointment, so I knew that wasn’t the fix either. Fast-forward a couple years of still having the pain, I decided to go to massage school and start yoga to learn and try to figure it out even more. It has helped me kind of self-diagnose my problem but still hasn’t fixed it.

I had been toying with the idea of ordering Strong Curves ever since you released it but never ended up ordering it until reading an article I read of yours about how the books may help lower back pain. I ordered it and was fascinated by the information about the glutes shutting down and needing to be reactivated after a major injury. I assumed that is what happened to me! Fast-forward 5 more weeks and I am just finishing my 4th week on Strong Curves. All this time I have been going to the chiropractor because the lower back injury has lead to some upper back issues as well. She asked me last week if I had changed something I was doing because instead of my hips being 2″ off from week to week, they were only 1/8″ off! I told her about your program and she was so happy with the results. She said that I should tell everyone I know about it and teach whatever I am doing to all the people at the gym where I work. I still have the pain, but there are some hours during the say where the pain is almost gone! I have not experienced that in SIX years since the injury occurred! I am hoping and praying that by then end, the pain will be (for a majority of the time) gone.

So basically I just wanted to say thank you. I am spreading the word and using your knowledge and concepts on all of my massage clients, yoga clients and friends. They have all seen an improvement in their own back pain with me simply telling them about/incorporating bodyweight glute activation exercises into their routines.

Again, thank you so much you are more appreciated than you know. – Amanda

Since I discovered the Hip Thrust from your site, no other exercise can give me the glute pump, burn, fatigue or soreness! I do the back extension (hip extension) holding an extra 100kgs and that still doesn’t do what the hip thrust does. Thanks mate, also love all the technical and scientific info that you put up. It’s great to show clients also so they can understand just how good certain exercises are, keep up the great work bud! – Tim

Have a few updates for you! 200lb glute/back extensions for 10 reps… And 500 glute bridge for 8 with a 5sec hold at the top(video is up on Instagram @stephen_marino_)!! Oh Marcy was so excited you used her photo!!

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Just ordered the thruster and a whole mess of bands. Looking forward to some inquisitive looks from my roommate. – Michael N.

Bret, first of all, I am loving your blog! I have found so many articles on there that have been exactly what I have needed to change my thinking. I started your 30 day challenge, and I am almost done with my 3rd week. My butt is FINALLY starting to change!

To give you a condensed version of my booty story, I got into fitness after my first child 12 years ago. I now have 4, and my husband has 6. So we now have 10. Over the years I trained in the gym, tried all sorts of different diets and nothing seemed to work for my “trouble area”. I am completely happy with how my upper body changes, but it always seemed like it took way more work to even have a little progress on my lower half.

I can’t even tell you the number of times I have cried because I was so frustrated with feeling like nothing would work. That was until I finally got mad enough that I found your page. It’s not that I never looked at studies before, but your page is different. At that point is when I figured out that there is nothing wrong with my butt as I previously thought, it’s just a muscle that was never developed properly. I was never shown how to develop it correctly. And now that I am finally seeing a little change, I have hope again. Fortunately I’m driven and massively disciplined so I never gave up. Thanks so much – Debi

Hey Bret! I had the coolest dream last night that I got to meet you in person & thank you for bringing hip thrusts into my life & you signed a book for me. It was a small manual called “Booty Poppin”! It was so real that I took it as a sign that I should take time to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU, for real. I am a RKC/SFG Kettlebell instructor & I own a small training company called SpiritFire Fitness. Since finding Get Glutes, Marianne Kane, & you last Spring, & incorporating your vast knowledge into my small group platform & my own strength training, my whole little world has risen up to the next level. I honestly couldn’t tell you how grateful I truly am for all the work you do & how freely you share what you know. & I think you should write that manual! Lol “Booty Poppin- A Sky High Manifesto”  Peace, Power, Blessings! – Sarah

To hear from you, that my form and my butt looks great is a friggin’ unbelievable motivation for me!!! I will do my best to make you proud! Your Hip-Thrusts helped me in so many ways, you can’t imagine. I’ve watched your youtube-videos a thousands times…. I still have a long way to go, but with your help I’m not afraid anymore! – Sabine

I’m in the middle of reading an article titled “A brief guide to inspiring change, action and confidence.” When I read tip #2 I immediately thought of you. “Who inspires you, and what exactly are they doing that makes you feel that way? Do that. I’m inspired by people who truly care for others without losing themselves in the process, and having enough of those people in my circle really helps when I struggle and need to get back on track. Finding your own role models here can provide guidance.”
I just wanted to say thank you for being that person for me in my fitness career. I truly consider you a mentor, even if its only via the Internet, and I appreciate you and the work you do more than you will ever know. You relentless pursuit of knowledge and willingness to so graciously share it with others is unparalleled. You are humble, kind, encouraging and supportive, all of which inspires me to be a better coach and trainee. Whenever I get down on myself I can always count on you to lift my spirits, as you know just how to provide enough constructive criticism while still being encouraging. So again, thank you for all that you do in the community and for the very positive impact you have had in my life. – Marci (Bret’s note: Thank you so much Marci! You made my week with this comment)

15 Comments

  • Barry says:

    Where did the knees out concept originate from anyway?

    • Derrick Blanton says:

      BC, that Hip Thruster is a very cool apparatus, esp. for impatient types! Plop down, and strap a band, and thrust. Instant gratification! I think it might also be an easy setup to do DLs, or bent rows, with bar plus mini-bands since there are two band prongs on each side. MacGyver much?

      Also Barry, what’s the old expression? “If the only tool you have is a hammer, then everything starts to look like a nail.”

      My hunch is that most cues start with trainers who identify a common movement fault, and then look to “preempt” the problem before it happens. Once a bad pattern shows up on a consistent basis, it quickly graduates to a pre-lift instruction (before you even perform the lift!), and then “law”, i.e. take your medicine whether you need it or not.

      There are a few pretty common form flaws with most basic exercises, esp. when you work with someone not familiar with a lift; usually related to adopting a “go to” habitual stabilization pattern, which does not fly in the new lift.

      (The solves for which generally come back to engaging the glute complex and ab complex rather than hanging out on the spine and soft tissues, but I digress.)

      With a squat, this usually translates to giving up the lumbar spine, and dumping the knees inwards. This strategy may have been serviceable for years for picking up a pencil, or petting the cat, but not so fine for loaded or dynamic movement.

      Grab someone from behind the desk, and ask them to squat to the floor, and a goodly percentage will round forwards, and (esp. women), adduct, and internally rotate their knees, and over pronate the ankle. All of which can be disastrous under load, or jumping and landing. So the cues have good basis, generally.

      The problem is when cues to correct faulty motor programs becomes overemphasized for folks who don’t share those particular motor flaws, or have different body structures. Basically, it’s taking an emphasis and making it “one size fits all”.

      It then becomes conventional wisdom that “this is how everyone should approach this lift.”. Once a cue reaches seminar circuit, or book status, then it becomes locked in, and will become very challenging to have thoughtful discussion about it.

      At that point, cues like “shove your knees out”, and “arch your lower back”, can go too far the other way, and then create a host of other problems, not to mention confuse and derail new lifters trying to learn the new movement pattern.

      Hang around long enough, and you will see the emphasis shift the other way, until the pendulum swings too far, and then you will see the cues swing back in the other direction. (“chest up”, becomes “ribs down”, etc.)

      • Sven says:

        I have noticed that Mike Robertson is now recommending rib downs for rows and pull-downs. I suspect this is going too far, indeed 😀

      • Bret says:

        Some great points. For the vast majority of beginners, the cues: chest up, knees out, push through heels, & squeeze glutes work miracles. But not everyone! Cues should be tailored to the individual.

    • Bret says:

      To the best of my knowledge, Kelly Starret was the first to really started stressing knees-out (actual knee varus).

      • Conrad says:

        Perhaps this has been said, if not:
        Keep in mind that Kelly’s cueing of knees out has less to do with the knees and much more to do with creating hip torque and glute activation – at least that’s how I understand it and use it.

        Bret, perhaps this could be an interesting thing to check out in your new sweet lab set-up – if you haven’t already done this.

  • Jensen says:

    The conversation on “knees out” cuing was great. Thanks for providing the links. There were a lot of great minds in there discussing knee biomech. The biggest thing that struck me was that the whole conversation illustrates one of the biggest fundamental problems with our industry. That is the “black or white fallacy”. Too many people want to take a side so that they can fight people on the other side. The reality often is that individual differences are the biggest factor in deciding what feedback to give. I think that these links provided a well thought out discussion where they reached a conclusion that many of agree with. “Knees out” is right when it fixes a faulty movement pattern but is not a universally correct cue.

    With that said, I think that most people can be helped in their squat by trying to push their knees out. I typically deal with quad dominant athletes who don’t compete in sports where squatting with a barbell is part of their competition.

    I think I’m going to keep giving this cue to people who need it and not to the ones who don’t.

    • Bret says:

      Well, for maximal squat performance, I think some slight knee valgus leads to bigger numbers. But in training, most of the time lifters should practice with knees out so they spare their knees. Just my take.

      • Brian Catalano says:

        I’m curious with all the “knees out” comments… is it that you’re actually seeking to squat knees OUT, a varus position, or are you looking for knees neutral/tracking over the toes and for the knees to not cave in?

        In my own experience training at weightlifting gyms, the lifters I have seen squat with their knees tracking neutrally over their toes, rather than in OR out. At least up to a certain point (usually ~80ish% of their 1RM).

        As weight gets heavier with a traditional high bar/olympic style squat, a slight valgus of the knees tends to lead to better performance but I think it also needs to be understood that this is slight valgus, and not a “collapse” of the knees or a “knock-kneed” movement.

  • Derrick Blanton says:

    Oh snap! I thought of another HipThruster application. Feet or knees on back pad, hands on foot pad, loop band around back. Voila! Banded decline pushups, (which are really inverted incline presses for upper chest).

    Great, now I’m going to be obsessing about potential exercise variations all day…Damn you, Contreras!

    • Bret says:

      Hahaha! I’m going to try both the deadlift and push-up ideas. The deadlift might be nice because the bands will be out in front which will require the glutes to reign the bar in.

  • Patrik Looft says:

    Very impressed by Susanne Svanevik! And only 17 years old… Couldn’t complain on her glutes either, or what do you think Bret? 😉

  • Rich says:

    Any major takeaways from the sprint seminar?

  • Tyson says:

    Really enjoyed the “knees out” discussion. Certainly makes me re-think my approach to my training.

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