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Greetings, brothers and sisters in fitness!  It’s time for another edition of Random Thoughts from yours truly. This one is jam packed with cool shit!

1. Hip Thrust Wiki Page

THIS is the most comprehensive article written to date on hip thrusting. It details the history, proper technique, different variations, biomechanics, and current evidence pertaining to the hip thrust. Here it is again in case you didn’t catch it when I posted it last month.


Dani Shugart loves her hip thrusts

2. Please Donate for Important Squat vs. Hip Thrust vs. Deadlift Study

I need your help raising money (click HERE) so that we can figure out what’s best for glute growth and athletic improvements between squats, deadlifts, and hip thrusts. UK researcher David Hamilton has volunteered to conduct the 6-week training study alongside his team, and it’s going to be a big deal.

We’re going to look at everything! We intend on looking at changes in gluteus maximus muscle thickness (hypertrophy), multi-directional strength measures, multi-directional power measures, and more. This will undoubtedly be one of the most important strength training studies ever conducted and will greatly influence program design around the world.

I have already agreed to donate $10,000 to fund most of the study, but we need an ultrasound unit in order to measure hypertrophy. An additional $15,000 will make this happen. Big thanks already to Brad Schoenfeld who donated $1,000 and Sohee Lee who donated $2,000 – they are passionate experts devoted to the advancement of our field.

Please donate some money and please read HERE to find out more about our joint project. 3 days left to donate!


3. This is 40

Sixteen weeks ago, I embarked on a journey to see how jacked I could get for my 40th birthday, and I’m rather pleased with the outcome. I opted to keep my calories up and focus on recomposition by gaining strength instead of leaning out with restricted calories. I hope to inspire some of you with my results. Age ain’t nothin’ but a number and I’m my fittest and strongest ever at 40. Read more HERE.

2016-08-06 12.54.46

4. Discussing Muscle Hypertrophy Science With Brad Schoenfeld

I recently interviewed Brad Schoenfeld on some important topics pertaining to hypertrophy research. Brad and I chat frequently on the matter and I thought it would be interesting to shed some light on these topics for my readers. I came up with a few questions for Brad to answer, which you can check out on my blog HERE.


The beard strongly approves of Brad’s new book

5. You Got Guru’d: Max Relative Trap Bar Deadlift Strength Perfectly Predicts Speed, Power, and Endurance Performance

Every so often I come across something so egregiously flawed that I can’t let it go. Unfortunately, this kind of misinformation runs rampant on the internet and in popular health magazines. I hope if I’ve accomplished anything with this blog it is to encourage my readers to think critically and adopt an evidence-based approach to strength and conditioning. Click HERE to read my points of contention with this inaccurate assertion of the alleged near perfect correlation between max trap bar deadlift strength and various components of athletic performance.

This lift is money but not for the reasons purported by a popular men’s magazine.

6. Norwegian AFPT 2016 Convention

In August I will be presenting in Oslo, Norway at the AFPT 2016 Convention alongside a bad ass crew of fellow presenters. I’m ready to get my science and Norwegian on, so if you are in the area, definitely come check us out August 26-28, 2016. Learn more about the event HERE.

7. Scottsdale Health Magazine

I’m very excited to have landed my first ever magazine cover with Scottsdale Health this month. This is an especially big deal to me as I’ve been wanting to make a local impact for quite some time.  The magazine tells my story of my hip thrust discovery and how I went about popularizing the exercise. If you are local to Scottsdale, you can pick up a copy at your gym or favorite supplement store. Everyone else can check out the issue online HERE.
Bret Scottsdale Health

8. Do Horizontally-Directed Exercises Transfer Best to Sprinting? – Chris Beardsley

Sprint running is one of the most important athletic qualities in team sports, and is contested in its own right in track and field. But which strength training exercises transfer best to sprinting? Click HERE to find out what Chris Beardsley of Strength and Conditioning Research has to say about it.

The hip thrust exercise has an anteroposterior (horizontal) force vector.

9. Do Quarter Squats Transfer Best to Sprinting? – Chris Beardsley

Methinks a recent research study may surprise you. Chris Beardsley continues on the topic of sprinting and shares the unexpected findings of a recent study examining the effects of squat training in varying depths to sprinting and other measures of athletic performance HERE.

Do quarter squats transfer best to sprinting? Possibly. But more research is needed to determine why.

10.  Why “Just Get  Strong” is Wrong! (Strength is Specific) – Chris Beardsley

Just like in endurance sports, strength gains are specific to the type of training you do and to best maximize the effectiveness of a strength training program one must tailor the program to fit a specific goal. Chris Beardsley has recently ran a series of articles on strength specificity and explains why the impact of choosing the right tools for the job is huge in THIS S&C Research article.
strength is specific

11. How Can We Measure Physiological Stress with HRV? – Marco Altini, S&C Research Guest Contributor

Consumer-friendly wearable HRV technology is commonplace nowadays but interpreting the HRV data on the individual level comes with many challenges. Marco Altini, S&C Research Guest Contributor, examines some of the obstacles in individual HRV data interpretation HERE.

HRV variables

Variation of beat to beat intervals, also known as R-R intervals – courtesy

12. Hilarious 40th Birthday Present From the Ladies of Strong by Bret

As I mentioned above, I turned 40 this week and some of the members from my online strength training program Strong by Bret compiled a surprise birthday video behind the scenes. My face hurts from laughing so hard and I think they definitely nailed the creepy stare frog pumps and my somewhat-of-a-tic short tug. And the jorts sent me over the edge.

13.  Viggo Mortensen Read Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy For Recent Role

This is a fun mention.  Actor Vigo Mortensen recently shared with the NYT the books he used to prepare for his role in the upcoming film, Captain Fantastic.  Included in this list is my book Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy, which helped add a convincing element to the portrayal of Vigo’s character and his family as isolated off-the-grid outliers.  You can read the list in it’s entirety HERE.


14. Tawna Eubanks – First Powerlifting Meet

You may remember my client Tawna from THIS February 2016 blog post. Tawna is a high-level bikini competitor experiencing a bit of stage burnout (she’s placed 8th and 13th at Ms. Bikini Olympia in recent years), and I convinced her to give powerlifting a try and enter her first meet. I’m happy to report that she kicked complete ass at her meet and hit an all-time deadlift PR of 260 lbs. What’s more is that she’s finally feeling the urge to start prepping to get back on stage down the road, so mission accomplished. Way to go Tawna!

15. My Most Watched Instagram Video of All Time

I thought this was interesting. I shared the video below (from my friend Michelle) on my Instagram recently and it has blown my other videos out of the water as far as views go. It is currently sitting at 64.7k views and I’d say most of my vids get about 12-14k views on average. I’m not quite sure what was at play here but it’s a badass workout and you should definitely check it out if you haven’t already seen it.

16. Client Adrienne Ochoa Moving Up the Ranks!

Huge props to my pint-sized client, Adrienne Ochoa, on kicking ass and placing 6th at her recent show. She’s all heart and I’m very proud of her. I hope to see her compete on the Olympia stage in the next couple of years.

Much respect to this little badass! My client Adrienne is a trooper. She's moving up the ladder which is well-deserved. #Repost @adrienneochoa with @repostapp ・・・ Stage shots from the IFBB Pro #baltimoregrandprix Moving up with my best to date as a new pro, earning first callouts and a final Top 6 placing! Improvements were made in so many aspects and I am so happy and grateful but know that I will keep pushing for more because this is #bodybuilding and what we as athletes continue to strive for always. Those who know me know that I put my whole heart into what I love and it is so much more for me than just competing in itself. Thankful to the Lord for without Him and His blessings and strength I would not be able to pursue the passion that He has placed in my life. I am grateful to the IFBB for giving me the opportunity to pursue my dreams and honored to be apart of the first Baltimore Pro show. My husband and Mom and friends who I call family; who pray for me everyday and believe in me, I love you more than words can say! This is only the beginning. No slowing down now! 3 weeks out to a next great show by @tgflex the #IFBBSanAntonioPro where I hope to make more improvements in my entire presentation. #spicy #ifbbbikinipro #passionovereverything 🔥✨💚 —————————————————- Prep coach: @czfitness Strength coach: @bretcontreras1 Tan/MAU: @liquidsunrayz @kary_styles Suit/Jewelry: @cjselitesuits @all_that_glitters_gems

A photo posted by Bret Contreras, PhD (@bretcontreras1) on

17. Fernando Reiser Recorded Two Portuguese Videos on Hip Thrusts

Researcher and Biomechanist Fernando Reiser recently shared the following videos below on his YouTube channel discussing Hip Thrusts and details from my studies:

A Comparison of Gluteus Maximus, Biceps Femoris, and Vastus Lateralis Electromyographic Activity in the Back Squat and Barbell Hip Thrust Exercises

Effects of a six-week hip thrust versus front squat resistance training program on performance in adolescent males: A randomized-controlled trial.

18. Kate Upton is a Hip Thrusting Master

As many of you know, my buddy Ben Bruno trains a few Hollywood types and one of his clients is Kate Upton. Kate’s physique continues to get better and better, thanks in no small part to Ben’s smart programming and the hip thrust.

19. What Really Causes Butt Wink? – Daniel Mee, S&C Research Guest Contributor

In this highly popular article, Daniel Mee discusses the various possible buttwink culprits and forms an important conclusion. Click HERE to get yourself up to snuff on this controversial topic.


20. What Determines Change of Direction Ability in Athletes? – Chris Beardsley

Change of direction (COD) ability is an important determinant of athletic performance in many team sports. But what mechanical factors are most critical for agility performance? In THIS article, Chris Beardsley reviews an important new study to shed light on this topic.


21. What Makes Some People Stronger Than Others? – Chris Beardsley

Research to date tells us that there are several peripheral factors, as well as a couple of central factors, that could underpin the differences in maximum isometric strength of a single-joint exercise between people. The main ones are as follows:

  • Muscle size
  • Muscle fascicle length
  • Muscle pennation angle
  • Moment arm length
  • Single fiber characteristics
  • Neural drive to the agonists
  • Co-activation of the antagonists

Very few studies have been able to assess the influence of more than a couple of these factors at the same time. And that is what makes the following study very exciting. Click HERE to check it out.


Andrew Vigotsky acting like a total boss!

22. Guess Whose Diploma Arrived? This Guy’s!

This post received more likes than anything I’ve ever shared so far on IG. It feels all official now: Dr. Bret Contreras.

That'll be Dr. Glute Guy to you. 😉 #PhDdiploma #autuniversity #gluteguy

A photo posted by Bret Contreras, PhD (@bretcontreras1) on

23. How Many Sets Do You Need to Perform to Maximize Muscle Gains? – Brad Schoenfeld

Check out Bradley’s synopsis of the latest meta-analysis he conducted with James Krieger at THIS link.


24. Is there a limit to how much protein you can use for muscle-building in one sitting? – Brad Schoenfeld

Bradley addresses a very important and often bastardized topic pertaining to per meal protein thresholds in THIS blogpost.


25. Alan Aragon Research Review June/July Edition

I contributed to my buddy Alan Aragon‘s research review this month by reviewing my three favorite studies published over the past several months. Click HERE to subscribe to Alan’s AARR.

This month's TOC for AARR.

This month’s TOC for AARR.

26. Arizona Cardinals on The Hip Thruster

I was very excited when I saw a clip of the AZ Cardinals players using the Hip Thruster on All or Nothing episode 3 (from 35:50 to 36:30). Strength Coach Buddy Morris possesses a world of knowledge so I’m glad to see him put his Thrusters to good use.


27. Matt Damon Does Heavy Hip Thrusts for His Role in Jason Bourne 

Matt Damon is badass in Jason Bourne – knockin’ fools out left and right. In preparation for his role, he performed heavy hip thrusts according to his top personal trainer Jason Walsh. Click HERE to see how he trained.


That’s all I have for now strong peeps. Catch you next time and hope you enjoy the content.




  • Vince McMahan says:


    Hey, congratulations on getting your Ph.D. I appreciate all the information you share and your evidence based approach to exercise science. I follow you, Brad, Greg and Layne, among others, regularly.

    I work at the Smithsonian Institution, albeit in grant and contract administration (former investment banker), not research, but I know good work and logical thinking when I see it. In another life, I too would have become a scientist. I was a double major in finance and economics and have about 30 hours in comp sci (pretty heavy math and logic courses), all by default, not passion. Nonetheless, I am doing the next best thing to being a scientist by supporting R&D at the world’s largest research and museum complex . You would be amazed at the work done here. It goes way beyond what people see in the museums. I love it and feel forunate.

    I am 55 and have been exercising regularly since I was about 10. I am tall like you, 6′ 5″, and have struggled with putting on good mass. I am doing pretty well now. I weigh about 250, need to loose around 15-20 to get down to your level of body fat, but many people think I look good. No exogenous anabolics, depsite having experimented liberally otherwise.

    I am a pretty good athlete. When I was in high school, I was told by the football coaches I could get a scholarship to a D-1 school based on what they saw me do in gym class. However, I am from a single parent female lead household and needed to work starting in junior high so I could not play sports beyond that. Truthfully, I do not think I would have been quite big enough or fast enough to do much at that level. I might have made a good tackling dummy, meat for the truly gifted.

    All that said, keep up the good work bringing logical approaches to exercise science and helping people to work through the bad information disseminated by those who have only their own interest in mind or are confused, putting it mildly. I understand there are no scientific facts, only scientific theories that hold until counterexamples point to the contrary, the space of possibilities being theortecially infinite.

    Take care and I will throw some funds your way for something when I get a chance. The cost of living here in DC is outrageous, and would you believe, I have a three year old daughter to feed and educate. Thankfully my wife is eleven years younger than I and a deputy director at the Department of Justice, so there is hope. It pays to marry well!

    Vince McMahan
    Supervisory Grant and Contract Administrator, Office of Sponsored Projects
    Smithsonian Institution

    • Thank you Vince, I can imagine the work that is associated with the Smithsonian…good for you. Sounds like you’re doing well in life – you like your job, you’re healthy, you married well, and you have a little kiddo. If you can spare some money then great, but if not I totally understand. I appreciate the message!

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