A barbell and some plates … what could be more simple? Its probably the way you originally started your journey. Maybe it was a 5 foot exercise bar and some cement weights, but it was still just a barbell and some plates.
Back then you did not care about the latest studies and fad exercise routines … all you wanted was to get big and strong, and that one tool was your path.
Somehow along the way, we've all been kept guard by the "latest and greatest" – from late night infomercials to full page magazine ads – but it's about time we got back to REAL training. Yeah, training with just a barbell might be "old school", but in my book old school training is where it's at.
Especially for MMA fighters and grapplers, where weight training sometimes gets a bad rap, some bare bones barbell training can serve you well. Current Wake Forrest strength coach and former Ohio wrestling coach, Ethan Reeve, used to bust out his barbells after or before tough wrestling workouts so that his athletes could get in their strength work. They worked the basics – Romanian deadlifts, power cleans, front squats from a power clean, lunges and back squats with the help of a training partner, military and push presses, and bent over rows. Nothing fancy about it, but they got RESULTS.
Out of those movements, power cleans were used very heavily for power endurance. Coach reeve would have his athletes do 10 minute combo drills, where they perform a power clean, hang clean, and then another power clean every 30 seconds. Another workout was the famed 10×10 power clean routine where every wrestler on the team was expected to power clean their bodyweight for 10 sets of 10 every 2 minutes … that's 100 bodyweight power cleans in under 20 minutes!
While workouts like that might sound crazy, for Coach Reeve and his wrestlers, they were common place. They understood the value of hard work, and they knew what they could accomplish with simple training tools such as just a barbell.
So the next time you start getting drawn to the "next big thing", think about those wrestlers and remember that a barbell and some plates is plenty.