If you’re interested in being the proud owner of an awesome butt that is the envy of women and drives men crazy, then you simply must read what Bret Contreras has to say in this book. “Strong Curves“ is exactly as the subtitle reads – A woman’s guide to building a better butt and body through strength training, and I’ve endeavored to explain a bit more about what you can expect from this book in this Strong Curves review post.
Strong Curves Review
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Name: Strong Curves
Author: Bret Contreras & Kellie Davis
Jolie’s Overall Rank: 4.7 out of 5
If you haven’t heard of Bret Contreras before, then you’ll be glad I’m introducing him to you, because his expertise can and will help you to get the butt you’ve always wanted. He is a personal trainer who specializes in training women, particularly in figure shaping. Bret is also known as by many as ‘the Glute Guy’ due to his extensive experience (nearing to a glute obsession!) in helping women shape and build better glutes.
Strong Curves allows the rest of us to tap into his knowledge and benefit from nearly 20 years of experience he has had training women of all different body types, ages and personality types, so its fair to say he’s seen it all and also seen what works when it comes to transforming your body into the shape you’ve always dreamed of.
Trust me when I say the material in this book is valuable stuff. Co-author Kellie Davis, who models for the exercise photographs, is a living testament to the fact that this stuff really works – as you’ll be able to see from her before and after photographs in the book.
People Who Will Enjoy Reading This Book
If you’re a woman (or man, for that matter) who is looking for a sustainable, straightforward approach to building a better looking body, this book is for you. This book will serve you as a guide to getting your body to look like the body you’ve always dreamed of, as long as you can commit at least 3 hours a week to working out, and make changes to your diet to ensure you are meeting your body’s daily nutritional needs. It is not a quick fix method, but rather, it is intended as a training program you can follow for life.
The book is a detailed reference guide to shaping a better body through strength training and discusses why you need to build muscle strength to get a curvier body. Contrary to popular opinion, lifting heavy weights as a woman will not make you bulk up or look like a man, and this is really reinforced throughout the book.
The information presented in some sections is quite detailed and a basic knowledge of human physiology is required to have an understanding of what is being shared. If you’re not into details you may not enjoy this book as much. The four workout plans included and fact sheets on all the associated exercises form an extremely useful reference guide that you can refer to over and over again.
In terms of inspiration, I found this to be a really motivating read and was really pumped to begin on one of the programs right away, with the knowledge that I can create changes in my body! Despite this, it is refreshing that there is no hype in the promises made, instead, just a simple straightforward and logical method of building a better looking body. And you can rest assured that it really works – Bret has trained enough women in his career that his methods are proven and there are countless positive reviews to back it up.
What’s in The Strong Curves Book?
Strong Curves is arranged into what I would class as three different sections:
- An informational section (which I like to think of as the background ‘theory’)
- Templates for workout tracking logs, followed by the actual Strong Curve workout programs themselves, including a warm-up guide
- An exercise index/reference guide which details exactly how to do each exercise in the program
Bret has a very relaxed and warm writing style, and it was most enjoyable and enlightening to read what he had to say about shaping women’s bodies, especially the glutes. The information I learnt from this book is well worth the cost of the book (and then some!), not to mention the value in having a go-to reference guide for some of the best butt and full-body exercises sitting on the shelf for easy reference.
The Strong Curves Theory and Background Information
No stone is left un-turned and Strong Curves covers all bases when it comes to explaining how to achieve a body that looks the best it can be. While you may be training primarily to improve the way your body looks, time and time again we are reminded that by focusing on health and strength first, a more aesthetically pleasing body with killer curves naturally follows.
The importance of glute training is emphasized and I’m pleased to report that my obsession with understanding how to get the perfect butt was nicely satisfied by the time I finished reading this book. Bret lives up to his title of ‘the Glute Guy’ as a man obsessed with finding all the correct exercises that work the glutes best – and it’s all backed up with his own experiments and research into glute activation using electromyography (EMG).
Be warned, some parts can get a bit technical, and a basic knowledge of human physiology and terminology is recommended to fully digest everything. Be prepared to come up with some form of calorie counting or at least start tracking your macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein and fat) intake ratios to get the best results from the program. The ‘how-to’ of this is discussed in the book in a straightforward manner with examples, and just goes to show that it doesn’t have to be difficult.
All in all though, the theory section touches on just about everything you would ever want to know about women’s strength training – including the science behind muscle hypertrophy, nutrition/diet, hormones, workout scheduling/tracking, muscular imbalances, training of the pelvic floor muscles and how to train during pregnancy, just to highlight a few.
Note that there are no ‘cardio’ exercises included in the Strong Curves program. Instead this book is about strength training, although you will gain cardiovascular health as a pleasant side effect of the program. If you choose to include a cardio/aerobic style exercise you can though. However, Bret emphasizes that the stronger you become, the better your physique will look. Contrary to popular belief, it is totally possible to lose weight through this type of strength training without doing any kind of cardio.
The Strong Curves Programs
There are 4 different 12-week strong curve workout programs provided in the book, as well as a detailed warm-up routine to activate the glutes.
- Booty-ful Beginnings program for beginners
- Gluteal Goddess program for advanced lifters
- Best Butt Bodyweight program for those exercising at home
- Gorgeous Glutes program for the lower body only
The last two programs offer an option for those who want to train at home or just focus on the glutes by training the lower body only. The first two programs are more focused on a whole-body strength training approach that will still build curves (as all of the programs include some form of glute dominant exercises).
Each 12-week workout program is split into 3 phases that last a month each: weeks 1-4, weeks 5-8 and weeks 9-12.
There are 3 workouts for each phase, designated workout A, workout B and workout C. Three to four workouts a week is recommended, but the key is to commit to an exercise routine that is sustainable. At a minimum, you need to be able to invest at least 3 hours a week for training.
The book shows a photo of each exercise in each of the workouts as well as the number of reps and sets to perform. Each workout also has a blank template workout log for tracking the sets, reps and weight used for each exercise, and these can easily be photocopied, filled out and kept for tracking your progress.
The exercise index is provided as a reference guide at the end of the book, and includes full color photographs and descriptions of how to perform the moves, which muscles you should feel working and also tips on how to perform the exercise with good form.
Common mistakes are also included as well as a description of how to address these to ensure that you’re performing the exercises correctly.
Be aware that some of the exercises require the use of equipment which can include barbells, dumbells, machine cables, machine supports such as a hyper rack, benches and the like. However, the number of different exercises provided also offers the possibility to opt for alternatives if you are lacking in the required equipment.
One issue that seems to be the biggest downfall of this book is the lack of an actual referenced index list with page number references and one which groups the exercises by type. I have found that the author provided this after the published issue and it can be found here: Strong Curves Exercise Index
The Good & The Bad
- Well researched, detailed information about how to build a better looking body, with a strong focus on the glutes.
- Extensive exercise guide that is a timeless valuable reference to have on hand.
- Four different 12-week programs that you can choose from, so you can alternate between these to keep challenging your body with new workouts.
- The exercise index is not easily referenced, but printing out the additional Strong Curves Exercise Index addresses this. It’s unfortunate it wasn’t included in the book to begin with.
- The kindle version has received negative reviews as it is nowhere near as easily referenced as the paperback hardcopy. I recommend purchasing the physical book rather than an e-book version for this reason.
- While Bret strongly advocates the importance of good form, and discusses the basics of nutrition, the book is no substitute for a personal trainer assessing your form and helping you to tweak your program. However, it does provide an excellent starting point, though it can appear overly technical for some at first and as such may be a bit overwhelming.
My Overall Impression of Strong Curves
This has got to be one of the best fitness training books I’ve read so far, and I highly recommend it. I got a lot of value out of the book, even to use as a reference guide for some of the best glute exercises that are out there. The information that I learnt about glute activation and lifting with good form is critical for anyone who wants to begin or even continue in weight training.
If you’re tired of training without seeing results, then you need to get this book and do what it says, positive results are guaranteed to follow.
If you have had an experience with the Strong Curves book yourself, or have any comments or questions about my review, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and I’ll respond as soon as I am able.