I received this question in from a new subscriber. It’s a great story and a great question so I thought I would share it with you.
I am honored to correspond with you. In all my years of obsession with the iron, I feel I have finally uncovered a lost piece in discovering your work.
In my training, I seek transcendence of the mental and physical barriers of existence. When I perform a feat of strength I never have before, the feeling is of utter elation. I’m sure you’ve felt this as well. One of my new goals is to strict press my body weight overhead. I am a light man, roughly 147 @ 5 10 and do not wish to gain any weight. My current weight set up is just a barbell and 300 lbs. I love the minimalist training and have been practicing all sorts of barbell only feats with lightweight I.e stein born squats, sumo deadlifts to zercher squats, one arm presses and snatches. The list of unordinary exercises is vast! However I wish to exhaust the 300 lbs and barbell before buying more weight by decreasing leverage as my strength grows. I have run off at the mouth and suppose you’d just like my answer to your question? Very well. If you were sentenced to 10 years in an island with only a barbell and 300 lbs, how would you train?
I love it!
Transcendence…Utter elation…Yes, this is why I do what I do.
Now onto the question.
The question is about the barbell so I’ll leave bodyweight exercises out of this (I think I’ve covered that elsewhere) and just stick to the weights.
Philippe describes a number of “unconventional” exercises with the barbell already and there is so much more.
Really 300 lbs. can be more than enough!
Let’s start with the upper body. Until you are pressing 300 lbs. with both hands (let alone one hand!) you pretty much can do anything with that weight. Work on the bent press. Even just shouldering the barbell is a good challenge. Arthur Saxon would approve.
Various rows would fit as well. Bent over rows, one arm rows.
All the explosive movements; continentals, cleans, jerks, snatches. If you’re doing double bodyweight on the one arm variations of these, well let’s just say you own that island.
For the lower body this is where 300 lbs. is a little bit limiting so you just need to be a little more creative.
For squats, let’s move it over do a pistol squat holding the barbell like a front squat.
Or an airborne lunge with the barbell held in the Zercher position. Max Shank is the guy that turned me onto this idea and puts it as one of his main four exercises in Ultimate Athleticism.
300 lbs. in either of those and you’re good to go.
Now onto deadlifts. With 300 lbs. you could do lots of challenging grip variations like Hermann Goerner taught.
Lots of people shy away from high rep deadlifts but these are a great challenge.
But working the legs and back more, I’d say once again, move onto one leg. That will be a good challenge.
Want even more? Do the shovel lift. Or master barbell juggling.
Many of these, though not all, are covered in Deceptive Strength.
Just as Philippe is a small guy, not trying to gain strength, by training with a barbell in this manner, or a number of other tools, you can get ridiculously strong without putting on size.