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The Bret Contreras Podcast: Episode 4: Real Functional Training


Click HERE to download an mp3, click HERE to listen in iTunes, click HERE to listen on Stitcher, or use the player below.

Today’s episode discusses my social media policies, a cool new study on squats, legit functional training (in response to Naudi Aguilar of Functional Patterns), and some of last month’s best articles and blogposts. I hope you enjoy it! Here’s the break down:

Part I

  1. Social media policy update :45 – 4:30
  2. New study highlight: Quadriceps effort during squat exercise depends on hip extensor muscle strategy 4:30 – 14:17

Part II (see HERE for original questions/debate challenge & how this all got started)

  1. The lowdown on Naudi Aguilar 14:18 – 28:25
  2. Should personal trainers impart their goals onto their clients? 28:26 – 32:10
  3. Are deadlifts, Olympic lifts, and squats functional? 32:11 – 33:50
  4. Does all bilateral glute training condition out the posterior oblique sling? 33:50 – 36:15
  5. Are humans designed only to run and throw? 36:16 – 38:05
  6. Even so, what are the best methods to improve running and throwing performance? 38:06 – 44:20
  7. Does pectoral training interfere with throwing? 44:21 – 45:30
  8. Are calisthenics functional? 45:31- 46:52
  9. Is unstable surface training warranted for general training? 46:53 – 49:52
  10. Is sagittal plane training functional? 49:53 – 52:26
  11. Is there a huge conspiracy in S&C to cover up Naudi’s secret methods? 52:27 – 55:15
  12. Are Naudi’s glute exercies effective? 55:15 – 57:30
  13. Is there a specific way that everyone should stand and walk? 57:31 – 1:00:34

Part III

  1. Do squats and deadlifts make your waist blocky? 1:00:35 – 1:03:04
  2. Is high frequency band glute training effective? 1:03:05 – 1:04:50
  3. What’s the proper head and neck position for hip thrusting? 1:04:51 – 1:06:45
  4. Should we incorporate isolation movements if seeking maximal hypertrophy? 1:06:46 – 1:10:40
  5. What foods are truly high in protein? 1:10:41 – 1:12:23

Links from the Podcast

Part I

Quadriceps effort during squat exercise depends on hip extensor muscle strategy

Strengthening and Neuromuscular Reeducation of the Gluteus Maximus in a Triathlete with Exercise-Associated Cramping of the Hamstrings

Comparison of different strongman events: trunk muscle activation and lumbar spine motion, load, and stiffness

Part II

How to Become a Functional Movement Guru in 40 Easy Steps

Challenging Naudi Aguilar of Functional Patterns to a Debate

Functional Training Revisited

Force Vector Training

Juan Carlos Santana Challenge

Naudi Thread on Sherdog Forum

Increases in lower-body strength transfer positively to sprint performance: a systematic review with meta-analysis

Upper body contributions to power generation during rapid, overhand throwing in humans

Unstable Surface Training Excerpt

Magnitudes of muscle activation of spine stabilizers, gluteals, and hamstrings during supine bridge to neutral position

Current Position Statement on Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Part III

Squats and Deadlifts Won’t Make Your Waist Blocky

Band Glute Exercises for the Win: Erin McComb’s Intriguing Training Methods

Proper Hip Thrust Technique: Head and Neck Position

Flexible Dieting and Foods that are Truly High in Protein

Compound versus Isolation Movements

Images to Support the Podcast

Naudi Quote

Classic Naudi Aguilar Quote

Here's Naudi calling me a pussy and a bro

Here’s Naudi calling me a pussy while backing down from a debate. And by the way, my Instagram page shows db walking lunges, front bb reverse lunges, db Bulgarian split squats, pistols, high step ups, single leg RDLs, single leg hip thrusts, band single leg hip thrusts, db single leg hip thrusts, pendulum quadruped hip extensions, glute kickback machine, band kickbacks, single leg reverse hypers, band standing hip abductions, and more, which are far more effective than anything Naudi prescribes, but whatever.

Juan Carlos Santana Challenges Naudi to a Debate, Naudi Backs Down

Juan Carlos Santana Challenges Naudi to a Debate, Naudi Backs Down

Naudi's Minions (Cesar) Going After People and Accusing People Like Me of "Supporting the Establishment"

Naudi’s Minions (Cesar) Going After People and Accusing People Like Me of “Supporting the Establishment”

Sherdog Forum Thread Excerpts:

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  • Frank says:

    Its like he is using a random training science buzzword generator and a worn out copy of Madlibs to try and obfuscate all participants into head shaking tab closure.

    “You dare ask me about my science? You, who knows nothing about post workout scapular retractive proprioceptive translocational biflexion? I shall not even respond to you, you couldn’t even understand my science. GET ON MY LEVEL. #hashtagsaynotobro”

    • Bret says:

      Yes Frank, that’s exactly what he does.

      • Frank says:

        I’m a little late on this Bret, but I also wanted to say that you have increased my already significant respect for you for going after this guy and others like him. You are creating accountability in a business that has next to none.

  • Sergio says:

    1. Bret if hamstring activation during the squat is not ideal due to making it harder for the quads to extend the leg, should we avoid training the hamstrings in people that want to jump higher as a primary goal?
    2. To have a bigger squat, should we use hip thrusts and leg extension exercises as ideal accessory work?
    3. In the triathlete study, seems like hamstring overactivity is the problem. Brookbush or Mendiguchia seem to agree on that being possibly the cause of hamstring pulls in sprinters (at least in part). If this was true, why do we see a huge decrease in hamstring pulls when eccentrically strengthening the hamstrings with nordic curls in soccer players?
    4. Have you tried eccentric isoinertial devices like the exxenric kbox and the versapulley? If so, don’t you think that they are way more efficient to train eccentrically than a nordic hamstring where most of the eccentric contraction is done in the beggining of the movement (unless the ahlete is really strong)?

    Thanks a lot for this podcast, I loved it.

    • Bret says:

      Great questions Sergio!
      1. Theoretically, yes. But theories need training studies for verification. Theoretically, focusing on glutes and quads will cause you to use them more, whereas focusing on hams will cause you to use them more which requires more quad, so not an ideal strategy. However, hams are huge for sprinting, so for total athleticism need to do it all.
      2. I believe so. Tons of squats, add in some hip thrusts and single leg squatting motions.
      3. Because you shift the torque angle curve so that the hammies produce greater force at longer muscle lengths, which is probably achieved through increased sarcomeres in series (slightly longer muscle). I’ve written about this a few times on this blog.
      4. Yes, we had a flywheel at AUT University and I liked it. But I only tried it with squats. I think RDLs would be good off of it as well, and could probably get creative.

  • Ron says:

    As far as social media and Naudi Aguilar go, what some people think can sometimes say more about themselves than they do the people they’re talking about. People who have to put other people down do it to make them feel better about their own shortcomings. Specifically to Naudi Aguilar I almost feel like every time you mention his name that you’re giving him what he wants. I never heard of him before any of this and I’m sure a lot of other people are the same way. Any exposure you give him is what he wants. Completely fake numbers here, but what if 1 out of every 10 people believe his crap? If you introduce 100 people to him, then he has 10 new followers. I think the best approach is to just have confidence in your trainng, like you do, and ignore him. As far as your friends go, if people don’t believe before and after photos or the such, then they should take it as a compliment. It means they’re doing something right.

  • Sam says:

    Very hard to argue with such an ignorant, pig-headed dude like that. You’ll only end up angry and frustrated because he does not appear to be rational or open-minded. You can never get through to someone like that.

    Probably best to ignore him and not even give him the publicity. You’re kind of lowering yourself by even mentioning him.

    By the way, I love seeing the clips on Instagram of your clients working out and making gains. Doesn’t even matter what specific exercises they are doing — it is motivational and informative.

    Keep up the good work, Bret. Don’t get frustrated by this charlatan.

  • msytc says:

    That was an awesome podcast Bret. I love how much ground you cover and always so informative and impartial. I’m so glad we can leave comments on your blog again as your FB page after you addressed Naudi had some awful trolls attacking you and others in a very personal way which was dispiriting. But then I also see those same folks have a very small circle of influence so in a way I feel sorry for them.
    Thanks for your dedication and caring – you’ve helped me so much with my own training goals and how to get there.

  • tara jeffery says:

    Thank you for the podcast. ALways great info. I so appreciate all the hard work you are so committed to doing. and thanks for posting that priceless rambling meglomaniac. It is amazing that there are people who are so delusional. They guy is clearly unstable. Social media is dangerous when put into the hands of the wrong person.

  • Anna says:

    Hi Bret! Great podcast as usual. Taekwondo is one of the sports that also uses hips and developes enormous glute strength. There are actually unilateral glute excrecises we practice to strengthen glutes and enhance kick performance i have not seen in and fitness blogs yet. Another discipline choi kwang do interestingly also use hip torque and glute force to make stronger punches. See the Master Choi demonstration and how he uses his hips
    So is not absurd to think about glutes implication in throwing things as this guy argues…

  • Don F says:

    Dude, don’t you realize that your deadlifts, glute bridges and respecting your clients’ values is ?

  • Liam Gracey says:

    Great podcast Bret,
    A few people seem to mistake adductor maguns for hamstrings in the squat as well.
    It’s sad because he thinks he is the solution to the fitness industry but in reality it’s extremists like him that are the problem. There is no answer to what style of training is the be all and end all of strength and fitness. Many types of training have a place and application in the right circumstances. You can always tell if an ‘expert’ actually knows what they are talking about by their ability to explain their work. As far as I’m concerned you don’t truly understand something unless you can explain it to your grandma. Don’t let him find out about the out about the research indicating there is a correlation between an individuals ability to put force into the ground (strength) and their ability to produce speed and power in rotation but I’m sure he would still tell be deadlifts are shit.
    Keep up the great content.

  • Janelle says:

    So after listening to your podcast, I had to go check this guy out. I couldn’t make it through his entire video, dude was way to full of himself. But I asked myself, who would he and his “exercises” appeal to… Maybe MMA fighters? I hope that an athlete or an 80yr old woman would see this and walk out his doors.

    Am I wrong but isn’t functional training supposed to make us function better at our activities of daily living and our sport? None of his “exercises” looked like anything I have ever seen a human body do in real life or sport. I’m sadden that his followers will think that this is functional training.

    I have and will always stand behind the science of our industry. How many years ago did science prove our earth was round? And this guy still believes the earth is flat.

    I wonder how this guy feels about his bilateral glute movements when he sits down and gets up from the toilet? Sorry but that women are inferior comment pissed me off.

  • Eric says:

    Honestly, Brett seems like a great chill guy. But I can’t hide the fact that after getting rid of all the traditional and “functional” training that’s generally out on the market and doing all out FP concepts and training techniques, my overall posture, movement, and athletics have improved quite a bit to say the least.

  • Bjorn says:

    My opinion about Naudi Aguilar and Functional Patterns is mostly positive. His biggest problem is his big mouth and thats the reason I don´t follow him on Facebook. In his defence I must say that Unstable surfaces are acctually not a part of his “training for humans series” at all. They do include all planes of motion, including saggital plane. What Naudi has been doing for quite some time is very similar to what NASM (national accosiation for sports medicine) calls integrated training or Optimal Performance Training Model.

    • Bret says:

      Bjorn, everyone is entitled to their opinions. But that doesn’t mean they’re accurate. If you think that his methods are ideal for the vast, vast majority of lifters (whose goals revolve around physique and strength goals), then you’re absolutely clueless about strength & conditioning practices and sports science literature. And just because NASM does something, it doesn’t mean it’s ideal either.

      • Bjorn says:

        His methods are surely not ideal for lifters. One must consider the context and ideological view on physical culture. In a broad perspective one could argue that the purpose of a good physical culture is 1. National productivity (healthy population). 2. National Defence (a population Fit for service) and lastly 3. Cultural evolution (sports, arts). With that perspective there is something seriously wrong with todays physical culture. An opinion that I share with Naudi Aguilar, Dr Ed Thomas and many others.
        From that perspective, a physical culture focusing on sports and appearances seems pretty unbalanced.

        • Bret says:

          Fine Bjorn, then Naudi should just leave us “lifters” alone and we would leave him alone. But he digs his own grave – his entire modus operandi is to shun science, go after lifters and call them betamales, say that lifts that have scientific support to be functional are not in fact functional, etc. If he didn’t do this, FP would fly under the radar.

  • Stacey Amirov says:

    Not sure if you are aware of Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Antisocial Personality Disorder but the person you are dealing with is a textbook case of a cluster B personality disorder such as these. The only route to go is complete no-contact and pretend they don’t exist. I totally understand why you have addressed him- any normal person would try to logically defend themselves against his attacks. But once you understand the nature of his personality disorder you will realize it’s impossible to use logic and reason with him and non-productive to deal with him at all in any manner.

    Your credentials and years of experience and RESULTS speak for themselves. You are a true professional and I want to thank you for teaching me so much about glute training. I love your book and the results I’ve achieved from following your advice. Thank you so much!!


  • Sebastian says:

    Are you assuming you know it all too Bret? Look at the anatomy trains website and research the dissections of the human body and the myofascial connectivity through the body. Its clear that the Superficial back line for example, is connected from head to toe. the conventional approach to training doesn’t take into account that when one of these areas may be abnormally stressed it will affect it along the myofascial continuity. Shouldn’t we create a new direction to fitness that respects the communication of these connections and strive for individual biomechanical efficiency and not a collective approach. We are all born with different sizes of arms, torso and legs. You claim a deadlift is functional? what about someone who adapted to having a knee valgus or varus , what are the ramifications to the hip complex if they did a deadlift? what about the direction a muscle functions (actual dissections)?

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