A few posts ago I blogged on why we programmed so much dumbbell work into our sessions at Saxon CrossFit. Today I write about why, although dumbbells are epic, the barbell is still the king of strength training!

Now if you CrossFit you should be more than familiar with a barbell. We squat them, deadlift them, press them, clean them and snatch them. Sometimes we even drop them!! However in mainstream gyms the barbell often gets overlooked and most gym goers are blissfully unaware of its potential impact on their fitness. Here we explore the 3 main perks of incorporating barbells into your training program.

Volume: The best route to increased gains is generally volume. (This doesn’t mean spending hours and hours slogging away – you need intensity and structure too – but increased volume will generally lead to increased gains.) Volume can be defined as weight x reps x sets. Using a barbell generally allows people to lift heavier loads which when put through the previous equation will lead to an increased volume. Whilst using dumbbells for squats has many, many benefits, for pure strength work the volume a barbell provides is unrivaled.

Progressive overload: Another key aspect of increasing your strength and fitness is the concept of progressive overload. The human body is a wonderful thing and it will adapt to deal with any stresses it is placed under. To combat this adaption and keep our body progressing we have to change the stimulus. This doesn’t always mean we have to change the exercise or movement. In the barbell world it is incredibly easy to increase the weight, by either very small or very large amounts. This level and ease of progressive overload is difficult to match with dumbbells or kettle-bells.

Compound movements: Large, multi joint movements that recruit huge amounts of muscle fibers are the name of game in fitness. Whilst dumbbells and kettle-bells can be used in all compound movements the barbells allows us to maximise the muscle fibers being utilised and therefore allows us to get some serious bang for our buck out of our strength sessions!

As with everything in life variance is key and we would never utilise just one training tool or advise anyone too. They all have there place in helping you to develop some serious fitness but if strength is what your after you definitely need to be getting under some heavy barbells in your training sessions!