What excites you? Watching football? Swiping right on Tinder? A first kiss? Those are “fun,” but not the kind of excitement I’m trying to illustrate. I’m a simpleton; girls, sports, some whiskey, and I’m in heaven. For Bret Contreras, it’s a whole different ballgame; it’s ass. Not the kind of ass that can be seen twerking on the dance floor to some Fetty Pop song (or whoever the hell’s popular today). Bret’s passion comes from talking about the largest muscles in the human body, the Gluteus Maximus.
I’ve seen this rare form of passion only a few other times; this little kid being one of them. Every semester at The National Personal Training Institute, I ask new students what they see in this image. Is it just me, or is this kid passionate? As far as we know, he could be drawing a Rhinoceros humping the Empire State Building. One thing is for certain, this kid has passion. His vehement energy is comparable to what I witnessed in Arizona at a Bret Contreras Glute Lab seminar. 16 individuals all over North America gathered to learn from the best bio-mechanist when it comes to the gluteals. To sum up the seminar; Bret exudes passion for the Glutes.
A question on hip ROM would materialize into a 45-minute lecture covering every idiosyncrasy from torque, moment arms, and specific actions. The most disturbing part? He’d maintain a mad scientist expression the entire time. I was amazed at how thorough, and complete his answers were. He was capable of esoterically answering a question then manhandle Skelly to help demonstrate the answer into laymen’s terms- it was remarkable!
Four things I learned from Bret (without giving away content from his kick-ass seminar):
1. Glass analogy. We’ve all heard of the famous glass analogy (the PC version). Take an empty glass and fill it with large rocks. Is it full? No. Now pour sand into it? Is it full? No. After pouring water into the remainder of the glass, it’s finally full. The larger rocks represent the main lifts we should be performing, i.e. Hip Thrusts, Deadlifts, Bench Press, Squats, etc. The sand is the lifts that complement the larger ones, i.e., RDLs, Push-Ups, etc. The water could be exercises that you enjoy, or isolating lifts. Focus on the big rocks, then compliment the rest of your workouts with the sand and water. Big Rocks = #GAINZ!
2. Hip Thruster History. Did you know Bret’s a very spiritual guy? Ya. He’s an incense burning, yoga mat carrying, organic red meat, clean eating hippie… kidding, none of that is true. But the Hip Thruster evolved one evening from watching an MMA fight (Tito Ortiz vs Shamrock I believe). During the fight, one of the fighters was constantly on his back. Bret thought, “Why don’t you thrust him off? There has to be a specific exercise to help athletes strengthen this aspect of the sport.” Following the fight, he went out into his garage and jerry-rigged up the Hip Thrust exercise. At the time, he elevated himself above two benches that were different heights and used a weight lifting belt to dangle weights below. After some reps (probably a thousand), he felt a burn he never imagined. I probably mixed up a few details in the story, I was still in awe at the 16-1 ratio of girls to guys. Most fitness seminars are packed full of dudes- I was in heaven! I do recall after this revolutionary moment he said, “I’m not a spiritual person, but I went outside, threw up my arms into the sky and said I’ve just created something huge.”
3. Why doesn’t Bret incorporate sprints into his programming? I’ve been following Bret for over five years; shit I feel like I’m Jim Carey from Cable Guy! After analyzing program after program, I constantly questioned why Bret
doesn’t have his girls jump or sprint? Well, I’m glad I went to his seminar because I know the answer- you’ll have to SHOW UP to the next one and find out for yourself.
4. If he could live in any other time era, he’d want to be a medieval knight slaying dragons. DAMMIT; that’s another lie. I had to leave early to an Arizona basketball game and forgot to ask him why he had these badass axes hanging up in the Glute Lab. Somebody say Zombie Apocalypse?
Year after year I urge students to continue their education. The minute you stop learning, the passion that the kid and Bret have will fade away. Weekends like this light a fire under my ass to be a better person. I originally got into teaching to make a bigger influence on the lives of those who need help losing weight, increasing confidence, performing better, and looking fantastic naked. I appreciate all the things Bret has done for our industry. There’ll be a time when the “fitness assholes” will not be revered (look at the top 20 of the greatest list of 2016, and many more). It begins by spreading the scientific word from true fitness greats like Bret, and the Kraemer’s, Schoenfeld’s, Wilson’s, Antonio’s, Norton’s, and Aragon’s. The fitness industry may be the Wild Wild West, but I’m excited to continually learn and do my do part in helping people achieve their goals in a safe, and proper way. Thanks Bret!