Will the Real Glute Guy Please Stand Up?

By August 9, 2010 Glute Training

Before you read this blogpost, watch this video. This is the most important aspect of this post. In the middle of the post I’ll discuss some technical points about form. At the end of the post I’ll offer some practical pointers.

Moving along…something really cool happened today. Jamie Eason Twittered and Facebooked about me.

Now, I believe that I already have one of the most popular blogs in the strength training industry. In just ten months I’ve built my blog up to over 12,000 readers per week. Most days I have well over 2,000 readers. The best thing is that my blog readership keeps growing. I’ve worked my ass off on this blog and I’m very proud of its popularity.

However, my popularity pales in comparison to Jamie Eason. She has over 8,000 Twitter followers and 10,000 Facebook fans, compared to my 333 and 1,942, respectively. In case you don’t know who Jamie Eason is, she’s probably the most popular figure model in the world. Actually I don’t believe that she does much figure modeling anymore but I believe she’s on the cover of more fitness magazines than any other model. Here’s a link to her website. Many of my female clients will tell me, “I want to look just like Jamie Eason,” to which I reply, “Honey, I’m good, but I’m no magician!” I kid, I kid…

If you’re a regular reader of mine, you’ll recognize Jamie as I try to find a way to sneak in pics of her whenever possible. The visits to my blog reached an all-time high today thanks to Jamie. On the one hand, this made me very happy. And now’s a good time to officially say thank you very much to Jaime. However, after some investigation, I became quite annoyed. Here are the reasons why:

Bodybuilders Are Extremely Egocentric! (This Does Not Apply to Jamie – She’s Perfect!)

I’ll be the first to admit that I love bodybuilding. I follow bodybuilding, I read Muscular Development ever month, and I study hypertrophy-based training extensively. However, I can count on one hand the bodybuilders or bodybuilding-style trainers who know jack squat about biomechanics and/or sport-specific training. Most think that there’s only one way to train and don’t understand how to adapt exercise selection, form, tempo, exercise order, periodization, frequency, volume, intensity, density, and intensiveness in order to elicit the proper biochemical response. These acute training variables will vary depending on the goal of the trainee. They scrutinize over athlete’s form out of ignorance; the athlete is trying to be explosive, etc.

As a matter of fact this experience just reminds me that I should have my own column in Muscular Development or even Oxygen so I could help teach lifters and trainers the truth.

Jamie’s First Post

Jamie’s first post on her Facebook fan page was this video along with a comment that said, “A Favorite Glute Exercise of Mine.”

As most of my readers know, this is a video of my 13 year old niece Gabrielle. I’ve been training Gaby once a week for the past ten months or so and she already has stronger glutes than 99% of grown women. She’s the best volleyball player at her school and I suspect the fastest runner too. Last time I measured she had a 22 inch vertical jump and that was a while back. She’s strong, powerful, quick, and agile.

I was very disappointed after reading some of the comments on Jamie’s Facebook page after she posted her link. Although many comments were positive, here were all of the negative comments:

Their Comments

• I wish she’d turn her toes straight… and set the weights down with more control…

• Is it really good form to be letting the weight drop back on your spine like that? I would think lowering the weight and using slow and controlled form, really squeezing your glutes would be the most beneficial.

• Any and all eccentric contractions (i.e lowering the weight) should always be slow and controlled. This is where you are doing the most “damage” to your muscle fibers, and hence causing the most muscle repair to occur, resulting in muscle gain. I’m sure Jamie was just using this video as an example to demonstrate the exercise, not as a baseline for perfect form. As with any exercise, you should start with a weight that is comfortable for you. If those are 45lb plates, she is doing hip thrusts with 135 pounds, hardly appropriate for someone just beginning the exercise. I would start with the 45lb bar alone and execute with perfect form 🙂

• That looks like it hurts the neck/shoulder area! I’m sure it’s beneficial, though. It just looks painful. HAHA. I bet it’s a great workout.

• This method seems better if your concerned about your spine. (I’ll post the link he showed later in the blog – a link to a Smith Machine hip thrust).

• Some saw me doing that and showed me something is I think is also good. Place shoulders on a ball. One leg off the floor while one leg dips your butt down and ten back up while pushing high at the top. It also helps with balance.

My Responses

I will respond to each one of these as quickly as possible.

• It’s okay to point the feet straight, but it’s also okay to flare slightly. Her hips are abducted slightly to give her a stable base (which we usually do in a squat), and her feet follow the natural path of her thighs. Her knees are tracking just fine. There’s no danger in how Gabrielle is performing the movement. The problem is that bodybuilding-types think there’s only one way to do things. While bodybuilders usually point their feet straight ahead on lower body movements, powerlifters usually squat and sumo deadlift with their feet flared. When I coach the hip thrust, I’m not nit-picky about foot flare as I want the exerciser to feel comfortable and natural. As long as there isn’t considerable flare, there’s no need to worry.

• Slow eccentrics always? I won’t belabor this point much more, but there are many ways to skin a cat. Many bodybuilders usually like to perform slow eccentrics. Ironically, I have videos of many top bodybuilders and they perform fast repetitions; both concentric and eccentric, and many don’t use a full ROM. This method works great for “constant tension” and hypertrophy. T-Muscle rockstar Christian Thibaudeau has written about the benefits of fast eccentric training for years. Here’s a quote from an article he wrote a while back:

A fast yielding phase: by lowering the bar or your body faster you produce more kinetic energy. There is actually some research to back up this technique, not that the results from the Westside powerlifting crew doesn’t already speak volume for the its efficacy! For example a study by Farthing and Chilibeck (2003) found that “eccentric fast training is the most effective for muscle hypertrophy and strength gain“. This is in accordance with the findings of Paddon-Jones et al. (2001) that following a fast eccentric training program led to a decrease in type I fibers (from 53.8% to 39.1%) while type IIb fiber percentage increased (from 5.8% to 12.9%). In contrast, the slow eccentric group did not experience significant changes in muscle fibre type or muscle torque.

• Any and all eccentric contractions should always be performed slow and controlled? I guess we should never play sports! Never do any plyometrics! Never try to improve reactive strength or stiffness! Again, this is an example of a bodybuilder thinking that there’s only one way to do things. They have no clue as to what we do as strength coaches.

• People should start out with 45 lbs? What if that’s too much for them? I believe that people should start out with bodyweight resistance, which is where many “out of shape” people belong.

• It does not hurt the shoulder/neck area.

• The method you posted is not better for your spine. The way Gaby was doing it is better for your spine. Gabrielle does not hyperextend her low back; she keeps it in neutral. In the video you posted, too much of the girl’s upper back is on the bench which will cause her low back to hyperextend.

• Don’t use a stability ball for hip thrusts. It decreases prime mover activation by decreasing stability and spreading much of the upper back’s surface area out over the ball thereby decreasing the lever length. I confirmed this in my EMG studies.

• The stability ball does not improve balance. While the research is eqivocal, stability balls appear to get you balancing better on stability balls, not the ground. And last time I checked nearly every client who has ever asked me to train them said they wanted a better physique, more strength, more conditioning, or better overall health, not better balance. A stable hip thrust will improve balance over what a stability ball hip thrust because it will allow for maximum glute strengthening.

Jamie’s Second Post

In Jamie’s second post, she linked this video and said this comment: “I showed that hip thrust video just because I love that exercise and I was impressed that she was 13. But, yes, her form is not the best and technique not the safest, as Natalie and Tony mentioned. So here is a great demo that Tony shared, using the smith machine. (Holding dumbbells on each hip can work as well).”

This was the same video as the guy in the previous post had linked. If you watch the video, you’ll see that his name is John Parillo. John claims to have created the exercise and even renamed it the “Parillo Pelvic Pushes.” I wasn’t even cocky enough to name the exercise the “Contreras Hip Thrust”…although some of my colleagues refer to it as that…and I’m the inventor!

Lots of people thrusted and bridged in the past but nobody ever used a loaded barbell until I came up with the movements and popularized them via my TMuscle articles, Youtube videos, eBook, and bloposts. Now I see all of these trainers copying my methods and claiming to have created the exercise. I don’t mind this too much as my goal is for the exercise to spread in popularity and benefit as many people as possible. I want other trainers to talk about it, write about it, and film videos of it. I just get annoyed when they pretend that they are the creators. It’s not in my moral inventory to do something like that.

I could have Gaby use 95 lbs and go super slow so the bodybuilding crowd would be satisfied but first of all I’m training Gaby for sports purposes and second of all even if I was training Gaby for hypertrophy purposes fast lifting is shown to be more effective than slow lifting. The key is fast lifting while under control, which I believe Gaby was doing.

Here are the comments that came from this video:

Their Comments

• sorry for harassing! 🙂 I like these two much more!

• she def needs to slow down her movements; which will improve the tension on the muscle, and the slower she moves the more she will work the muscle groups-Plus it will get rid of the jerking motion she makes at the end of each thrust that could hurt her back if she is not careful

My Responses

• You like the smith machine version more? I’m certainly no “machine hater” but the smith machine may alter kinematics and therefore be more dangerous and less effective.

• Why does she need to slow down? Is there only one way to do things? How will it improve tension on the muscle? When you accelerate the bar you create more tension.

• The slower she moves the more she will work the muscle groups? Somebody kill me right now! I thought that “super-slow training” was extinct…apparently there are still some die-hards trying to resurrect it. If you want to activate as many high-threshold motor units (HTMU’s) as possible, you must lift with the intent to move fast. I tell people to control the weight so they don’t spring up too quickly with their hamstrings and fail to use the glutes at lockout, but I never tell people to lift as slow as possible. Not trying to be rude, but that’s just idiotic! Science has done away with this theory. Regardless of science, that’s not even what any of the top bodybuilders do, nor the powerlifters, nor the weightlifters, nor the strongmen, nor the athletes. Do you buy DVD’s, watch Youtube, or dare I say read any journals?

• I don’t see any jerky-motion. Maybe I’m blind. How is this un-safe for the low back? Please tell me the mechanisms of injury. Is she flexing the lumbar spine? No, so no disc herniations. Is she hyperextending the low back? It appears she might at the bottom of the lift due to the majority of her upper back being placed on the bench (not how I teach it), but she definitely doesn’t hyperextend up top like you suggest. So no damage to the posterior elements of the lumbar spine. You could argue about spinal load but if you go that route then I’ll make you be consistent with your approach and therefore you’ll have to take nearly every great exercise out of your program due to spinal loading. Remember the load on the spine comes from both external loading as well as “internal” loading via contractions of muscles that are connected to the spine.

Jamie’s Third Post

In Jamie’s third post she posted this video along with this quote: “Here is one I found with really great form and control. Really squeeze at the top.”

I know that bodybuilders avoid low reps like the plague, but in Gaby’s defense she was using a 3-RM load. It’s much tougher to use great form when going this heavy. We go this heavy because I’m training Gaby for sport purposes and we’re teaching her body to explode. In Gaby’s video, she ramps up her nervous system and contracts a ton of motor units all at once to perform the lift. This is why she’s getting so fast and explosive. We do squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts, sprints, plyos, etc. which all influence the nervous system and cause adaptations. This is how you train an athlete!

I like the lady’s form in the video but first, she’s using training plates (light weight), and second, I believe her form could still be better. From what I can see, she could still learn how to use the glutes a little more.

Their Comments

• I do a similar exercise, and it is GREAT for the butt. The one I do, you have your shoulders on a stability ball instead of a bench, and you do 12 reps then hold it up for a 12 count.. Do that 3 or 4 times without ever dropping to the ground. It’s a killer! But you definitely don’t want to start with too much weight regardless of how you do this exercise. You have to work your way up.

• Im going to assume this works abs too.

• much better control and contraction and she is using training weights not 45’s…

• So I tried it…I found it difficult to balance the bar on my hips and even with the pad, the bar was pretty uncomfortable on my hips. I felt it in my low back a little afterwards…but I’ll try it again

• It works the abs more if you use the stability ball instead of the bench.

• Could be dangerous without the correct form!

My Response

• Ahhhhhh! Don’t use a darn stability ball! If you want nice glutes you need strong glutes. Tell me how in the hell you’re going to use a lot of weight while using a stability ball. If you want nice quads do you squat on a Bosu ball? If so then you’re stupid and I can’t talk to you. The glutes like stability. Read my EMG research in my eBook or in some of my articles and maybe it will all begin to make sense. I have more dramatic before-and-after pictures than anyone in the field in terms of glute shaping results so I’m pretty sure that no one is getting better glute-results than me. No one! I’ve never once had a client of mine use a stability ball for hip thrusts.

• It does not work the abs much. The abs don’t have to brace much to stabilize the spine in this movement. Stabilization of the spine has more to do with glute strength and proper hip motion than core contraction in the hip thrust. I know this because I tested the EMG activity in many different muscles while performing the movement on multiple individuals.

• Again, Gaby was using 155 lbs and she weights 105 lbs at 13 years old. She was performing a 3RM. The girl in this pic is using much lighter weight and is not receiving nearly as much glute activation as the woman in the video. In my eBook I show the amount of glute activation you get with various percentages of loads.

• It’s definitely uncomfortable on the hips, which is why I recommend getting a Hampton thick bar pad. It makes the exercise pain-free, you won’t feel a thing. My clients have never performed a set of hip thrusts without the Hampton thick bar pad.

• If you feel it in your back you’re doing it incorrectly. We strength coaches spend a great deal of time with newer athletes teaching them the difference between lumbar ROM and hip ROM. We get them to activate their glutes, move at the hips, and keep their low back in neutral. When people have weak glutes, they create what’s know as “false hip extension” as their synergists must pick up the slack so the erector spinae and hamstrings take over. Great glute activation can take time. In bodybuilding it’s know as the “mind-muscle connection.”

• The hip thrust doesn’t work more abs when on a stability ball! I did the research. Stop spreading mistruths. When you use the ball you can’t use a lot of weight. I get my clients great asses because they get strong! It’s not about pumping away with bodyweight or pink dumbbells and bouncing around on stability balls. This is serious business. You need to learn to lift heavy via progressive overload.

• Every exercise could be dangerous without good form. At the end of this blogpost I’ll teach you how to do the exercise correctly.

Conclusion

If you want to know about the hip thrust, listen to the inventor – yours truly. I’ve been doing this movement myself and with clients for almost four years now. I know how to get people really strong by gradually progressing and ensuring good form. If you want to learn about good form when going heavy, consult a strength coach (CSCS), not a bodybuilder. Better yet, come ask me. I’ve read nearly ever journal article ever written on the glutes. I’ve performed more EMG studies than any other individual on the glutes. I’ve created more innovative glute exercises than any other individual. And I’ve done more for advancing the effectiveness of “glute training” than any other individual.

As strength coaches our methods will differ from bodybuilding. I study sport-specific training, bodybuilding, powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, and strongman training. I also read journals and textbooks, attend seminars, and try to learn as much biomechanics, physical therapy, and physiology as humanly possible. If there was someone else who knew more about the hip thrust than me then I’d consult them…but there isn’t!

Here are some basic rules about the hip thrust:

1. Master bodyweight before adding extra weight. Move up in gradual increments over time.

2. Place the upper back against the bench in the same spot you place the barbell when you squat (low bar position). Don’t place the upper back too high on the bench as it will decrease the exercise’s effectiveness by decreasing the lever arm length.

3. Don’t allow the lumbar spine to flex or hyperextend; brace the abs slightly and move solely at the hips; not the low back.

4. The knees should be at right angles at the top of the movement. Make sure the knees aren’t too wobbly and aren’t squirming around during the movement.

5. Push through the heels and don’t come up onto the toes during the movement.

6. Variety is good; heavy weight for low reps, medium weight for medium reps, light weight for high reps, pause hip thrusts, explosive hip thrusts, single leg hip thrusts, etc.

7. Don’t let the bench slide back. Some don’t need to anchor the bench (depending on how much the bench weighs), while others do. I always anchor mine so it doesn’t move.

8. Most important – buy a Hampton thick bar pad! No pain on the hips – ever.

Best of luck readers! I hope I didn’t offend anyone.

56 Comments

  • James says:

    Bret,

    If people aren’t disagreeing with you and/or ripping you off, you’re probably not saying/doing anything worthwhile.

    Oh, and anyone who feels the need to (inaccurately) critique the form of a 13 year old, is saying far more about their own insecurities than they are of their target’s inadequacies.

    • Thanks James! If her form was indeed poor form then I’d be okay with criticism; it’s just that bodybuilders think that everything should be slow and highly controlled – have they ever watched athletes train? Powerlifters? Oly lifters?

      • Daniel says:

        Funny that you mention that about bodybuilders. I used to train at a bodybuilding gym and was doing power cleans. The instructor walked up to me and shouted: “lift slowly, lift slowly!” I had to hold myself from dropping the bar on his foot.

  • Jeff Cubos says:

    Bret, 2 things…

    1. Great job!

    2. Can you confirm that I have been interviewed by you and Jamie hasn’t? 😉

  • Iris Collado says:

    Hi Bret! Can I do the hip thrusts with Dumbbells?

    Thanks

    Iris

    • Yes you can use dumbbells in two different ways; first, just place a dumbell horizontally in your lap (smooth dumbbells work better than hexagon-shaped db’s). Second, you can use two dubbells and place them vertically on both sides of the hip (they’re pointing upwards). Just make sure the dumbbells don’t roll (they should stick in one place) throughout the movement. A Hampton-thick bar padded barbell works best though 🙂

  • Nick Horton says:

    My favorite comment of yours:

    “If you want nice quads do you squat on a Bosu ball? If so then you’re stupid and I can’t talk to you.”

    ’nuff said …

    Also, I’d like to see a “glute off” by you and John Parillo. See who can do the heaviest (Contreras) Hip Thrust – winner takes all.

    I think you got him, brother.

    • Haha! Glad you liked that Nick.

      As for John Parillo, I read his stuff many, many years ago. He’s been around forever. I just don’t get it. I’ve been in the public eye for a year and I always give credit where credit is due. I’m glad he’s using the hip thrust, but what’s the harm in giving me a shout-out, or simply using the name I came up with (hip thrust)? Why feel the need to rename it, and pretend you came up with it?

      Of course I got him in a glute-off! Thank you brotha!

      • Timmy Bigbottom says:

        “As for John Parillo, I read his stuff many, many years ago. He’s been around forever. I just don’t get it. I’ve been in the public eye for a year”

        I think you said it all right there.

        I personally know John and I can attest that he is the Glute master. This is one invention in his many bag of tricks.

        Just Sayin’

        • Bret says:

          Haha! I guess he did. He says so right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyTpXnADwVY

          Since you know him, will you ask him if he ever wrote about it or took pictures of it prior to my glute eBook or Dispelling the Glute Myth Article? If not, then I don’t buy it!

          I won’t be handing over the Glute King crown to John any time soon. He may be good, but he didn’t do the EMG testing I did.

    • Mandy Barney says:

      I’ve actually seen guys squat with a weighted bar on a stability ball. It makes me want to scream every time!

      Thanks for your honest and common sense answers! Loved reading this!

      Keep up the great work educating those stupid people out there! Maybe one of these days they’ll actually listen.

    • Kellie says:

      I’d take on a “glute off” challenge between a Parillo client and a Contrera client any day 😉

  • Dan Hubbard says:

    The entire stability/instability issue drives me crazy! People don’t understand that you can not effectively load and activate motor units without stability! Bret, your method is one of the best ways to effectively load the glutes. And the glutes are a big, strong muscle group. They need a lot of resistance (after a client learns proper technique and progresses). I hope my article in June’s Strength and Conditioning Journal, “Is Unstable Surface Training Advisable for Healthy Adults?” will help people better understand the influence of an unstable surface…..that is if people read journals, not just internet forums!

    You will be happy to know that I use your hip bridge as one of the primary hip extension exercises with my lumbar flexion-intollerant client (w/ discectomy one year ago). She recently has been using 95 pounds with no back discomfort at all (she has some discomfort with even 45lb RDL, even with good technique).

    Keep up the great work!

    • Awesome Dan! Some of us still read journals and then it trickles down to the blog-only readers. I believe that I read your article and it was nicely done! And you bring up a great point; it’s great to have an effective hip dominant lift for flexion-intolerant people. Thanks!!!

  • Great post Bret! nice instructional video as well..

    Keats

  • Natalie says:

    Wow Bret, I have to say I’m a little disappointed! I was really excited to read your blog after Jamie Eason had posted about you on her page today. Well then, imagine my surprise when you took my comment (not criticism) of your hip thrust video she shared and ripped me a new one! By taking my comment alone, makes me look like a narrow-minded idiot. I was responding to a girl on the post who asked about the tempo with which the girl (your niece) was performing the exercise. I suppose saying “any and all” eccentric contractions should be performed slowly was admittedly too blanket of a statement, but in responding to her question about being worried she would hurt herself (being inexperienced at the exercise) as well as the fact that she was looking to tone/build muscle, that was my response. And yes, they have done countless studies to support that in regular weight training (not plyometrics or power lifting) that more damage is done to the muscle fiber during eccentric contraction.

    You took a lot of my statements completely out of context and made me seem like just another dumb idiot bodybuilder who thinks “there’s only one way to do things”. I was merely answering someone’s question about form and tempo for HER personally, not an olympic athlete or power lifter. And as a matter of fact, I do have quite a “clue” as to what strength coaches do, a close personal friend of mine runs the entire strength and conditioning program for a university in Colorado. So I really take offense to how personally you took my statements.

    Your reply “I guess we should never play sports! Never do any plyometrics! Never try to improve reactive strength or stiffness! Again, this is an example of a bodybuilder thinking that there’s only one way to do things. They have no clue as to what we do as strength coaches.”

    The woman I responded to was not a girl looking to condition for playing volleyball, being able to have a 22″ vertical. This was just your average joe who isn’t familiar with proper kinetics and form that I was trying to help. I respect and commend your knowledge, but I take a real offense to the fact that you took my recommendations for one single person and made it seem as though I was speaking to every single person in America. I personally LOVE plyometrics! And do a lot of crossfit incorporated into my workouts (which focuses a lot on plyometrics as well as some powerlifting principles).

    I was not in ANY way criticizing your video. But you have to understand, no where on Jamie’s post did it say “oh this girl is training for volleyball, trying to increase her power, jump, etc.” Had the video been prefaced with that, I’m intelligent and knowledgeable enough to add a caveat to my statements saying “while this is not what I would recommend for someone just going in trying to build muscle, for the practical purpose she is trying to attain it is absolutely worthwhile.”

    Again, from one knowledgeable person to the next, I do commend what you’re doing here by sharing the right way to do things with the world of fitness minded people. But again, you took my comments and suggestions as a personal attack, took them out of context, and made me look like an ignoramus. I took the time to reply on your thread so that A. you know that was not my intention and B. in hoping that maybe you can take a more hollistic perspective next time when you quote something someone else has said.

    Regards,
    Natalie

    • Natalie,

      I really apologize for offending you. I get carried away sometimes and was pretty upset last night.

      And I commend you for posting on my blog. I hope you continue reading my work and that I haven’t scared you off.

      As for your comments, is eccentric damage a good thing or a bad thing? I have journal studies that show that it is one of the triggers for hypertrophy. However, it interferes with training frequency, something that is highly lacking in most women who immitate the bodypart splits of male bodybuilders and only work their lower body once per week.

      My figure models see such great results because I break many of the rules perpetuated by bodybuilding dogma. I’ll have a blog later in the week that shows what I do with one of my figure models.

      I’ve never seen any trainer produce the results I do in terms of gluteal aesthetics. So I hope I can dispel some of the misconceptions involved in the physique-enhancement world.

      There are also misconceptions in the athletic-training world that I’m also trying to dispel.

      I often train athletes and physique-enhancement clients the same way. They need strong, explosive glutes with proper strength balances to ensure proper joint centration and optimal motor engrams while lifting heavy.

      Again, I sincerely apologize and didn’t mean to piss you off. I hope you forgive me.

      Bret

  • Omar says:

    Great post Bret. Love your blog and pick up lots of good ideas from you. Best wishes for the future.

  • P. J. Striet says:

    Bret:

    The woman in the video you showed using the training plates is my 52 year old client (video filmed at my facility). That was the first time she had ever performed this exercise, hence the extremely light weights and slightly less than perfect form. This same woman now routinely performs this movement in a traditional hypertrophy rep range (8-12) with up to 185 lbs. On a side note, this woman, at 52, can bang out 10 full range chins and bench 115 for reps at about 120 lb bodyweight…not bad for 52.

    At any rate Brett, IMO, you absolutely should be credited with inventing this movement-I only had this woman perform this exercise AFTER I had read your T muscle articles. As i told you when we spoke on the phone a couple months back, it’s been a fantastic addition to my program templates…thanks for coming up with this! Keep up the great work!

    • Crap! Sorry P.J.! Didn’t see that it was your vid. 185 pounds at 52 years old? Halelujah my brotha! And the bench press and chins? Amazing. That’s what I’m talking about. You’re a great guy P.J. and I appreciate the kind words.

  • PolyisTCOandbanned says:

    Interesting post, Bret. Glad you got the views and hope you havn’t irked all the attractive female trainers.

    I was sorta wondering about the little bit of a jerk when you put down the weight at the bottom of the movement. Never asked though. To me, the real working part of the movement is the TOP of the movement. Where we were getting into it with the 723 deadlifting beefaloe. I would think at the bottom, that you don’t want to drop the weight, but probably don’t want to be too extreme about holding in the position of an inch off the deck either. Would think a good comparison would be to doing a working set of 10 deadlifts in a commercial gym. Sure, put the weight down in a controlled manner…but don’t really emphasisze holding going so slow, that you “kiss the ground at the bottom or don’t even put the weight back down. Would think this is actually more unsafe than settling it down with a bit of a clank. But I’m just speculating…

    I kinda like the Smith for safety and control of body position in squats. And bench. But bridging or thrusting? That just seems a little weird. I donno why…

    I could see some fitness people making an argument that if ALL you care about is glute appearance AND you have a stable place to put your shoulders against that bridging is just as good, maybe superior to hip thrusting. Or just do sets of the top part of the hip thrust. That said, I kinda like hainvg covering more angle change. Plus it just looks even more eye catching than the bridge. And easier to find a place to rest against. Actually, I’m kinda stumped how I bould brace my shoulders with heavy bridges.

    • Poly, I agree; when you do a glute bridge and a hip thrust, the hip thrust just “feels better” for the glutes, kind of like how a full squat feels better for the quads than a regular squat.

      As for putting the weight down; I sometimes skim the ground when I do higher reps.

      But what I love about the hip thrust is that you can “reset” the body each rep and turn on all your motor units. It’s great for the nervous system, for RFD, starting strength, etc.

  • Adam says:

    Bret ,

    U are the shit !! You keep me motivated , informed , and entertained with all you innovative cool ass ideas !! Keep up the good work Player !!

  • PolyisTCOandbanned says:

    Bret:

    The post is really long and has a lot of internet trainer to trainer stuff. I think that is fine, but would just make one teensy change. Move YOUR video to the front!

    Anyone who has seen that video will have more perspective on the rest of the kerfuffle. And that is what all the hawties coming over here need to see…even more than the trainer to trainer debate.

  • That’s a good idea. I’ll move it now.

  • James Cardwin says:

    Natalie is not real. THE END. She is an internet keyboard person. Use a real full name. I bet the guy is “Coach” Dos or Nate Greene.

  • Jon says:

    Hi Brett,

    First of all, great post! Secondly, just a technique query; When you say the bench should be in the same position as when you squat, would that be a low or high bar position (does it matter that much)? I generally squat with a high bar position (I’m an Olympic lifter), but I could see it being a bit awkward in this case.

    Thanks for all the great information, keep up the good work!

    Jon

  • Matias says:

    Big Bret, we’re riding with you on this one! Before you came to T-Nation, we had to read our glute articles from the Figure Athlete section. Thank you for teaching us so much and in turn enabling us to return the favor by teaching others.

    Keep doing it.

    • Thank you Matias very, very much. That’s the great thing about having a popular blog; the trickle down theory. If I teach stuff to the trainers it affects so many more people. I appreciate the kind words.

  • Angela says:

    Can you get the same effect as the bench by laying on the floor doing this exercise? My bench slides on me and my husband won’t let me brace it to the concrete floor in our garage. 🙂 lol

  • What were those people shitting on about?

    Gaby’s technique was grand!!

    Solid blog post once Glute Guy 😉

  • Ad says:

    Bret, keep up the good work. I enjoy reading your articles. I use to have a book by that Parrilo guy. In it he said, “there is no such thing as overtraining, just undereating” and when I read that, I knew this guy was filled with sh*t.

    • Nick Horton says:

      While on the “hip thrust” issue, I’m siding with Bret here, I’d be wary of outright dismissing John … at least not on that comment.

      No less a man than Mike Burgener is also quite fond of saying, “I don’t believe in over training, just under recovery.”

      As a coach of Olympic weightlifters, myself, I can tell you that there is a LOT of truth to that statement.

      Most athletes over train (or get into serious levels of fatigue) in large part because (oddly) athletes are lazy.

      They don’t eat right, they don’t sleep enough, they don’t stretch, they don’t do self massage, and they think it isn’t a big deal.

      Once I get my lifters doing all the recovery stuff right, then it is miraculous how they can keep with the same workloads and yet all their symptoms of fatigue go away. It’s like magic 🙂

      Of course, if we’re being nit-picky, there does exist something called over training syndrome. But, realistically, nearly no one is going to get there without (almost intentionally) ignoring their recovery stuff.

      My guess is that John said that in his book to make a point that athletes need to eat more … a lot more! It is disgusting how bad the nutrition is of most athletes. I’ve been coaching for a lot of years, and I’m still shocked by it.

      • Nick, this is an interesting topic. To be honest I think you’re biased (not to be rude). Think about it; all the Oly coaches are the ones saying overtraining is hogwash (or at least that we’re capable or achieving much greater amounts of frequency and volume than we imagined). But you don’t hear powerlifters or strongmen saying this. I think it boils down to the methodology…I believe that Oly lifting (explosive training with snatch, clean, and jerk variations combined with heavy full squats and front squats) allows people to train more frequently as stress is distributed evenly amongst the joints and the biochemical response may be unique. When you consider powerlifting (sumo squats, sumo deads, grinding good mornings, deads, arched back bench press, accommodating resistance, etc.) and strongman (stone lifting, yolk carries, farmer’s walks, in addition to the powerlifts) you see much more stress on the erector spinae in terms of time under tension, much more cummulative fatigue, and perhaps a different biochemical response. Grinding strength work appears to have different physiological effects than explosive strength work. Furthermore, a more upright trunk angle probably create less systemic fatigue than a more horizontal trunk angle, so Oly pulls and squats can be done much more frequently than PL pulls and squats, especially considering the fact that relatively lighter loads are being used due to the speed of execution. In strongman training, there’s a lot of round-back lifting and serious spinal loading due to both heavy weight and core muscle contractions during carrying activities. These things need to be taken into account when considering training frequency, volume, overtraining syndrome, etc. Do you agree?

  • Nick Horton says:

    Haha! Yes, I’m certainly biased. I admit that. For heavens sake I’ve done 7 workouts on the snatch, clean and jerk, and front squats since monday morning already! And I’m about to go do another this afternoon … then another this evening!

    So, ya, when it comes to frequency, we Oly coaches love it. But, like you said, this is a function of the type of stuff we do.

    Total workload on the athletes body and nervous system is what is important. How we max it out is a separate issue.

    Certainly, some people will only be able to do 3 or 4 serious training sessions a week, depending on what their training is.

    But I’m convinced that whether they over train or not is going to do more with their focus (or lack their of) on all of the recovery stuff.

    When I ask an athlete what they ate for breakfast, and they tell me, “Nothing,” it isn’t the workouts causing the fatigue. This is remarkably common among high school kids. Sad … very sad.

    I know that it is hyperbole to say that we (as coaches) can’t train an athlete over the edge. We can. Even in Oly lifting or Gymnastics, where frequency is king, we can drive an athlete into the ground if we aren’t careful.

    But, with proper recovery attention, most athletes can go a lot farther than they think.

    I imagine (or at least, I hope) that this is the point other Oly coaches are making.

    It’s not that everyone should train like us – again, like you said, the exercises we use, and the reliance on singles, makes frequency easier – but that athletes will do best if they can train at the upper limits of their capacity no matter what they are doing.

    Train as hard as you can, as often as you can, and spend the rest of the time working your ass off on recovery.

    Maybe that’s a better way to say it? 🙂

  • Jaime Ward says:

    Hi Bret. This post just cracked me up. Not because I think it’s all that funny, but just because it hit’s close to home. Everyone has to have their opinion and apparently everyone is an expert.

    I get it all the time; after an awesome win in a boxing match I get at least 5 or 6 people (other coaches) come up to me and say “good job, but you should have done this or that.” This from coaches who have fighters with stupidly poor records!

    Hey man, the proof is in the pudding! The way I see it, if you’re winning all the time you must be doing something right!

    Anyway, I love your blog, your advice is golden, and I intend to totally blog and twitter about you from now on! Thanks!

    • Thank you Jaime. Much appreciated! Since you’re a boxer you’re allowed to make totally gay comments like that (I intend to totally blog and twitter about you from now on) and get away with it! 🙂

  • Johan says:

    Bret, if you got time could you please take a look at this video of me hitting hip thrusts and give some feedback?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO8RkUnUVK0

    I mostly do hip thrust for weightlifting, is it better if I stick to lighter weight and explosive form or would there be a benefit in going as heavy as possible even if the reps turns into grinders?

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