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You ever ask yourself, what is the point of specialty bars? Especially if you powerlift, and in competition, you use a straight bar, so why shouldn’t you keep training as specific as possible and only train with a straight bar? In this article we’re going to talk about why utilizing specialty bars can be the right move when trying to improve performance and reduce injury risk.

The deadlift is commonly used in resistance training for a variety of reasons including high potential for loading, functions as a full body exercise, high transference to various sports etc. However there is still considerable disagreement as to what the optimal technical execution is for the conventional deadlift. In this short article we’ll cover how hip height in the start position affects strength expression, and how variations in technique can elicit meaningful changes in force production.

If you train hard enough (or not hard enough I suppose) for long enough you will eventually run into a period where progress stalls and improvements to your lifts become much more difficult to realize. Sometimes plateaus last for a few training blocks but, its very easy to let a few blocks slip by and before you know it you are running up on a year or more of minimal progress.

It had never been done before. El Capitan — the famous 3,000-foot granite face in Yosemite — once seemed impossible to climb at all, let alone solo and without ropes. But on June 3, 2017, Alex Honnold posed for a National Geographic photo — climbing shoes in hands, wide grin on face — atop the mammoth monolith after 3 hours and 56 minutes of flawless execution that crisp morning. His many years of meticulously detailed practice and planning had culminated in the realization of a dream that, three years after the fact, remains unthinkable to the lion’s share of humanity.

The Arnold Classic 2018 was the best performance of my lifting career. I ended with an 1829lbs (830kg) total in the 105kg division, I was ecstatic. I even ended up winning a big check for $800 for placing first, literally the peak of my powerlifting journey at the time. Fast forward to March 14th, I wake up, half asleep and I see an email that says, “notification of doping failure”.

How specific do you need to be when training for a powerlifting meet? I really want you to stop and think about this question. You may have heard a lot of people who are popular in the world of powerlifting describe how important it is to be as specific as possible when training for the sport. You have to use a straight bar all the time to create the specific stress needed to drive adaptation. Many of the people I hear talk in these kinds of absolutes also complain about their elbow or shoulder or adductor or some other body part hurting going into a meet. What is really paramount in training is the application and management of stress. I am going to argue the specificity of the implement used is not as important as people think.

Listen up–if you have never been in a powerlifting meet but want to, or if you are about to compete in your first–if you have competed, give this top 10 a quick read and see if passing it along can help someone you know.

I was lucky enough to get the chance to chat with Chris Duffin about training recently.  It was a great conversation because we both have a similar mental approach to training: if we’re going to make it worthwhile, we need to go into the gym with a very concrete goal in mind.  And the more frequently we do that, the better.  While light days have their place in any sound training program, they’re just not fun.

Let’s start by clarifying that this article is nothing more than a summary of my thoughts based on personal observation, coaching, and discussions with clinicians and professors over the years.  It is not summary of research or definitive fact, albeit from an anecdotal aspect I can consistently drive positive change when fine tuning based on the principles in this piece.

I’m tired of hearing several times a week from people I know, or come across, the “too” word when it comes to exercise!

I’m sure you hear it as well from your co-workers, neighbors, parents or grandparents. “I’m too old to lift weights, or my knees are too sore to walk, run, ski or fill in the ______. It pains me to hear folks say “I’m in too much pain to do this or do that. Too heavy, too weak, too busy…blah, blah, blah.

Velocity Based Training (VBT) is one method of auto-regulating training. It can auto-regulate load on the bar, number of reps within a set, total number of sets, any combination of those three, or any other relevant factor in training. It is beyond the scope of this article to make the case for VBT. It’s hard to make a case for VBT when you haven’t first established that the methods used to gauge velocity are valid and/or accurate. VBT has been a training methodology put forth in power athletes and team sports. It has gotten significantly less attention for strength athletes like powerlifting. Other coaches can more appropriately talk on the matter for strength and conditioning outside of powerlifting, and people like Bryan Mann, Carl Valle, Dan Baker, Eamonn Flannigan, and Mladen Jovanovic already have. On the powerlifting side of the house, the volume of writing and academic work is limited to Louis Simmons of Westside Barbell, Brandon Senn of Kabuki Strength, Mladen Jovanovic of Complementary Training, and I guess you could also argue that Mike Tuscherer of Reactive Training Systems as well – although it’s more appropriate to say Mike uses velocity as a reference point, not a driver of training.

The year 2016 has been a monumental year for strength sports, with some previously “unbreakable” barriers being broken and incredible athletes pushing the boundary of what we thought to be humanly possible. Here is a compilation of what the editors at Kabuki Strength think are the  greatest feats of strength from this year (so far). We hope you enjoy! (note that these are in no particular order)