Thursday, April 26, 2012

Be Thankful

Crossfit has done a lot of good for people in this world.  There are many people who can't say enough positive things about crossfit and what it's done for their lives.  Things such as: "It's made me feel alive again!"or, "Until I found crossfit, I was wasting away - a total game changer for me!"  Needless to say, they are thankful for crossfit.

It's also not just people who are thankful. Crossfit has also done a lot for tools and training philosophies that, until now, have long since fallen by the way side by the general population and were previously left only for elite athletes and "meatheads".  Enter barbells.  The rise of crossfit has brought about a resurrection and resurgence of the mighty barbell - and rightfully so!  While I don't have any statistical evidence to provide here, I would bet a hefty wager that there are more people training with barbells now than anytime in the last 30 years.  That's a good thing, and here's why:

1)  Improves absolute and maximum strength. Barbells- hands down the best way to do this.  Kettlebells and dumbbells won't cut it- they are better tools geared more towards conditioning and accessory work.  Reps in the 1-5 range, and even more so with the 1-3 rep range, will accomplish this.

2)  Improves muscle growth/hypertrophy.  Who knew that people like these things called muscles?  Time to get swoll!  Hit up barbell complexes or individual movements in the 8-12 rep range.

3)  Incorporates compound movements.  Sorry body builders: curls, leg extensions and the fly machine get no love here.  Any barbell movement you do will incorporate more than just one major muscle group.  Compound movements help improve and balance overall strength and flexibility in the muscles and tendons. If you're crunched for time, this also makes your training session more efficient!

4)  Great for fat loss.  This ties into #3.  Because you're using multiple major muscle groups, your body expends more energy.   This increases your metabolism because the body has to work harder to replenish energy substrates throughout your entire body.  I can get strong, grow muscle AND lose weight at the same time?  Yes.

5)  It has versatile training applications.  You want strength? Increase the intensity (the load/mass) and decrease the volume (reps).  You want muscle endurance?  Decrease the intensity and increase the volume.  You want conditioning?  Barbell complexes or incorporating barbell movements into met cons are perfect.

6)  Great for building torso strength.  Mike "The Situation" (if you've been living under the rock for the last few years, I'm referring to the guy from the Jersey Shore) has it wrong.  "Core" and torso strength isn't about doing a million sit-ups and twists.  It comes down to the ability to rigidly locking in your spine so you can transfer energy more efficiently and safely.  Just like building strength, this is hands down the best way.  Shoot, you might even get a six-pack.

7)  It's fun.  At the end of the day, your training needs to be fun.  The barbell provides unlimited variety between the movements, intensity and volume you can use on any given day, so you won't get bored doing the same things over and over.  Besides, who doesn't have fun throwing some weight around?

Barbells are thankful for crossfit.  If you're thankful for crossift, you should also be thankful for barbells.  Next time you train with one, tell it "thank you".  You'll be better off for it.

Source: Bruce Klemens Classic Weightlifting Photos
Something tells me Pisarenko (above) never used a bosu ball.

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