Monday, April 30, 2012

The 4 B's

Basic Barbell movements Build Beasts.

Yup, it's another post about simplicity. Why? Because it has recently became very obvious and very important to me. It has affected my training, and the way that I train my clients. It does't have to be so difficult. People took something that was super easy, and went and fucked it all to hell. Do you know what old-timey gyms looked like? You walked in, and there was a bunch of dumbbells and barbells on the ground. There may have been some climbing ropes and some gymnastics equipment. Possibly even a tumbling mat. That's about it.

See? Did you think I was lying? You never believe me!

Yup, as the saying goes "there's no school like the old school". The "classic" mantra holds true for the things that are most awesome: hip hop, cars and training. Give me some A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, Dre and Cube. While you're at it, I'll take a 1968 Hurst Oldsmobile 442 (red with black racing stripes) and a 1969 Lincoln Continental, with the suicide doors (black).

Bodybuilders? We're talking classic all the way, too. Seriously, who actually wants to look like Jay Cutler or Ronnie Coleman? Nobody! That shit is gross, son! Now who wants to look like Arnold or Steve Reeves? Just about any guy in the gym.

Those guys are classics. They look absolutely nothing like the freak-show guys that step on stage at professional bodybuilding shows nowadays. Complete opposites. 

What the hell is my point? It's that the best training principles, methods and tools were all developed at the advent of the iron game. The oldest movements? Cleans, snatches, deadlifts, squats, presses, rows and the gymnastics related bodyweight movements. The exercises that, today, get the best results? Yup, it's the same ones. Cable machines, selectorized equipment and dumbbells are all useful tools, but they all came after the best pieces of equipment we have: barbells and kettlebells. 

I've believed this for a long time, but my recent personal experience has really solidified my thoughts. For several reasons, my training partner and I have pared our training down to a few basic compound movements. Front squats, RDL's, Push Presses, chin-ups and pull-ups have been really making up the meat and potatoes of our programming for about two months. The results? With some good eating, I gained several pounds of (mostly) muscle mass with almost no change in my body fat percentage.

(Note: while barbell lifts should make up the foundation of your training, you can't neglect the efficacy of cables and dumbbells to help address your weak points and structural deficits.)

Want more proof? Take a look at one of the greatest athletes competing in the strength sports today; Dmitry Klokov. The guy is a Savage of the highest order.

As an Olympic weightlifter from Russia, Klokov spends his time working with a barbell, and that's about it. His training consists of the stuff named above: cleans, jerks, snatches, deadlifts, squats and presses. That's about it. Not too shabby for a dude who doesn't have a bi's and tri's day, huh?

The take home message is this: don't major in the minors. Do your barbell lifts, and do them heavy and often. Eat lots of whole real foods. Be a savage, and reap the benefits. Lift something heavy. I'll leave you with some Klokov inspiration.

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