Bigger, Stronger, Faster*
Bigger, Stronger, Faster*

We still get e-mails every week from somebody who isn’t sure about training with Static Contraction without first seeing the typical before/after photos that accompany nearly all fitness related products these days.

Sometimes I try to explain why I don’t play that game. It’s the single most dishonest tactic that is used by marketers. Those of us who have been in this game for a long time all have our ‘behind the scenes’ stories of the outrageous things we’ve seen and privately we shake our heads that anybody still believes such lies.

One of the greatest illuminations of this was in the recent documentary film, Bigger, Stronger, Faster*. (links to wiki article) The filmmaker shows the folly of trusting the makers of nutritional supplements and before/after photos. The clip below is authorized by the owner of the copyright. The photo segment starts at 3:20 but the entire excerpt is pure gold. I saw the movie via NetFlix and highly recommend it to anyone interested in the iron game and the extremes it creates. I’m sure the movie has already saved lives. (Sadly, not the life of the director’s own brother, who died later.)

I want to remind people that the collateral damage done by these dishonest people is that real before/after photos are never as impressive as the fake ones. This creates a kind of ‘arms race’ of better and better fake photos used to trick people. And somewhere out there is a guy who wants to tell me, “Yeah, but they don’t all do that.” My answer is, “Yes. Now show me the list of  which ones do and which ones don’t.

As I said, I refuse to play that game.

Video at THIS LINK

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  • Sure, there are probably some companies doing this…but…look at the photos of either the models or the before and after pics on any supplement company. For example, Muscletech. Like any of us are going to look like Jay Cutler just with supplements, diet, and training. If you want to get THAT BIG, the only way is to go the pharmaceutical route. Period. However, the good news is that you can still look YOUR very best by using proper training techniques, adding cardio, good nutrition, and rest.

  • Aden

    There are definitely a lot of fake images out there. I remember seeing the same before/after images in Bill Philips book as well as Turbulence Training.

    However, seeing negative reviews about static contraction, and no visual evidence that the training actually works — kind of stops me wanting to buy into it (although I’m still interested).

    I mean, we don’t even know what the authors of this website look like. There are only head shots! You could be morbidly obese for all we know.

  • Scott W

    I too thought this movie was incredible…because it was extremely balanced. It questions the American pursuit of perfection and high performance at any cost (and our willingness to suspend disbelief at outrageous claims), but also questions the supposed (and unsupported) extreme health risks of steroid use. Not only does it look at testosterone use in athletes, but also in AIDS patients, etc.

    Speaking of balance…your post implies that the director’s brother died of steroid use; that is not true. He died of a drug overdose in a rehab facility after a long history of substance abuse. Look up “Mike Bell (wrestler)” on Wikipedia for details.

  • Wow…. that needs to be illegal. Side note: Pete I’m using your protocols for our Structural Rehab. that we do in our chiropractic office. Patient tolerance is better, patients getting better faster (increase in ROM, strength, decrease in pain scales)- so thank you.

  • Hi Pete,
    One of the reasons I have been a fan of yours is because of your integrity. I remember the piece you did a year or so ago on the before and after images in the weight loss industry. Anyone with a copy of Photo shop can make anyone look anyway they want.

    I see this epidemic of body/looks perfection as the driving force behind so many of our consumer products. This morning I was watching TV and it was commercial after commercial of woman’s beauty products. Every single one of the the models/actors have been photo-shopped to perfection. Not a crease, shadow, smudge. The problem is we are unconsciously being told something is wrong with us unless we look like these impossible images. Interesting enough the first segment of The Doctors TV Show was a young beautiful actress with an imperceptible facial blemish that kept her from wanting to go out in public. I have no doubts about her fear and it a shame things have come to this.

    I was also amazed at the TV show it’s self. A show with doctors(credible authority figures) plugging product after product under the disguise of “we care about you”. Brilliant marketing! They know exactly what motivates people.

    Thanks again Pete!

  • Aden, I’d be more than happy to meet with you in person if you’re in the Los Angeles area. I sounds like you haven’t tried static contraction yourself so you’re relying on other reviews to see if it works. So my assumption is that the workout you are currently doing is working great for you. If that’s the case, then stick with it. But the day will come that you start running out of time to hit the gym 3-4 days a week for 30-45 minutes to do a conventional workout. And we’ll be here to help show you that static contraction does indeed work.

  • And who really wants to look like Jay Cutler? I personally think that he looks like a circus freak. I can promise you in a few years, you will not hear of Jay Cutler anymore but of the newest freak on the block. That’s the way bodybuilders go. I personally am looking for life long strength and physical well being. With SCT, I can get my workouts done in no time and have more time for the hobbies that I really love. Plus, I’m stronger and healthier. Now it could just be me but I think there are a lot of others who are out there who think like myself.

  • Thanks, Chris. There are many chiropractors doing the same and with great success. I don’t mention it much, but they are out there. I think there is a great future for SCT in the rehab world.

  • Thanks, Scott. I didn’t mean to imply a cause of death, other than the tragedy of an addictive personality leading to premature death. I’m not a psychologist but I think a lot of this obsession is a yellow flag that a person has underlying issues that need to be addressed. It’s just sad all around.

  • Aden, my best advise is to just pick up a barbell and see if static holds work for you. We’re not talking about testing cancer drugs here. There is no risk. And who cares if Greg and I are both in wheelchairs with withered muscles? Look at the logic, read what others say on this site and most of all – pick up a really, really heavy barbell and see what happens for you.

  • Thanks, Steve. I agree. Cosmetics are sold in a similar way. Use this skin product and you’ll look like the model in the ad. The model has 1 in 1,000 good looks. The rest of us don’t. I try to push back against the emphasis on the cosmetic benefits of building muscle but it’s a tough sell. I talk about the health benefits of strength training but people ask about how to add an inch to their biceps. I know the truth is the great gift of strength training is how it increases a person’s quality of life. That’s where the gold is.

  • Bottom line: Sex appeal sells products. We all know this. We all want to be “attractive.” I notice you have both a slim female model and a beefy male torso on the banner of this web site. The female may be using STC but I wonder, was that beefy male torso built using only STC? Doesn’t its placement on the banner imply: “Use our technique and you, too, can have a torso like this!” Of course, to your credit, you don’t actually say that. In fact you say that to have a body like this, you’d need to have this guy’s parents AND you’d have to build it. Don’t mistake this as a criticism. I understand you’re trying to sell a product and I hope you succeed because so far as I can tell from my own experience so far, it is a damn good product. It isn’t just hype. It delivers safe stimulation and growth.

    It is often said that our society is “materialistic.” I don’t think that is accurate. The truth is, we’re “imagistic.” That is, we’re more concerned about IMAGE than quality. We have to “look good” to succeed, regardless of what reality may lurk behind the image.

    Our world would be a very different place if the emphasis was on QUALITY rather than quantity (profit) or the image it depends on. Imagine a world where the quality of life was more important than wealth or prestige? Well, we can’t change the world but we can change our own priorities. If my own health and well-being (mental, physical, emotional) becomes my priority, the rest of it (success and how look to others) may take its rightful place.

  • charlie sanders

    we should all just get on facebook with pics of ourselves and how long we did sct and how much change occured, we could be on the fan page and have before and afters of ourselves….also
    these tv ‘doctors’ need to go, what a crock! medical marketing…..
    go to a chiropractor people… expand your reality

  • Great expose Pete.
    I have a similar problem with the broader concept of snake-oilmanship in general.
    And the individuals involved in it.
    I sometimes wonder if my view of humans is becoming too cynical.

  • Zenny

    Pete, I think Aden’s comment is relevant from the standpoint of whether your exercise protocols, including SCT, strongest range partials and Power Factor can really build muscle, arguably the primary objective of anyone interested in using weight exercises. It is true that what you and Greg look like is irrelevant, so long as your teachings really work. However, are you able to post actual and honest before and after photos showing the improvements that can be achieved by average drug free students of varying ages through your teachings? Sincerely, I am sure both you and Greg understand the need for this question and how the proof, if available, will validate what you two having been saying. I am sure there are many of your fans out there who thinking the same as me. Best regards in your continued success! Zenny

  • Absoluteley Greg! I can imagine what some of these bodybuilders’ health will be like in 10 years! What a price to pay.

  • Kevin


    I believe that every supplement company has falsified every before and after photo
    that has ever been produced. But you should explain why in your book “static contraction training” (1998) you used photo’s of professional bodybuilders (one convicted of steriod trafficking and later murder) didn’t those photo’s serve to make the
    unwitting reader think these pro’s developed thier bodies using Static contraction training? your stance now certainly seems to differ from what you were putting out there then. The cover of the book says “gain up to 25lbs of pure muscle mass in 10 weeks” photos of that actually happening would be nice. But for you to say I can’t provide photos of the people that gained “upto” 25 pounds of pure muscle in 10 weeks
    because everyone that has come before me cheated is a cop out and someone has to cry B.S. I do.

    By the way I use static contraction training as “part” of my workout program AND I
    like it.

  • Thanks, Kevin. I’ve said elsewhere I regret using the photos we used in the 1990’s books. We did the normal, stock photos approach and the books were aimed directly at hardcore bodybuilders. The photos reflected that. But they were not photoshopped to create fake before and after promises. And my overarching point is to not put faith in any photos but to examine the logic, rationale and methodology of a weight lifting program. Then actually pick up a weight and test whether it works. I also provide people a way to do that on a few exercises without ever buying anything.

  • Aden White

    “real before/after photos are never as impressive as the fake ones”

    Something is better than nothing. And, since you have a reputation of integrity, seeing those real pictures will be perfectly acceptable. Just take some skinny guy, have him/her do your training routine for a few months, and show us the results.

  • It ain’t gonna happen. Every time I show people the FRAUD in the B/A photos somebody says “Wow, but you should put some up.” I’m amazed. I show them that photos can’t be believed and their reaction is “I still only believe photos.” Haha. One of these days I’ll stop trying to enlighten people. But for now I’ll just reiterate, I’m not playing the game. I advertise what I sell as something that will make you strong – not beautiful. I can lift a car but I’m certainly no model. But even if I was in bed with an iron lung, the facts of SCT stand.

    No photos to follow.

  • Aden

    I must say publicly, thank-you for being so gracious with your replies.

    Handled very professionally, and you have a new customer.

    And — You can literally lift a car? Or you just mean the equivalent in weight?

  • Thanks Aden. Welcome aboard. (I leg pressed a Toyota Corolla and so did my 16-year-old son. Many SCT trainees have done the equivalent or better.)

  • Rama

    Nonetheless though I think some people would still see SCT or PFT results and say “Man I’ve seen better results” because for all we know some other results may be fake and photoshopped. In addition, Pete doesnt necessarily cover nutrition details which usually is a testament to how a guy looks. A guy who tries SCT or PFT can build 20 pounds of muscle but still look rather pudgy because he may not look after his diet as much as other bodybuilders on so-called “hardcore underground workouts”. But it doesnt necessarily make SCT methods invalid or inferior to other workout methods.

    I respect that Pete doesnt try to be a nutritionist,and TBH there are many books out there on how to get lean and ripped or be bulky and huge. The point is I love PFT and SCT workouts because they are so efficient and DOES indeed build muscle.

  • Brian T

    I agree with this.

    Just because there are many fakes, it doesn’t mean you can’t provide more information in picture form for the students/customers to look at.

    However, ulimately Pete is giving us the most important stuff. But I would like to see more visuals myself as well. It just helps understanding (if geniune).

  • There is video footage of it on youtube. It is pretty cool! And, he did it with reps, not just a static hold!

  • Joshua B

    Great post Pete. I was sorta surprised you hadn’t posted about this earlier – I was really shocked by the blatant lack of integrity of the supplement marketers when I first watched Bigger Stronger Faster. Not to completely trash the companies i do believe that there are some companies who earnestly try to produce better and better products to help sharpen up trainees’ nutrition.

    However, the marketing practices are nothing short of deplorable. Real meaningful progress takes time and has more to do with training and rest rather than certain magic powders or pills.

    More importantly natural muscle gains can be significant but they take TIME to occur. Even SCT trainees will attest to this – but given the recovery times it takes between the progressively heavier and harder workouts gains take time. And that is probably the best product to market – can you see it now?

    Before picture untrained trainee – after picture 10 weeks into the training program. Time and rest taken once a day everyday dosage amount up to 24 hours! Results guaranteed.

    – JB

  • Tom Strong

    Agreed, I just want to be the best me that I can be when I turn 100; 30 years from now!

  • Kevin

    Thanks for the reply pete, I must give you credit where it is due, First even though
    my post would probably fit the definition of cynical you allowed it to be posted
    anyway, Most people selling a product would have shut me down.

    second, you are honest enough to admit you regret using the photo’s of
    the fellowship of the steriods. your system is a good one because it does build
    strength and to me that builds motivation. I think that perhaps your marketing
    should focus more on the strength building and as far as building muscle mass and size just honestly tell the folks, it depends on your level of training. I think people with very little experience with training will see muscle gains as they would if they didn’t exercise at all ,Then simply started doing push ups. But if someone has been training for 3 or more years they are not likely to gain much muslce size from your program ALONE. They will gain strength however, Which can only help them in a conventional training program.

    Today I had to go out and buy 425 lbs of olympic weight and a bar capable of holding over 300lbs because my “standard” bar cannot hold the weight I am doing with your program (or the hybrid I’ve created for myself). I did not need these things before I added static holds to my training. That is reason enough to buy your books, Regardless of muscle size gains or none.

    I bought the book and I’m glad I did.

  • Aden

    @Brian – link please?

    I just finished reading the kindle static contraction book. Quick question – it doesn`t say how many reps per exercise. Just one? Just 5 seconds per exercise?

  • Brian Schamber

    How much does a Corolla weigh anyway? And what became of that snazzy suit?

  • Aden, you got it! 1 rep. 5 seconds. 10 exercises total for the body. So a full body workout would only take 50 seconds of exertion. But we never do the full workout in one session. We split it into 2 sessions. So its actually 25 seconds of exertion each workout session.

  • Haha! Inquiring minds want to know. I created a new post on the subject:

  • RobJ

    Anyone who has actually gone through at most a few cycles of the SCT workout will not see but feel the changes to their body. That’s all the testimonial you need. I still have a little “living” in my tummy, but even that is better. And ask the guys that try to come inside the key on me, like trying to get past a crow bar. Workout is awesome, it just makes sense too. Will say it again, I wish I knew earlier, but am so glad I know now.

    Really enjoying reading about the other success stories too.

  • charlie sanders

    i watched this movie, thanks for posting it here. so sad as far as the misleading media but also interesting as to the lack of knowledge about the actual problems of steroids…

  • charlie sanders

    kevin, what if you test what you can do on a few ‘regular’ lifts for 5 reps take a break twice whatever your normal long rest is or at least 2 weeks and then test the same exercises. let us know how many reps you can do then…. are you overtraining?

  • Plus the fact that it’s not just ‘steroids’. Pro bodybuilders take dozens of drugs from insulin to pain killers.

  • Kevin

    Hi Charlie,

    Thanks for the reply, I’m a little confused, I haven’t had any problems with my training and wonder why your inquiring if I’m overtraining?

  • charlie sanders

    my inquiring if you’re overtraining was based on you submitting “static contraction training as “part” of my workout program” in your comment and the concept that i just posted on the other article thread in here on a sct study to demonstrate recovery and substantiate sct.
    the baseline i made up was to bridge the concept of strong range vs. full range exercises. i just suggested it to you because, as part of a training regimen that is diversified, rest is often insufficient.
    when i was my strongest i was mixing quite a bit and much later realized that my weekly a/b workouts were too close with all the other activity i did….
    a suggestion, you may be shocked to see a great increase in the test exercises.
    maybe i should ask how you know when you are ready to stimulate again or if you are doing too much too often? i used to do lots of non-lifting activity and my sct program was once a month at one point, only sct and recreation was my program for years yielding 2000+ horizontal leg press, 700bench, 350mili. 250curl, 450crunch. everybody is different though, my gramps always told me to do isometrics like he did back in the day, he had at 5’10” a 50in. chest and 28in waist even when he trained everyday with calisthenics and running daily 7 miles, a true genetic phenom..for years he did 100 pullups 100full r.o.m. situps and 100pushups, once did 1700pushups on a bet at lunch. hope i was not coming off as rude, all friends here…thx

  • If ever a word covered a lot of territory in the Fitness World its fakery.Where do you start-fake pictures,fake steroid enhanced bodies,fake courses,fake endorsements,fake equipment/gimmicks,fake supplements{ and fake science that proves them}fake academic credentials,fake training with fake personal instructors.Now heres a game for you. I continue the fake list-I have no doubt that you can.

  • Well Brian,with regard to bodybuilders health only a short search on the net for well known names of the last two decades {and a lot less }will tell you all you need to know about their health and many cases whether they are still even alive.

  • Agree 100%. It’s a crappy place to make a living when you try to tell the truth. The liars make a lot more money. Sad, but true.

  • I saw an article once about dozens of pro wrestlers who died prematurely. It was astounding – but it’s worse in the world of pro bodybuilding, it’s just that none of them are on TV every week so it gets zero press.

  • Gino

    Ill say this…You’ll never go back to the old way of lifting! Once your understand the science behind it all.. I makes so much sense.
    Stop in the gym one day and toss 350lbs on the bench press bar. Lift it three times from your strongest range of motion, (travel distance approximately 6″.) Tell me what it feels like afterwords…
    Don’t knock it until you try.