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4.7 out of 5 stars
Strong Curves: A Woman's Guide to Building a Better Butt and Body
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68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
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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139 of 152 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
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.
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96 of 111 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
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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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This honestly is the best $20 I have spent on myself, and I mean my behind specifically. Forget the thought that an undergarment you purchase is going to smash your flabby butt into a shape that is only reserved for a muscular, perky booty. It ain't gonna happen, ladies. Ain't gonna happen.
The programming in this book has yielded incredible results in the 8 weeks I have implemented same. Keep in mind that you get out of it what you put into it, so don't half-ass your efforts and you won't get half an ass. Unfortunately, I bought into the notion a while back that everyone will get a great butt if they squat and deadlift heavy, so I spent one year doing those squats and deadlifts in hopes of building a great behind. The results were "meh" and so-so, to say the least. Enter Bret Contreras (The Glute Guy) and his amazing book Strong Curves. I'm regretting not jumping right in and purchasing this book and implementing his programming straight away. I waited a month or so before making the purchase and then another month to get started on the full-body program, so now I wonder how much more fit and muscular I would be had I not waited so long. The early bird catches the worm, and the chick with Bret's Strong Curves book and programming gets the muscular and perky booty.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
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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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
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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74 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
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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36 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I can't say enough about how much I appreciate this well-researched guide to perfecting the glutes. Contreras does a great job explaining why the glutes are important and why they are weak in so many people. The exercises and programs look great. I've already started using them and noticed some improvements.

I do have some problems with the book, but overall I still think it's very much worth buying:

1. This book really needs a new edit by someone competent. I've found basic grammar and usage errors and other editing issues, but even more annoying, poor editing in the exercise description section that has led to some outright errors and very confusing wording. This all makes the writers look like amateurs, even though the fault is with the editor. This book deserves better.

2. The Kindle edition has some big oversights that make it very annoying to use. For example, it would have been easy to link each exercise mentioned in the program descriptions to the explanation of how to do the exercise, but this wasn't done. Instead, it's a struggle to find the description of any particular exercise. Very annoying and completely unnecessary.

3. While I appreciate why this book is aimed at people who want aesthetic results (they are trying to sell books after all), it's a little irritating if you're reading it because you want functional strength improvements or injury prevention (with aesthetic results as a nice bonus). I really don't care how much Jessica Biel weighs, and the insistence that I conduct weekly weigh-ins and carefully track my calories is not helpful for many women who don't have weight problems and are susceptible to becoming too obsessed by such things. "The New Rules of Weightlifting for Women" does a better job of promoting strength as the ultimate goal, even for women who are more into aesthetics. And while Davis seems fabulous, I think the main audience for this book is probably not into body building (as opposed to power lifting) and may even be a little turned off by that sport, with its focus on aesthetics and its acceptance of some very unhealthy practices.

4. The tone of the book can be a little condescending. I don't like being told that the writer "knows what I'm thinking" when the writer clearly does not. And I don't like it when a male writer writes as if women are some special sub-species of human. Again, a good editor could have saved the writers from some problems here.

I still think this is a wonderful book overall. With a good editor, it could be The Book on Glutes.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I love, love, love this book! I am actually on week 8 of the Advanced Glutteal Goddess Program. Not only am I getting stronger, but I can defintely see definition in my bootay! My husband has even begun to notice how much more improvement my buttocks area looks. If you are one of those ladies that needs some guidance with strength training, and you want to improve the overall shape of your butt....this book is a MUST HAVE! If you research the author of this book (Bret), you will see he is world reknown for being his solid backgroup in improving glutes.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I love this book so much. I'd consider myself an advanced female lifter, but I needed some guidance and heard a lot of good things about this book. Bret Contreras should win the Nobel Peace Prize for discovering exactly how to activate the glutes before lower-body workouts to engage them and strengthen them. Before this book I had a barbell squat 1RM of 210# and a deadlift 1RM of 190#. The first day of the Gluteal Goddess program I did 5 reps of 200# and wasn't even smoked. Week 2 I increased my 5 rep to 240#. I've gotten my deadlift weight up to 210#, my barbell squat to 240#, and I'm flying. I even lost an inch off every part of my body the first week, and my booty stayed the same! It looks perkier now even.

Not only does this book focus on the glutes, but it gives full body workouts to strengthen upper body as well. Bret Contreras is a great author, and some of his writing even made me giggle. This is a must-have for anyone, beginner or advanced. I love it.
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