Archive for August, 2010

Today one of my clients brought her boyfriend along to get in a workout. I asked him how he normally trains and he said that he runs and does circuit training several days per week. Rather than put him through a “real workout,” I told him that I was going to write him a basic template and teach him how to use good form on the various exercises. He’s definitely a beginner so he doesn’t need any advanced exercises. By the time we finished, he was sweating up a storm, even though I hadn’t planned on pushing him very hard. Full body workouts are very metabolically demanding so they get you lean and strong at the same time.

In around 90 minutes, I was able to teach him how to do most of the exercises in the template. I kept quizzing him the whole time so he’d learn the template categories and the names of the exercises. He was lucky in that he had good joint mobility and decent levels of joint stability which allowed him to use good form on all exercises. All he needs is some good old fashioned strength. Below is what I wrote him. This template is very similar to what many other strength coaches use, which is a testament to it’s effectiveness.

Basic Workout Template

* If you can do more than 20 reps, it’s too light. Move up in resistance. Try to stay in the 6-12 rep range most of the time.
* Rest 60-120 seconds in between sets.
* Pick one exercise from each category. Pick different movements throughout the week.
* Perform 2-3 sets of each exercise.
* Perform the routine 2-4 days per week.
* Write down your workouts in a journal and try to move up in resistance or repetitions over time.

1. Quad Dominant Exercise – goblet squat, Bulgarian squat, step up, reverse lunge

2. Hip Dominant Exercise – Romanian deadlift, glute bridge, back extension, bird dog

3. Horizontal Press – push up, dumbbell bench press, dumbbell incline press, bench press, incline press

4. Horizontal Pull – one arm row, inverted row, chest supported row, seated row

5. Vertical Press – dumbbell military press, barbell military press

6. Vertical Pull – underhand grip pulldown, wide grip pulldown, chin up, parallel grip pull up, pull up

7. Anterior Core – front plank, stability ball rollout

8. Lateral or Rotary Core – side plank, Pallof press

That’s it! It looks so basic but this is all he needs at the moment. If you’re thinking about starting up a training regimen, this one is very effective and very well balanced. Keeping good strength balances is one of the keys to long-term lifting and longevity. Over time more advanced exercises and more variety can be incorporated into the routine but it’s important to get good at the basics first. There are lots of good exercises that I could have included such as single leg box squats, single leg RDL’s, standing cable rows, pull throughs, kettlebell swings, hip thrusts, Turkish get ups, farmer’s walks, sled pushes, landmines, face pulls, cable chops, and cable lifts, to name a few, but the point is to keep it simple up front and give people basic movements upon which they can progress. There’s plenty of time down the road for more movements and variety. This one will serve him well for several months.

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I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face. If you have a blog then get on Facebook and Twitter! If you believe in your work then you have nothing to hide! If you believe that your work will benefit people then you’re doing everyone a disservice by not utilizing free social networking to promote your free articles and expertise. If you’d like for your work to be showcased in my “Good Reads for the Week” blogposts, then make sure you’re my friend on Facebook. I scroll through FB every day and click on fitness-related links. If they’re good, I link them up. Furthermore, make sure you have a regular Facebook profile. I don’t click on fan-pages; I just don’t have the time. I look at regular newsfeeds and get my links that way. I think there are around 115 links for this week.

This article shows that fish oil improves metabolic syndrome

In this blog Vern Gambetta discusses experience vs. experiences.

In this blog Patrick Ward talks about forward scapular posture and posterior shoulder tightness.

In this blog Tim Eagerton talks about using a super treadmill in Frappier Acceleration training and shows a cool video.

Here’s a great read called “What’s wrong with the fitness industry.” I don’t know who wrote it…the guy goes by “relentless pt” and is obviously part of the RKC crowd and from Australia. I get annoyed when I can’t find who the damn author of a blog is, but this guy seems to know his stuff. The title should really be, “what’s wrong with the way people workout.”

In this blogpost Ben Bruno goes over inverted row progressions.

This article requires a membership to StrengthCoach.com, but if you’re a member it’s a great read by Kevin Neeld on the importance of leadership in coaching.

Here’s a great Elitefts article by Joe Kenn on “time.”

In this blog Alli McKee relays some good advice given by Martin Rooney.

Here’s a Mark Reifkind video that discusses the importance of the lats.

In this article Charlie Weingroff discusses whether dynamic neck training is necessary.

In this blog Charlie Weingroff tells us what he learned in 2010.

Here’s part II of Howard Gray’s excellent article on the responsibilities of a good coach.

Here’s a unique article by Ryan Johnson about tackling a tough talk.

In this blog Vern Gambetta talks about the specificity trap.

This website is dedicated to Gray Cook’s new book entitled Movement.

Here’s a good interview with Mike Young.

Here’s a quick and easy set up for a homemade wrist roller courtesy of the Diesel Crew.

In this blog Nick Tumminello provides a video that describes hip thrust technique with yours truly.

In this blog JRod talks about the push up and shows progressions and variations.

In this blog Mike Robertson discusses negativity and life.

In this blog Ben Bruno discusses his experience at the TPI seminar.

In this video Joe “I am not a Robot!” Bonyai shows how to progress to overhead pressing.

In this blog Chris Beardsley reviews Mike Boyle’s Functional Training for Sports book. Mike has since written two more books and has evolved in his methodology but if you want to know Mike’s philosophy it’s important to start here.

In this blog Vern Gambetta talks about the repercussions of dishing out false praise.

In this blog Mike Boyle advises writers to do their research before jumping to conclusions and uses a recent story involving creatine supplementation and rabdomyolysis as an example.

In this blog Vern Gambetta shows a cover of a brochure he used in 1992 (eighteen years ago) and discusses how it still represents his overall philosophy and how it’s stood the test of time.

Here’s a video of Jay Cutler, current Mr. Olympia holder, training quads eight weeks out from the Mr. Olympia competition.

In this video Joe “I move like a Gazelle” Bonyai shows some t-spine mobility drills.

Here’s Chuck Vogelpohl performing a 1,175 lb squat.

In this blog Eric Cressey discusses barefoot training and barefoot running.

In this blog Charlie Weingroff discusses post-shoulder rehab.

In this blog Robbie Bourke discusses low back rounding in deep squatting and offers some theories as to why it so frequently occurs.

Martin Rooney scores a slam dunk on this Elitefts article that talks about acceleration and deceleration. Must read!

Here is an awesome Mike Reinhold blog that talks about the 5 habits of top rehab professionals. These same habits apply to strength coaches. Another must read.

Here’s a good Men’s Health article on running.

Here’s a clip of James Toney preparing for his Randy Couture fight this weekend.

In this TMuscle article Dave Tate talks bulking and cutting. Freakin’ hilarious; especially the ending. How can you not love Dave Tate?

Here’s a good Keith Scott article on keeping long-term vision in mind.

In this blog Carson Boddicker talks about back to back workouts (two days in a row).

Here’s a Mark Young blog where he provides four cool links. First, he links three additional articles that deliver death blows to the “Systemic Hypertrophy from Compound Exercise Induced Hormone Surges” myth. Here’s the first one, here’s the second one, and here’s the third one. Finally, he links an article describing the steps to getting brainwashed.

The guy who’s blog Mark Young linked is named Anthony Colpo, and he’s smart as shit! I recommend reading his blog. In addition to the brainwashing article, here’s an article that you should read; it exposes the HCG diet scam.

Here’s a great Patrick Ward blog on heart-rate variability (HRV).

Here’s a good Bruce Kelly article on StrengthCoach.com (a membership site) that talks about reasons why you should lift free weights.

Here’s a great blog on the Major League Strength website that talks about acceleration vs. maximal speed. Lots of great articles this week on this topic (my Matt Brughelli interview, Martin Rooney’s article, and this article).

This is a great John Izzo blog about excuses, handicaps, and motivation. He links this Rocky motivational video which is freakin’ awesome. John consistently comes out with unique stuff. Great job John!

In this blog Mike Boyle reviews a book called “Rework.”

In this blog Mike T. Nelson discusses the “Contreras Hip Thrust” and questions whether it’s an activation or a strength exercise.

Here’s part II of a three part series where Franz Snideman discusses the Turkish Get Up. Great video!

In this blog Ben Bruno offers his thoughts on nutrition.

In this blog Nia Shanks offers her thoughts on nutrition.

Here’s an interesting article that shows that head trauma and concussions may contribute to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) – like symptoms.

Here’s a hilarious Tony Gentilcore blog that talks about “everything Pallof press.”

Here’s another hilarious Tony Gentilcore blog that includes two videos. First, a video on stretching by Professor Doug Richards. I actually posted this same video on Facebook in November of last year I believe, then on a blog a while back, and then on StrengthCoach.com. But of course Tony the Tiger just swoops in, steals my thunder, and gets all the glory. That self-righteous bastard! 🙂 The video is 45 minutes long but is well worth the time. If you can find the Random blog that I posted the video on from months ago I took listed notes that I took while watching the video. The second video is freakin’ hilarious, which I will post directly below.

In this blog Josh Henkin talks a little bit about his L.I.F.T. certification program and innovative training.

Here’s an oldie-but-goodie by Eric Cressey on destabilization torque, kinetic chains, and functional training.

Here are 15 facts that you didn’t know about your Willy, courtesy of Men’s Health. I get a kick out of these Men’s Health articles! Who doesn’t want to know more about their Johnson?

In this blog Tony Gentilcore talks about symptoms vs. cause, and provides another hilarious Youtube video. I don’t know where he finds these.

Here’s yet another hilarious Tony Gentilcore blog that involves random stuff. Tony is one of the most popular fitness bloggers in the world because he knows his shit and he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Everyone in the fitness industry seems afraid to talk about their personal life, afraid to poke fun of themselves, and afraid to stray from the norm. Tony took some good advice from TMuscle editor TC Luoma many years ago and it has definitely paid off.

Here’s Joe Bonyai’s corresponding blog that incorporates the two videos shown above on progressing to overhead training.

Here’s a blog by JRod on nutritional tips.

Here’s a good blog by Dr. Anthony Close on Lombard’s paradox (hamstrings causing knee extension). Here’s a link to Lombard’s paradox in case you don’t know what it is.

In this Jason Ferruggia blog, he gives us 44 muscle building tips. I freakin’ love reading Jason Ferruggia’s stuff. You can tell when a writer trains hard himself by the type of specific advice they offer. Jason’s the real-deal!

Here are 5 forgotten veggies courtesy of Core Performance.

Here’s a blog by Performance EDU on barefoot training.

Here’s a recent study on auto-regulation; the wave of the future in strength training.

Here are two articles on Vitamin D; which definitely wins the “Vitamin of the Year Award” for 2010. Click here and then click here.

In this blog Vern Gambetta discusses the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Here’s a Men’s Health link to stretching basics.

In this blog David Lasnier discusses core training and provides some great videos.

Here’s a random glute video, sent to me courtesy of one of my Facebook followers. I believe it’s for a Reef girl contest. I guess if you have nice glutes then this is how you move. I actually saw Coach Dos and Alwyn Cosgrove one night in boxer briefs shifting their hips from side to side with their sculpted glutes, so I guess it’s common for males and females with nice butts to sway their hips like this.

Here are ten random weird Physics facts from relativity to quantum theory for all you geeks like Jonathon Fass.

I didn’t realize that ACSM has a bunch of podcasts on random topics. Here’s a link:

In this blog Chad Waterbury talks about a faster way to burn fat. While it’s a great read and definitely worth reading for the content, I also recommend clicking on the link just to see the picture. Aye caramba!

In this blog Vern Gambetta talks about rising above people telling you that “you can’t do that.”

In this blog Smitty talks about odd object training.

In this blog Alwyn Cosgrove asks “Are you a master of your craft?”

In this blog Chris Beardsley talks about various aspects of fitness.

In this excellent blog Mike Robertson talks about unstable surface training. Mike’s been going all out on his blogs lately. This is a good read.

In this blog Carl Valle asks how much impact hip thrusts will have on elite sprinting performance.

Click on this link and scroll to #566. It’s an interview with Ian King on Superhuman Radio and he talks about functional training and some problems he sees in the fitness industry.

Here’s a good TMuscle article that talks about power clean form.

Here’s part III of Howard Gray’s 3-part series on the responsibility of an elite coach.

In this blog Carson Boddicker discusses synergy in training.

Here’s an article on ankle sprains.

Here’s a blog by P.J. Striet about compound lifts and set/rep schemes.

Here’s an Elitefts article on triple extension.

Here is a Chris Shugart article on the media’s vilification of creatine.

In this article Kevin Carr talks about recovery.

In this article Kelly Baggett talks about busting vertical and speed plateaus.

In this article Dewey Nielsen talks about the TRX stir the pot exericse.

In this blog Ben Bruno shows 5 unique push up variations.

Here’s a great Eric Cressey blog that shows a video on the absolute strength : absolute speed continuum. Here’s the video below:

In this blog Tony Gentilcore gives an astrophysicist advice regarding gaining squat/bench/deadlift strength while only being able to train 3 days a week for 30 minutes each session.

Here’s an awesome interview with John Broz on Charles Poliquin’s website.

Here’s a good Elitefts article on spondylolisthesis.

Here’s a “Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work” blog by Tony Gentilcore.

Here is a great read by Ben Bruno. Ben just started up a blog and I really like this guy. He has a great attitude. This one’s on being open-minded in fitness.

Here’s a JRod circuit called “The Bodyweight 100.” I like that JRod films videos and goes the extra mile in this blog.

Here’s a “Don’t Miss These Great Reads” blog by Chris Beardsley.

In this David Lasnier blog he discusses 3 things he learned from Brian St. Pierre.

For those of you who are members on StrengthCoach.com, here’s a great Mike Boyle article on overreaction/underreaction and aerobic vs. interval training.

Here’s a video on StackTV on resisted starts.

Here’s a blog by Carson Boddicker on local muscular endurance training.

In this Keats Snideman blog, he posts an ISSN statement regarding the latest media frenzy on creatine supplementation.

In this blog Mark Young breaks down another study conducted on the FMS. This is part III of a V part series I believe.

Here’s a blog by Dave Sandel that talks about training goals, auto-regulatory training, and intermittant fasting.

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Okay readers, I’m going to try to pack this interview with as much content as possible, so we’ll dive right into things! Matt Brughelli is a PhD researcher who studies biomechanics, strength training, and sport training. He’s a heck of a smart guy. He recently published a study that examined the effects of running velocity on running kinetics and kinematics. His findings have created quite a stir in the strength & conditioning and track & field worlds. Here we go!

1. Matt, what in the hell is going on? Did sprint researchers and track & field coaches have it all wrong? Your study shows that as running speed increases, vertical oscillation of center of mass decreases and horizontal forces increases at a faster rate than vertical forces. This indicates that horizontal force production is probably more important than vertical force production as speed increases. Doesn’t this fly in the face of the famous Weyand study? Did Weyand do something wrong? What gives?

First I would like to say that everything I’ve written in this interview is my opinion alone. I do not speak for my co-authors or anyone else involved in this study.

Hi Bret, lots of great questions here. I’d like to start with the relationship between vertical ground reaction forces (GRF’s) and maximum running velocity. Then I’ll give my take on Weyand et al. 2000, and will address the questions on horizontal force and “did they have it all wrong” in questions 5 and 7.

I think there is now overwhelming evidence that maximum running velocity is not limited by vertical GRF’s. With the addition of my recent study, there are now three studies that have directly investigated the effects of running velocity on vertical GRF’s over a range of velocities up to maximum (Brughelli et al. 2010; Kuitunen et al. 2002; Nummela et al. 2007). Each study used an athletic population and reported that vertical GRF’s (i.e. peak and average GRF’s) remained constant after reaching ~70% maximum velocity. This is direct evidence against the claim that maximum running velocity is limited by vertical GRF’s.

In addition, take a look at Table 1 in Chang and Kram, 2006. Vertical GRF’s were measured over different running curvatures (i.e. similar to a 200m sprint). Here, maximum running velocities were decreased due to the curvature. But vertical GRF’s did not significantly decrease until running velocities dropped below 60% maximum (i.e. inside leg only). This would also suggest that maximum running velocity is not limited with vertical GRF’s.

In regards to the famous Peter Weyand study (Weyand et al. 2000), I actually like this study very much. I have a lot of respect for Professor Weyand and consider him an expert on sprint mechanics. However, I think they (i.e. Weyand and colleagues) made very strong conclusions based on the quality of their methodology. They had a heterogeneous group of subjects (i.e. 24 men and 9 women; recreationally active; ages 18 to 36; no sprinting background) run at maximum velocities on a motorized treadmill that could measure vertical GRF’s. Then they performed linear regressions between maximum running velocities and ground support forces (i.e. average vertical force during the contact phase, relative to body mass). It should be noted that correlations and linear regressions do not imply “cause and effect”. As far as methodological quality, they rank relatively low.

I am in complete agreement with Karl Zelik (Buckley et al. 2010) that correlations and linear regressions should not be used as a surrogate for fundamental mechanical understanding of speed limitations. Instead of making such strong conclusions, I think Weyand and colleagues should have embraced the shortcomings and limitations of their study in order to motivate further research.

One more study I wanted to mention. Peter Weyand has published a new study in the Journal of Applied Physiology (Weyand et al. 2010) on the same topic. In this study, forward hopping and backward running were compared with maximum running velocity. Weyand and colleagues concluded that maximum running velocity is NOT limited by vertical ground support forces. Instead they propose that maximum running velocity is limited by the time required to produce ground support forces, which they argue is more due to muscle contractile kinetics.

One last point. Look at Figure 3 in Weyand et al. 2010. There are 6 subjects running over a range of velocities. With five of the six subjects (E was the exception, and the slowest runner), vertical ground support forces remain constant above ~7.0 m/s. This is very similar to the literature I have presented above.

Despite all of the above, Weyand et al. 2000 did find that faster runners produce significantly greater ground support forces in comparison with slower runners. So vertical GRF’s most likely do have some minor role in maximum running velocity. My only argument here is that maximum running velocity is not LIMITED by vertical GRF’s or ground support forces.

2. Matt, I’m going to be devil’s advocate here and attempt to cast serious doubt on your research. Please defend yourself. First, your study used a non-motorized Woodway treadmill which required sprinters to exert more horizontal force than regular overground sprinting since the belt slows down due to friction.

I don’t think friction is a problem with the Woodway treadmill. It’s possible. I don’t know of any studies comparing non-motorized treadmills for friction. According to the manufacturer, the Woodway uses a low friction bearing system that uses two bearing rails. Thus the decks do not need to be flipped like a conventional treadmill. I think if horizontal forces were increased (in comparison with overground sprinting) it would more likely be due to the tether as you mention in question 3.

I’d also like to point out that non-motorized treadmills have been shown to be valid in comparison with overground running for maximum running velocity. They have also been shown to have similar running kinetics or kinematics to overground running, and have excellent reliability. In a side note, Weyand et al. 2000 used a “motorized” force treadmill. Motorized force treadmills have been shown to alter running kinematics compared with overground running (McKenna et al. 2007)

You might wonder why researchers use treadmills at all. Why not use force plates mounted in the ground? Well its not easy to use force plates with subjects running at maximum velocity. And you only get a single step with a single force plate (if you are lucky) for each maximum running effort. With force treadmills you can get as many steps as you want. This is a HUGE advantage for researchers. Also, as Weyand et al. 2000 pointed out you do not need to deal with air resistance with treadmills. Faster runners would have greater air resistance in comparison with slower runners. There are always limitations, even when doing research with overground sprinting.

3. Second, you used a cable tether that exerted a rearward pull and therefore required more horizontal force production in comparison to regular overground sprinting.

As mentioned in question 2, it is possible that non-motorized treadmills create greater horizontal forces in comparison with overground running. However, if this was the case then you would expect two things to occur: 1) the studies on overground running would report less horizontal force in comparison with the studies using non-motorized treadmills; and, 2) the percentage of horizontal to vertical force production would be different between overground and non-motorized treadmill studies. This is clearly not the case. The studies using non-motorized treadmills have reported very similar, or lower, values for horizontal force in comparison with overground running (~400 N) at maximum velocity. And the percentage of horizontal to vertical forces is also very similar (~20%). Thus it is not likely that the tether is increasing horizontal force production during sprinting.

4. Third, net horizontal force at constant velocities are zero. I guess now you’re suggesting that Sir Isaac Newton was wrong?

Not at all. As I’ve mentioned in the previous questions, several researchers have used non-motorized force treadmills during running. My study is not novel in this sense, and none of us are breaking any of Newton’s laws.

It’s true that net horizontal forces are zero at constant velocities. This does not mean they are insignificant. Most studies only report peak propulsive forces and not braking forces. Most non-motorized force treadmills do not measure horizontal GRF’s. The horizontal forces are measured from a load cell that is attached to the tether. So braking forces are not measured. I was measuring vertical GRF’s from the force plate (i.e. four strain gauges) under the belt, and horizontal forces from the load cell attached to the tether. Again, this is nothing crazy or novel. Researchers have been using these machines since at least 1984 (Lakomy et al. 1984).

5. Forth, don’t you think you’re making some pretty ballsy claims for a single study!

Actually, I think my conclusions were very conservative. Most conclusions use terminology such as “these findings suggest that” or “we conclude that”. Lets take a look at my conclusion. First I said “it would seem”. This is not ballsy. Then I said “may be more dependent”. “Maybe” is not a term of great ballsiness. I did not say that horizontal forces limit maximum running velocity. In fact, I did not make any claim about any variable limiting maximum running velocity. I simply said that sprinting ability might be more dependent on horizontal forces in comparison with vertical forces. Again, “in comparison with vertical forces”. This is definably not a strong conclusion. It is not likely that vertical GRF’s have a major influence on maximum running velocity. So I feel these conclusions were conservative, but yet appropriate.

My conclusions were based on my own findings, and my understanding of the previous literature. They were not based on a single study. Both Nummela et al. 2007 and Kuitunen et al. 2002 also reported that horizontal forces significantly increase up to maximum running velocities. In addition, Nummela et al. 2007 and Brughelli et al. 2010 reported significant correlations between maximum running velocity and horizontal forces (r = 0.66 and r = 0.47), but not vertical. So my interpretation of these findings is that horizontal forces may be more important than vertical GRF’s for maximum running velocity.

For comparison take a look at the conclusions in Weyand et al. 2000, then look at the conclusions in Weyand et al. 2010. You tell me who makes ballsy claims.

I’d also like to say that I am not the first to make this conclusion about horizontal vs. vertical forces. Nummela et al. 2007 made a stronger conclusion that I did, as well as Randell et al. 2010. In addition, a few researchers have contacted me about my conclusion, and have mentioned that it supports their recent findings. So you will be seeing more papers in the next few years discussing horizontal vs. vertical force.

6. Moving along, based on your expertise, do we know what limits maximal speed production? What are some of the possibilities?

No one currently knows what limits maximum running velocity. I agree more with Weyand et al. 2010 that it could be due to the “time” side of the curve as opposed to the “force” side. Giovanni Cavagna has done some very interesting work in this area as well. I think that the time available to produce high forces is very important. In addition, I think horizontal force production is very important. So maybe some combination of the two.

I have a few ideas for more research on the limitations on maximum running velocity. However, after that I will probably never visit the topic again. I think constant velocity running is not very practical for most athletes. I think we are all missing the boat on this one. Why is there so much time and effort spend on this topic? How often does a soccer player, or rugby or basketball player run at a constant velocity? We need to go in other directions if we want to progress the field.

7. In light of this research, are you wondering if traditional methods of strength & conditioning might “leave something on the table” in terms of maximum acceleration and speed?

This is a very important question. I do think that traditional strength and conditioning (S&C) can improve speed and acceleration. However, I do NOT think the improvements are due to greater vertical GRF’s during running. I think Weyand et al. 2010 has made a very strong case for this point. In their new study they have reported that runners apply sub-maximal forces (i.e. vertical GRF’s and extensor muscle forces) during maximum velocity running. So I doubt if you improve an athletes squat, he/she will produce greater vertical or extensor muscle forces during running. I would like to see someone do a correlation between squat strength and vertical GRF’s during maximum velocity running. I doubt there would be any relationship.

Thus I feel that traditional S&C improves performance through other adaptations than vertical force production during maximum velocity running. I think these adaptations could include favorable changes in rate of force development, being able to maintain high force levels for longer periods, inter and/or intra-muscular coordination, etc.

I think coaches should be excited by the recent findings about vertical forces, and be open to implementing additional training methods for improving speed, acceleration and overall athletic performance. I think coaches should start implementing more horizontal strength and power exercises, hip extension/hyper-extension exercises, proper eccentric exercises, and continue to implement single-leg exercises.

Yuri Verkhoshansky introduced several examples of complex training in the famous Steven Fleck article (Fleck, 1986). Many of these examples complexed traditional vertical exercises with horizontal exercises. It’s an easy way to implement horizontal strength and power exercises into S&C programs. And now we have more exercises to choose from. Why not complex a squat with a horizontal weighted jump, or a squat jump with 30m sprints, or your hip thrust with 10m falling accelerations. The variations are endless. And this training is much more fun for the athletes. AND periodization becomes much more fun for the coach with complex training.

So in conclusion, I do not think traditional S&C exercises should be thrown out. I think they should be complexed with: horizontal strength and power exercises; hip extensor/hyper-extensor exercises; single-leg exercises, etc. I think eccentric exercise should also be considered for improving sprint and acceleration. Especially exercises that eccentrically contract the hamstrings during hip flexion, and eccentrically contract the hip flexors during hip extension/hyper-extension. But that’s another topic for another day.

8. What are some things that you’re excited about in strength & conditioning as well as biomechanics research? Where future research do you believe will positively impact athletic development?

There are a few areas in S&C and biomechanics that are wide open for research. And very practical areas as well. I think acceleration, deceleration and change of direction are very exciting areas. With these movements, the braking and propulsive forces are not equally balanced. Thus the muscle-tendons units act very differently during constant velocity “bouncing” gaits and acceleration/deceleration/COD. I also think a lot of great biomechanics research can be done on horizontal movements, and developing methods of improving horizontal force and power. Eccentric exercise is another very interesting area of research. Not just for muscle injury prevention but also for athletic performance. General injury prevention and analyzing leg asymmetries and deficits is also very interesting. Biomechanics of movement deficiencies (i.e. individual or sport/movement-related deficiencies) is another interesting area. So many different areas to still explore!

9. Matt, talk about the barbell hip thrust, how it differs from the squat, and how it might lead to increases in acceleration sprinting more so than maximal speed.

I love this exercise, and the other variations as well. With the hip thrust, the hip extensors are trained all the way through the end ranges of hip extension and hip hyper-extension. The moment arm of the glutes increases with hip extension/hyper-extension. Thus we need to find ways of training the glutes as the hip extends and hyper-extends. I think it is possible that the hip thrusts could improve hip strength throughout the end ranges of hip extension and into hip hyper-extension.

To me, this is the biggest difference with the squat. With the squat, the greatest benefits occur during the bottom position as the muscles are at longer lengths and switch from eccentric to concentric contractions. At the bottom position, the hips are behind the load increasing the moment arm from the vertical position. As you ascend from the bottom position and the hips extend, this moment arm decreases. Thus the hip extensors are not trained throughout the end ranges of hip extension and hyper-extension with the squat. Bands may help a little with this, but not much due to the position on the hips in relation to the load during the end ranges of hip extension.

Thus I think the hip thrusts would have a much greater effect on horizontal movements (i.e. in comparison with squats). I also think the hip thrusts would have a greater effect on acceleration than constant velocity sprinting. During acceleration, the braking forces are greatly reduced and propulsive forces are increased. The hip extensor muscles are required to produce power during acceleration. So it is important to find methods of improving muscle power of the hip extensors during athletic movements. I think the hip thrusts might be able to accomplish this, along with horizontal strength and power exercises.

10. Thank you very much for the interview! Last question. What does the future hold for Matt Brughelli?

Thanks for the opportunity Bret! The future is going to hold a whole lot more research. I will begin a post-doctorate research position in Belgium in a few months. I have several colleagues in Europe and am very excited about the coming years. There’s still so much to learn and I hope to be successful as a researcher in the future.


Brughelli et al. 2010. Effects of running velocity on running kinetics and kinematics. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, (Epub).

Buckley et al. 2010. Comments on Point: Counterpoint: Artificial limbs do/do not make artificially fast running speeds possible. J Appl Physiol 108: 1016-1018

Chang & Kram, 2007. Limitations to maximum running speed on flat curves. J Exp Biol 210: 971–982.

Fleck, 1986. Complex Training. NSCA Journal. 8(5): 66-68

Kuitunen et al. 2002. Knee and angle joint stiffness in sprint runners. Med Sci Sports Exerc 34: 166–173.

Lakomy, 1984. An ergometer for measuring the power generated during sprinting. J Physiol 33: 354.

McKenna et al. 2007. A comparison of sprinting kinematics on two types of treadmill and over-ground. Scand J Med Sci Sports 17: 649–655.

Nummela et al. 2007. Factors related to top running speed and economy. Int J Sports Med 28: 655–661

Weyand et al. 2000. Faster top running speeds are achieved with greater ground forces not more rapid leg movements. J Appl Physiol 89: 1991–1999

Weyand et al. 2010. The biological limits to running speed are imposed from the ground up. J Appl Physiol 108: 950 – 961.

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In the past couple of weeks I’ve received three different emails from strength coaches who were writing articles and wanted to include the hip thrust. They emailed me to ask me if it was okay to include the hip thrust into their article. Although I’m always flattered by these types of emails, I want to stress something. If you like an exercise, then write about it. I’ve never emailed an exercise creator asking permission to write about their exercise. Although Anderson squats (Paul Anderson), Hack squats (George Hackenshmidt), Zercher squats (Ed Zercher), Jefferson lifts (Charles Jefferson), Dimel deadlifts (Matt Dimel), Cook hip lifts (Gray Cook), King deadlifts (Ian King), Pallof presses (John Pallof), and even the damn Kegel (Arnold Kegel) have been popularized by their creators, I’d never think to email them if I was writing an article that included their exercise (many of the creators are deceased anyway). Nick Tumminello, Mike Boyle, Louie Simmons, Dave Tate, Eric Cressey, and Stuart McGill, to name a few, have come up with great exercises and exercise variations, yet I don’t email them to ask if I can write about their exercise. I just do it.

I’m a huge fan of the hip thrust so I always love it when I see the hip thrust pop up in other people’s articles and blogs. You do not need to give me credit for the exercise. If you do, then I appreciate the gesture. But if you don’t, I’m still appreciative. I’ll actually offer a confession right now; when I scan other strength coaches’ and trainers’ programs, I check to see if there’s at least one anteroposterior hip extension exercise in the routine. If there isn’t, I feel that the routine is inferior as I believe that it leaves “room in the tank” in terms of hip strengthening and glute development. So I feel that you SHOULD write about hip thrust variations! However, I’ll still like you and hang out with you even if you don’t hip thrust. 🙂

To reiterate, PLEASE write about the hip thrust. If you like my work and you like the hip thrust, then the best thing you could do for me is to “spread the word” by writing or talking about it. I want the exercise to become as popular as possible since I believe it’s so effective. Feel free to make your own recommendations as to form, exercise order, set and rep schemes, etc. I’d prefer for you to call it the hip thrust but I’ve seen hip lift, glute thrust, glute press up, shoulder elevated hip lift, elevated barbell bridge, etc. I’ve even heard some refer to it as the “Contreras hip thrust.” Feel free to name it whatever you want, feel free to film a Youtube video discussing form, feel free to write a damn eBook about it if you feel compelled. Nobody owns the rights to a way to move the human body! All I ask is that you don’t pretend to have created the exercise. That’s just annoying.

Last, if you get a question about the hip thrust, you may want to point beginners to my Youtube video discussing form so first-time male thrusters don’t slap on 315 lbs and try the hip thrust (or so first-time female thrusters don’t slap on 135 lbs and try the hip thrust). Deadlifts encourage lumbar flexion; hip thrusts encourage lumbar extension. You wouldn’t try to deadlift 315 lbs on your very first attempt, nor should you try to hip thrust 315 lbs on your very first attempt. You must learn to control the lumbar spine and move at the hips. Failing to do so will result in injury. Master bodyweight first, then move up gradually in weight.

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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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Happy Friday my fitness friends! Here are over 70 links to articles, blogs, and videos of the week. I get most of these off of Twitter and Facebook. I try to make this an weekly educational opportunity so I don’t censor material according to whether I agree with it or whether or not it’s politcally correct. Happy reading!

In this article Charles Poliquin discusses different types of people and their corresponding type of training. When Charles wrote this years ago I thought he’d officially turned crazy. Now I think he may be on to something.

In this blog Keats Snideman shows a healthier alternative to a typical lunch meat sandwich; a quick chicken sandwich. I don’t know why, by the Snideman twins have such soothing voices and are such great speakers that I think they could trick me into listening to them for five straight hours even if they were talking about nothing!

In this blog Eric Cressey gives us three good reads for the week. Yours truly made the cut. Booyah!

In this blog Dan Hubbard rehashes Tony Gentilcore and my guest blog where we tore into a trainer who spoke against the squat.

In this blog Tony Gentilcore gives us his favorite 3 assistance exercises for the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

In this blog Tony Gentilcore gives us 3 things to read while you’re pretending to work.

In this guest blog on Laree Draper’s site, Dan John describes his “hip displacement continuum.”

In this blog Franz Snideman introduces a Pavel Tsatsouline seminar at his studio in La Jolla, CA on October 9th. If you live in San Diego, you gotta go! Pavel’s the man!

On October 23rd, Franz’s twin bro Keats is hosting an HKC seminar in Tempe, AZ with Mark Reifkind. I’d rather be in La Jolla (my favorite place), but since I’m stuck here in Scottsdale I’m pretty sure I’m gonna give the HKC a try.

This Nate Green blog is pretty cool; check out the video of the 2-man band playing “Ain’t No Sunshine” while Nate and his friends are walking home in San Francisco.

This Sean Skahan blog is part IV of a four-part series on the glutes. He talks about how he strengthens his athletes glutes and includes the hip thrust at the end. I will keep saying this until I’m six feet under; get a Hampton thick bar pad and use a barbell! No athlete needs to “air thrust.” Great article series by Sean; back track and read all of them if you haven’t seen the first three.

In this Mike T. Nelson blog he talks about being a scientist and some stuff that he’s learned along the way. I like some of the stuff Mike talks about in regards to gaining strength; specifically biofeedback.

In this blog Kevin Neeld talks about valgus collapse, overpronation, and orthotics. Kevin’s a smart guy!

In this blog Danny McLarty offers some thoughts on periodization. I must admit; I’m a huge fan of cybernetic periodization too.

In this Elitefts article Josh Bryant offers five quick advantages of the front squat.

In this blog Carson Boddicker talks about forced pronation in association with the trigger mechanism.

In this blog Bryan Chung tears apart some recent journal research on different loading schemes on muscle protein synthesis.

In this video Bill Hartman shows Valerie Waters some cool tips to help reverse negative posturing incurred from sitting.

In this article Usain Bolt talks about some of the secrets to his success.

In this blog Cedric Unholz talks about Olympic Weightlifter Misha Koklyaev and includes a badass video of him lifting heavy weights.

In this article Nick Tumminello tells us how to do the kettlebell Muay Thai clinch chin up. Awesome exercise for MMA fighters!

In this article Mark Young discusses some flaws in the research in an study involving the FMS.

In this blog one of Tony Gentilcore’s female distance coaching clients rages against the machine. She’s not happy about overweight whiny women.

In this blog Patrick Ward discusses stress.

In this blog Carson Boddicker discusses Deep Sacral Gluteus Maximus and its practical applications.

In this blog Chad Waterbury advises how to eat to build muscle.

In this article Dr. Perry Nickleston discusses functional movement, pain, and the joint-by-joint approach.

This article suggests that going too low in saturated fat could increase the likelihood of stroke mortality.

In this blog Jeff Cubos provides FMS yoga solutions. I’m going to have to award Jeff with “Blog of the Week!” He went above and beyond on this one! You have to check this one out…he links over fifty pictures and articles and provides concurrent or alternative strategies for improving the 7 individual tests in the FMS.

In this blog Mike T. Nelson provides some motivation quotes from Einstein.

This pubmed abstract indicates that arginine does not increase blood flow. If true, many billions of dollars were wasted on NOX2 products by high school kids who swore it gave them “sick ass pumps.”

In this blog Nia Shanks gives some badass advice in this random strength training tips post.

In this blog Tony Gentilcore teaches us a new exercise that comes highly recommended by Dr. Stuart McGill. It’s called “Stirring the Pot.” That Tony…he’s always stirring the pot. Ba da ching! Okay fine! I’m in “joke time-out” for 24 hours.

In the guest blog on Eric Cressey’s website, Brian Grasso talks about coordination training for youth.

In this blog Mike Robertson asks “What is your goal?”

This new study suggests that high rep lifting is better than heavy lifting for hypertrophy.

This New York Times article sheds some light on the obesity epidemic…it’s getting worse!

In this blog the Diesel Crew gives us 7 tips for those pressed for time.

Here’s the latest Fitcast episode.

Here’s a new study that explains “Muscle Memory.”

In this blog David Lasnier dishes out some serious hatin’ on the crunch.

In this blog Vern Gambetta reminds us that the body is not a machine and recommends that we stop trying to isolate and activate certain parts.

In this blog Ryan Johnson bashes on the high box jump and points out some inherent flaws.

In this blog P.J. Striet gives us five common reasons why people don’t hit their weightloss goals.

In this article Dave Tate gives us more benching techniques. This is the final part (part VII) of the series. This article contains links to the first six parts. If you want to bench like a man, you listen to Dave Tate!

Here’s a good TMuscle article by Smitty on grip training.

In this blog Patrick Ward talks about quantification of stress.

Here’s part III of Mike Robertson’s blog series on knee pain. Lots of videos in this one. Check it out.

In this blog Eric Cressey shows a couple of cool videos demonstrating strength!

In this blog Kevin Neeld shares some good links to studies and athletic-related information.

In this blog Vern Gambetta offers us some training basics.

This guy is B.A. Baracus!

In this blog John Izzo talks about cyclical trends in the fitness industry and how every time people stray from the basics they find their way back to good old barbell, dumbbell, and bodyweight movements.

In this video Martin Rooney shows how he teaches MMA skills to football players.

In this blog Tony Gentilcore asks what are you doing to get better and gives a great example of what he needs to do to step it up.

In this blog Howard Gray is all riled up about marketing hype in strength and conditioning.

Here’s a link to the latest strengthcoach podcast.

In this blog Robbie Bourke interviews John Sharkey.

In this blog Cedric Unholz discusses supplements vs. real food.

In this blog Mark Young provides a poem that is very relevant for people seeking physique or health changes. Print it and post it on your fridge!

Charles Poliquin debates one arm rows vs. barbell rows in this blog.

In this blog Kevin Carr discusses single leg progressions.

In this article Smitty discusses lower back health.

In this blog Mike Reinhold gives a good link and presentation on the evolution of the human shoulder.

Here’s a great article on barefoot running.

In this blog Howard Gray presents part I of the responsibilities of a good coach.

Keith Scott gives some of the simplest yet best advice I’ve ever seen in this short blog.

In this article Jim Wendler offers some football advice by informing the readers about five things he wishes someone would have told him. Does this mean that Jim Wendler is human?

I have to admit, I laughed pretty hard when I stumbled across these Ian King videos. I’ve been wondering what this guy was up to. Has he lost his mind? You’ve gotta admit they’re pretty funny. Unless you’re the guy he’s mocking…anyway we all need to have a sense of humor so hopefully people can appreciate these videos.

Hope you enjoy the links my fitness friends! Have a great weekend.

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Gluteal Goddess Workout

Since she’d seen such bootiful results, I recently convinced one of my female online training clients to come to BCSC (aka Bret’s Garage) and let me film her training session. It wasn’t a big deal as she lives about 30 minutes away from me. Her name is Kellie Davis, and let me tell you she has one hell of a backside! Here’s a close-up:

Relax tigers! She’s happily married. Kellie recently begun figure modeling and has quickly transformed her physique. She hasn’t even been training for two years and she already looks better than most figure models who have been training for half their lives. What’s her secret? Getting strong at the best exercises!

I had never trained Kellie in person but I’d seen her workout journals and some video clips of her training. I wanted to know how her form looked when going heavy. This was a great experience for both of us as she received some good feedback on her form and I received some good training clips to illustrate that a strong booty equals a nice booty.

All in all I was very impressed with her form and natural strength levels. Most video clips I get from online clients are absolutely atrocious…anterior weight shift, valgus collapse, coming up onto forefeet, folding like an accordion, rounding the low back, not using full ROM, etc. So Kellie’s form is very good considering that she’s never yet worked with a trainer in person. I told her she needs to work on keeping her neck in neutral position during squats and deadlifts (many women find this difficult as it feels normal to them…they’ve developed some sort of ingrained extensor reflex that requires them to move down in weight when they try to fix the problem), lift more smoothly rather than jerky on the first rep of the deadlift, push through her heels during her inital rep of hip thrusts, use slightly more ROM down low in the hip thrust, and use slightly less ROM up top during back extensions. I didn’t get to experiment much with foot positioning on squats but she may find squatting easier if she flared her feet more and “sat” in between her hips.

What’s great is that you can tell that Kellie knows how to use her glutes. You can really see them kicking in during her back extensions and pendulum quadruped hip extensions.

A beginner female glute workout (assuming she’s relatively fit) at BCSC might consist of:

bodyweight box squats 2 x 20
bodyweight double leg Skorcher hip thrusts 2 x 20
bodyweight walking lunges 2 x 20
bodyweight 45 degree hypers 2 x 20

Over time we keep going up in the three R’s: repetitions, range of motion, and resistance. When someone can do 20 reps of something, I move them up in ROM (for example – go higher on step ups, go lower on box squats, etc.) or add resistance (for example – have them hold onto a dumbbell in the goblet position during box squats, place a barbell in their lap during hip thrusts, etc.). When the time is right, I introduce new exercises and exercise variations.

An advanced glute workout at BCSC might consist of:

barbell full squats 2 x 8
barbell deadlifts 2 x 5
barbell hip thrusts 2 x 10
weighted back extensions 2 x 20
dumbbell walking lunges 2 x 20

In subsequent workouts, I may substitute box squats or front squats for full squats. I may substitute hex bar deadlifts, good mornings, Romanian deadlifts, or single leg RDL’s for deadlifts. I may substitute barbell glute bridges, single leg hip thrusts, or pendulum quadruped hip extensions for barbell hip thrusts. I may substitute weighted 45 degree hypers, band 45 degree hypers, reverse hypers, or single leg back extensions for weighted back extensions. Finally, I may substitute high step ups, Bulgarian squats, reverse lunges, or pistols for dumbbell walking lunges. Sometimes I get creative and throw in band hip rotations, band seated abductions, sled pushes, kettlebell swings, etc.

The idea is to become very strong over time. Kellie has gotten much stronger and her glutes have responded quite favorably to this increased strength. Here’s a video of her workout.

225 lb hip thrusts! That just happened. Kellie’s glutes are stronger than those of most men. If all women trained like this, the world would be a much better place!

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