How does the new Bret Contreras book, Glute Lab, stack up to his popular 2013 work, Strong Curves?
Glute Lab Book Review Summary
Overall, Glute Lab is simply on another level vs. Strong Curves. If you’re deciding between the two, go with Glute Lab. It is more comprehensive, has higher quality information, and more programming options.
If you already own Strong Curves and are happy with how your training is going, then you probably don’t need to pick up Glute Lab. If you’re looking for new ways to spice up your training, make it more effective, and learn more about programming – Glute Lab is a good choice.
The latest and greatest effort from Bret Contreras, aka The Glute Guy.
Everything you've ever wanted to know about how to get stronger glutes and a nicer butt.
Strong Curves Recap
When Bret Contreras released Strong Curves in 2013, it quickly became a staple program for anyone looking to build stronger glutes. It also found a significant fan base among women looking to sculpt a bigger butt, as evidenced by the dedicated following on /r/strongcurves.
Strong Curves earned such acclaim because it worked.
It worked for a few reasons:
- It provided multiple program/workout options depending on an individual’s training background (Bootiful Beginnings, Gluteal Goddess, and Gorgeous Glutes).
- It prescribed exercises that worked, including the infamous barbell glute thrust.
- It used progressive overload to get the trainee stronger and grow muscle.
- It laid everything out in significant detail so the trainee felt confident in the approach and had their questions answered.
- This helped overcome potential sticking points with starting or implementing the program.
So when Bret Contreras published Glute Lab toward the end of 2019, an obvious question was asked: how does Glute Lab compare to Strong Curves?
Glute Lab is More Comprehensive in General
Glute Lab clocks in at nearly 500 pages of information on the importance of glute training, the art & science of strength and physique training, periodization, programming, and an extensive exercise guide.
Simply put: I don’t think Bret leaves any stone unturned in Glute Lab.
Glute Lab Table of Contents
Glute Lab is broken up into five parts, each with three to six chapters of specific sub-topics for a total of 21 chapters.
The five parts are:
- the importance of glute training
- the science of strength and physique training
- the art of strength and physique training
- periodization and programs
- exercise glossary
Strong Curves Table of Contents
When you compare this to Strong Curves’ table of contents, you can see that Glute Lab was truly a next-level effort. Strong Curves, while still a very solid text for women’s strength training, doesn’t even reach 200 pages of main content. Glute Lab is 3x longer.
In fact, Stephen Beaugrand and Paul Revelia (who studied exercise science in college) say the book is “like a textbook from school,” but is still approachable for people that just want to have a better butt. This is because it is not necessary to read the book cover to cover in order to incorporate Bret’s insights into your own training (or start training altogether), but if you want detail, this book delivers in spades.
Their full thoughts on Glute Lab are below:
Glute Lab Has More Programs/Workouts
In terms of workouts, Glute Lab has at least 14 different program variations, including glute focused options for full body strength training, sports, bodybuilding, powerlifting, and, of course, beginner/intermediate/advanced programming.
Glute Lab Goes Into Greater Detail on Exercises
In Strong Curves, the back squat, front squat, and zercher squat are all covered on 1 page each. In Glute Lab, the back squat gets over 10 pages dedicated to proper positioning, muscle activation, common issues, and corrective actions. Glute Lab could truly teach someone how to squat with proper technique, whereas Strong Curves included fewer technique pointers. Other exercises, like the belt squat, are not covered at all in Strong Curves.
The photos of the exercises are higher quality and more useful in Glute Lab too. My only point of criticism is that Strong Curves provided numbered steps to exercises and bulleted tips. For some reason Glute Lab includes all of this information as sentences. It’s a small formatting difference, but I think it read a little odd, as generally exercise technique is communicated in numbered steps.
Glute Lab Has Programs for More Advanced Lifters
In addition to a program for absolute beginners that consists mainly of bodyweight exercises, Glute Lab has much more to offer seasoned lifters than Strong Curves.
The advanced program in Glute Lab has considerably more volume than the advanced program in Strong Curves, partially through the actual prescribed reps as well as through the implementation of AMRAP sets, something that Strong Curves doesn’t seem to feature at all. This is just an example of the complexity and intensity offered by Glute Lab for those that are ready (again, it has many program options, including some that are made for beginners).
Reviews from People that Own Both Books
See all Glute Lab reviews on Amazon
“I already had his Strong Curves book so I wondered if I’d be wasting my $ on this one. While many of the principles are unchanged, this new book gives you so much more. I am so glad I have it and I’d encourage anyone considering it to buy it. I am confident you will use it and refer back to it for years to come.” – Melissa Smith, Amazon
“One of the most knowledgeable dudes in the game right now. I had already been reading and studying Bret’s Strong Curves book for a while. I thought that was a pretty impressive book and I got pretty good results from implementing the methods and programs that were illustrated in Strong Curves. But when Glute Lab arrived at the door? HOLE. LEE. SH!T. This book is massive, MASSIVE and packed with sooooooooo much content. I’m hooked on learning more. I cannot say enough positive things about this book and am so happy I preordered.” – MH, Amazon
“I’ve followed Bret and his work for years, utilizing his methods from Strong Curves, and have always found him to be both passionate and thorough in his devotion to the science of glute training…. But this book blew me away! It’s got answers to questions I never even thought to ask about the subject. At over 600 pages, this may well be the definitive text on glute development for many years to come.” – MDG, Amazon
“I love Bret’s first book “Strong Curves” and highly recommend you buy that as a lead in. But this one really gets into the deeper details AND extensive exercises (even beyond Strong Curves).” – Knesebeck, Amazon
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I already own Strong Curves? Do I need to buy Glute Lab?
Not necessarily. It depends.
If you’re currently running Strong Curves and are enjoying your training and results, then I don’t see any reason you need to buy Glute Lab.
If you feel as if you’ve outgrown Strong Curves, either because you’ve become too strong, or because you’ve become a little bored with the programming it offers, then I think Glute Lab could be what you’re looking for. In many ways it is like Strong Curves 2.0 due to its broader range of programming, deeper level of detail, and more varied list of exercises.
I’m a beginner! Should I buy Strong Curves or Glute Lab?
This is an easy one. Go with Glute Lab. It is just as beginner friendly as Strong Curves and contains more information to answer any questions you may have.
Plus, Glute Lab will take you farther beyond the beginner stage when you’re ready, making it a better long term training companion.
How are Glute Lab workouts different than Strong Curves?
Strong Curves has 3 full body, glute focused, 12 week training programs: at-home only, Bootyful Beginnings and Gluteal Goddess. We’re ignoring the lower-body only program for the sake of comparison. If you want a lower body program, don’t do the upper body exercises.
Glute Lab has three full body, glute focused 12 week training programs: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. It also has at least 10 other programs for specific use cases: bodybuilding, powerlifting, CrossFit, team sports, and other training splits.
Glute Lab beginner program consists of three phases:
- Weeks 1-4
- Bodyweight only
- Weeks 5 – 8
- Chin Up Bar
- Glute Loop
- Weeks 9-12
- Chin Up Bar
- Glute Loop
The only significant difference here is the recommendation to purchase a bench for weeks 9 through 12, otherwise the Glute Lab beginner program is not significantly less convenient than the Strong Curves at-home program.
The Glute Lab intermediate and advanced programs are similar to Gluteal Goddess, but are higher volume workouts (usually more reps for set). If you switched from Gluteal Goddess to the Glute Lab intermediate program, I think you’d find it initially challenging to complete all of the volume (in a good way).
Glute Lab advanced program is similar to the intermediate program, but calls for heavier weight and different rep schemes (more AMRAPs, drop sets, etc. which are all explained in the book).
Glute Lab Book Review
Book Title: Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training
Book Author: Bret Contreras, Glen Cordoza
Book Edition: First Edition
Book Format: Hardcover
Overall, Glute Lab is simply on another level vs. Strong Curves. If you’re deciding between the two, go with Glute Lab. It is more comprehensive, has higher quality information, and more programming options. If you already own Strong Curves and are happy with how your training is going, then you probably don’t need to pick up Glute Lab. If you’re looking for new ways to spice up your training, make it more effective, and learn more about programming — Glute Lab is a good choice.