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Attention Faithful Blogreaders,

I’m switching from http://www.BretContreras.Wordpress.com to http://www.BretContreras.com. In about a week I’ll just automatically redirect traffic from the old site to the new site, but I thought I’d give people some time to update their bookmarks and the like.

On the new site, I’m offering a free 17-page report on the glutes, so definitely check it out! This report provides some good information as well as two pictures of the “Glute Girl of the Year.” Her name is Allie Daniels, she’s a Canadian Fitness Model, and her booty is quite the spectacle.

So head on over to www.BretContreras.com and check out the new site. It’s just a fancier version of the old site but I really like it.

-Bret

 

Allie Daniels: Glute Girl of the Year 2010

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New Announcement: BC to NZ!

I wanted to post a couple of quick announcements for my readers.

1. BC to NZ

It’s funny how things work out. On a Friday night in mid-August I stumbled upon a study by Matt Brughelli on the biomechanics of sprinting. I was supposed to meet up with friends that night but instead I found myself reading the full paper twice, then composing an email to two of the authors. One of the authors was John Cronin. To make a long story short, I spoke to John on Skype, we hit it off, and now I’m going to be leaving in less than two months to go to New Zealand to get my PhD.

I’ll be attending Auckland University of Technology (AUT), which is in my opinion the best college in the world for strength training and biomechanics when you consider the academic rigor, the professors, the vision, culture, and environment. I leave in the beginning of February and my program will be full-time for three years.

On the one hand, I’m ecstatic since I’ll be surrounded by some of the world’s most intelligent folks in regards to strength and sport training. I’m excited to make friends and engage in discussions with other professors and PhD students from other parts of the world. I’m excited to formulate my plan and get started on my thesis. And I can’t wait to soak up knowledge so I can become a better researcher. There is no other individual who I’d rather serve as my mentor than John Cronin.

On the other hand, I’m scared out of my mind to leave my family and friends. I’ve never ventured far from home, and I’m a bit of a momma’s boy. I have the greatest family anyone could ask for. My favorite day of the week is Sunday because me, my twin brother, my sister, and my niece usually visit my mother in the afternoon and my father in the evening. We watch tv, pig out, go swimming or hit up the jacuzzi, and go see movies. I also have a group of friends who I love to death. When I’m around my friends, it’s non-stop ripping on eachother, which I’ll really miss.

But I’m trying to focus on my future and the fact that Skype makes it very easy to stay in contact with loved ones even if you’re half-way across the world. And the fact that I’ll be in New-Freakin’ Zealand!

2. Review Paper on Spinal Flexion

My graduate-level Biomechanics class is coming to an end and I have to submit my review paper. I’ve been working for the last several weeks like crazy on a review paper on spinal flexion exercises. Actually I collaborated with a colleague of mine (Brad Schoenfeld) who is a research-machine and we’re going to get it published. I think I’ve read around 200 full papers in the past few weeks and I realize that I thoroughly enjoy researching. But I’m ready to be done with this paper! I now know more about disc degeneration than I ever thought possible! Anyway it takes a long time for an article to be published so you’ll have to sit tight. But this is a very good paper which I’m sure will be a popular journal article when the time comes.

3. What Makes a Great Trainer?

I’ve spent all this time talking about research, which begs the question: What makes a trainer great? Should personal trainers be devouring research?

The most important thing is your personality and attitude. Clients won’t like you if they can tell you don’t care about them. Clients also won’t like you if you don’t motivate them or inspire them to be better. The next most important thing is your ability to deliver results. Clients won’t want to leave you if they know that no other trainer can get them looking better than you!

These two things are the most important facets of being a good trainer. Here are some other important considerations. You need to work out. How will you know if a new exercise works if you aren’t in good shape to test it out? How will you evolve as a trainer if you can’t test out new pieces of equipment, new programs, and new methods? A side effect of training hard is that you’ll look good, which shows that you “walk the walk.” This is important to many clients.

You also need to read. In my earlier years as a trainer I focused solely on reading sites like TNation and Elitefts as well as books/manuals from guys like Eric Cressey, Kelly Baggett, etc. I also read dozens of “classics” such as Supertraining, The Charlie Francis Training System, The Science and Practice of Strength Training, Brawn, Dinosaur Training, etc. Now I read mostly journal research but I always take the time to read the articles and blogs of my favorite coaches. There are good coaches with years of experience who take the time to write articles and books, film DVD’s, speak at seminars, etc. You gain insight from these coaches experiences which would otherwise take you years to glean on your own.

Finally, you need to train a lot of people. You get good at training and delivering results from training! No matter how busy I’ve been in my life, I always train other clients for at least a couple hours per day. There were times when I trained others for ten hours per day, but that doesn’t allow you to read and learn from outside sources (since you’re also so busy writing so many programs). There’s an optimal balance that should be reached if you want to maximize your effectiveness as a trainer.

As for the researchers; some of them couldn’t coach their way out of a wet paper bag. This applies to many physical therapists too. But this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t listen to them. Their input is invaluable. They force us to grow and evolve. They’re the ones who make huge impacts on our training methodology. As you evolve as a trainer you’ll likely find yourself reading more and more research. But you shouldn’t start there – you wouldn’t understand any of it and it would be a waste of time. I have trouble understanding a lot of the research I read and I’m a 4.0 graduate student!

We’re all part of a big family – the sport coaches, personal trainers, strength coaches, athletic trainers, manual therapists, physical therapists, researchers, professors, biomechanists, and exercise physiologists. And we all need each other! I’m excited to take on multiple roles as a trainer and researcher.

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Attention readers, I just wanted to give you all a quick update. I don’t think I’ve ever been this busy in my entire life. My blog takes up a ton of time, especially the Good Reads for the Week posts, as does coming up with a few good topics each week. I’m working on several different articles right now for various websites and publications. I just got asked to write a bonus section for a top strength coach’s eBook. I’m conducting a comprehensive literature review for the book that I’m currently working on, which could actually take years if I let it (it’s actually overwhelming how much good stuff I found in the past couple months). I picked up a couple of new regular clients and a few new online clients (it’s crazy…I’m actually turning clients away). I started taking a grad-level Biomechanics course (which I absolutely love as I’m a math-guy to the bone). When I was buying my book for the course, I decided to purchase two extra textbooks which I’m slowly working my way through. I still lift weights 5-6 days per week and am gaining strength due to a badass new strength program I created (which is surprising to me since my sleep hasn’t been that great). And, I’m applying to one of the best PhD programs in the world right now.

So I ask that you please be lenient if I fall back a bit on my blogging or fail to reply to a comment. With regular email, text messaging, Facebook emails, Twitter direct messages, Youtube messages, private messages on forums, and blog comments, I find myself spending a lot of time trying to answer everyone’s questions. I do my best to keep up but sometimes I fall behind. I promise you one thing: the new knowledge I’m gaining can only equate to better blogs, articles, and products in the future.

Year in Review

Last year at this time, nobody in the strength & conditioning profession knew who Bret Contreras was. I was a closet-forum lurker, an anonymous reader, and a behind-the-scenes trainer. I decided to take a risk and close up my studio to see if people would like to hear what I had to say as a writer. It was just around a year ago today when I got my first article published on StrengthCoach.Com. Soon after I got my popular Dispelling the Glute Myth article published on TMuscle.Com. Although 18 years of lifting weights, 12 years of personal training, and thousands of hours reading and being in the trenches preceded my first article, in exactly one year I’ve delivered 30 articles, 13 blog interviews, 3 audio interviews, 1 guest blog, and 89 blogposts to my fans. That’s 135 different “things.” In the process, I accumulated 2,047 Facebook friends, 379 Twitter followers, and 690 Youtube channel subscribers. My blog readership has reached an all-time high as well, reaching almost 50,000 views for the month of August (and it’s only Aug 22 right now…there are 9 more days left in the month). Needless to say, I’ve been a busy little bee.

The bodybuilding crowd and the sport-specific training crowd have both taken a liking to my work. I’ve helped popularize new exercises (hip thrusts, barbell glute bridges, single leg hip thrusts, pendulum donkey kicks, pendulum quadruped hip extensions, band hip rotations, band seated abductions), spread new terminology (load vectors – anteroposterior, axial, lateromedial, torsional), and helped trainers and lifters better understand glute training (6 categories of hip extension exercise based on load vectors and knee action). Finally, I’ve made a ton of new friends in the form of personal trainers, strength coaches, editors, and even a couple of researchers.

So all-in-all I’m very proud of the last year. I guess you could say that 2009-2010 was my break-out year. I still have many goals that are unfulfilled. In the future, I promise to continue to bust my ass in order to give you top-notch information. If all goes well, I’m going to really step it up this year and up the ante in order to take my learning to the next level. Thank you very much to all my readers for giving me more purpose in life.

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Joint-Friendly Training

A few days ago I recieved the Joint-Friendly Training DVD’s that I ordered from Nick Tumminello. I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed a product on my site before, so you know that I don’t just promote anything and everything (I do enough of that in my good reads blogposts :)). Before I get started, I want to inform you that I make no commission off of any sales.

I give this product two thumbs up, five stars, and double rainbows! Seriously, it’s an amazing freakin’ DVD-set. I recommend it to all lifters, personal trainers, strength coaches, and physical therapists. This DVD-set fills a much needed gap in our profession. The 2-DVD set discusses “joint-friendly training” and is perfect for those who want to minimize risk while still getting a good workout, those who have “bad joints” and need to train around them, and those who train others and want to learn effective strategies for training around injuries and pain.

Here are some of the more unique reasons why I love the DVD set:

1. Nick is a hell of a speaker. You can tell he knows his shit when you listen to him speak.

2. Nick knows his gym and his equipment. This is something that I appreciate very much and can relate to so well. I’ve been training people for so many years now that I start to think that I know everything. It’s so great to have guys like Nick show you stuff you never thought about and add ammunition to your arsenal. You can tell when someone’s a good trainer when they know how to maximize their space and tools and get creative in training. Nick is one of the best in the business in this regard; perhaps the best. I’ve heard Nick say in the past that he’s only the expert on one thing; his clients. I’d have to disagree with Nick. He’s also the expert on his gym and his equipment. It’s not very often that someone thinks of something that I hadn’t thought of with basic fitness equipment, but Nick had me saying on a couple of occasions; “Now why in the hell didn’t I think of that?”

3. The DVD set exudes quality. The graphics are great and the information is very comprehensive. Nick shows effective exercises that spare the knees, low back, shoulders, and more. He even discusses joint-friendly conditioning.

4. Nick “gets it.” That’s one of the highest compliments I can pay to someone.

If you want to purchase the Joint-Friendly Training DVD set, click here.

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Switching It Up

Hello blog readers! My blog has steadily continued to grow in readership since I first started blogging in November and has reached an all-time high. On a side note, my first blogpost might be the best I ever wrote for trainers in this industry. In case you never read it, check it out.

Moving on, I get a lot of feedback from people on my blog. Many have grown to love the longer format but it appears that the majority find my blogs overwhelming. I am going to start posting more frequent blogs with shorter topics. If I think of several things in one day so be it; I’ll post 3 blogs in one day. I’m going to start offering several types of blogposts:

1. Regular topics including random thoughts, new exercise ideas, concepts, programs, etc.
2. Interviews and guest blogs
3. Reviews of journal studies, conferences, presentations, etc.
4. “Oh Really?” – this will be a new thing I’m going to be doing regularly where I politely and respectfully disagree with the experts
5. “Good Reads for the Week” – this will be a weekly thing where I post links to good articles, blogs, and videos

I hope you like the new style!

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