When Can I Start Using the Barbell?

IMG_0858Coming from different fitness worlds, I’ve noticed a trend when it comes to strength training. “It’s our first day lifting, ever. Let’s max out!”

My response to that is, let’s max out on conditioning your body to get it ready for “maxing out.” Let’s first build a baseline of STRENGTH and then assess where you are. Because we know where you are at the beginning. You’re not ready. Not in my eyes. And certainly, not on my watch. I am here to coach you through strength movements but I’m ultimately here to make sure you’re doing it safely. And you having a barbell on your back moving through compound movements the first day we meet isn’t good for anyone.

If I see that you’re ready for the barbell after a week of conditioning, then you’re ready. If it takes 3-4 weeks, which is typical, then that’s the timeframe. This process cannot be rushed. If it’s rushed, then weaknesses and injuries will show up more than you’d like to see. Then comes frustrations, lack of confidence and a lack of passion for what you’re doing. And nobody wants that.

You have to crawl before you walk. You have to walk before you run. And you have to condition your muscles to prepare them for heavy load bearing exercise. Plain and simple. Your body is asking for injury when it’s not prepared for something and you allow it to do something regardless.

IMG_0856The beauty and the beast of barbell movements are the body is using muscles that it doesn’t typically use throughout a typical day. I say typical day in terms of a 9-5 job sitting at a desk, driving in a car, etc. Most things we do outside of the health and fitness realm are not with the strongest and largest muscles we have. Barbell movements, specifically powerlifting movements, use the largest muscles in the body. And because those muscles are resting on a chair for 8-10 hours a day, they need a period of serious conditioning to be able to properly hold a load and ultimately, move a load.

At Austin Simply Fit, we send our athletes through 3-4 weeks of conditioning before touching a barbell. Is it frustrating? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely. You get hungry for the barbell. And you begin to appreciate it. You appreciate the beast and then the beast within is ready to break through and crush some weight!


franki-spellAbout Franki Spell: Franki is a personal trainer and manager of Austin Simply Fit Central. Franki has a passion for helping people get strong and healthy. She played basketball and softball in college and was a competitive CrossFitter before merging into the powerlifting world. In her free time, Franki enjoys swimming, playing sand volleyball, and hiking with her dog.