What I Learned From the Year Without Barbells

When I did the year without barbells, I was testing out some programming ideas. Many of them you saw last year as I rolled them out, and there will be some fun ones coming up this summer. Here's what the main themes are from now through the summer.

Kettelbell complexes: high rep double kettlebell work is fun, helps with coordination and strength, and has lots of carry-over to the barbell. Just about every day you'll be doing some type of complex with the kettlebell, often doubles.

Olympic lifts are good: This is where the pendulum-of-belifs swings the wildest to me. I learned the Olympic lifts very early in my lifting career. I had good coaches (e.g. Randy) and they were willing to spend the time to put them in beginner programs. But for beginners, you also get more bang for your buck with the simple power lifts. Get strong first and then learn the technical lifts. I'm back on the Olympic lift bandwagon. We'll be visiting them a lot - almost every day until September, but we won't be doing a high volume of them on any given day. That way we can ease into them and you can learn the technique without time pressure.

Heavy barbells: While I like kettlebells, you need to have a pretty high volume of work to get the same effect as a few good heavy barbell lifts. So the core lifts are back, Press, Bench Press, Squat, Front Squat, Deadlift every day. Volume is pretty high this month and then it will taper a bit for summer maintenance.

AGT: AGT is important! Randy is the Czar of AGT with his elite and pro athletes. I'm trying to steal as much from him as I can and also find a way to fit it into a class program. We'll mostly be sticking with the A+A style of AGT (thought there is a lot more to it than that!), and I'm trying to get a ten-minute session in just about every day after the strength work. It seems boring and weird, but it really does contribute to that WTF effect (). Put in your time and treat the AGT seriously.

LSD: I'm doing lots of LSD myself. It's important to have that aerobic stimulus to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis - that will make everything above so much easier (or less costly as Al Ciampa says). Feel free to come in and spend an hour on the erg, if you want (A few folks actually do that over lunch!) but really this isn't good "gym work" LSD should be SLOW jogging or hiking or rucking and enjoying the Colorado outdoors. The work we do in the gym will make you have a better time outside, and the work (fun) you do outside will make the gym work more effective. Put it all together for full-body health and strength.

Michael Deskevich