You Can’t Stop the Hip Thrust, and You Won’t Break Our Stride

Can you attain great glutes without the hip thrust? Sure you can. There are hundreds of excellent glute exercises, and I’ve included nearly all of them in my various books, articles, and videos. Can you get there faster with the hip thrust? I believe so, and my large following of supporters do too.

There are currently tens if not hundreds of thousands of lifters worldwide employing the hip thrust to help them attain better glute development, and this list of people is growing everyday. Why? Because it works. Lifters hear about the hype, and they try it out for themselves. Once they feel the tension in their glutes, they’re sold. After a few weeks of progressive hip thrusting, they start to notice increased glute development. If an individual is new to lifting and spends a solid year focusing on hip thrusts, it is very likely that their glutes will completely transform. Men, and especially women, want to spread the word, so they talk about the exercise on social media. Other lifters try it out for themselves, and the exercise gains momentum. (On a side note, thank you very much to all the wonderful folks out there who are spreading the glute gospel and tagging me in their social media posts. It’s helping, and you’re making a difference.)

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Little by little, the hip thrust is spreading around the world…

The hip thrust is growing more popular every day. Glute training methods have progressed considerably in the past several years, and lifters who are seeking greater glute development are enjoying the advancements. The hip thrust might be just one movement in the gym, but there’s a larger movement taking place. The hip thrust “movement” is about innovation. It’s about progression. It’s about results. Those of us who are aboard the hip thrust train know the truth.

Who are we? We are a growing crowd of lifters who are excited about our glute development, and we want to share our secrets with others. We sometimes encounter criticism, usually by powerlifters who for some strange reason get angry that lifters are prioritizing a lower body movement other than the squat or deadlift, but we push on and prevail. Don’t get us wrong; we like the squat and deadlift too, but no matter what others say, we cannot be stopped, we won’t be distracted, and you won’t break our stride. We’re gonna keep on thrusting, and we’re gonna keep on seeing better results.

If You Wanna Change the World…

To all of those wanting to change the world and spread their methods or ideas, here’s how you do it. Talk about the current popular method, discuss why there’s a better way, and then show your evidence. The more evidence you have, the more seriously people will take you. Want to see my evidence? Click right HERE. You’ll see over 100 lifters who are happy to share their pics to the masses. Follow my Facebook page and you’ll see lifters every single day chiming in about their results after stumbling upon The Glute Guy. This is why my name and my methods continue to gain steam year after year – there is evidence accompanying my ideas; it’s not just a bunch of words.

Hip thrusts allowed these ladies to achieve their glute transformation goals

Brittany, Sasha, and Trisha relied upon hip thrusts to achieve their glute transformation goals

If someone out there wants to take my crown as The Glute Guy, if someone wants people to stop doing the hip thrust, or if someone wants to revamp the way that glute training is done, they’re going to have to do a little better than writing an article or filming a video. They’re going to need to start showing compelling before/after pics from people who follow their methods (and they’re going to have to be better than mine). They’re going to have to conduct scientific experiments and publish research. They’re going to have to listen to their followers and create solutions to their problems. They’re going to have to build a community, write books, film instructional videos, and answer questions. If they don’t care to go down this path, I understand. It’s hard work, and not everyone can sustain it.

Haters

If you put yourself out there, you’re going to attract criticism. In this day and age, there’s simply no way around it. Having posted more free content than nearly any strength & conditioning writer on the internet, I come to expect a certain amount of criticism. The following statement doesn’t apply to the guys that I’ll address later in this article, but many of the individuals who criticize me haven’t written a single article or posted a single video, not to mention taken the time to create a website, patent an invention, or formulate a system of training. This doesn’t imply that their criticism is automatically invalid; but I’ve found that it’s far easier to attempt to tear something down rather than be creative and innovative.

Of even greater importance is that fact that those who tend to criticize me about my glute training usually have zero evidence that they’ve been successful in helping reshape women’s backsides. Again, this doesn’t automatically mean that their arguments aren’t valid, but if I was presented some compelling data, or some logical reasoning, or a superior compilation of testimonials and before/after pics, I’d be much more apt to consider updating my training recommendations (as would my followers). Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.

show-me-the-booty

Where’s the evidence?

Recently, two articles and one video surfaced on the internet, all of which criticize the hip thrust, my integrity, and my lack of physical strength. The articles and videos are filled with logical fallacies, pseudoscience, and ad hominems. Since a high percentage of my readership consists of trainers, coaches, physios, and lifters who play an active role in dispensing strength training information to the masses, I would like to use this opportunity as a teaching tool to help my readers be able to better identify poor logic and science, since they will inevitably find themselves in similar encounters in the future with fellow fitness professionals. Here are the three links (it would be a good idea to familiarize yourselves with the material included in these links before continuing on):

Avoid the Hip Thrust by Ryan Lingenfeiser

Real Strength vs. Guru Strength by Chris Bartl

Drop the Useless Hip Thruster by Chris Duffin

Before I get started, I’d like to throw out on offer. If any of these gentlemen above would like to debate any of the following points, I’d be happy to jump on Skype, record a podcast, and post it on my site. They can let me know in the comments section if they’d like to debate.

With regards to the hip thrust, a famous quote comes to mind here by Arthur Schopenhauer.

all truth quote

While some have arrived at stage 3, others are still stuck in stage 1 or 2. If you study the history of the bench press, you’ll notice close similarities between the bench press and the hip thrust. Lifters in the 1930’s and 1940’s would scoff at anyone bench pressing, calling them sissies, accusing them of cheating, telling them that the movement isn’t functional, and informing them that it didn’t work. The bench press prevailed, despite what the haters were saying, because it’s a great exercise that helps lifters achieve their aesthetics goals. The same phenomenon is presently occurring with the hip thrust. 

Surf the internet, and you’ll find plenty of articles cautioning lifters to avoid squats, avoid deadlifts, avoid military press, and avoid any other good exercise, so it’s of no surprise that the hip thrust would join the ranks of these exercises. Moreover, research any popular individual in any field and you’ll inevitably find articles or forums bashing that individual; it comes with the territory. In this day and age, no one remains unscathed. I’m therefore not surprised. 

However, what does surprise and slightly offend me is the lack of respect for my followers. Dis me all you want – but when you dis the hip thrust, you’re dissing on all the people who have seen great results from the exercise. Who’s employing the hip thrust? The list of people ranges from your everyday commercial gym-goer, to moms training out of their homes, to garage lifters, to bikini and figure competitors, to strength athletes, to physical therapists, to personal trainers, to strength coaches, to professional sports teams and Olympic athletes, to celebrities. The world is loving the hip thrust, and they’re seeing better results.

Have these gentlemen, or any other haters of the hip thrust, taken the time to examine my testimonials? I’m unaware of any fitness professional with 1/10th of the anecdotal support that I have amassed in the glute development department. I wonder what goes on in the hater’s heads when they see those pictures. Do they think I’m fabricating or photoshopping the pictures? Do they think I’m just randomly finding them on the internet and claiming them? Do they think that these types of results are the norm? If so, they clearly have no experience in the trenches. This doesn’t seem to be the case, so what gives? Do they simply turn the other cheek when it comes to testimonials and before/after pics? If this is the case, then what do they go by? Unicorn science?

Have they taken the time to read my clients’ and my readers’ stories? Each picture on my testimonials page has a story behind it, and I’ve included these at the bottom of my random thoughts posts over the past year. Do they think my followers are all just too stupid too determine what works and what doesn’t? My people are far smarter than these folks imagine, and they’re quite capable of determining for themselves what works and what doesn’t.

hip thrust

Sammie hip thrusting 225 lbs

Once my followers started incorporating the hip thrust and other methods I espouse into their training, their results increased substantially. The difference is, I talk to these people and listen to what they have to say. If anyone does the hip thrust progressively for 6 months, they will notice a plethora of intriguing adaptations, but most of the hip thrust haters clearly haven’t performed hip thrusts on a consistent basis – it’s blatantly apparent by what they say about the exercise.

Have they familiarized themselves with the science behind the movement (for example, have they read HERE and HERE)? Methinks not. Have they conducted any EMG research? Have they taken before pictures, implemented a training program, and then retaken after pictures? If so, where in the world are they? Have they taken baseline performance tests, implemented hip thrusts, and then retested to examine the transfer of training? Have they examined the glute girth measurements of their clients? If so, where’s the data? Or, are they concerned more about what they think happens rather than what really does happen? Sadly, this is nearly always the case. 

Do they think I’ve duped the entire industry? Seventeen TNation authors have written about hip thrusts (Bret Contreras, Christian Thibaudeau, Martin Rooney, Dan John, Eric Cressey, Ben Bruno, Lee Boyce, Tony Gentilcore, Tim Henriques, Mike Robertson, Charles Staley, Dean Somerset, Jordan Syatt, Dan Blewett, John Gaglione, Todd Bumgardner, Eirik Sandvik, Kasey Esser). Other top dogs like Jason Ferruggia, Joe Dowdell, Jim Smith, John Romaniello, Chad Waterbury, David Dellanave, Nick Tumminello, BJ Gaddour, Nick Horton, Kelly Baggett, PJ Striet, Molly Galbraith, Nia Shanks, Jen Sinkler, Kellie Davis, Marianne Kane, Rachel Guy, Joy Victoria, Sohee Lee, and Christine Marie have all written about hip thrusts as well. Legendary professional strength coaches Joe Kenn, Buddy Morris, and Chip Morton employ the hip thrust with their NFL players. Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness Magazines have featured hip thrusts on numerous occasions. NCSA’s Strength & Conditioning Journal published an technique article on hip thrusts. Former Ms. Bikini Olympia Nathalia Melo and current Ms. Bikini Olympia Ashley Kaltwasser love their hip thrusts. Fitness models Jamie Eason and Amanda Latona are happily hip thrusting. Even legendary spinal biomechanist Stu McGill likes the hip thrust (and credits it for prolonging his hip replacement surgery and improving his gait)! Clearly there’s something to the exercise or these highly esteemed professionals wouldn’t be incorporating them into their arsenals. One can find videos of high level powerlifters, bodybuilders, strongmen, Olympic weightlifters, NFL players, UFC fighters, MLB players, NBA players, NHL players, and Olympic sprinters performing the hip thrust on the internet as well.

In each of the aforementioned articles/videos linked above, the individuals referred to me as a guru. I’m not a guru; I call out other gurus. My integrity means far more to me than anything, and I’m doing the best I can with the available forms of evidence to provide my readers with the soundest approach to training. If my methods didn’t work, they’d fizzle away just like other training fads. But this is not the case, and according to Google trends, hip thrusts are at an all-time high and their popularity continues to rise year after year.

I can’t help but wonder why anyone on the planet wouldn’t look at my testimonials (and see how happy are with their results) and start recommending hip thrusts to anyone who was seeking better glute development. It mystifies me. Nevertheless, I will now reply to each of these naysayers one-by-one.

Response to Ryan Lingenfeiser (Avoid the Hip Thrust)

I. Avoid Everything? 

I see you feel people should avoid the hip thrust. I see you also have articles dedicated to advising people to:

ryan

Ryan Lingenfeiser

  1. Avoid Kettlebells
  2. Avoid Overhead press
  3. Avoid Ab wheel rollouts
  4. Avoid Olympic lifts
  5. Avoid Lunges
  6. Avoid Assistance exercises
  7. Avoid Turkish get ups
  8. Avoid Thick bar training
  9. Avoid Rest-ice-compression-elevation
  10. Avoid Leg curls
  11. Avoid Leg extensions
  12. Avoid Cardio machines
  13. Avoid Cardio rest days
  14. Avoid Support gear
  15. Avoid Focusing on the stabilizers
  16. Avoid Resistance bands
  17. Avoid Advanced training techniques
  18. Avoid Wide stances or grips
  19. Avoid Functional training
  20. Avoid Peak contractions
  21. Avoid Suspension training
  22. Avoid Pullovers
  23. Avoid Powerlifting for general training
  24. Avoid Grip training
  25. Avoid Kipping pull-ups
  26. Avoid Periodization
  27. Avoid Cycling
  28. Avoid Yoga
  29. Avoid Rest, ice, compression, and elevation

Way to alienate just about every lifter out there Ryan! I’m not sure if this is a strategy designed to attract more hits to your website, or if you really feel this way. I see that you advise in THIS article for lifters to just perform 3 exercises and that’s all – a squat, press, and row. I’m thankful that your training programs at least allow for some resistance training – for a while I was wondering if our programs utilized any resistance training at all. However, I find your programming to be boring and inferior for the vast majority of lifters when considering their goals.

II. Learn How to Utilize Pubmed, or Just Stick to What You Know

Not trying to be a dick Ryan, but I can go through almost every article you’ve written and pick apart your logic and reasoning. Your understanding of biomechanics and grasp of sports science is piss-poor. For example, in your article on the Deadlift vs. Squat, you state that deadlifts overstress the hamstrings, glutes, and low back, but then you go on to state that the squat creates higher tension in the muscles. You can’t have it both ways my friend. In my opinion, when comparing the two, it would be far more prudent to list which muscles receive more tension in the squat compared to the deadlift (calves, quads, lumbar extensors) and which muscles receive more tension in the deadlift compared to the squat (hamstrings, thoracic extensors, lats, forearms), rather than just issue inconsistent blanket statements.

Multiple sets are better than one set for strength and hypertrophy; comb the large body of research and you’ll come to this conclusion on your own. Sure, the first set is by far the most important, but there’s a reason why all Olympic weightlifters, powerlifters, bodybuilders, strongmen, and Highland Games athletes perform multiple sets in their training – it’s optimal for strength and hypertrophy.

You can certainly make things up and see where that takes you, but judging by the fact that you’ve written over 150 articles and at this point in time only have 144 Facebook likes, 23 Twitter followers, and a 3.1 million Alexa website ranking, it doesn’t appear to be working well. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need a big social media following to be right or to come up with brilliant methods, but I’m largely unimpressed with your body of work. You have some great potential as a writer, but if you based your work on science rather than “Ryan’s made-up-rules,” you’d be much more successful in my opinion.

III. The Truth About Hip Thrusts

Hip thrusts don’t go against our anatomy and biomechanics; conversely, they’re well-tolerated by the masses. The length-tension relationship doesn’t dictate what exercises we should be doing; lifters should be strong at all muscle lengths which will require a variety of exercises. The hip thrust isn’t dangerous if you do them correctly, just like most exercises. The moment arm doesn’t decrease as the hips raise – it stays fairly consistent throughout (again, stick to what you know rather than spewing pseudobiomechanics). You can use thick padding to protect the hips. Proper hip thrusts don’t involve lumbar hyperextension just like proper deadlifts don’t involve lumbar flexion. There’s no such thing as hyperextension of the glutes. Hyperextension doesn’t only exist in functional anatomy for repositioning joints. Hip thrusts don’t have to involve posterior pelvic tilt, but PPT is useful in many situations. Hip thrusts are one of the most functional exercises in existence. Hip thrusts involve synergy; many muscles work together to achieve the movement. And for optimal glute function and development, you need a variety of exercises such as hip thrusts, squats, and lateral band work. Keep in mind here that I’m only looking at one of your articles – I ignored the other 155.

Response to Chris Bartl (Real Strength vs. Guru Strength)

I. Do Our Methods Really Differ Greatly?

Chris

Chris Bartl

You claim that our methods differ HERE. Let me guess, you have your clients squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press, chin, and row? You might add in some additional single leg, core, or posterior chain work, right? For people who don’t tolerate certain lifts well, you might find substitutions or regressions? Hmmm, that sounds a lot like what I do. With my bikini competitors, I’ll prioritize the hip thrust and tack on additional glute work at the end such as lateral band work. If you did the same, I’m positive that your physique clients (assuming you train physique clients) would see better results. I hope you don’t train every client the same way despite their varying goals – please tell me you don’t shove powerlifting down a physique client’s throat. Nevertheless, hip thrusts are just one component of my programming, and you won’t find many S&C writers who have written more articles and filmed more videos on squats and deadlifts than me.

II. I’m Well-Aware that I’m Not Strong by Powerlifting Standards

I was the skinniest kid in my class growing up – I looked sickly and was made fun of constantly. I couldn’t even come close to performing a single chin-up when I was given the Presidential physical fitness test in grade school. When I first tried the bench press, I was stapled to the bench by the barbell. I started lifting at 15 years of age, and it took me:

  • 3 years to perform my first bodyweight dip
  • 4 years to perform my first bodyweight chin-up
  • 6 years to bench press 225 lbs
  • 22 years to reach the 300/400/500 bench/squat/deadlift club
  • 22 years to finally deadlift 600 lbs

Words cannot describe how intimidated I was of lifting weights. Back in middle and high school, I thought that something was physically wrong with me and wondered why I was so weak. I was bullied constantly by bigger students, and I hated being harassed so much that I vowed to stick with it and build some muscle. I spent my entire allowance on a gym membership and rode my bike several miles to the gym each day. I couldn’t afford a personal trainer so I just watched what other people did and tried to copy them. I’d go the library and grocery store and read the muscle magazines to try to pick up some tips. Little by little, my strength rose and my muscles grew. Never in the world did I ever imagine that I’d one day be considered “strong.” All I wanted at that time was to be normal. In 22 years, I’ve never taken more than 7 days off of lifting, and this fact makes me prouder than you can imagine.

Me as a kid

Me as a kid – that’s how I stood

I have no ego in the strength game. I’ve had incredibly strong lifting partners, and I’ve trained some freaks. I follow natural raw lifters such as Ben Rice, Jonnie Candito, Bryce Lewis, Brandon Campbell, Greg Nuckols, Layne Norton, and Mike Tuscherer, and I’m constantly in awe. I’ve seen all the videos of Malanichev, Konstantinovs, Green, Efferding, Lilliebridges, Kendall, Norris, Rubish, Byrd, Spoto, Bolton, and Magnusson. Trust me, I know exactly where I stand in the world of physical strength. There are guys who can raw squat and bench well over double what I can. I’m also well-aware of my weaknesses in powerlifting. I know that I need to work on staying more upright in the squat and strengthen my quads, I know that I need to work on keeping my elbows more tucked in the bench press and strengthen my triceps, and I know that I need to work on keeping my back more stable in the deadlift.

Despite these realizations, I’m still damn proud of my recent deadlift PR, I’m damn proud of how hard I worked to achieve this goal, and I’m damn proud that my form has improved over the past two years. I’m going to keep giving it my all, and in years to come I hope to raise my raw total to 1,400 lbs and continue to bring up my weaknesses.

However, strength isn’t just a measure of physical prowess; there’s a mental component as well. It takes a lot of balls to pump out articles on maximum strength training, knowing that you’re far from being the strongest guy on the planet. It takes a lot of strength to stick with powerlifting despite the fact that squats have never felt natural to me and I struggle with form. It takes guts to attempt to help powerlifters, knowing that the industry is plagued with meatheads who think that he who is strongest writes better programs and provides better training recommendations.

Nevertheless, I trust in my methods. I have extensively studied the science and find most strength experts’ understanding of the biomechanics to be rudimentary. A strength coach is someone who can help lifters and athletes become stronger. Some of the best strength coaches in the world are weak as a kitten. I attended the CSCCa Conference last week – these collegiate strength coaches are doing an amazing job helping athletes around the country get stronger and improve their performance while keeping them injury-free. Their strength comes in all sizes, you see big guys, medium size guys, and small guys. Al Vermeil is arguably the most successful strength coach in the history of the iron game, and he probably can’t bench press 165 lbs.

Bottom line, it doesn’t take world-class strength to be a world class strength coach. I’m not trying to “trick” my readers into thinking I’m insanely strong – I embed videos of powerlifting records every month into my blog so my readers stay abreast of recent strength feats. Nevertheless, I represent the common lifter, so my readers relate to me and appreciate my dedication. Attacking a fitness writer for being weak is very lame. Stick to the science rather than resorting to ad hominem attacks.

III. You Would Like 2 x 4: Maximum Strength

If you took the time to read through my 2 x 4 product, you’d like the system. It’s highly influenced by Dan Green, but with less volume and other modifications. It’s based around back squats, front squats, deadlifts, block pulls, bench press, close grip bench, floor press, and military press. It provides a systematic method for increasing strength while attempting to prevent overreaching and allow for peaking after 14 weeks. Accessory work is allowable and advisable, but limits are placed on volume. How could this approach go wrong? Try it and you will see results. THESE lifters all did. Or don’t, but don’t criticize a system that you’ve never analyzed or experimented with.

IV. The Truth About Hip Thrusts

I have a very hard time believing that there are guys out there hip thrusting 800 lbs that can’t do a bodyweight squat. I’d like to know who these people are. The vast majority of lifters can hip thrust more than they can squat, with the caveat that they’ve been performing it progressively for at least six months. These are things you learn from training hundreds of people.

The hip thrust is incredibly functional. Not only does it safeguard people from injury to the knees, hips, and low back, it also transfers quite favorably to performance. Lifters and athletes who employ the hip thrust notice improved gait function at all speeds, increased hip power, stronger squats and deadlifts, increased throwing/striking power, and more. Hip thrusts strengthen end-range hip extension, which is vital for sport performance. They build glute hypertrophy incredibly well, and this added glute mass does wonders for improving functional fitness. Any added mass is accompanied by nerves. It gets innervated and the athlete figures out how to utilize it in their sport, especially under the supervision of a skills coach.

Adding glute mass isn't like slapping extra clay onto a sculpture; the motor pool innervates the tissue during movement

Gaining glute mass through resistance training isn’t like slapping extra clay onto a sculpture; any additional tissue is innervated by the motor pool

I see that you compete in geared powerlifting. Do you like when others say that the bench press isn’t functional, or that wearing bench shirts or squat suits isn’t functional? I wouldn’t agree with these folks, but hopefully this illustrates my point. But, I digress.

To say that it has no real-life application and is “anti-functional” shows that your understanding of sports science is way off-the-mark. Let’s say that we had ten groups of 20 athletes perform one movement alone for 8 weeks (3 times per week with DUP). One group did just squats, another did just deadlifts, another just hip thrusts, another just glute ham raises, another just bench press, another just military press, another just chins, another just bent over rows, another just dips, and another just barbell curls. Let’s say that we pre and post tested them on ten performance tests: vertical jump, broad jump, triple jump, 40-yard dash, 400-meter run, horizontal pushing force, backward shot throw, rotational power, T-test agility, and max push-ups. My educated guess is that the hip thrust group would fall into the top 3, along with the squat and deadlift groups. But the lifter that performed all ten exercises would see far greater improvements than the lifter who only performed one exercise. Strength training is all about synergy, and the hip thrust is a staple in S&C programming.

Usain, Be Careful, You're Adding Non-Functional Glute Mass!

Usain, Be Careful, You’re Adding Non-Functional Glute Mass! (heavy sarcasm here)

V. Most Lifters Care More About Their Physiques Than Their Strength

I’d say that 90% of the personal training clients that approached me over the years came to me for aesthetics purposes. Most clients want to look better first and foremost. Initially, they aren’t concerned with strength acquisition. The majority of my followers want better glutes, not to set records in powerlifting. Sure, strength is nice, but given the choice, the vast majority of my female followers would choose to possess great glutes over superior strength. I agree that the two go hand-in-hand, but in my experience hip thrust strength is more critical to glute growth than squat strength. Either way, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to program both in a lifter’s training, if glute growth is the goal. Training should be tailored to the goal of the lifter, not predetermined according to the trainer’s biases.

Every coach's system will differ, but here's how my training prioritization changes depending on the goal of the lifter

Every coach’s system will differ, but here’s how my training prioritization changes depending on the goal of the lifter

VI. Do You Use Anabolic Steroids?

I’m curious Chris, do you use roids? I don’t know if you do or not, but if you do, and you go around the internet poking fun of natural lifters – isn’t that like a kid who cheats on a test and pokes fun of the other students for being dumb, or a runner who finds a shortcut during a race and makes fun of the other runners for being slow? If you’re all natural, please correct me and forgive me for the question. In my experience, most juiced lifters conveniently forget how difficult it is to build strength year after year as a natural lifter.

VII. Practice What You Preach

Chris, check out this quote:

“One lifter I really look up to and can’t wait to meet at the end of the month at EliteFTS’s LTT Seminar is Jeremy Frey. His lifting and his attitude have been nothing short of inspirational for me. I recently read in his training blog about his first meet back from a major injury. He talked about how he doesn’t give a shit about any records or whom he’s competing against because he is doing it for only one person: himself.

Records and accolades don’t matter in this sport. It’s about you and only you versus a bar full of weight and it doesn’t care about medals or records. It wants to hurt you and you are the only one who can kick its ass. While training for this meet, I totally lost the meaning of why I am doing this and it’s not because of records. It’s because I fucking love lifting weights and competing. LOVE it. The gym is my idea of what heaven should be like. It’s a place where nobody is hated and everyone is loved because we are all in there for the same reason: to get bigger, faster and most definitely stronger.”

Pretty awesome, right? This quote came from you HERE. Then why all the disrespect?

Response to Chris Duffin (Drop the Useless Hip Thruster)

I. Hip Thrusts Allow for Full Hip Extension

chris

Chris Duffin

Chris, when I saw your video, my jaw dropped. Your main premise is that hip thrusts don’t allow for full hip extension. They do. As a matter of fact, they allow for hip hyperextension. They do this so well, that spinal biomechanist Stu McGill (who used the exercise to rehabilitate his hip) noted that it naturally makes for an excellent hip flexor stretch. Since the glute (the antagonist) is contracting, it can be thought of as a natural form of PNF stretching, which has been shown to be highly effective in the literature at improving flexibility. I assumed that a bunch of people would call you out for your inaccurate conclusion, but this wasn’t the case. This actually made me depressed about the S&C industry and made me realize how far we have to go. Seriously, you’re argument is flawed. The repetition terminates when the hip runs out of ROM.

hip thrust

This is the first hip thrust picture to arrive on the internet, and it exhibits full hip extension.

The range of motion issue has been discussed ad nauseam by myself and others. It was discussed 4.5 years ago when I first introduced hip thrusts HERE, it was discussed in my first instructional video 4 years ago HERE, and it’s been discussed in dozens of articles/videos since then. For example, below is BJ Gaddour demonstrating full hip extension. HERE is a video of me achieving full hip extension with 635 lbs.

BJ Gaddour demonstrating full hip extension

BJ Gaddour demonstrating full hip extension

If someone is not achieving full range of motion, then they’re not doing the exercise correctly. However, the same could be said for squats, deadlifts, leg press, bench press, military press, chins, rows, etc. We know that some lifters will inevitably go too heavy and cut their ROM short, but lifters (especially in commercial gyms) around the world do this on every major lift. It’s not the fault of the exercise, it’s the fault of the lifter. You mentioned that lifters can use full ROM with body weight, but when they use too heavy of load, they cannot. Why wouldn’t there be a sweet spot right in between where you can still use load and achieve full ROM? I highly respect the level of strength you’ve achieved, but I’d respect you even more if you were fair on this topic.

II. Hip Thrusts Don’t Cause “Late Glute Firing” and They Transfer Just Fine to Performance

Hip thrusts cause late glute firing? Now I’ve heard it all. Ask fellow powerlifters Greg Nuckols and Quinten Cody (see articles HERE and HERE) if bridges and hip thrusts screwed up their glute firing. I hope you’re not judging the effects of hip thrusts by examining my form on deadlifts. I pulled that way long before I ever did hip thrusts. You see plenty of lifters who perform hip thrusts pull with an arched back, and you see plenty of lifters who don’t perform hip thrusts pull with a rounded back. When examining glute EMG, you don’t see delayed glute firing with roundback deadlifters or with people who perform hip thrusts, and the glutes are firing whether the pelvis is neutral, posteriorly tilted, or anteriorly tilted. I agree that it can help roundbackers better achieve lockout, but this doesn’t incriminate the exercise, as deadlifting mechanics have more to do with discipline when pulling than whether or not the lifter is performing hip thrusts.

When you showed your examples in the deadlift, I don’t agree with you in the posture that demonstrates optimal glute activation. The hip thrust does not “de-stabilize” the spine either – no exercise does that. And if you only standing exercises transfer to real life functional movements, then do you also avoid push-ups, bench press, incline press, inverted rows, seated rows, chins, pulldowns, hip sled, leg extensions, leg curls, planks, side planks, ab wheel rollouts, sit ups, back extensions, glute ham raises, and Nordic ham curls? Or is it just the hip thrust? Are you consistent with your logic here? The truth is that each of these exercises transfer to everyday movements just fine, they’re very useful for physique clients and strength clients alike, and best results are seen when you combine various patterns and force vectors. If you hypothesize that a training study for say 12 weeks involving 3 days/week of progressive hip thrusting would yield zero transfer to functional performance, then I’d have to say that you possess poor biomechanical instincts.

Any exercise that is good for glute growth will improve torque generating ability in hip extension, hip external rotation, hip abduction, and posterior pelvic tilt (see HERE), and there’s more to functional training than meets the eye, according to the literature (see HERE). You seem to think that squats and deadlifts are the end-all, be-all, but a huge percentage of my readers couldn’t care less about what they squat and deadlift – they just want to possess great glutes.

glute

Many women just want to look good; their priority isn’t powerlifting strength

III. I’m Not Just Trying to Sell People Something

Chris, you think I’m just trying to sell people Hip Thrusters? This has never been about the money. It’s about spreading sound glute training methods and helping others achieve their goals. It’s about improving sports performance, decreasing injury, and building better booties. It’s why I taught the world how to hip thrust off of standard benches, and why I taught the world how to do band hip thrusts out of power racks. If I was just trying to sell people Hip Thrusters, this strategy would make me the world’s worst businessman. The people who have bought Hip Thrusters are very happy with their purchases and have seen good results.

I’ve spent approximately 2 hours per day for four straight years answering people’s questions on the internet – this equates to almost 3,000 hours of pro bono work. I’ve been late to meetings and appointments, skipped out on needed sleep, and made sacrifices with my social life just to help others and spread my training methods. Since I’ve gone this route, I’ve attracted many fans. That’s what this is all about – improving the way the world trains.

If I make a buck or two along the way, then that’s great. I created the Hip Thruster because women and coaches were emailing me requesting a special unit. I’m pricing the unit as low as I can go – Sorinex and I must both make some profit. If people want to hip thrust at the gym, they can go that route. If they want to hip thrust more frequently out of the comfort of their homes using bands, they can buy Hip Thrusters. I believe that the Hip Thruster will lead to greater results compared to exercise equipment that is for more costly, especially when shipping is factored into the equation, including the reverse hyper, the 45 degree hyper, and the glute ham developer. Nevertheless, there’s nobody forcing people to make purchasing decisions.

Nobody's twisting anyone's arm, forcing them to buy a Hip Thruster

Nobody’s twisting anyone’s arm, forcing them to buy a Hip Thruster

IV. Alternative Exercises

Chris, the exercises you showed in your video as alternatives were good glute exercises. Tinkering with bands to add a horizontal force vector as in the case of the Ukranian deadlift you showed will increase glute activation and ensure greater end-range hip extension torque requirements. Blending two force vectors together as you’ve done in your video is very useful for teaching people how to groove it all together. However, I prefer to just do the different lifts independently. For example, do your squats, do your deadlifts, and do your hip thrusts.

On a side note, I feel the same way with banded squats (bands around the knees). Instead of doing them, I prefer to do regular squats, along with band seated hip abductions (two separate exercises rather than one combined exercise). With regards to band loaded deadlifts, I prefer to rely on American deadlifts so you involve the pelvic action.

If powerlifting strength was the goal, then maybe your approach would be ideal, but I prefer to maximize axial vector efficiency with squats/deads and anteroposterior vector efficiency with hip thrusts/back extensions. Your lifts are a bit more complicated so the average lifter may need some time to gain proficiency at them.

Either way, you’ve created a sound system. You do low load hip thrusts for cueing, heavy squats and deadlifts, band deadlifts and Ukranian deadlifts, and more. I do heavy hip thrusts, along with various squat/lunge, hip hinge, and lateral band work. Both of our systems are going to be highly effective for building glutes. I don’t think that either of us should be dissing each other’s approach. I’m just glad that you do add in glute activation work and more glute specific exercises into your arsenal, as they’re of great benefit to the general public.

V. Practice What You Preach

“A warrior lives his passions and never compromises following the path towards his dreams.”

Great quote, right? It’s yours. Originally, I wasn’t going to reply to your video. But when I clicked on your website, I saw this quote and decided to respond. This is a true story. In honor of your motto, I won’t compromise on my path for improving the way the world trains their glutes. Also on your blog are the tabs: Be Strong, Create Things, and Work Hard. This pretty much describes me, so I’d think that you and I would get along just fine if we met in person.

Conclusion

I’m not sure if this article will even make a dent in the opinions of Ryan, Chris, and Chris. I would imagine that they would be able to see the flawed logic in the others’ claims, but possibly not their own. Either way, I wrote this article for my readers and fans. These types of articles will undoubtedly continue to surface on the internet. Have confidence in your training and don’t let them deter you.

I tried my best to remain professional in this article, and I wish I didn’t have to go this route. We should be building each other up, not tearing each other down. We should be supporting each other, not bickering. We should be working together to promote the sport of powerlifting and increase awareness of sound glute training methods. We should be focusing on what we agree on, not just on our disagreements. We should figure out ways to experiment and resolve our disagreements. We should be complimenting each other, not just criticizing each other. Therefore, I’ll end this article like this:

Ryan Lingenfeiser, you have great potential as a writer. You’re very persuasive and passionate, and you have an admirable work ethic.

Chris Bartl, congratulations on your physique and life transformation HERE and on your powerlifting success. My hat’s off to you. Stay passionate!

Chris Duffin, you’re a total badass. I’ve posted a couple of your videos on my blog over the past year. Your life story is very impressive as well. You’re strong as an ox and I’ll be cheering for you on the sidelines. You’re one of the strongest dudes on the planet, and that speaks for itself. Stay passionate as well!

I hope that one day the three of you change your minds. Until then, please forgive me and my people while we ignore your advice and thrust away.

thrust

Viva la hip thrust!

66 Comments

  • coupdevill says:

    Nice job! “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds”… Albert Einstein

  • Matt says:

    I love this. Stop the haters in their tracks.

    Thanks for bringing science into the lifting game and also for seeing both the strength and physique sides.

    Keep at it Bret.

  • Corey says:

    Great read as always dude, dont worry about defending yourself to other people, you have the results and research to back up your claims, and ive had my clients buy enough new jeans by employing many of the things ive learned from reading your work, keep up the good stuff and keep writing and doing what you do so well

  • Todd says:

    Great job as usual, Bret. I have read ALOT of fitness articles, books and programs over the years and you are one of the top writers who have the credentials of hands-on training as well as the fortitude to wade through miles and miles of text to break studies down and relate them to real-world training. In my eyes (I’m a 45-year old with English degrees in my background), you’re one of the most qualified out there.
    By the way, my wife and I love your Strong Curves book.

  • solongo says:

    Lot of the hip thrust opposition seems to come from men. Are they dedicated to building their glute shape and strength as much as female lifters? Or are they hating on Bret because he trains a lot of gorgeous female lifters? lol
    As a female lifter who is very flexible; once I introduced the hip thrust my butt seems to react much more than barbell squats and deadlifts. Squats definitely helped me build stronger quads and thighs but I never experienced the “burn” and/ or glute activation from squats. At least not in the way that made me realize that I have an untapped maximus gluteus not reaching it’s maximum potential. Different strokes for different people; but the fact that every female wants a nice looking ass and Bret found a way to provide a great service should not negate the usefulness of the hip thrust.

    • Renato says:

      ” Are they dedicated to building their glute shape and strength as much as female lifters? Or are they hating on Bret because he trains a lot of gorgeous female lifters? lol”

      There is cynism/hate in that comment.

  • Daniel says:

    Hi Bret!

    I work as a personal trainer and have my own training studio, and I have to say that You Bret, you are my hero! If I even come close to your knowlage and humility I will see my self as very very lucky! You inspire me to be the best I can be in this line of work, as a trainer and as a person!

    Thank you for everything and thank you for the hipthrust! They call me the gluteguy of Sweden:-)

    Cheers!

  • Lindsay Cappotelli says:

    I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to answer questions and give out information for free. I truly appreciate the times you have responded back to a question I’ve asked!

  • Sandy says:

    I just want to comment that I emailed Bret a question about 12-18 months ago and he kindly took the time to respond to me when he could’ve just hit delete.

    Thanks.

  • Emma says:

    Bret, you shouldn’t even promote these people!

  • Alex says:

    If you had named the exercise the “horizontal squat” instead of the hip thrust, would it have eased acceptance of the lift?

    Well, maybe. It may have helped the “lightbulb” go on quicker for some.

    But haters are gonna hate. Why worry about it?

  • Bob says:

    Bret, thanks for the laughs. I would never have found these hater sites without this post. But, um, I don’t think I’ll subscribe 🙂

    I’ve gotten lots of good advice from your website and books, so here’s some advice in return, should you want it. That is: Don’t spend too much of your time responding to haters or idiots. You don’t need to justify yourself. Your work and your results (of your clients, of your personal development, and the results of people like me who simply read your stuff) carry more weight than any of the haters could even dream of lifting.

    Now, if you find that responding in this way helps organize your thoughts, great. But you won’t convince many people, because the haters don’t care about facts, and you’re preaching to the choir of the rest of us.

    I did enjoy the picture of you as a kid! Definitely made the article worth reading.

  • geoffc says:

    Brett, on a few occasions now I have emailed you and messaged you asking for a quick bit of advice and without fail you have responded with detailed and relevant answers. You don’t know me but you take the time to help me. You have had the courage to look outside the box, use your intelligence to challenge conventional wisdom and back up your ideas with science and many hours of painstaking research, mostly I would guess, at your own expense. While there will always be many trainees quite happy to follow conventional wisdom and make gains squatting and dead lifting, there are many more of us who want fresh ideas, want those ideas made relevant to our sporting and physique goals and to explore and understand the anatomy and biomechanics behind different ways to achieve our goals. You put all that on a plate for us and it doesn’t cost us a cent!!! We are smart enough to know that there just might be a better way than doing what everyone else has always done and you satisfy that curiosity brilliantly. I am an older athlete, I am looking for ways to improve my strength, power and speed within my physical limitations and I can say without question that hip thrusts have made me stronger and faster and both my knees much happier. I apply your research in many different ways and have learned the knowledge and skills that will enable me to train safely and effectively for the rest of my life. I believe in good karma and hope you sell millions of hip thrusters and get the financial payback and satisfaction that you richly deserve. Keep up the uniquely awesome work! (PS, let me know when you get an Australian Hip Thruster distributor).

  • Stephanie says:

    Am a total believer! Been working with Marianne Kane and I’ve seen significant increase in mass and strength in just a two month period. Don’t worry about the haters — evidence speaks for itself. I just wish I knew about the Hip Thrust ages ago – would have been working hard on my glutes since then!

  • claire says:

    i still love you. and I love the hip thrusts. we can show all the haters my glutes, breed on the hip thrusts and see if they still hate them.

  • Karl says:

    Bret,

    Hip thrusts work. My maximum “comfy” running speed on the treadmill jumped from around 10 mph to about 12 mph when I discovered your site and started working on glute development. For short stretches, my running almost feels like it did in track 40 years ago.

    That’s functional. I suspect that glutes are a muscle that tends to atrophy with age, and rebuilding them helps restore more youthful movement patterns. “No butt” is a very common body type past 65 or so, but most people probably start down that road much earlier.

    -Karl

  • Sanja says:

    Ooou it is spreading allright all the way to Croatia 🙂
    If i am not doing hip thrust i feel like i am doing nothing-this is number one for me and i do it every day!
    Dont worry…the wright people hear you and trust you…keep going and thrusing!!!!!

  • Derrick Blanton says:

    BC, I respect the heck out of the way you tackled this one. Keep doing what you do, OK? Keep looking and searching, and listening, and learning.

    I know you will because that’s who you are, and that’s what you do.

    And we are better for it. Thank you, Bret!

  • Sanja says:

    I think you should not call youre self “the glute guy “anymore….you are not JUST a GUY man…i think you are ready for level 2….THE GLUTE MASTER!

  • Gimmebody says:

    Follow me back @gimmebody on Instagram, quick question bret so when a personal feels the hip thrusts mainly in the lower back and the glutes it’s not a bad thing? Just like hyperextensions right?

  • chris says:

    great rebuttal on the critics (granted: the criticism was so easy to pick apart. really dumb arguments. you sure those arent just friends of yours? 🙂 ). excellent when concentrating on the topic, the science of things.

    i dont like the first paragraphs of the article, though: it drifts a bit right in the guru-direction youre trying to avoid. or don´t you? : “movement”, “nobody can stop/distract us”, “wanna change the world”, “testimonials” of “followers”.

    compare that to people like tracy anderson, doesn´t sound much different, does it?

    maybe its just the very american enthusiastic way to portrait things – i like that. or just your personal attitude, cause despite your remarks, youre pretty good at pr and marketing.

    i just prefer your scienctific side. you need that if looking beyond financial success.

    regards

    • Michele says:

      Chris, I believe that what Bret was doing in the first paragraph is what Americans call “humour”…;)

      • chris says:

        a bit for sure, but not entirely. lets bret tell us.

      • Bret says:

        It wasn’t humor LOL – I was being serious. I’ve been receiving emails from my followers asking me to respond to the articles/video mentioned in the blog, and I originally stuck to the science. But then I decided that I wanted to try to unite my people. Perhaps I was a bit overdramatic? I’ve been told by my fitness marketing colleagues that I’m terrible at PR and marketing, so to be told I’m good at it is a compliment (though I don’t agree). Anyway, I’m definitely not trying to be like Tracy Anderson so hopefully it doesn’t come across that way. Regards, BC

  • Chris Bartl says:

    Bret – thank you for the kind words regarding my article. The question I have for you, is did you even read it? The whole point of my article was to call you out on not being strong, which, in your rebuttal you admitted that you are not, so thank you very much for validating my argument. Also, if you did actually read my article, you would have saw that I do actually program hip thrusters as an accessory movement when necessary. So why all the hate towards me regarding hip thrusters? Is it because I voiced an opinion that I do not find them functional for my clients? Speaking of programming, I do not “shove powerlifting” down the throats of my clients, as I hope you do not shove hip thrusters to someone who does not need it. If you did go to my website and read it, you will see that every client who walks through my doors gets their own personalized assessment and if they choose the semi-private training option, they get a fully customized program based on their goals and needs. You are correct on one avenue though, I do not have before and after pictures of ladies backsides and do not have evidence, scientific or not, to refute your claims to get girls stage ready. I’m a strength coach and people come to me for one reason: to get strong. My clients don’t care what they look like, as long as they are strong and hitting THEIR goals I am doing my job right. I can provide you with some science though, I can show you data over the past 5 years that proves that 100% of my clients who have come to me have gotten physically stronger, which is their number one goal. Can you show numbers that show 100% of your clients over 5 years have all reached their #1 goal? I hope so. I appreciate the time you took to write the article and I find your question regarding steroids to be childish at best. Why is it, that weak lifters always have to make the claim that stronger people are using steroids? Is it because you are jealous? Is it because you want our lifting numbers? Like you Bret, I have spent over 23 years under a bar working to be as strong as I can. I won my first PL meet in high school, set my university freshman football strength records, won raw and single ply meets all throughout California and now that I am a multi-ply lifter you make an assumption like that? Finally, thank you for the invite to debate with you, I’m sure it would actually do some good, but I am not like you. I do not sit in front of my computer writing articles as I am not a journalist. I am on the floor of my own private gym that I just opened, which is one of the best ranking strength training gyms in California. I am not late to my clients because I am writing articles. I’m being the best strength coach I can be for my clients.

    Thank you again and continued success

    Chris Bartl

    • Bret says:

      Chris, here are my responses:

      The question I have for you, is did you even read it?

      Yes, I read your article.

      Also, if you did actually read my article, you would have saw that I do actually program hip thrusters as an accessory movement when necessary. So why all the hate towards me regarding hip thrusters?

      Because I read your article, I found this quote:

      I own a gym. I train regular Joe Schmo’s and athletes of all shapes, sizes and sports and I never….EVER program hip thrusters.

      So which one is it? Do you or don’t you program hip thrusters? In your article, you say you never do, and in your comments, you say that you do. The “hate” is in response to your inaccurate comments about hip thrusts. You don’t get to make up your own rules in regards to transfer of training. Strength coaches are expected to pay better attention if they’re going to make claims about an exercise’s utility.


      Can you show numbers that show 100% of your clients over 5 years have all reached their #1 goal?

      Well, I have their training logs, but I confess that not every client was elated with their results. All of my strength clients indeed got stronger, but the vast majority of my clients came to me for physique goals. I have a hard time believing that all of your clients came to you for strength goals. My personal training colleagues are in agreement with my assertion that 90% of clients have primary goals that are physique related, with 10% for strength/health/functional goals. Nevertheless, since women’s physique relies heavily on glute development, I’ve had mixed results, with some being able to grow their glutes tremendously on my programs and others only to a mediocre degree. I attribute this to glute genetics, which I’ve written an article about.

      Why is it, that weak lifters always have to make the claim that stronger people are using steroids? Is it because you are jealous? Is it because you want our lifting numbers?

      Chris, you didn’t answer the question. Do you use anabolic steroids? Yes or no? No, I’m not jealous. Yes, I would love to have your numbers, but in my experience, for a guy my height to have your strength, he’d need to weigh 300 lbs, and I don’t want to have to gain that much. Please correct me if there are natural 6’4″ competitors who are as strong as you but weigh much less than 300 lbs…I’m actually curious about this. Regardless, I’m excited for you and any other lifter who is able to build up his strength to impressive degrees, which is why I regularly share videos of feats of strength in my random thoughts blogposts. I didn’t realize that you set records in high school and college, so kudos for that.

      Taking a step back and looking at the wording in your article and response, most people would think that you are the one who is jealous, not me. I would think that you would be happy that I’m encouraging people (especially women) to enter a meet and give powerlifting a try. I’m in a unique position to spread awareness of powerlifting to the masses of lifters who are naive or intimidated. Now we’re just bickering though. I have no doubt that you’re able to get your clients to be very strong and are highly skilled in that regard. I wish you continued success in powerlifting and with your gym.

      BC

      • Derek says:

        Great rebuttal to an asinine post by C.B. Writing an article to call someone out for not being “strong” is juvenile and serves no purpose or has any bearing on how effective B.C. is as a coach.

      • Max Gottfried says:

        The fact that he’s removed his original link bashing hip thrusts doesn’t help his argument. Good arguments Bret. Very professional and enlightening.

    • Shelley says:

      Wow!! Chris, why would you feel the need to call someone out on “not being strong”? What kind of person makes comments like that? I’m curious, what is your definition of strong? What are the magical numbers that someone has to lift to make them “strong.” For goodness sake, Bret lifts almost everyday of the week and competes regularly. It’s not as if he’s not walking the walk. And more often than not the best coaches aren’t super star athletes – think Wayne Gretzky.

      BTW – you never really did answer his question about the roids. Kind of gave a beat around the bush answer. It’s a simple question – yes or no.

      I can’t speak for 100% of Bret’s clients, but I think that I speak for more than the majority of his female clients when I say that Bret has helped us reach our #1 goal – to look better. I could care less how “strong” Bret is. His programming has completely changed my physique which was what I wanted. I never dreamed that my body could look like it does now. A number of us who are members of the Get Glutes program have found that our goals are now shifting more towards strength and Bret has been with us all the way as this shift has occurred. I never thought that I would be able to lift like I do now. In no way am I genetically gifted when it comes to athletics, but thanks to Bret I’m now lifting at a pretty high level.

      To those who accuse Bret of being out to make money – all I can say is that when his 2×4 program came out a number of us who are members of his Get Glutes program inquired about purchasing it. We’re all Bret followers so we would have purchased it in a heartbeat. It would have been an easy sell. Bret actually discouraged me from purchasing it and offered to try to arrange a way to pass on the few sections of it that would be relevant for me. Not the actions of someone who’s out there to build a financial empire.

    • Frank says:

      You write, behave, and portray yourself in the same manner a petulant teenager would. That low rent, artificially flavored Jim Wendler tone may work for individuals who wall themselves off into their circles like you have with your whole “strength only” mantra. But it gets no traction here and it gets even less traction in the real world. I will leave no stone unturned when looking for answers or results or the solution to a problem. I employ all manners and methods in my training. Powerlifting, bodybuilding, strongman, yoga, pilates, whatever it takes. I am not embarrassed to do something that others would deem “funny looking” if it gets results. Anyone worth their salt will emulate that approach when trying to accomplish a goal or solve a problem. You poke fun at the hip thrust because it looks asinine and sexual. Did we experience a sudden chronal reversal? Are we now ten years old? It works. It builds the glutes from top to bottom (haha). Louie Simmons, who has forgotten more about strength coaching that you could ever hope to know, once said something about guys with big glutes…

      Regarding the money making discussion. Are you daft? This argument is completely bogus unless you work completely pro bono for all of your clients. Of course Bret does this for the money. Unlike many people he is lucky enough to do something that he enjoys, is passionate about, and is stimulated by, and get paid for it. Pretty sure you run a website and a blog to increase your traffic, notoriety, and earnings as well. I am also pretty sure that you picked out Bret because you saw a video or article posted by another powerlifter, saw an opportunity to pull some internet traffic and up your search resultant traffic, and thus wrote that long winded, poorly punctuated, childish diatribe that spurred this entire exchange. Good job. Way to be all about selflessly helping out your fellow man.

    • shimin says:

      Hi Chris
      There is no doubt that all the amazing records/numbers of the today powerlifters comes from years and years of hard work and training but no one can deny the mesmerizing effects of steroids and performance enhancing drugs, just take a look at the top drug free powerlifters records/numbers and compare them with top powerlifters (chemically enhanced ones- no disrespect to them). you can see the huge difference as well as the REASON! I beileve it’s logical to assume that both drug free and chemically enhanced powerlifters train hard and smart but why there is so much difference between numbers?! The answer is easy : DRUGS PLAY A BIG ROLE.

    • Jelani says:

      You’re a meathead jackass drug using scumbag. I know Bret won’t say it, but I will.

  • John says:

    Bret,

    Great post. People are going to try to “hate” no matter what you do. I respect you defending yourself, as I would do the same. The great thing about America is that you are always going to have fans and haters, both of which are useful. Both propel you to go even higher and push even harder.

    I too was a tall, skinny, weakling in High School. I love the gym like you do because they changed my life. I never played football in high school, but somehow managed to Play Tight End for the Oakland Raiders for three years. A lot of people could not understand how I could surpass High School (because I was too skinny) and end up in the NFL. Many friends kept waiting for me to fail in Junior College. Many more waited for me to fail When I was playing Division 1 ball. Many more thought I would quit after breaking my leg my senior year. The closest and most loyal were always there to build me up. I used both the positive and negative to propel me forward.

    I own a training facility in Salt Lake City and train athletes from Middle Schoolers to NFLers to MLBers. I have learned a lot from you and will continue to learn a lot from you. I appreciate all of your content. I appreciate you putting your knowledge on display all the time. Thank you

    John Madsen

  • Bret says:

    Thanks everyone for the kind words and support, I appreciate it!

  • JR says:

    Good stuff as always.

  • Graeme says:

    I believe that regardless of whats being debated the real proof is in acheived results. Im sure you Bret and many of your clients have reached there goals utilising your formulas.
    In the six months since discovering your web site I have gained valuable well practised information to help myself and my client base.
    Common issues such as low back pain and hamstring strains have been rectified by regular use of the hip thrust as well as noticeable improvements in strength and mobility of the hips and improved form and speed in sprint training.
    Hip thrusts have brought an understanding to clients that didn’t know they had glutes or what their function was. We call it “Wake up the Butt” campaign.
    Keep up the great work Bret.
    “Onward and upward for the Hip Thrusts”.

  • Logan patterson says:

    Greet post Bret. Some people are just naturally strong and for some people it takes a lot of work, like me. I too have long femurs for my size and squats are a struggle, but thanks to you and other geniuses (mark rippetoe, justin Lascek of 70s big, kelly starrett) they are coming along very well. We haven’t even begun to see the impact you will have on the fitness world; hip thrusts will affect and infiltrate every level and facet of training potentially to the level squats, deadlifts, and pressing has. Your response was educated and professional, as opposed to lashing back at fools like this. This has affected everyone I train. Keep up the good work.

  • Tyler Satnick says:

    I just spent the better part of an hour reading this article including the links and I can say that I am disgusted by some of the articles/rationale criticizing the hip thrust and Bret.

    First, “Mr.Avoid’s” page has got to be one of the most disappointing websites related to fitness I have ever come across. The worst kinds of trainers are those who think only what they do works and everyone else is wrong or in the dark. This kind of zealotry/aggrogance conbined with what is obviously a serious lack of openmindedness and desire for collaboration is a recipe for god awful training beliefs and practices.

    I’m not sure why it is so incredibly difficult for people to simply present the pros and cons of a certain method or exercise and then present examples of correct and incorrect applications/executions with possible alternatives/modifications. As fitness pros, we should provide the most comprehensive/objective information possible when the recipient is unknown to us (believing in your methods is GREAT but it’s no excuse to not provide the full story) while giving them options and allowing them to ultimately decide for themselves. The ideal time to express strong/specific convictions is when working with a real person. The more information you have the more accurate and therefore effective your recommendations become. When I meet a new client I design their programs from a totally blank slate. I keep my mind conpletely open about what they will need rather than trying to shove a square peg through a round hole and deciding before I even know what needs to be done. Common extreme phrases like “This is the only effective method”, “ALL my clients train like this”, “everything else is inferior” represents a philosophy that ignores the client needs completely. There may be methods/exercises that only apply to 1 client out of 1000 and with an open mind and enough experience one realizes that their is no such thing as wrong, just poor application. Everything “depends” and the benefits must always be weighed against the risks/costs. Exercises must also “compete” with one another as well. Also, this isn’t to say specialists aren’t totally necessary but a uni-demonsional, ridged, one-trick-pony can only help certain people and unless you work in a gym or market where everyone shows up with the same very specific goal (Improving Powerlifting, Sprinting, Kettlebells, etc) you’ll be of little use in most cases. If you are a specialist STICK TO IT but don’t bring down other ideas because they don’t apply to your (possibly) narrow ideas about what aspects of fitness and performance should be emphasized. At the end of the day our chosen methods are less important than our principles when it comes to the success of our clients. This should be where the best find common ground.

    Second, the other article which whole purpose was to highlight how “not strong Bret is” was pathetic. Not only does this serve no actual propose to anyone reading but it completely neglects concepts of mental toughness and determination (a huge form of strength), strength as it applies to other tasks besides lifting (NO WAY someone can one be strong without a huge shirted bench???) and even the idea that the training goal might be multi-faceted (aesthetics, speed, skill, endurance too). Lifters who try to associate credibility soley with their PL total are frankly, idiots. Is Bill Bilcheck the best linebacker? How the hell can he coach a team full of guys who can play football better than him?? Inconceivable! A coach is only as good as the results they provide, period.

    In conclusion, the usefulness/relevance of the hip thrust for yourself or your clients is completely dependent on the circumstance, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you want larger and/or stronger glutes and it is a good use of training economy and your are qualified to perform it from both a basic movement and technique standpoint, the then it may be an effective option. Thrust on!

    T.S.

    • Tyler Satnick says:

      Also I find the arguments criticising the efficacy of hip thrust as it relates to physique and performance were lame. All things being equal, how could a significantly loaded, bent-knee hip extension not benefit other hip extension tasks and the muscles involved?

  • Carolina says:

    Hi Bret! First congrats on your book Strong Curves, I’m currently doing the Glute godess workouts and I’m loving it. I’ve been lifting one year now, and yesterday I remembered that when I was a child doctors found a little deviation on my spine. Nothing too big, because never needed special control, unlike my brother, whom scoliosis was more severe (around 40 plus degrees him. Mine is less than 20), but enough for my left hip being about 1 cm lower than the right, so my left leg is about 1 cm longer than the right. The thing is I never think about it and never thought it could be anything wrong with weighlifting until yesterday, when I remembered it and comment in the gym. They told me I shouldn’t do squats and dead lifts. I’m really concerned, and those exercises are my absolute favorites and never experienced any pain out of the stifness in the back from doing them. I’m a girl, 31 years old, squatting and dead lifting about 120 lbs. Can I keep going or should I stop? Please, if you can answer me it would mean a lot. I’m very concerned and lost. Thank you very much.

  • David Madarro says:

    Great article Bret!
    But as usual you are too nice in your responses, although I understand why you are taking that approach.

    Holy fuck that Ryan Lingenfeiser dude is like the Dave Asprey of resistance training; everything is dangerous and should be avoided, except the stuff he recommends, of course.

    I don’t even care if he’s a good writer, to me that’s determined by the quality of your work, not just your ability to properly structure sentences. Anyone who dismisses so many amazing strength tools like Olympic lifting, Lunges, Overhead presses, Kettlebells etc. are not even worth wasting time on.

    I honestly thought it was a joke until I checked out his website, Bret made a long list, but it’s even longer, here’s an article called “Avoid Grip Training” http://www.rdlfitness.com/avoid-grip-training/

    LMFAO, starting to heavily focus on grip straining has been the best thing I’ve ever done, not only for my training goals, but also as a tool for rehabbing & prehabbing various injuries, including wrist and elbow injuries. Way to fucking generalize!

    He even contradicts himself, in the grip training article he actually recommends thick bars, but then in this article he’s completely against thick bar training http://www.rdlfitness.com/avoid-thick-bar-training/

    “Just like the Olympic lifts, thick bar training can work at some level but jeopardizes your safety and results. ”

    “Thick bar training provides no special benefits and reduces your overall performance.”

    Doesn’t that depend on your goals, and whether or not you are training like a moron?

    Hahaha this guy is too much, he should have called his website “AvoidTraining.com”

    It’s probably a good idea that he disabled comments on his site, he would get torn apart.

  • Anthony says:

    My god, the amount of BS in those sites and videos you linked. Thanks for setting the record straight. I’m sharing this.

  • JC says:

    Great article Bret. Anything that gets popular; be it a product, a song, a movie or person- attracts good and bad attention. If I googled all of my favorite things in life I would inevitably find a healthy amount of trash talk about the particular subject on the internet. I would probably feel the same way and contend that internet folk should think before they open their mouths and there should be recourse from time to time. I suspect that most are jealous that they did not popularize a lift. I believe that most trainers and particularly trainers that are local to you are incredibly envious of your success. I do not blame you for defending your reputation. But when someone comes out bashing the efforts of another it tells more about them than you. It is okay to disagree with you, respectfully. It is okay to not believe in the hip thrust; after-all people had great glutes before the hip thrust was popularized. The hip thrust is another tool to aid in the process, and a damn good one at that. Used in conjunction with other exercises is extremely effective- you never claim that it is the only lift for the glutes. Hip Thrusts alone would shape and sculpt and get the job done and I would love an experiment to prove this. I don’t know yet if Hip Thrusts is the best exercise for the glutes but I am open minded that it may be.

    -But not all are early adopters. When they make snippy statements that are not based off of any sort of evidence and suggest your name without calling you out personally I agree it is personal to you and I understand your right to defend or to correct them. But there should come a time soon where you do not feel the need to engage. None of the masses can agree on anything in life be it religion, politics, fashion… The ones with true character find a civil way to disagree and find a way to learn from the people they disagree with. -Seek first to understand then to be understood. Pay them no mind is my two cents. It isn’t personal even if it seems so. It is about them. I often wonder if shoulder shrugs or lunges faced the same controversy when founded. Of course hip thrusts work this is silly! And if the best physique and athletic prowess made the best coach I guess Phil Jackson and Red Auerbach wouldn’t have any rings. You practice what you preach and you are plenty strong enough in my eyes.

    It made for a very entertaining article that was enjoyable. One thing I have noticed and what I like best about your blog is that you never start a fight or attack an individual unless attacked. Keep up the good work. -Hip Thrust Believer #71,432

  • CAPSLOCK HUSTLA says:

    A PROGNOSTICATIVE REBUTTAL TO CHRIS BARTL FROM 2013

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Fatstrong

  • moss says:

    everyone has to find out for themselves which exercises are effective and which are not. so BC’s critics are in the wrong.
    personally, glute bridges don’t do any thing for me, so instead i do:
    1) BB supine glute squeezes (these really allow me to feel a intense and full glute pump!), and
    2) below-parallel Zercher squats.

    and all this fuss over one exercise. talk about misdirected priorities. these “critics” have much to learn!

    • moss says:

      PS how to do the BB supine glute squeeze.
      lie supine on the floor. get into the position to do a glute bridge.
      now, straighten your legs. the BB should be resting over the pubic area. (you must use a squat pad).
      now, squeeze your glutes so that the BB lifts off the floor, even if by only a few millimeters.
      relax the glutes so that you lower the bar. that’s one rep. repeat a multiple number of times.
      a set can be composed of slow reps or fast reps.

  • Ryan says:

    Ryan Lingenfeiser is my new favorite. i keep reading his articles just for the ridiculous nature of them. I cant believe he’s being serious

  • Don says:

    I would recommend Ryan, Chris and Chris read this article:
    http://www.phred.org/~alex/kenkifer/www.kenkifer.com/writing/negative.htm

    Yes, an article by a guy mainly known as a bicycling advocate, written on the subject of beekeeping and selling honey is relevant. Can you tell why? It is because when people read the constant putdowns of one school of fitness by this other school, it makes the whole industry look shady. Do you think that is good for your business?

  • LJVEGAS says:

    Bret, I think you’re right and these other people are crazy. Thank you for answering the two emails I sent you. I appreciate that you took the time and care. I have enjoyed your Strong Curves book and employ many of the exercises you recommend. I am a card-carrying skeptic, LOL, but I see all the published papers that you use as your sources of information and I see my own results. That’s the way it should be done.

  • Good job Bret! I would like to take notice of your ability (skill) at logic and debate as much as I do your ability and skill as a coach and athlete! It would be very difficult to convert or convince any of the 3 aforementioned authors otherwise! The main reason being would be their egos and not their ability to debate and defend their positions. Most of their argument would be riddled with ad hominem attacks and irrelevant points! Thanks for taking the time to pick these guys apart and nail their hides to the wall! Maybe they should allow for some study time aside from their training time to study a basic logic text that covers logical reasoning?

  • Christy Shaw says:

    Bret, I just wanted to say thanks for being you. Everyone’s got an opinion and we can’t please everyone, but your hard work and your presence on the internet is making a positive difference in a lot of peoples’ lives. So thanks for putting yourself out there.
    And you know what? The physique obstacles you’ve overcome, the fact that you may not be the stereotypical powerlifter but you’re busting your ass and doing your absolute best, the fact that you’ve spent years chipping away at those PRs, the fact that you’re human in your responses — all of those things make you awesome. You’re kind, you’re dedicated, you’re determined and you’re relatable. Not to mention that you’re smart, analytical, you do great work, and your programming is fantastic. I believe in your methods, as do so many others.
    So keep on keepin’ on, Bret. You have a lot of folks supporting you who have nothing but love for your tenacity, enthusiasm and the time you spend honing your craft and putting that information out there.

  • Michael Zweifel says:

    I’ll never understand why there’s this, “You aren’t strong, so you don’t know shit” viewpoint. So unless you’re pulling 800lbs, you don’t no a thing? Unless you played in the NFL, you don’t know a thing about training football players? It’s very frustrating that many “coaches” and general people believe that, and just because a guy is huge or can lift a lot, they must know it all.

    Really tarnishes all the detail and hard work many go through, because I mean all the anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, etc is useless, just get huge.

  • Moorea says:

    Ryan also posted this on one of his articles, “If something hurts, don’t blame yourself. Instead, assume the exercise itself has issues.”

    No wonder he has so many articles on avoiding exercises.

  • Evan says:

    I’m both impressed by your professionalism Bret and shocked by the others unprofessionalism. Kudos to you my friend.

  • Greg Farris says:

    Haha – props to you for even acknowledging this stuff Bret. Keep up the good work!

  • Travis Retriever says:

    Re: “II. I’m Well-Aware that I’m Not Strong by Powerlifting Standards”

    *hugs* That bit was very inspiring for me. And I thought I had issues with strength. I’m 26 years old, 5’9” and when I started out, I weighted 300 lbs and was 40% body fat (and I’m fairly sure that’s an under estimation). When I got down to about 267, I tried squatting 33 lbs for 3 sets of 6, and between being so out of shape, heavy, and not knowing proper form, doing it 2-3 times a week and this on top of HIIT sessions, I ended up getting an injury in my hips and felt like I pinched a nerve/did something to my legs as I had a sharp pain in my right thigh. It took me about 3/4 of this year to recover. And even then, I went from doing bodyweight box squats, to goblet box squats to finally using the actual barbell in the squat rack, and while struggling to hit parallel, having flexibility issues in my hips. My performance on the bench press isn’t much better. 🙁 I’ve always been a weakling my entire life and can remember, quite vividly when I was 19, being unable to climb up a single bit when me and the class I was in was doing rock climbing stuff (getting a grip on those little rocks without slipping is a bitch >.<). I was the worst and weakest out of the entire group, and can also remember the straps hurting my thighs. 🙁 I weighted 200 lbs at the time. My weakness with bodyweight exercises made worse by my obesity. Being both morbidly obese and a weakling tends to mean absolutely horrible horrible genetics for strength and hypertrophy, from what I understand.

    For health, strength, 'functionality' (e.g. being able to move furniture), and because I'm tired of being a fat weakling, I'm looking to improve and hit my genetic limit before age prevents me from missing my peak. I'm very thankful for your videos and articles explaining technique. As a guy who can't afford a personal trainer, it's been a huge boon for me. Keep up the good work, Bret. 🙂 And major grats on–at least with respect to the average population–on overcoming those obstacles and no longer being a skinny weakling. 🙂

  • Travis Retriever says:

    “V. Most Lifters Care More About Their Physiques Than Their Strength”
    I’m in the minority then. I care about my physique and especially my body composition–in particular as it relates to me looking good naked and being healthy. But if I had to choose between being having Reg Park/Louis Cyr/etc levels of strength and the world’s best physique, I’d go with the strength 10/10 times. 🙂
    Yeah, I hate being weak.

    • Renato says:

      If you’re build like Steve Reeves you are not weak. Doesn’t happen.
      Besides that, it’s relative.
      Strong for what? Lift a weight?
      A fight?
      There are so many variables.

      And for functionality you don’t need power-lifting strength.
      That’s total bull crap.

      And Louis Cyr ?
      Never would I want to be a person with such a physique.

  • Cory says:

    LOOL!!! He kind of just made these guys look stupid. Practice what you Preach bro.

  • Hamza says:

    Hi bret, what about hip thrust (vs squat/dl) for athletics purpose (sprinting mainly). Thx

  • Renato says:

    Showing the pictures of women’s large butts , doesn’t convince me of this exercise being something for men.
    What man wants to have a large ass as a goal?
    Not me.

    Trying to convince the crowd with pictures of big round ‘booties’ might be great for women who have flat gluteus muscles.
    But you cant’serve both crowds. Men and women.
    In esthetical ways that is.

  • Nadine says:

    Great response Bret! So polite and to the point! impressive!

  • George Locke says:

    Chris Duffin made a follow up video about why he thinks you can’t get full hip extension on the hip thrust. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WL555imxB5M

    He does a demonstration that he says explains his belief, and it’s, umm, not very… informative. In the demonstration, he takes a strap and attaches it on one end to a rack and the other end is held by a person. He then puts a clip in the center of the band and attaches weight to it; in this analogy, the bend at the clip represents the hips. He then shows that if you apply tension to the band, the weight will rise, but it will never go above vertical. Ergo, the hip thrust can’t create hip extension….. Anyone with a rudimentary sense of biomechanics can see that this analogy is worse than useless. The digestive byproducts of certain barnyard animals come to mind.

    In this analogy, you’re extending the “hips” by pulling on the strap – applying outward tension to the ends – which is like imagining that your glutes work by yanking up on your head and down on your feet. Cuz that makes sense. The magnitude of this error makes me doubt the usefulness of Duffin’s commentary in general; I’ve seen him wearing a shirt that says, “trust me I’m an engineer,” and I just hope he’s not a mechanical engineer. (I happen to have degrees in physics, so perhaps I’m overly sensitive.)

    I wrote up my criticisms, trying for more diplomacy, in a comment on youtube: No amount of tension on the strap is going to make the center of the strap higher than the ends, yet you can hyperextend your hips during a glute bridge. How? Your glutes apply torque across the hips.

    There is no relevant analogy between the body and the strap. During a deadlift, you don’t extend your hips by pulling up on your head and down on your feet. You do it by applying torque across the hips (and knees). You can’t apply that kind of torque to the strap because it’s floppy. Your thighs aren’t floppy: there’s your femur. If your core is tight, then your torso is going to be rigid as well. So, when your glutes try and pull your thighs behind your spine, the result is hyperextension of the hips.

    A better analogy would be this: put your elbow on the arm of a chair and your fingertips on a table. If you allow your hand and arm to relax, your wrist will extend, falling below the plane of the table and pointing toward the ground. Now, make your hand rigid and flex your wrist; the wrist rises above the table, and now it’s pointing upwards. If you tie a weight to your wrist, this is still possible. (Your wrist flexors are the glutes in this analogy, applying torque across the joint.)

    Keep the core firm and apply torque across the back of the hips: your hips will extend.

    • Yep, it’s so illogical. If you’ve ever done the hip thrust, you can feel your glutes pushing you up until you can no longer extend; you run out of ROM in the capsule and are fighting against your body. His example was a terrible example of engineering. Sucks because I’ve met Chris and he’s a cool (and giant) dude, but this isn’t good science.

  • George Locke says:

    Ryan Lingenfelser has written something of a mea culpa: http://www.rdlfitness.com/why-i-was-wrong-and-some-lessons/

    “I created dogma that revealed itself in everything I wrote. …I would then criticize anything beyond it. This had me ignoring overwhelming evidence contradicting my views.”

    Good on him!

    (PS: LingenfeLser not feiser)

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