RX Barbell Introduction

Even though a relatively amateurish approach may produce strength increase during the first year of training, this may not be entirely beneficial to the athlete, because the improvements may not be sufficiently sports-specific. From the beginning, it is vital to identify exactly which strength-related qualities need to be enhanced in a given individual executing a specific series of tasks in a particular sport. – Mel Siff. Supertraining.

The focal point of the RX Barbel exercise programming is sport-specific in nature – the sport of fitness. The objective of this course to provide you with the knowledge and practical programming needed to develop your barbel strength to the point where you have the ability to do most standard Cross-Training conditioning workouts as prescribed. You can be an absolute beginner to Cross-Training or have been training for a few years now. The most important thing to consider for utilizing this program is that you are currently at a state of fitness where don’t have the strength, capacity, and/or ability to RX many Cross-Training workouts that have barbell movements.

In addition, we want to accomplish that goal in a safe and efficacious way while still allowing you to train at your current Cross-Training box and participating in the classes. The RX Barbell program is written as a supplementary strength program and isn’t meant to be done on its own. This is what sets this program apart from many others. There is a plethora of strength programs out there but very few are meant to be done in conjunction with a Cross-Training program specific to developing the capacity to RX barbell biased Cross-Training specific conditioning workouts.

This concept of an accessory program in a Cross-Training context defies the norm seen in most functional fitness programming out there. The popular benchmark is that Cross-Training in the traditional model is the best way to improve your relative Cross-Training performance. This idea is founded from the early days of Cross-Training where the founder Greg Glassman interwove the following concept into the fiber of Cross-Training programming; “We have designed our program to elicit as broad an adaptational response as possible. Cross-Training is not a specialized fitness program but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of ten recognized fitness domains. They are Cardiovascular and Respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy.”

Much has changed since the early days. Cross-Training has grown and evolved into something that is far removed from its beautifully minimalistic origin story and thesis. The fundamental elements still permeate throughout the entire spectrum of the Cross-Training experience.  Yet like many evolutionary tales comes adaptation and change so that new methods and methodologies can be integrated that aim to make advance the sport. I still believe that in order to get better at Cross-Training one needs to do Cross-Training. But I also believe there are times in an athlete’s development when focusing on specific physical capacities (in this case for this program barbell strength) will contribute to better performance over the long-run. The concentration on this phase of an individual’s training is due to the magnitude of importance the beginning stages have in the development of an individual’s progress in Cross-Training. Poor focus on technique can result in inefficient movement patterns which can take months or years to break out of. Additionally, the absence of a linear strength program (like this one) is likely one of the most overlooked programming decisions in all of sport that results in the biggest loss of strength procurement and attainment by fitness enthusiasts. To get the most out of Cross-Training you need to be strong and comfortable with the barbell movements.

When a person is new to a training style that involves structured strength development they are in a highly temperamental phase of training that if not fostered correctly lead to significant issues in relation to training, health, and wellness. Some of these leading issues are discussed below:

Tipping Point: A tipping point, as defined by Malcolm, is the “magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate.” In relation to a beginner or novice Cross-Trainingter, that tipping point is the point where they can RX most of the benchmark workouts that come in a standard Cross-Training program that you can find at most affiliates. Once that tipping point is reached it gives the impetus needed to catalyze an individual’s fitness ability and capacity, far more than if they were unable to be in the ‘RX sphere’ of training. I bring this issue to the forefront because it is the contention of the exercise science community and my personal philosophy on the physical culture that functional strength attained and maintained over multiple decades is the biggest leverage point we have for functional longevity, health, and wellness when compared to every other physical attribute that can be developed through training. In a very real way, out of the 10 components of fitness outlined earlier, strength and power are the most important physical traits that can be developed through structured and ritualized exercise programs. It is of the utmost to your well-being to develop and maintain a robust and strong physical constitution.

Attrition. This is a contender of all authors who create programs that has anything to do with behavioral change. A hallmark strategy to decrease attrition is to leverage the highest value change to elicit the greatest amount of dividends paid out (i.e. The Pareto Principle). In regard to this program, I do my best to use these leverage points. I don’t require you to stop training Cross-Training. You still work with the classes. You’re still apart of the community. The biggest thing I require is to do some weightlifting before or after class. By keeping as many of the components that you’re accustomed to still in rotation it is the hope of this strategy to decrease attrition rates from exercise as much as possible.

Biomechanics. When it comes to developing motor patterns (i.e. good technique), it is more challenging, time-consuming, and burdensome to have to learn good technique after having learned a bad technique. Fortunately, given the demographic of individuals utilizing this program, this won’t be too big of an issue. One of the best things that have come from Cross-Training is that in order to be certified to coach Cross-Training you need to be able to teach people how to move with good technique. This has resulted in a vast amount of people who have learned proper weightlifting techniques. I have a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Exercise Science and over a dozen other non-Cross-Training certifications, and I’ll tell you – Cross-Training is one of the only certifying agencies out there that actually teaches coaches how to teach movement. In addition to the certifying aspect, in general, they are more passionate and have learned the movements through personal experience. It is a high likelihood that your coaches at your box are well suited to teach you good technique and also reinforce those good movement patterns. This program will layer on top of that nicely by organizing a structured weightlifting program that will reinforce the good movement programs that your coach has already taught you.