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Bret "Glute Guy" Contreras PhD

I Build Glutes! PhD, CSCS Owner @glutelabofficial Click on the link for: Booty by Bret Glute Training Products Personalized Programming

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Glute Lab

Most people drastically overcomplicate things in strength & conditioning. If a certain style of training works best to build muscle while you’re consuming a lot of calories, doesn’t it stand to reason that that same style of training would also work best to preserve muscle while you’re cutting calories? Set and rep schemes and rest periods don’t change depending on whether you’re bulking or cutting. When you lose a lot of weight you’ll usually lose some absolute strength on compound barbell lifts, but you’ll usually gain some relative strength on bodyweight movements. For optimal fat loss (and muscle retention), strive to maintain as much strength as possible while dieting down, drop calories gradually, consume around 1 gram per pound of lean bodymass per day of protein, and up your walking and cardio. Don’t switch up the way you lift.

Glute Lab

Try this 8/8/8/8/8 glute burnout at the end of your workout or on an off day. Go light and do this three times with 90-sec rest between sets. You’re going to do 8 reps of 5 different exercise variations as follows: 1️⃣Wide-stance knee-banded barbell hip thrust 2️⃣Narrow abducted knee-banded barbell hip thrust 3️⃣Narrow barbell hip thrust 4️⃣Top hip thrust abduction 5️⃣Bottom hip thrust abduction You all love these burnouts, but just because you feel the glutes burn like crazy doesn’t mean they’re more effective for hypertrophy than progressive overload using heavy weight. So don’t neglect the basics! @katiecrewe how did I do with the miming lol - I learned it from watching you!

Glute Lab

There’s a reason why strength coaches don’t have their athletes do brand new workouts every day of the month - it’s not effective. I wish it were true, as going to the gym and choosing a few random exercises on the fly is fun. It’s also not mentally taxing since you don’t have to psyche yourself up for personal records or engage in progressive overload. Unfortunately, it’s not optimal as doing random workouts doesn’t put increasing amounts of tension on the muscles, which is the key driver of hypertrophy. This is why your coach likely has you buckling down and performing the same workouts for 3-6 weeks at a time. It’s also why he or she probably doesn’t switch things up drastically every month. Although it’s not sexy, variations of squats, split squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts, push ups, pull ups, bench press, overhead press, rows, and dips pack the biggest punch and grow your muscles best. What if your goal is fat loss? Eat at a caloric deficit, consume ample protein, walk a lot, and train the exact same way in the gym so you keep your muscles and lose mostly fat for weight loss. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Glute Lab

21’s have been popular with bodybuilders for decades – mainly with biceps training. But you can also use the 21 methodology for glutes by performing 7 reps in the bottom half range of motion, 7 reps in the top half range of motion, and 7 reps with full range of motion. In this video, I’m having @jamiederevere demonstrate barbell hip thrusts, goblet squats, 45-degree hypers, cable kickbacks, and extra range side-lying hip abductions. Only 3 reps of each are shown in order to fit them all into the 1-minute video, but normally you do 7 reps of bottom half, 7 reps of top half, and 7 full range reps. Actually, with vertical hip extension exercises, I like to stick to this pattern, but with horizontal and lateral movements, I perform the top half before the bottom half. I believe @benbrunotraining first came up with this. Of course, you can perform them in whatever order you like and for whatever reps you prefer. These are performed in the middle or the end of the workout, and they lead to a serious glute burn and pump. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Glute Lab

One major mistake that lifters make is pushing through excessive levels of pain and discomfort and failing to pay attention to warning signals in the gym. It took me many years to really listen to my body and make adjustments to my training when needed. On May 4th, I made a post on training around back pain, and now I’m tackling training around knee pain. If you have to down four ibuprofen pills, warm up for 30 minutes, slather Icy Hot onto your knees, and wear knee wraps just to not wince in pain every time you squat up and down, you should take a break from squatting. Since pain inhibits muscle activation, you’ll never reach your true potential if you’re always hurting. A better approach is to avoid going heavy on the movements on the left, and instead, perform movements on the right that feel good for your body for higher reps. It’s hard to make blanket recommendations for knee issues because there are many structures in the knee which require different training strategies. Nevertheless, you will absolutely find a few exercises that feel good. Many times, you will figure out cool new exercise variations and strengthen weaknesses which will allow you to make continuous forward progress once your knees are feeling better. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: You don’t want to be jacked at 30 and broken at 40. The goal is to look and feel good when you’re 80, too.

Glute Lab

It seems like yesterday when I first began teaching people how to hip thrust out of my Scottsdale garage gym. Back then, my main concern was making sure people raised the hips as high as possible into hip hyperextension. Every once in a while, someone would complain about back pain during hip thrusts, and this was almost always due to hyperextending the lumbar spine. Barbell hip thrust technique has evolved considerably since I first thought them up. In the past year and a half, I've had thousands of people come in and out of my doors at Glute Lab to train their glutes and hone their hip thrust. Not a single individual has experienced pain or injury with the new form; it works like magic. Last weekend, 75 attendees showed up for a seminar at Glute Lab. Out of all the volunteers who hip thrusted, it took me just one rep to perfect their form. Out of all the main lifts, it's the easiest to teach by a landslide. Just follow these steps. 1️⃣Raise the barbell off the ground to the top position 2️⃣"Walk" the shoulder blades into place (align the lower scaps with the bench) and adjust the feet so the shins are vertical when at the top of the movement 3️⃣Lower down to the bottom position, going as far down as possible without sliding down and losing back position on the bench 4️⃣This is your "start" position - the scaps and feet are in their proper place and the torso is oriented forward at around a 65 degree angle relative to the horizontal 5️⃣Keeping the head forward, move mostly from the sternum down, extending the hips and posteriorly tilting the pelvis 6️⃣Use your glutes to raise the bar until the hips run out of range of motion (full hip extension is reached), pause for a brief moment, then return to the start position 7️⃣Whether or not you touch the plates to the ground on each rep depends on your height, anthropometry, and the height of the bench. Touch down if you can keep your back position on the bench, but if it causes you to slide downwards, reverse the direction of the bar in mid-air instead. Give this a try, your low back and glutes will thank you!

Glute Lab

It’s a shame that I even have to make this post because to many people, this information is obvious. Nevertheless, one of the most common training mistakes I see is inconsistent ranges of motion with certain exercises. Movements like the bench press, deadlift, chin-up, and military press have inherent start and end points. You begin off the ground and stand up straight, or you touch the chest then rise until the arms are fully extended, etc. With the squat and hip thrust, however, discipline is required. You have to make sure you descend to the same depth each rep (this applies to squats and thrusts) and rise to the same height each rep (this applies to thrusts). I commonly see people squat deep during their first few reps then get progressively shallower as they near the end of the set or as they move up in weight during subsequent sets. Or they teach full hip extension with their warm up sets of hip thrusts but stop a couple of inches short during their working sets. Why is this so important? Because progressive overload is imperative for maximum muscle growth, and this only occurs when you get stronger while using the same form and same range of motion. You need to pattern your squat and hip thrust such that you use the same technique and move the bar through the same distance during your lightest set and heaviest set and during your first rep of a set and last rep of a set. Only then will you truly know if you got stronger, set a real PR, and achieved true progressive overload.

Sometimes I post things about getting jacked and people get mad in the comments because they’re thinking more in terms of health. Well, these are two different strategies. If you want to live your longest, focus on the things on the left. These all appear to have good evidence behind them in the literature. However, if you want to be lean and muscular, focus on the things on the right. Notice that there’s not much overlap between the two lists. Being healthy and living long have more to do with social connectedness and managing stress. Being jacked requires more protein and lifting weights. I realize that this is obvious to most of us. And it’s quite possible to be lean and muscular most of your life and have a long lifespan (the two aren’t mutually exclusive). Please understand that my research interests are on the right and my page is more about getting swole. I also care about your health and longevity, but I spend more time learning and teaching strength and conditioning because it’s my hobby and is what I enjoy most.

Glute Lab

Glute Lab Seminar is finished! 75 people attended from 10 different countries including USA, Canada, Russia, Italy, China, Costa Rica, Scotland, Mexico, Honduras, and Ukraine! It was an honor spending the past two days with you, I appreciate your attendance.

Glute Lab

@carlinisles is the world's fastest rugby player and has one of the most exciting highlight reels out there. He runs a 4.1 second 40 yard dash! I embedded a video of him in a blogpost I wrote several years ago on training for speed. When training athletes, the main thing you want to avoid is performing a lot of grinding reps. You can go heavy, but the reps still need to be somewhat fast. And you should employ some explosive stuff too. Last night, Carlin came to Glute Lab to train with me. He already has some serious glute size and strength, which makes sense. Here's what we did: Barbell hip thrusts - he's been hip thrusting for quite some time but never with the ribs down and with an emphasis on posterior pelvic tilt. We did 3 sets of 8-12 reps Explosive band 45 degree hypers - these are done with the band around the neck and with a neutral foot and spine to hit the entire posterior chain. We did 3 sets of 8-12 reps Explosive partner high step ups - these are done in a rhythmic fashion with an emphasis on rapidly reversing the bottom range of motion in the stretch. We did 2 sets of 15 reps with each leg Nordic ham curls - these are too easy for him LOL so I provided manual resistance against his back to enhance the eccentric phase. We did 3 sets of 3 reps Extra range side lying hip raises - he'd never done these before and his glutes were screaming for mercy. The goal is to get as high as possible on each rep. We did 1 set of 15 reps and called it a night I don't get a chance to train many sport athletes so this was fun for me. And hopefully it gives some of my strength coach fans out there some food for thought. Thanks for stopping by Carlin, you're a legend!

Glute Lab

Back extensions and reverse hypers are similar movement patterns. They’re both horizontally loaded straight leg hip hinge exercises. For this reason, one would assume that they would involve similar levels of muscle activation and joint motions. This study, recently published in The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, compared the two exercises and showed a slight advantage for glutes and hammies for the back extension. However, the reverse hyper had more movement at the hips and less movement at the lumbar spine. One flaw with the study is the way they equated loads. The reverse hyper has a longer lever arm than the back extension, so it would have been better to have equated hip extension torque instead of loads. Regardless, the results of this study are in line with my EMG research using much heavier loads. We perform many different back extension and reverse hyper variations at Glute Lab. They’re incredible glute builders. I usually throw them into the middle of a workout since they’re not quite as conducive to progressive overload and lower rep ranges as squat, deadlift, and hip thrust variations.

Glute Lab

One of the most challenging aspects to grasp in strength and physique training is the disentanglement of mechanical and metabolic stimuli. With so many individuals wanting to shed body fat, it’s easy to get caught in the trap of always trying to burn the most calories during a workout. On the surface, this makes sense. However, assuming you’re at a reasonable bodyweight, the more important factor to focus on is the mechanical stimulus. If you consistently put more tension on the muscles, they will grow and you will become a denser unit. You must provide your body with the chemical signals to favorably adapt - in this case, mechanotransduction. You will gradually burn fat in the “problem areas” and gain shape in the “right areas”. It is quite possible to build a strong and amazing physique without ever fully challenging yourself metabolically. In other words, you don’t have to be gasping for air or lying in a puddle of sweat in between sets and after the workout. Sure, you can get lean this way, but you will not obtain optimal results in muscular shape. It’s akin to filling up your gas tank every morning and trying your hardest to end the day on empty - it’s unnecessary and gets exhausting over time. A better strategy is to keep some fuel in the tank but focus on building a bigger engine. This way, your muscles will be working for you around the clock. Whether you’re walking, doing chores, going about your daily life, and lifting weights, you’ll need more calories to do so if you have 20 extra pounds of muscle on your frame. In addition, your workouts will be more challenging, which creates more damage and requires more calories for repair. Sweating and fatigue are overrated; getting a pump and feeling the burn are overrated; being sore is overrated; progressive overload is underrated and reigns supreme. Rest adequately in between sets and focus on getting stronger over time.

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