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Strong Curves: A Woman's Guide to Building a Better Butt and Body Paperback – April 2, 2013
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About the Author
Bret Contreras, PhD, CSCS, has established himself as the world's leading expert in gluteal muscle functioning and development. Known in the Strength & Conditioning industry as "The Glute Guy," Contreras continues on his quest to unravel the optimum training methods surrounding the gluteal muscles.
A graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University, Kellie Davis turned to writing as a profession, with an emphasis on fitness and sports nutrition. She also assists clients in achieving optimum health and wellness as a certified personal trainer.
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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!
This book is more than just the workout. The first 1/3 of the book breaks down different aspects of general health and exercise - the value of this exercise plan, what it does for women, how to set up a productive diet, how to treat your body, etc. This was really positive, realistic information that I think can benefit any and every woman, whether or not they do this workout.
There are 4 different 12-week workout plans detailed in the book - beginner, advanced, bodyweight (at-home), and lower-body-only. The middle section of the book lays out each program, which is compromised of 3 workouts (A, B, C), and broken up into 3 segments (weeks 1-4, weeks 5-8, weeks 9-12). The suggestion is that you would do 4 workouts a week - Day 1-A, Day 2-B, Day 3-active rest day, Day 4-A, Day 5-C, Day 6-active rest day, Day 7-full rest day. The moves in this section give you a picture of each move, and each 4-week portion advances to a more challenging version of each exercise if you are able to make the change.
The back 1/3 of the book gives a MUCH more detailed explanation on each and every move, like an index referenced from the middle section of the book. It walks you through each move, with multiple pictures to show the motions. It tells you which muscles to focus on as you move, which is SUPER important, because you may otherwise go through the motion but be using different muscles to compensate, and thus not be getting the full benefit and strength.
I carried this book with me throughout my workout for the first week, and then had it down on my own (using my phone to track the order of the moves and the weights I use) after that.
I think that this program, and book, has so much value. It can be used and adapted for any fitness level, whether you are a beginner or a gym regular. For the previous year, I had been following the Strong Lifts 5x5 (Ice Cream Fitness) program, and had been doing relatively heavy weights. However, I suffered from continual lower back pain, especially after doing heavy squats, and I couldn't take it any more. Shifting to the beginner level of Strong Curves felt like a step or two backwards, but it has incredibly been helping me to build up strength in my lower back and lower body, particularly my glutes, which I think had not been functioning/firing, and so other muscles had compensated, which left my lower back struggling. I am happy to be doing any necessary body weight exercises just to build up all of my strength in a quality and whole body-focused approach.
I highly recommend this program, and the high quality book, to any and every woman.