When I first started my Functional Fitness program years ago, I relied heavily on the barbell. Don’t be fooled, I didn’t use it for bench presses or the standard weight lifting. As you would expect, I did some crazy fun stuff with it.
Outside of Olympic lifts such as the Deadlift, I used it for One Arm Snatches, Virtual Shoveling, and One Arm Presses. Either way, the barbell was a great piece of equipment, easily found in the gym at my work, so it was perfect for my program.
Not to mention, the only other program I knew of, Crossfit, heavily relied upon barbells, so I didn’t know better.
Something strange happened though. As more and more people began to join in with my crazy little workouts, we were having a harder and harder time getting access to the barbells. It was hard to keep the flow going without having a barbell for each of us (due to changing the weights all the time), and the gym was full of the typical weight lifters already using the barbells.
At first I was very dissapointed. I actually looked forward to days when folks didn’t show up and I could work out alone. I would run up to the free weight area and do a workout using heavy weights on the barbell. However, as the “Kemme Fitness” group grew, those days were fewer and farther in between.
I was forced to get by with Dumbbells, Physioballs, Medicine Balls, and bodyweight for the workouts. That couldn’t be enough to stay in shape, could it? What about moving heavy weights to get more strength?
I am going to let you in on a little secret. At home, I use things like Clubbells, Slosh Tubes, a Mini Slosh Tube, homemade Medicine Balls, Parallettes, Macebells, and Phyiosballs. At work I stick mostly with just Medicine Balls, some Dumbbells, and Physioballs (at rare times I add in cables).
At home, the heaviest piece of equipment is my 30 lb Slosh Tube. My Clubbells are only 10.5 and 13.5 pounds. <added now an adjustable Kettlebell that I am using at 40 lbs – see upcoming post>
Here is the little secret: I am now totally convinced that I no longer need heavy weights to be Functionally Fit. I am talking about being as strong as I was when I was Deadlifting 240 pounds for several reps for fun. Without going through the step by step enlightenment I went through, I will simply tell you I am totally convinced (you will have to trust me on this).
Yes I am just as strong with things weighing less than 30 pounds as I was moving around heavy weights. The reason is most likely due to the fact that strength and power comes from your core. A strong core, makes you a strong person. And my current pieces of equipment are completely core-centered. When your muscles and neurons work together, you can be strong…and you don’t need heavy barbells to get there!
If you trust me (which my wife would ask you if you are nuts for listening to me) then you might want to click on the link for The Low Cost Gym. Save yourself money and create inexpensive pieces of equipment. Concentrate on your core and move away from the expensive gym memberships.
My little secret….should not be a secret. Share it, preach it, show it.
This Post Has 3 Comments
I agree with this to an extent. I definitely agree that low-weight stuff like your equipment can both build and maintain strength. Especially since most people have a really weak core. You can only lift as much as your weakest link can lift!
But at a certain point the only thing that builds strength is increasing the weight you are lifting. Barbells are good for that.
Depends on what your goals are I suppose. If it’s just functional fitness, there’s no reason to develop super freaky strength. If you’re like me and want to get a 500+ lb deadlift, then barbells are probably the best tool.
I can’t argue with that. My 30 pound Slosh Tube is not going to get me flipping 800 pound tires around my yard. I would use the analogy of running. Cross training is only going to get you so far. If you are going to run 100 miles, you have to put in the miles in your training. If you want to Deadlift 500 pounds, you are going to have to put on the weight during training.
My only question is are you going to have to get a new cape to fit the new super freaky huge physique? 🙂
I think the cape will still fit. But I’ll probably have to tailor my suits (again). Though there’s only so many times you can take in the waist and let out the shoulders.