Skip to main content

Random Thoughts

By January 31, 2014May 13th, 2014Random Thoughts

Hi Fitness Friends, I’ve got some incredible articles, videos, rants, and before/after pictures for you to check out. Just doing my part in keeping you informed!

Good Articles

How does training volume affect hypertrophy?

HERE is great article from Chris Beardsley on the effects volume has in relation to hypertrophy.

How does training frequency affect hypertrophy?

HERE‘s another great article from Chris Beardsley. Chris discusses the research on this topic

Detox diets & juice cleanses: Could they make you more toxic?

Click HERE to see Ryan Andrews break down detox diets and juice cleanses. Juicing and detox diets becomes extremely popular around this time of year with summer around the corner. Take a look to see if its right for you.

Reignite Progress with New Science

HERE is a article by Borge Fagerli discussing important considerations in program design for strength development including training frequency and occlusion training.

7 Gym Hacks

Check out THIS new post by Nick Tumminello. Nick lays out 7 ‘gym hacks’ which are some non-obvious ways to solve problems and increase productivity in the gym.

The 12 cognitive biases that prevent you from being rational

HERE is an article discussing different biases. George Dvorsky talks about 12 different cognitive biases that prevent us from making rational decisions. It would seem that this article does not have much to do with the fitness industry, but upon close inspection, one will notice that it has everything to do with the fitness industry. 

Conference Review: Assessing Movement with Stuart McGill and Gray Cook

Click HERE for a review of the discussion between Stuart McGill and Gray Cook held at Stanford University. Kudos to Gray and Stu for going through with this. Filmed debates are a huge step in the right direction for our field.

Good Videos

Usain Bolt vs 116 years of Olympic sprinters

Check out this video to get a perspective into some of the fastest sprinters in the world and how others compare.

Derek Kendall 925×3 raw squat

Watch Derek Kendall back squat 925lb for 3 reps and making it look like a piece of cake

Brian Shaw Deadlift Training

Check out professional strongman Brain Shaw lock out an 1140lbs deadlift

Derek Kendall Front Squat

Watch Derek Kendall sink an 800lb front squat in only a belt and knee sleeves

Eric Lilliebridge Deadlifts 860lbs

Check out Eric Lilliebridge power through an 860lb deadlift at 23 years old, weighing 285lbs

Eric Lilliebridge Squats 955lbs

Watch Eric Lilliebridge squat 955lbs in training for a 13lb PR

Derek Kendall 975lb Squat

Check out Derek Kendall crushing a 975lb squat in training

Keenan Cornelius Hip Thrusts

Watch Brazilian Jiu Jitsu badass Keenan Cornelius hip thrust 495×7. Glad to see hip thrusts catching on in the BJJ world.

Dan Green 2014 USPA American Cup LA

Watch Dan “The Boss” Green break Larry Pacifico’s all time world record with a 2083lb total (no wraps) at 242lbs

Gym Training for the Strongman Atlas Stones 

Watch 6’7″ strongman Craig Pfisterer go through a training session for the Atlas stone event. Craig is a beast (see him lift a 505 Atlas stone HERE). I’m in good agreement with his choice of exercises – stone trainer lifts, Zercher lifts, hip thrusts, and upper back dumbbell lifts.

Gray Cook & Kelly Starrett Talking Shop

Here’s a nifty little video of Gray Cook and Kelly Starrett discussing movement. Kelly looks jacked! I love it when different experts get together to talk shop and engage in discussion – we need more of this in our field!

Jim Wendler – Strength Training Business Model

I’ve never seen Jim present like this before. This was an excellent video, and Jim is a total badass.

Who is The Sickest Squatter?

Watch this epic squatting battle between a powerlifter, strongman, weightlifter, and bodybuilder!

Facebook Rants

Here are my Facebook rants from the last week or so:

It takes some lifters considerable time to learn to contract their glutes properly. I’d say that 33% of lifters use their glutes very well. They feel the glutes working forcefully during all compound lower body movements, and they get an extreme glute burn when doing glute isolation movements. Another 33% of lifters feel the glutes activating well on certain movements but not during others. The remaining 33% rarely if ever feel their glutes working during exercise. They have trouble contracting them voluntarily, and they feel the hamstrings, quads, adductors, and erectors working, but no glutes. If you’re in this camp, keep working on building the mind-muscle connection. It requires intense mental focus, but it’s well worth the effort in the long run.

Quote of the day from my lifting partner: “Bret, all this glute stuff you have me doing is turning my girlfriend into a pervert. When I get out of the shower, she makes me stand there while she does physics experiments on my glutes.”

Don’t be overly envious of other lifters’ physiques and strength. Train for you and compete with yourself. If you train hard, eat well, and feel good, then give yourself a pat on the back.

A scientific individual exhibits open-mindedness, skepticism, curiosity, ingenuity, critical-mindedness, integrity, objectivity, and humility. In a day and age filled with quackery, pseudoscience, and logical fallacies, it can be difficult to remain respectful of those who don’t appear to be keen. Have patience with family, friends, and colleagues who may not exhibit the traits of a scientific person. We’re all human, we can all learn from each other, and we make more progress when we remain civil.

The “chest up” cue in the squat and deadlift is perfect for many lifters. These lifts load the spine in an axial manner while the torso is leaning forward, which leads to rounding if not buttressed by muscular effort to maintain good position. Usually, the “chest up” cue leads to great spinal posture when the loads get heavy and the reps approach failure. But there are indeed lifters who have very mobile spines and can overextend if left unchecked. For these individuals, the “chest up” cue can be problematic, and they need to also keep their “ribs down” so that they keep the spine and pelvis in fairly neutral positions. Different lifters require different cues!

Strength training is a form of “conditioning” in and of itself. Every wear a heart-rate monitor when performing dumbbell walking lunges, or barbell hip thrusts, or squats, or deadlifts, or dumbbell back extensions? Or even weighted chins or dips? If so, you’ll never doubt resistance training as a form of high intensity interval training (HIIT)! Paired supersets and medium-to-high rep ranges will amplify the effect if this is the goal. Don’t get me wrong, I like my Prowler sprints, hill sprints, jump roping, and barbell complexes just as much as the next guy, but not everyone needs to perform specialized high-intensity conditioning work. Weight training and plain old walking is a great combination. Excessive conditioning work can backfire and prevent strength gains, so make sure you’re not sabotaging your program with too much high intensity activity.

A new PR has a way of turning a crappy day into an amazing day.

Glute Training Feedback

“After following Bret’s advice for the past six months, my glutes have shaped up, my bodyfat is down 3.2% according to DEXA, I’ve increased my lean body mass and bone density, and fixed unilateral discrepancies in lean body mass. I can finally squat over my bodyweight with good form, and I’m hip thrusting with over 300 lbs week in and week out. Thanks Bret!” – Naomi

Capture demi2

“Before I started working out, my glutes were so weak that whenever I sat on a hard surface I felt like if I was sitting in two bones, it was really painful. But now, after I started working very hard on my glutes and doing isolated exercises, they completely changed. I no longer have a weak flat butt and I look and feel great!” – Yanelvi


Bret, as I guy who has been weight training for over a decade, I thought that the only way to get my glutes and rear chain strong was to pound them continuously with difficult movements 2 – 3 times a week. Without this routine, atrophy happened quickly and I would be back to square one in no time. I should have realized that meant I wasn’t giving them any stimulation. 

Fast forward to a week ago and I am starting the 30 day challenge thinking that it will be “cute”. The squats went from thigh killers to glute smashers after activating them via the right warmup and a few days of thrusts. Now I’m feeling them work when I’m doing a lot of activities and they get sore easily now. Thanks for doing what you do. – Brandon

Bret, just like everything it seems  thanks again for all the hip thrust help (and inventing it) In the past month I feel glutes on everything….just had to learn how to use em. Which is weird cause I’ve always had a big ol butt. I digress – Adam

Thanks @bretcontreras1 for your #strongcurves book – I’ll keep posting progress as it happens! This fella knows what he’s talking about…it’s not just about the #squats if you’re tryna #growthatbooty or even just strengthen and tone your whole body Photo on the left from November… Photo on the right is 2 months later in January – @mindbodysoulonthego


Hi Bret, I’m the old figure girl with awful hips/torn labrum/FAI. I’m a huge fan and am living proof that you can build a booty without heavy squatting. I’m 3 months shy of 45 yrs of age, and am ranked in the top 4 nationally in NPC Open figure class B. I’ve lost 35 pounds, then put 25 of it back on of muscle the good old fashioned way, through heavy ass lifting and eating like it’s my job. I didn’t pick up a weight until I was 40, having been a long distance runner for 20+ years. My legs were strong but my ass and hammies were non-existent. Throw in a complete ACL tear in 2009 with reconstruction and my right leg was gone, muscularly speaking. This in turn led me to strength training as a primary exercise, as my running days were over. 


I never had dedicated glute training until about one year ago…I always trained legs but never used specific glute isolation exercises. Then I saw the imbalance and realized I really needed to bring up my right quad and leg glute. I bought your book and with a new coach started hip thrusts, single leg glute bridges, Bulgarian split squats, lateral band walking, lying clam shells, cable glute kickbacks, smith sumo squats. I also use weighted prowler pushing/pulling for glutes now as well as sumo deads, all forms of deadlift, sumo smith squats, barbell/smith curtsy lunges. I don’t do ANY steady state cardio and eat about 1700-1800 cals daily. I’m 5’2 and 127 today, aiming for stage weight around 114 this summer for Jr. Nationals and or Team Universe where I expect to earn my IFBB status. Aim big, be big!!! 


I’ll be 45 June 25th, so I want to become an IFBB pro to prove it’s NEVER to late to start….women need to put down the pink dumbbells, hip thrust and EAT!!! I’ve had no lipo or enhancements to the lower body. All lifting and eating well.


Hope this helps you sell a few books and spread the message, because it really has made a difference for me and I’m thrilled to show and tell you the results! I’m still a work in progress, but pretty dammed happy with what I’ve accomplished this far! Using your glute guide and dedicated glute training without heavy squatting – I’ve transformed my glutes! – Trisha



Leave a Reply


and receive my FREE Lower Body Progressions eBook!

You have Successfully Subscribed!