Pete’s excitement is palpable as he retells the “ah-ha” moment that birthed the Nautilus Glute Drive, “This client was complaining his back was hurting while he was doing hip thrusts, so I put this pad between his back and the horizontal bench to mitigate the pressure between his shoulders, and as he engaged in the hip thrust, the back pad rotated! – it articulated every single rep perfectly, almost like a bench would and, instantly, in my head I was like, why isn’t there a machine that has an articulating back pad that you could do hip thrusts on, and you could plate load it up?”
Balking at the number of pieces incorporated to perform a hip thrust, Pete continues,
“It would solve all the problems of having dumbbells, and Airex foam pads, and having barbells, and flat benches, and it would free up space in the gym. So I went to my fabricator, and we ordered a bunch of stuff online and we started, like, Frankenstein building this glute drive, and when I first tried it – tested it, you know out in the garage, it was really rudimentary – but, man, did it work and I knew, I’m onto something here.”
Everyone wants great glutes. Has a nice backside ever not been on trend?
Pete Holman doesn’t care if second glances at the beach are your motivation or your goal to run faster, jump higher, or change direction quicker brought you to the Nautilus Glute Drive, because Pete knows that glute training will lead to better health.
Pete Holman is a physical therapist and certified strength and conditioning specialist with almost 30 years of experience. Pete started training in Taekwondo at 21 and became the US National Champion and Team Captain at 24. He is the 2022 IDEAFIT Leader of the Year and the inventor of the Nautilus Glute Drive and an evangelist for glute strength.
Pete’s interest in weight training started late by today’s standards, with preteens joining competitive sports and regimented training programs earlier than ever before. “On my last day of school, my junior year, I was headed off to a party and I heard weights clanking. I looked through the window and there were all these guys – they looked cool; they were studs.” Pete recalls this moment as a pivotal marker in his life. “And this strength coach comes out, looks me dead in the eyes and says, ‘Are you just going to stand there staring through the window or step inside and train with champions?’” Pete’s impression of Randy Savage here is spot on. “Well, I took that as a directive rather than a question and went inside and joined the football team.”, he recalls noting he was shaking as he walked into that weight room.
Pete laughs, as he shares the simple approach the coach enlisted him in, “What ensued was probably the worst training program, I could hardly walk afterward, just a bunch of leg dips and curls.” The impact this high school football coach had on Pete’s life did not subside like the pain in his sore legs. Pete explains, “He was sharing his why, he wasn’t interested in finding the next champion, or looking for accolades, he was looking for kids that he could help. He would look around and grab kids and say, ‘I am going to make you better than what you are today,’ and that was like osmosis into me, my goal is to develop you to get you strong.”
Pete’s invention, the Nautilus Glute Drive, is reaching more people around the world than ever before. Aesthetically speaking glutes are big right now, which is great for Pete. He knows that aesthetic goals drive more people to train and training drives people to better health. With conviction, Pete says, “I mean, sure, it’s great to have the Nautilus Glute Drive on six continents and be part of the Nautilus Strength legacy, but ultimately, it forwards my mission to help people get strong so they can live a healthy and happy life.” Longevity doctors, like Dr. Peter Attia, are promoting strength training armed with the research that loss of lean muscle mass is directly related to morbidity. Pete knows that there is no better time to start weight training than NOW, he states, “With less muscle, you have a higher risk of injury, you lose balance and mobility as you age”.
The days of the waif supermodel have been replaced by empowered leaders and role models; athletes are superstars from Simone Biles to The Rock. The shift can be seen in training programs today with people pursuing more than purely aesthetic goals, they want strength! There are always ebbs and flows with trends. In the 70s, the running craze powered by Nike gained popularity and aerobics hit the mainstage with leotard-clad icons like Gene Simmons and Jane Fonda dancing off the fat. Bodybuilding moved into the spotlight with Arnold Schwarzenegger, “bodybuilding gets lots of hate” says Pete, “but at the base of it, it is about stress and load on muscles, overloading over time, adding intensity and consistency and targeted focus to get hypertrophic changes in the muscles which makes them stronger.”
Today we see the popularity of functional and traditional free-weight training gaining steam. Weight rooms are the central hub for trainers, athletes, and exercise enthusiasts. The onset of the pandemic and the lockdown of many public facilities exasperated the movement to strength training. “When COVID hit, gyms closed and people were forced to train in their homes, so they purchased a set of dumbbells. In fact, dumbbell sales went up an astronomical 1000% during COVID,” exclaims Pete. “Individuals realized how easy to use, efficient, and effective free weights are in their programming and now that they are all migrating back to the gyms, they expect a full complement of these tools.”
So many of the modalities that are being used in this new renaissance era of free weights and plate-loaded training revolve around some pretty traditional lifts like free weight squatting, lunging, deadlifts, and hip thrusts. These movements are becoming more mainstream and more adopted by not only the advanced lifter but by the intermediate lifter and even at the fitness enthusiast level. “There is some debate over the exact foundational movements but in my book, they are: pushing, pulling, squatting, lunging, rotating some sort of ambulation, like a loaded carry and hinging.”, says Pete, “These moves have always been the standard in strength and conditioning, but in the early 2000s functional training came around which was good on the surface, but many trainers got carried away and began combining movement patterns together, applying them to unstable surfaces, and overall complicating things.”
In the 2010s, CrossFit moved in with a focus on rudimentary movements using simple tools for great gains. The balancing act of functional training was scrubbed clean, to clear the path for sustainable strength and conditioning. “Even famous physical therapists and strength coaches like Tom Purvis and Vern Gambetta talk about isolating movement patterns prior to integrating them; in other words, it is smart to work on the basics like deadlifts and lunges, learn how to control the movements, build muscle and not over complicate things,” remarks Pete.
The hip thrust is not new, essentially it is a foundational movement. Rotating the hips upward and downward while laying on a flat surface is a tried-and-true movement for strengthening the glutes known as the glute bridge. The glute bridge is a therapeutic exercise that is often prescribed for those who suffer from low back pain or knee injuries. “The glute bridge is one of the first training exercises I learned in 1996 in my graduate school program,” says Pete. In 2006, Brett Contreras, a Ph.D. and researcher, found that elevating the back while moving the hips gave more range of motion and more time under tension for enhanced strength gains. Brett coined the elevated glute bridge, the hip thrust. “Everyone recognizes the unique ability of this horizontally loaded movement to isolate and engage the glutes,” Pete notes, “you can go onto social and see former NFL stars like James Harrison or The Rock doing massively loaded hip thrusts.” Pete says, “The glutes are one of the largest, most powerful muscle groups in the body and the hip thrust activates the glutes more than any other exercise, including squats and lunges.” The Nautilus Glute Drive is the machine that allows the user to perform the natural movement of the hip thrust perfectly.
The Nautilus Glute Drive is shining in the social media spotlight. It’s a simple movement offering sustainable results. People are attracted to the concept because the movement comes naturally. “When I created the Nautilus Glute Drive, I saw the need – this hole, and I filled it.” Pete says, “I get messages daily with people asking me where I can use a Nautilus Glute Drive, and the great thing is I can direct them to one that is not far from where they are.” Pete keeps tabs on where Nautilus Glute Drives are and shares user experiences @peteholman1 and @glutedrive on Instagram. “It’s a revolutionary machine and can be added to any training program. The Nautilus Glute Drive is the whole package – price point, ease of use, small footprint, and results- makes it a no-brainer,” says Pete. It solves the problem of people moving pieces of equipment through a facility to perform hip thrusts, it gives trainers the ability to program hip thrusts into clients’ sessions without the worry of improper form. “The Nautilus Glute Drive is the best of both worlds; you use free weights and stack them on so you feel like a badass, but then, when you do the motion there is no instability, it just goes down and straight up – it is on a specific trajectory – so it makes it very stable and makes it easy to activate and isolate the glutes, which is the perfect premise of the machine.” The need for diversity in the workout is not lost on the Nautilus Glute Drive. Pete’s innovation allows users to add dynamic and intensity to hip thrusts, he explains, “At the end of the day if you have proper form and use a couple bands, and a couple weight plates, and pause at the top range of motion for 1 to 2 seconds, it’s a totally different exercise and you’ll have better glute activation than you ever had with just extra loaded weight.”
The Nautilus Glute Drive is the solution to enhanced performance through glute training. According to Pete, “Early adopters of glute training were primarily bikini models and folks that were hyper-focused on aesthetics. Sure it’s important to feel good about yourself you know, feel confident in your wedding dress, look good on the beach… but if you want to age gracefully, sit and stand better as a senior citizen, if you want to run faster, jump higher, change direction quicker as an athlete – the glutes are the powerhouse of the core – you gotta be able to activate the glutes, you have to isolate them to some extent, to get them activated, to get them firing, and then you do your deadlifts, your squats, your Olympic lifts, and everything is better – everything is stronger.”
The reaction Pete hears when people use the Nautilus Glute Drive is, “Oh my gosh, I feel my glutes!” and they keep coming back to “feel” them even firmer.