Tag Archives: glutes

12 Days of Fitness 2017: Day 3 – The New Rules to Strength Training

(This is part 3 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

Today’s post is a guest post from a gentleman I consider to be one of the top training experts in the field today, Bret Contreras. Bret, or the “Glute Guy” as he is known, is the world’s leading expert in glute training and is an accomplished author and presenter. He has a very gifted way of delivering his message and keeping all of the scientific nomenclature out of it for the general population to understand and appreciate. Following is from an article he posted in T Nation titled “The New Rules to Strength Training”. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

If you know enough about anatomy, physiology, and strength training, you could make a case for why every exercise in the book should be avoided. Conversely, you could also make a case for why every exercise in the book should be performed. Without further ado, here are President Contreras’ actual new rules to strength training:

  •  An exercise is judged by how it is supposed to be performed, not by how the jacktards screw it up.
  •  If you think lifting weights is dangerous, try being weak. Being weak is dangerous.
  •  There are no contraindicated exercises, just contraindicated individuals. Learn how your body works and master its mechanics.
  •  If you can’t perform an exercise properly, don’t do it. If an exercise consistently causes pain, don’t do it. If an exercise consistently injures you, don’t do it.
  •  Earn the right to perform an exercise. Correct any dysfunction and become qualified with bodyweight before loading up a movement pattern.
  •  There exists a risk-reward continuum and some exercises are safer than others. It’s up to you to determine where you draw the line. Don’t bitch about your lack of progress or poor joint health as you lie in the bed you made for yourself.
  •  Exercises performed poorly are dangerous, while exercises performed well are beneficial. If you use shitty form, you’ll hurt yourself. It’s only a matter of time.
  •  If you display optimal levels of joint mobility, stability, and motor control, you’ll distribute forces much better and be able to tolerate more volume, intensity, and frequency.
  •  Structural balance is critical. You must strengthen joints in opposing manners to ensure that posture isn’t altered. If your posture erodes due to strength training, it means that you’re a shitty program designer.
  •  Body tissues adjust to become stronger to resist loading. The body is a living organism that adapts to imposed demands.
  •  Your training will be based on your needs, your goals, and your liking. Different goals require different training methods. The loftier your goals, the more risk entailed.
  •  There are two type of stress: eustress and distress. Keep yourself in eustress and you’ll be okay.
  •  If you believe an exercise will hurt you, it probably will.
  •  Injuries in the weight room have more to do with poor form and poor programming than the exercise itself. Exercises are tools. You are the carpenter. A good carpenter never blames his tools.
  •  Rather than drift along with popular trends, it’s more fruitful to learn how the body works, which will allow you to understand the pros and cons of every exercise and make educated decisions in your programming.

At the end of the day, how you train is your call. Whether you play it safe or roll the dice, at least you’re not sitting on the couch. Pain and injuries have a way of teaching you proper form and programming, and having a large arsenal of exercises is important to prevent boredom and habituation and spark further adaptation. In short, keep learnin’ and keep liftin’! I’m President Contreras and I approve this message.

See you tomorrow for Day 4 of the 12 Days of Fitness

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.


Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day #1 – Top 10 Reasons Why People Don’t Exercise
Day #2 – The Dangers of Dieting

My Top 10 Most Useless Pieces of Exercise Equipment – #6 Leg Magic

(This is a 10 part series in which I am reviewing some of the products sold as exercise equipment, fitness solutions, etc. on infomercials, magazine ads, and cable shopping networks.  Unlike most of the ads for these products, this isn’t based on a double blind, major university backed study.  It is simply my professional opinion based on my fitness experience and knowledge in the hopes that it will save you some time, aggravation and money.)

318VlUApY7L._SX300_Leg Magic

The internet never ceases to amaze me.  When I began working on this post for #6 on my list, an old advertising campaign popped into my head. “Nothing beats a great pair of legs” was the catch phrase for L’Eggs pantyhose back in the 80’s.  Sure enough, the commercial can still be viewed today on YouTube.  But I’m not here to discuss my astonishment with the internet or why I can even care to remember those ads (that’s effective advertising I guess).  I want to discuss how legs are a critical part to our physique, whether you’re a leg model or not.  Those two limbs beneath are hips are a big part of what makes us human. They give us the means to walk, run, jump, hop, skip, climb, pedal, kick, swim, and so on. It is true then that nothing beats a great pair of legs, which is what the makers of Leg Magic are hoping you’ll believe their product can deliver.

A Huge Set of Muscles

Don’t take that the wrong way.  Some consider their legs to be the largest part of their body.  In fact, they’re right.  Two thirds of all the muscle mass in men and women is below the waist.  These muscles include most notably the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, as well as the adductor (inner thigh) muscles, abductor (outer thigh) muscles, and the muscles of the lower leg, the calves.  There’s a lot of muscle there and rightfully so.  Aside from providing all the movement described previously, the muscles of the lower body most notably support us upright.  But even more importantly, they are the conduit to producing movement.

The Great Conductor

Locomotion, or physical movement, is the result of forces created in the muscles and the reciprocating ground reaction forces produced from contact with the earth.  To understand this concept better, think of throwing a baseball as far as you could with both feet on the ground.  Now, think of throwing a baseball while suspended in a swing with no foot contact with the ground.  Which one goes further? The one where both feet are on the ground.  Why? The ground reaction forces produced by the legs in contact with the earth.  So the stronger the legs, the more force that can be produced, the greater the return forces from the earth.  Why is this relevant to this discussion? Because the legs are the link between what the brain commands and the motion the body is capable of performing.

Yet Another Piece of ****

You have to watch the video of Leg Magic if you get an opportunity (click the link here to see video). What I find the most amusing is that the woman in the video shows you how to do two of the best exercises for strengthening the legs, squats and lunges, while holding onto Leg Magic for balance, which is probably what it’s best for.  Performing squats and lunges puts both feet in touch with the ground, ensuring greater muscular, ground reaction force development which translates into stronger, more functional legs. The inner/outer thigh motion of this apparatus has little to no value to everyday life, unless of course you make a living downhill skiing.

Here’s a tip.  You don’t need Leg Magic to do squats and lunges, and if they’re done properly as part of an all around program, you’ll have amazing legs that cost you nothing more than your hard earned time. Yes, unfortunately, Leg Magic will not “tone your legs”, “make your abs fitter” (whatever that means), or “raise your butt” in one month as promised in the ad.  It will make a great shirt hanger though.

Stay tuned for future posts with my top 5.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

In case you’ve missed them, here are My Top 10 Most Useless Pieces of Exercise Equipment so far:


#10 The Jump Snap
#9 The Thigh Master
#8 The Ab Roller
#7 The Red Exerciser