How’s it going fitness peeps? I’ve got some great articles, videos, rants, and before/after pictures for you to check out. Just keeping you in the know!
First, I’ll post some articles by me, then by various colleagues.
Articles by Bret Contreras
I’ve been a busy little bee. Directly below are ten different articles/podcasts I wrote/recorded for other expert’s sites over the past couple of weeks.
Bigger, Better Glutes: Master the Hip Thrust
THIS is my best article to date on hip thrusts. Check it out on TNation!
Squats versus Hip Thrusts: Which is Better? Eric Cressey’s Site
THIS article was a slam dunk on Eric Cressey’s site. For glute development, should you squat, hip thrust, or do both?
Strength Defined on Ben Bruno’s Site
In THIS article I discuss my definition of “strong” and list numerical indicators of strength.
Strength is Corrective on Dean Somerset’s Site
In THIS article I tell my story and discuss the differences between my situation and my control’s situation (twin brother).
Pimp Your Program Design on Tony Gentilcore’s Site
HERE I discuss program design and list some important considerations when planning your training.
Interview With Sean Hyson
Sean asked me some excellent questions at THIS link.
Results-Based Program Design on Jon Goodman’s PTDC Site
HERE I list a simple program design strategy for personal trainers to help them achieve better gains with their clientele.
Interview With Chad Waterbury
In THIS interview, Chad asks me some great questions about strength training.
Programming the Deadlift on Jordan Syatt’s Site
In THIS article, I discuss programming considerations pertaining to the deadlift; the trickiest exercise of all.
Interview With Scott Rawcliffe
HERE is an hour-long podcast that covers a lot of ground. Scott asked me a wide variety of questions and conducted a very nice interview.
Articles by Other Folks
Haters Gonna Hate
HERE Jason Ferruggia wrote an incredible article on haters. Cliff notes: don’t pay them any attention, as they’re not your competition. They sit around and hate all day long on the internet, which explains their lack of success.
Training Frequency and Strength
Click HERE to see how training frequency affects strength gains. Chris Beardsley does an incredible job sifting through the research as usual.
It’s All in the Hips
THIS article discusses the importance of the glutes in running.
Minimalism isn’t Always the Optimal Way
Greg Nuckols wrote an excellent article HERE on assistance lifts and strength development.
Nick Tumminello Interview
HERE is a nice interview with Nick by Scott Rawcliffe.
The Belt and the Deadlift
In THIS article, Mark Rippetoe has some interesting thoughts pertaining to deadlifting and belts. I prefer to wear mine way up high, but I’d like to experiment with his suggestion
Hilarious Dave Tate Rant
HERE is a very comical rant about dieting by Dave.
Contest Prep With Dani Shugart – All About the Glutes!
In THIS article, Dani discusses her contest prep and gives a shout-out to Strong Curves.
The Workout Log
THIS isn’t an article; it’s a product (training log). My buddy Rob got it off of Amazon and it’s really cool. Thought I’d share the link in case some of you like what you see (not an affiliate link).
TC Luoma wrote an awesome article HERE on clean eating versus orthorexia.
Belfies: Butt Selfies
I’d never heard this term before. HERE are 11 celebrity belfies.
The Importance of Sleep for Strength Training
Greg Nuckols wrote an excellent article on sleep HERE for strength training. Get your z’s!
Joel Smith interviews Mike Young about speed training HERE, and Mike delivers!
Bodybuilding vs. Powerlifting Type Training: Which Builds More Strength and Muscle?
Bradley Schoenfeld discusses the implications pertaining to his latest published training study HERE.
Tracy Anderson’s Men’s Only Method
Here’s what you’ve been waiting for! Tracy Anderson’s men’s only method. I keed, I keed. THIS is pretty bad, I’m not gonnna lie.
If You Want to Know About Glutes, Listen to the Glute Guy
Go ahead, call me a glute snob. I just hate lazy writers who make things up. If you’re going to write about something, do some freakin’ research.
THIS article is very poor. The glutes are not primarily fast twitch. There are two studies to date on the topic and both show that the glutes are a fairly even mix of fast and slow twich. Simple “rehab” type movements for high reps can indeed help with hypertrophy. Going half way down in a squat doesn’t get you half the glute activity; you can get equal activation if you use the same relative loading. Step it up Dalton, you’re a professor.
Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Science
This guy Henk Kraaijenhof is smart as a whip. Click HERE to gain some insight as to what HRV does and does not tell you.
Interview With Stu Phillips
Stu is also smart as a whip. Check out THIS interview he did for Erik Ledin on sports nutrition and hypertrophy training.
Physical therapists – make sure you’re following Todd Hargrove. HERE he discusses the mechanisms behind the efficacy of graded exercise.
Here are some great recent videos to watch.
Yohan Blake Training Clips
Check out Yohan, one of the top 3 fastest sprinters in the world, lifting weights. Just like Usain Bolt, he makes sure to strengthen end-range hip extension strength and relies upon a mixture of machine and free weight training.
4 Girl Chair Trick
This is pretty cool! My Get Glutes girls could do this with 225 lbs in their laps!
NFL Acceleration: Upright After 8 Steps
Check out Jadeveon Clowney’s blistering 40 yard dash for the NFL combine. Notice that he’s upright very quickly. NFL, rugby, and soccer guys reach top speed at around 20-30 meters and are upright very quickly, in contrast to sprinters who exhibit more forward lean and reach top speed at around 60 meters.
The Great Gatsby – Young and Beautiful
I finally got around to watching The Great Gatsby and loved the movie. I read the book in high school and even watched the 1974 movie starting Robert Redford. I didn’t remember most of it, but watching it this time around left me fairly upset. Gatsby committed a huge blunder in life; you’re supposed to go after a woman who loves you for your true self. Anyway, the acting was fabulous, as was the song below. I may or may not have listened to it 5 times in a row.
Derrick Blanton Gives the Glute WoD a Try
Below is Derrick busting out our recommended Glute WoD, which left his glutes cramping and on fire!
UFC Jon Jones Busting Out Barbell Glute Bridges
Check out badass fighter Jon Jones doing bb glute bridges! Seems like glute training is finally starting to catch on with athletes. For example, HERE is badass Olympic weightlifter Mohamed Ehab hip thrusting a lot of weight.
Hormone Myths With Layne Norton
In the video below, Layne Norton discusses common hormonal myths associated with strength training.
Ray Williams 904 lb Squat With No Wraps
Here’s a new world record; a raw 904 lb squat without knee wraps!
Here are my Facebook rants over the past few weeks:
I love squats and deads as much as anyone. However, they don’t maximize core muscle activation. Not in the rectus abdominis and not in either of the obliques. Any strength training expert who claims that they do has clearly never experimented with electromyography. Ab wheel rollouts, for example, absolutely crush these two lifts in ab/oblique activation, which makes sense considering that core stability is vector specific. Squats and deads resist trunk flexion, which is primarily carried out by the posterior trunk muscles (erectors), while rollouts resist trunk extension, which is carried out by the anterior trunk muscles (abdominals and obliques). Bottom line – include a variety of exercises to maximize performance, strength, and hypertrophy. One or two exercises can only do so much.
Habits are everything in health & fitness. You must get on a routine and stick to it religiously. Be realistic about your routine and don’t be overzealous, as this leads to failure and frustration. From time to time, you’ll fall off the wagon. When this happens, get right back on without dwelling over it – experiencing guilt only makes matters worse. Mind your strength, conditioning, nutrition, sleep, stress, support system, and outlook – they all feed off of each other.
Sometimes it’s very beneficial to go to the gym and do “light” sessions with the sole goal of honing technique. I did this with back extensions two weeks ago, goblet squats last week, and band hip thrusts this week. I didn’t go heavy and I didn’t come anywhere close to failure, but I used impeccable form and felt the right muscles doing the job. You can also do this in your warm-up. These sessions can be incredibly productive as they help build the foundation for future success. You may find that you experience an “aha” moment and say to yourself, “so that’s how this exercise is supposed to feel…”
Two different professional sports teams ordered Hip Thrusters last week. I hope this trend continues. In my opinion, every professional sports facility should have several Hip Thrusters, and hip thrust variants should be prioritized in terms of emphasis in program design.
When I was 16 years old, I got in a very bad car accident and my low back was all jacked up. I couldn’t play sports or even walk correctly for an entire year. I assumed that I’d be plagued with a bad back for my entire life, especially after the doctor informed me that I had the youngest case of severe disc degeneration he’d ever seen. This was undoubtedly unrelated to the car accident, but still very frightening to hear at the time. 21 years later, I deadlifted 600 lbs. This was yesterday, and today my back feels no pain or soreness whatsoever. Strong muscles are great, but a strong mind can help you overcome almost anything. Stay positive and determined!
If you want to be your best at demonstrating maximum strength, then you need to be performing maximum singles. As a young lifter, I recall not feeling like anything heavier than a load that I could lift for at least 5 reps did much for me. This is because I was very inefficient at maxing out at the time. These days, I’m so proficient at lifting heavy weights that anything over 5 reps feels like cardio to me. While you can definitely get strong by sticking to medium rep ranges, if you want to reach your maximum strength potential, then heavy singles, doubles, and triples will be of great benefit to you. It takes time to get good at heavy lifting, so stick with it. Mix in high rep work (13-20 reps) and medium rep work (6-12 reps) along side the heavy low rep work (1-5 reps); no need to only stick to one rep range in your training.
I like stretching, it makes me feel good. Many of my clients do yoga, which I support. That said, if a certain stretch doesn’t feel right, nix it or modify it so that it isn’t problematic. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve advised lifters who were experiencing certain joint issues to stop stretching, only to be notified a week later that the issue went away once they stopped stretching. Bottom line – your stretching could be doing more harm than good, so be aware. Definitely don’t be afraid of stretching, but learn the difference between good pain and bad pain.
Some things can only be learned in the gym. And some things can only be learned in the lab. Bridging the science with the practice of strength training will yield the best results.
When deadlifting, think of “leg pressing” the bar off the ground. Once the bar passes the knees, think of “hip thrusting” the bar to lockout. Then think of “Romanian deadlifting” the bar down eccentrically until it passes your knees.
Americans take over 5,000 steps every day. People are extending their hips literally thousands of times every day via walking, standing from a chair, and climbing stairs, not to mention during cardio and recreation.
Yet all you have to do is visit a busy public place such as an airport or mall to witness the horrific state of affairs we’re in in terms of glute development. Athletic glutes are the rare exception, not the norm. If simple “hip extension” was the solution, nobody would experience glute atrophy or inhibition, and everyone would possess impressive glutes since everyone performs tons of hip extension repetitions on a daily basis.
Obviously there’s more to it, and the glutes require more activation, good cueing, and progressive overload via faster speeds and heavier loads over time for optimal functioning.
Glute Training Feedback
Below is some glute training feedback from around the web. I sincerely appreciate all of you women and men who take the time to write me, tag me, and post pictures. It makes it all worth it!
Hi Bret, I must say your book has made me stronger in one week with the hip thrusts and some of the other training exercises that i can do at home. My butt is on FIRE! I actually seen a change in how my butt looks and I can FINALLY do some TRX pistol squats easier, my running feels stronger!! So I know it is working. I could not figure out with all I was doing why i was so weak in my glutes. Doing lunges, squats climbing Camelback Mtn like a nut every week was not doing anything! I can finally feel my glutes waking up now, getting stronger and changing!
I will be 49 next week and I honestly feel keeping my glutes strong as I age will be key to functioning well. Best, Kim
Bret, just saw your post about pro sports teams utilizing the hip thrust in their program design. Just wanted to share that I’m currently interning with a pro hockey team and I recently convinced my boss to start utilizing them in our own programming. Once the players got past the fact that it looks like they’re humping a barbell, the began to love it! A few of them were concerned about the exercise throwing them into lumbar hyperextension, but again, that was cleared up once they actually tried the exercise. We’ve even had one player start doing them on a daily basis because he says that it’s helping decrease his back pain! Keep doing your thing, Bret. Really admire your work! – Patrick
Bret, I just wanted to drop you a line to day THANK YOU!!! Because of your program, I now measure 45 inches in the hips and 28 inches in each thigh! I can hip thrust 405lb easily!!! My squat strength has increased to 355lb. I have been asked to become personal trainer at the Air Force base gym!! The attached picture is from about 3 weeks ago.
I’m still working on my body but your plan has been the only plan that could give me these types of results! Bret, your research matters and your plan works! I have gained healthy mass and I don’t look too cut up or manly. The mass gives me the womanly curve I desired. Women stop me in the gym and on the street and want to know what I’m doing (or what plastic surgeon did this) and I tell them no surgery needed–just read Strong Curves! Thank you again; you’re the best:) Jessica
I didn’t anticipate showing off my booty at my wedding, but a gust of wind came up at the all-important “you may now kiss the bride” moment! At 40 years old, I’m pleased that everything under my dress looked good enough for an unexpected unveiling. Thank goodness for Strong Curves! – Renee
Bret, I wanted to show you what YOU did for me. I met you exactly one year ago (on my birthday) at the AZ training lab and ever since, my lower body lifts have been completely different!!!! Not until I really started playing with a mix of power and hypertrophy did I see a significant difference (6 months ago). Your techniques, studies, input, and hands-on demonstration really made a huge impact on me. I can never say thank you enough, you are helping so many people and I am blessed to have come across your page!!!! – Deanna
I’d been experimenting with different programs until I started focusing on IF (Intermittent Fasting) and training big lifts and lots of core work, but no cardio! After discovering Bret’s blog, I learned a lot about biomechanics and his invaluable training advice. I then added Bret’s Hip thrust and glute bridge (and also Strong Curves), I saw a remarkable transformation in my glutes and legs very quickly – these results will put a smile on any Asian girl’s face! Thanks Bret and you are truly amazing!
Hello, Bret! I hope you see this! I wanted to write and tell you how much the Strong Curves workout has helped me. I am 11 weeks into it and took pictures yesterday. It astounds me the difference in my backside, despite losing virtually NO scale weight. But more importantly, it was almost a therapeutic tool for my upper body.
I have been struggling with pain from an old shoulder/chest injury and slightly compressed disks in my spine. I love the “old school” lifting and a 5-day split, so starting your program with a bit of back each of four workout days and just one set of shoulders a week was new for me. I was so injured that I had to go really light on upper body moves in the beginning, but your methods managed to bring the volume down enough that my body began to heal and much of my pain has abated. I feel confident now to move on into my next phase of training without fearing injury from picking up bigger pieces of iron.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write the book and share your acquired wisdom and glute secrets with the rest of the world. It has helped me immensely! Nancy