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on July 11, 2014
I bought this book a couple of years ago, and thought the exercises looked too easy to start with, so put it away. I mean, how hard is a body weight bridge?
A year later I completed the Lift Like a Goddess programme and looked for something new. I dragged out this book and decided to give level 1 a go. Yes, the amount of exercises were shorter than I was used to, and I didn't come home from the gym feeling smashed. I left each time feeling I could give more.

However, don't be fooled by the shorter workouts! I found I could not do more than 6 bodyweight bridges without getting a cramp. To attempt even 1 holding a weight on my stomach was sheer impossibility. So I gladly stayed at level 1 and worked through it consistently. The day after each workout, was I ever sore.

Within 3 weeks I found myself getting stronger. Then, so surprisingly, I managed a proper squat. I have severe scoliosis and a damaged Achilles' tendon due to surgery on my leg for the scoliosis and I have never been able to squat without falling over. Lunging - fine. Squatting, No. However, building the glutes muscles meant I was now stable enough to squat. And my knees no longer caved in. Now I can squat with a 35 kg barbell no problem at all. Next, I found that after 2 years of attempting chin ups, I finally managed one and now can do 12, with a brief break between every 2 or 3. I think the back strengthening work in this programme finally made it all come together for me, even though arm work is not big. The programme I was on was arm heavy (as most programmes are) but, as Brett has realised, most girls struggle with their butts, and arms will naturally improve as you use those bigger muscles more. It makes sense, but I was a bit worried stopping all that arm work. Until I finally managed chin ups which are out of reach of most girls, even those doing arm work daily.

I have now done 3 of the programmes in this book, and in a few weeks, will finally begin the advanced programme. It said not to try it till you could glute lift about 60 kg. That's a joke, I thought at the time as I couldn't glute lift my own bodyweight more than 6 times. Well, I've passed the 60 kg goal weeks ago and now glute lift 75 kg. My jeans are smaller, my butt is no longer saggy, I have abundant energy, I spend less than 2 hrs in the gym a week, my legs are tight all over, I've changed shape all over and, wait for it - I'm 49 years old!!!

Thanks Brett for the best programme out there!
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on April 20, 2013
Edited update to review: The author has provided an index! The link is in the comments, and I'll try and post it here. Since that was all that was really lacking for me I changed the stars as well. Thanks Kelly! and thanks to Marie for her version in the interim!
https://s3.amazonaws.com/StrongCurves/Strong+Curves+Exercise+Index+Sheet1.pdf

Original Review:
This book has a lot of great stuff- the workout plans and exercise guides offer lots of great information.

However, it would have been amazing if someone had taken the time to make an actual index for the "Exercise Index." Throughout the book there are great plans that list and picture workouts/exercises. However, to see the details of an exercise, or to see alternate exercises, one is simply instructed to refer to the detailed "Exercise Index." Pretty easy! Except.... the exercise index has no list of page numbers and exercises. You have to go through the entire thing to find the exercises (which are not in alphabetical order). It would have been amazingly easy to simply list the page number next to the exercise for reference, or even just to make a list or "table of contents" for the "Exercise Index." To make it more confusing, the exercises are referred to with names that are not exactly like those in the provided index, so you end up having to match the "photos" to find the exact pose. Also, the books says you can exchange one exercise with others if you don't have the equipment, just see the "Exercise Index" for alternate moves. However, the index never clearly gives alternates. Should one just choose from the entire category? Are they all interchangeable, or would one bodyweight exercise work better than others as a replacement? It's impossible to know because there is not any detailed or exact alternate exercise listed by each exercise in the index- the exercises themselves are just grouped together into sections (Glute Dominant, pull exercises, etc.) I can make due- by subbing one of the category, but it would be awesome if they gave specific exercise exchanges.

Organization is my only serious critique of the book so far, as I am just beginning the program. However, for a book geared toward all levels, even beginners, these issues need to be fixed. If I am missing this, and it is somewhere in the book, I'd love it if someone would share! I've read it cover to cover, which has helped clear up some categories, etc. But having to search the index and decide on my own replacements is time consuming.
8383 comments150 of 166 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 3, 2013
Wow, how do I even start this review. First I'd like to mention that I'm not genetically gifted in the glute department. I love my body and am naturally thin, but I've always wanted a better butt. Earlier this year, I stumbled across Bret's blog, and learned about the barbell glute bridge and barbell hip thrust. I was hesitant, but having tried just about every method out there, including yoga, Pilates, spin, step, circuits, squats, lunges, and deadlifts, I decided I had nothing to lose by listening to Bret's advice. Fast-forward four months later - I've put 3 inches on my glutes, I have a great butt for the first time in my life, and my confidence and enjoyment in the gym is at an all-time high.

I'm a big believer in Bret's methods and I think that most women should be training in this fashion. That said, before Strong Curves, I realize I was just "winging it," and I didn't really understand how to design my workouts. I've been patiently waiting to receive my Strong Curves copy and proudly announce that I read it all in one day - all 300+ pages!

To say that I was blown away is an understatement. Bret and Kellie explain the science behind their methods in a manner that's easy to understand, they have workouts for all experience levels, and they've provided a template that I can use for life if need-be so I can continue to create my own workouts and incorporate variety to prevent boredom. The exercise index is phenomenal and extremely detailed, and they even have a glossary for some of the more technical terms which I appreciated.

Having purchased many of the female training books on the market, I must say that the overall design and format of the book are top-notch. In fact, I believe it's the most high-quality book I've purchased on strength training.

The authors included a strength chart to keep me focused on important strength goals, and the nutritional chapter taught me how to calculate my caloric intake and macronutrients so I can eat according to my goals. The book was written in a friendly manner that makes me feel close to the authors.

But the best part of this book is the reassurance that I will make my goals as long as I'm consistent and focused, and that I don't have to kill myself by being a slave in the gym or starving myself thin. I recommend this book to every woman (actually I know a lot of men who could benefit from focusing on their lower-half and glutes too) who desires a better body. The methods have already worked wonders for me, and I believe they will for you too.
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on November 28, 2013
This is a good, informative book. Great pictures and clear instructions. What I don't like is the layout. It's completely disorganized. If you need to find a certain exercise, or to look for something to replace an exercise with, you have to flip through all the pages because there is no index. The other thing that really bothers me is that the book promises you can do some of the workouts without a gym. This is a VERY gym heavy workout book. There is one small section for at home workouts, but even those require a ton of equipment. This isn't a problem if you have a gym membership and you are expecting to go to the gym to be able to do the workouts. I just didn't like how the book said you don't need a membership but you absolutely do or else go out a buy a garage full of equipment. I have several pieces of gym equipment in my home and still was limited by the "at home" workouts. Otherwise good book minus the index issues. There are other great workout books out there that you don't need a gym/tons of equipment for. I hope one day to be able to put this book to use!
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on June 2, 2015
I had been taking Zumba and yoga classes for two years (six days a week) prior to reading this book. Though I was thin, the "toned" look I truly wanted was eluding me. I ordered and read this book last July, and it has made a profound difference in my appearance and my confidence level. Occasionally I go back and reread certain sections, and I am familiar enough with each workout now that I can add other exercises from the glossary at the back to target the same muscles in different ways. At first it was intimidating to join the men in the weight room, but now I am a regular. Bret's book has helped me understand how to achieve the body I want, and with work and determination, I am closer than ever to meeting my goals.

Do understand, this is not a quick fix. Though the content is thorough and the pictures are wonderful, YOU will have to take the time to thoroughly read the book, complete the exercises, and find what works for you. Since it is impractical to carry this big book to the gym, I take pictures of each workout on my phone and then enter my reps of each exercise in the app My Fitness Pal as I complete them. I have also had my husband videotape me completing some of the exercises so I can compare my form to the troubleshooting sections of the book. Now all of my friends are asking me to train them. I tell them to start by reading "Strong Curves".
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on November 23, 2014
The content is great, but do yourself a favour and dodge the Kindle version. There are workout logs that need to be copied (impossible to do from your Kindle) and it's really hard to reference the instructions for each component on the Kindle too. I bought the Kindle version (big mistake) and returned it two days later for the actual book. The content is great, but you won't be able to use it properly if it's just on a screen.
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on December 31, 2013
Prior to purchasing this book, I was doing the New Rules of Lifting program by Lou Schuler. Like the New Rules, each workout is a full-body workout with a balance of pulling and pushing exercises: no bodypart splits here. The addition of starter glute exercises is the main difference between the programs, plus lots of explanation about why the glutes are important and how they're under activated in our daily lives.

My only complaint about the book is that there are no hyperlinks in the Kindle version for exercises. Personally, I'm not too happy about the way the new Kindle app handles bookmarking, which is a workaround I would have used to create my own indexing for exercises as I learn them.

Barring that technical annoyance, I'm into the second phase of workouts and feeling solid about the evolution of each phase. We'll see how the workout progresses a few months from now…
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on April 3, 2013
Sadly, many women are under the impression that grabbing a barbell and lifting it off the ground will turn them into He-Man overnight, when in fact the opposite is true. Lifting weights will build a strong, lean, curvaceous body, not to mention offer a plethora of other benefits like an increased metabolism, more energy, more sex drive, decreased risk of osteoporosis, and an unlimited sense of self-assurance and confidence.

What I love most about the book is that it's not full of fluff and fillers. In every sense, the authors get right to the point and EDUCATE the reader on why the glutes are such a big deal. Maybe even more importantly, they do a fantastic job of empowering women and given them the nudge some may need to grab a barbell.....and lift some appreciable weight!

Thankfully, it's not like Bret and Kellie just tell women to go lift weights, but they SHOW them how to do so in a safe, effective, and time efficient manner. The entire book is filled with lovely (again, thank you Kellie Davis) pictures and exercise demonstrations, as well as detailed instructions on how to do everything from a glute bridge to a deadlift correctly.

What's more, no stone is left un-turned. There are sections on how to warm-up properly, nutrition, some anatomy talk for the uber nerds out there who like that sort of thing, and even a section for expectant mothers who are interested in doing the program as well.

Speaking of which, another major perk of the book is the programming itself. It's spectacular. Bret and Kellie came through BIG-TIME here. In all there are four programs included such as the Twelve Week Booty-Ful Beginners Program, the Twelve Week Gluteal Goddess Program for the Advanced Lifters, and even two programs that can be modified to do at home for those who don't have access to gym equipment.

I can't recommend this book enough, and it's a HUGE breath of fresh air compared to many (not all) of the similar books that go out of their way to hold women back, telling them not to lift anything above three lbs or advocating that they spend a lifetime on the cardio machines.

Bravo Bret and Kellie. Fantastic job!
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on May 29, 2014
The workouts look pretty good, and there are a ton of pictures, but this author is just SO wordy. You can pretty much skip the first hundred and some pages, as it's mostly filler text. I would recommend checking out the New Rules of Lifting for Women over this book for someone starting out.
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on April 14, 2015
On week 6 of the Glutes Goddess full body program. I've made a lot of gains since starting and sticking to this program as well as being in a caloric surplus. This book is what has me seeing results after a year of lifting and not getting the progress I wanted. I recommend this for women who don't want to focus too much on anywhere other than lower body, and preferably if they have gym access or equipment.
THIS PROGRAM IS NOT FOR STRENGTH!! It is lower body hypertrophy focused.
I love this book and I love that Bret will talk to those who contact him on Facebook and Instagram. Can't wait to see how I look in another month!!
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