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Bret "Glute Guy" Contreras PhD

Bio PhD Sports Science CSCS,*D Author Lecturer Inventor @the_hip_thruster Owner @theglutelab Founder Booty by Bret Click below for programs and products:

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The sole reason for this post is to show off two sets from last week that I am very proud of. 1st video: Angled Smith Machine Hip Thrust 585 lbs x 20 reps 2nd video: Glute Drive Hip Thrust 690 lbs x 10 reps I’m 42 years old and still striving for PR’s. I’m just more selective with the exercises I choose to overload.

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Friendship Goal: Find someone who will do synchronized db frog pumps with you. 150 lbs x 50 reps with @katiesonier.

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* The 10/10/10/10/10 Circuit * I don’t think there are many bros who could even do this lol, but just adapt the loads to your strength levels. Here @katiesonier hits the following in succession: 🔹 Hip Thrust 405 lbs x 10 315 lbs x 10 225 lbs x 10 🔹 Sumo Deadlift 225 lbs x 10 🔹 Db Walking Lunge 100 lbs (pair of 50’s) x 10 steps (5 per leg)

 image by Bret "Glute Guy" Contreras PhD (@bretcontreras1) with caption : "When in Rome, take a swolfie! Training 6 days per week lately and digging it. 💪🏽 250 lbs 
#gluteguy" - 1894046925026442749
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When in Rome, take a swolfie! Training 6 days per week lately and digging it. 💪🏽 250 lbs

 Instagram Image by Bret "Glute Guy" Contreras PhD (@bretcontreras1) with caption : "I think many of you may find this interesting. My buddy @drnadolsky and I have been experimenting lately. We wanted to k" at Glute Lab - 1893428050354105320
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I think many of you may find this interesting. My buddy @drnadolsky and I have been experimenting lately. We wanted to know what would happen if we quit squatting and deadlifting and just did hip thrusts, leg extensions, and leg curls. We’ve been doing it for a month and 1) we feel amazing, 2) we have no knee or back pain, 3) we have noticed no decrements in leg or glute mass, in fact we feel like we may be gaining in these muscles, 4) we have more in the tank for upper body training than usual, and 5) we’re getting strong AF at these 3 lifts. The point of this post is NOT to try to convince anyone to try this. I program squat and deadlift variations for nearly all of my in person and online clients. They’ve been my bread and butter lifts for twenty years. But if you’re feeling extra beat up lately, you may want to give it a try. It’s refreshing to know that you won’t shrivel up if you aren’t hitting squats and deads. Also some people get pain with hip thrusts, with leg extensions, or with leg curls, so training must always be modified to the individual.

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This pyramid (thanks @helms3dmj for the idea) provides a logical framework for showcasing the relative importance of the mechanisms that contribute to growing muscle based on the work of @bradschoenfeldphd. As you can see, the bulk of your gains will come from placing increasing amounts of tension on the muscles. This is achieved by progressively overloading your training sessions. You need to be doing more over time - more weight, more reps, more sets, etc. But getting stronger doesn’t always mean that the targeted muscle is receiving a greater tension stimulus. You could fail to do so by altering your technique, using momentum, skimping on range of motion, and/or relying more on other muscles to do the job. This is why the mind muscle connection must be utilized in concert with progressive overload. One strategy without the other is inferior. You must mentally focus on the muscle you’re trying to grow in order to see maximum hypertrophic results. The lion’s share of your efforts in the gym need to be centered on setting different kinds of PRs (low rep records, high rep records, volume records, etc.) while keeping the same stellar form month in and month out. You can theoretically achieve even better results by adding in some methods to target pathways involved in metabolic stress and muscle damage. But don’t get carried away with these as it’s tempting to place too much emphasis on getting a pump, feeling the burn, or being sore as hell. Some muscle scientists believe that there is only one mechanism that causes muscles to grow - tension. Their model is depicted in the second image (swipe left). Nobody can say for sure which model is correct as of yet, but the point of this post is to focus your efforts on the most important aspects of muscle building. Soon I will summarize a recent article published by Brad and colleagues that discusses the first line sensors and signals involved in skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Bottom line - we don’t know squat and have much to learn and rule out before we can tease out the optimal ways to train for muscle growth. Until then, it makes sense to use model as a framework but that’s just my opinion.

 Instagram Image by Bret "Glute Guy" Contreras PhD (@bretcontreras1) with caption : "Don’t get me wrong, I love the pump and I love feeling the burn. Up until 12 years ago, however, I had never felt a burn" at Glute Lab - 1891359220828156791
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Don’t get me wrong, I love the pump and I love feeling the burn. Up until 12 years ago, however, I had never felt a burn or obtained a pump in my glutes. Regardless, they had grown markedly larger from simply getting stronger at squats, deadlifts, leg press, lunges, and back extensions. Many of my clients who possess the best glute development rarely get sore from their workouts. And many of them rest a great deal in between sets and don’t pant or sweat as much as the average gym-goer. But these same clients are strong AF and train for progressive overload. When I first started working with @tawnaeubanksmccoy, I had her ditch all the back exercises that she was doing and solely focus on chin ups. She went from performing 1 repetition to 10 reps in just a few months and her back got noticeably more muscular, despite the reduction in volume and variety. Start prioritizing getting stronger and setting PRs (personal records) over the pump, the burn, and feeling exhausted and your muscles will grow.

 Instagram Image by Bret "Glute Guy" Contreras PhD (@bretcontreras1) with caption : "Exactly twelve years ago today (October 10, 2006), I thought up the loaded hip thrust in my garage gym. I was watching U" at Glute Lab - 1887603291045259848
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Exactly twelve years ago today (October 10, 2006), I thought up the loaded hip thrust in my garage gym. I was watching UFC fights (@titoortiz1999 was ground and pounding @kenshamrockofficial) and I decided there should be a heavy, full-range exercise to strengthen the glutes in a bridge pattern. The first idea involved a glute ham developer, reverse hyper, and dip belt. This led to the db hip thrust, double dumbbell hip thrust, band hip thrust, single leg hip thrust, barbell glute bridge, barbell hip thrust, and combined barbell plus band hip thrust. Now there’s a million good variations! I’ve used many pieces of equipment over the years. From the Skorcher (my first invention), to a bench, to aerobics steps with risers, to @the_hip_thruster, to the @bootybuilder.official, to @theglutebuilder, to the smith machine, to thruster benches, to the @glutedrive. It’s been a fun journey seeing the hip thrust rise in popularity and become commonly utilized in gyms around the world. I hope in 8 more years (20 year anniversary) we have hip thrust machines in every gym so we won’t have to load all these damn plates onto a bar and hog all the benches lol.

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Every 4 weeks, I design new, full body workouts with an emphasis on the glutes. The workouts are comprehensive and are sure to hit the glutes from all the angles. If you want to build your best butt possible, then join Booty by Bret. It’s just $29.95 and you get PDFs of your program, video tutorials of the workouts, and access to an exercise instruction library. I’m pretty sure you’ll love it. Glute Guy has you covered. Click on the live link in my profile to join.

 Instagram Image by Bret "Glute Guy" Contreras PhD (@bretcontreras1) with caption : "Several years ago, @mountaindog1 was talking about doing leg curls before squats. He said they just felt better when he " at Glute Lab - 1886298599862478321
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Several years ago, @mountaindog1 was talking about doing leg curls before squats. He said they just felt better when he did this. People who did hip thrusts and glute activation work before squats were saying the same thing. @biolayne would do a big glute squeeze before he descended into a squat; he felt more powerful when he did this. Bodybuilders “pre-exhaust” a muscle to make sure it gets fully worked during compound movements, but studies showed the opposite. For example, if you perform flies or cable crossovers prior to bench press, your pecs don’t activate more, but your front delts and triceps do. ⁣⁣ ⁣ Two years ago, I performed leg curls prior to back extensions, and I couldn’t complete my normal 3 sets of 30 reps. I could only perform 3 sets of 20 reps because my glutes were cramping so bad. Last week, I performed leg extensions and leg curls before frog pumps and got the biggest glute burn of my life. ⁣Recently @alex.sterner has been performing calf raises before Nordic ham curls because it causes him to feel more hammy. What am I getting at here? All of these things have me thinking about potentiation and inhibition during resistance training. ⁣We need research to pinpoint the precise mechanisms that contribute towards these sensations. The nervous system can detect fatigue and steer neural drive to synergistic muscles. @megan.kineticadvantage has some brand new data on this. Pumped up muscles that are engorged with blood can alter mechanics. Pre-activation can acutely increase EMG activity or diminish it if too much fatigue sets in. Simply performing an exercise before a compound lift can make that lift “feel better” by increasing body temperature and mobility. Some of this could also be due to placebo effect. ⁣ ⁣ I encourage you to experiment along these lines. If you haven’t already, try performing low load glute activation or leg curls prior to squats, deadlifts, or back extensions. Try fatiguing the hamstrings, quads, and/or adductors prior to frog pumps or glute bridges. Try performing hip thrusts last in a lower body workout in a fatigued state with lighter loads. ⁣See if any of these tricks help you feel more glutes.

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Most of you are underdoing it on effort and overdoing it on volume. This is my glute workout from Monday night. I did 6 total sets - that’s it. But I hammered those sets so hard I was completely wiped out. I do 6 more sets for glutes on Thursday nights and it’s all I can recover from if I train this hard per set. Most of my female clients do around 36 sets a week for glutes. Some do less and some do more. I do 12 sets lately. But my glutes are growing because I’m gaining strength and exposing the muscles to increasing levels of tension. Smith hip thrust 12 plates x 16 reps 14 plates x 8 reps 16 plates x 2 reps 10 plates x 20 reps Seated hip abduction Stack x 40 reps Stack x 40 reps Many of you are doing so many sets but it’s mostly junk volume. Sets that don’t create a hypertrophic stimulus. I have clients come to me bragging how they do 30 sets of glutes 4 times per week and when I train them they’re crushed from 12 sets in one hour because I push them to the max on those sets. I’m not saying you should just do 12 sets a week or that you should take every set to utter failure. I’m merely suggesting to stop worshipping volume and start focusing more on setting PRs and doing the proper amount of sets that allows you to fully recover and continue making gains. My buddy @bjgaddour does just 3-6 sets per week for hammies and has some of the best hamstrings this side of the Mississippi. I believe that women can and should do more volume than men, but if you’re doing 60+ sets per week for any muscle then you’re not pushing your sets hard enough and you’re just going through the motions. Less can be more in the weightroom if you up the intensity of effort, train closer to failure, and utilize progressive overload.

 image by Bret "Glute Guy" Contreras PhD (@bretcontreras1) with caption : "I can’t keep a plant alive even though there are only two variables (assuming good soil): sunlight and water. When a pla" - 1881774117130887140
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I can’t keep a plant alive even though there are only two variables (assuming good soil): sunlight and water. When a plant is dying, do I water it more or less, or do I give it more or less sunlight? Or maybe it’s a combination of the two. ⁣ ⁣ Human muscle physiology is much more complex. ⁣Many of you are failing to see progress in the gym and are wondering why you’ve seemingly plateaued. If your glute gains are stagnant, consider one of these 8 variables. ⁣ ⁣ 1️⃣EFFORT: Most people train hard in terms of raising their heart rate and sweating, but most don’t train hard when it comes to progression. To build muscle, you have to place increasing amounts of tension on the muscles over time. This requires you to gain strength and set PRs (personal records). ⁣ ⁣ 2️⃣TECHNIQUE: Proper mechanics sets the foundation for progressive overload. A PR is only a PR when the same form and range of motion is utilized. Make sure you focus on the muscle while you lift. ⁣ ⁣ 3️⃣PROTEIN: You want to consume around 1g of protein per 1lb of lean body mass per day. Many people fail to consume this amount. ⁣ ⁣ 4️⃣CALORIES: You’ve gotta feed the muscle to burn the fat. Food fuels intense workouts. I’m not saying you have to be in a massive surplus; I’m simply saying that you need energy to train properly. ⁣ ⁣ 5️⃣SLEEP: Sleep is necessary to repair muscle and energize you for your workouts. ⁣ ⁣ 6️⃣STRESS: You cannot gain muscle optimally if your stress is through the roof. Manage it. ⁣ ⁣ 7️⃣EXERCISE: I get it - you like to train. But many of you will never see ideal results because you’re exercising too much. You don’t see bodybuilders trying to juggle resistance training, aerobics classes, spin, yoga, Pilates, HIIT, running, and plyos. Train like a beast in the weight room in a well-fed and rested state, then go home and recover. Some additional exercise is okay, but there’s a clear interference effect if you go overboard. ⁣ ⁣ 8️⃣EXERCISE SELECTION: Do your hip thrusts and a few other glute exercises you love. ⁣ ⁣ Booty building is a 24/7 endeavor. Make sure you’re working hard on all aspects to put yourself in the best position to gain strength and muscle.