What you should know if you do barbell training

My phone buzzed. It was a message from Steve Kamb, owner of NerdFitness.com. He hired me as his coach some time ago. Here’s what the message said:


You could say his training has been working well. A little too well. 

As a former skinny-fay guy, I write about building a specific kind of body. An “X” physique. Steve knows what I’m talking about.

When Steve came to me, I told him: be ready for a steady diet of barbell and bodyweight training.

Because in order of importance (for body transformation) it goes:

  • Air
  • Water
  • Iron
  • Food

Why iron before food?

Because what you do with your body tells your body what to do with food. 

(Picked that little gem up from a fella known as Amir Siddiqui.)

But what I’m saying isn’t new. Stuff has been around since the early 1900’s. Eugen Sandow used it. Worked back then. Works now.




Barbell and bodyweight training forces you to use your body in ways you might not be familiar with.

Overhead pressing. Squatting.

How often do humans have to reach fully overhead or squat all the way down to the ground in this thing we call modern “real life?”

Not often. Maybe never.

There’s no need.

Until some jackwagon like me tells you to squat and overhead press…with a barbell on your back or in your hands. In order to build muscle (in the right places) that even a tailor can’t quite understand.

Before you think about doing this wonderful stuff with extra weight, you need to think about doing this wonderful stuff without weight.

Are you able to reach fully overhead or squat to the floor…with correct mechanics?

Here’s a fun experiment.

Pin your elbows to your side. Bend your elbows to form right angles. Point palms to the sky.


Now rotate your wrists so that your thumbs face each other.


Now keep rotating your wrists so that your thumbs point to the ground.

Uh oh.

I’m betting something quirky happened with that last challenge. Your elbows probably flared away from your torso.

But I didn’t tell you do flare your elbows. I just wanted you to rotate your wrists.


Your body doesn’t give two licks about “mechanics” or “technique.”

It doesn’t roll over and die when confronted with a challenge. It does what it can do, as a system, to accomplish the task at hand. Right or wrong. Your body doesn’t think about long term mechanical implications. All it knows is the here and now.

So maybe it’s not so much about whether or not you’re able to do certain things, but rather if you’re prepared to do certain things.

Because I can run one mile…but I certainly ain’t prepared to run one mile. Different beasts. And you don’t want to confuse beasts. Unless you don’t care about your joint integrity.

If I had to summarize all of this…

Humans don’t come with an instruction booklet.

This is why Starting Strength is so dang popular. It says: this is how you perform the basic barbell exercises.

…which is great thing for a self-taught goober like myself.

But it’s not enough.

Because knowing how to do the basic barbell exercises doesn’t mean you’re prepared or even able to do them. The truth of the matter is that basic barbell exercises are still more advanced than the basic bodyweight exercises that enable the basic barbell exercises!

I get emails from lots of people all around the world. These people often want to pay me for a program. But before I make any program, I always want to see whether or not the exercises I’m going to program are being done correctly. So I ask for videos.

And I often find myself saying, “Gosh. There needs to be something that’s pre-Starting Strength. Something that uses mostly bodyweight exercises to set the stage for a looonnngg future of barbell and bodyweight training.”

Something that builds the body awareness and the positional capacity most barbell exercise demand. Something that diagnoses common mobility issues and also fixes them assuming a future of barbell exercise.

Otherwise you’re one of the people doing a bajillion mobility exercises for no good reason. And with no sensible progression.

So I did something rather sensible…

I created the thing I wanted to have. 

Zero to Barbell (Z2B) hath been born.

And if I had to summarize Z2B, I’d say…One does not simply walk into barbell training.


Z2B is an online course and a basic instruction manual for building movement capacity and body awareness for the fundamental movement patterns that barbell exercise is based upon:

  • Bracing
  • Squatting
  • Hinging
  • Pressing
  • Pulling

And if you don’t recognize one of these words, consider yourself gifted with your first red flag.

Z2B is designed to be done primarily at home. With minimal equipment. With no one passing judgmental glances in your direction. With no self-conscious delusions in a crowded gym.

I look out for my fellow self-taught introverted nerds.

Each movement pattern is built with a progressive sequence of exercises that are used to diagnose and tackle common mobility restrictions.

By the time you’re finished with Z2B, you’ll be able to walk into the free-weight area of any gym and not only act like you belong there, but also perform like you belong there. (And perform better than 95% of the people in the gym.)


Z2B isn’t the king kong ding dong silver bullet. It’s not going to overtly build you a ton of muscle because it’s primarily a movement resource.

(Even though there is a progression and build up to push-ups, parallel bar dips, bodyweight rows, and pull-ups…which certainly won’t hurt your muscular ambitions.)

But it’s going to build comfort and confidence in movement patterns that will transfer to barbell training.

When you’re comfortable at the bottom of a squat, you’ll be a lot stronger in the squat. And when you’re stronger in the squat, you’ll build more muscle in your legs.

So Z2B is sort of an investment in your future.

Think about the body you want ten years from now. What does it look like? What does it feel like? What does it move like? You need to start training TODAY with THAT body in mind.

This is NOT what most people want to hear, but Mark Twain had things figured out long ago.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

And if you want to know my secret to success: consistency.

Seriously. I’m not talking about magical exercises here. I’m talking about a pretty easy relationship between your body, your level of preparation, and exercises that have been around since 1900.

So here’s the dealio.

Right now, Z2B is in a “beta.” There’s dust. I’m still working on the thing.

But I want you to know that I’m all in on Z2B.

If you hang around the fitness scene, you no doubt live through the launch of programs. I love me some programs, but programs are finite. No program lasts forever. Some programs don’t even last eight weeks.


Technique? Health? Body mechanics?

These things won’t go out of style. Technique is a lot more important than a program. Z2B lasts a lifetime. And I’m going to be standing Z2B’s side for as long as I can.

Right now, the only units unlocked are the “classroom” units and the bracing unit. The squat, the hinge, the press, and the pull will be released in one to two week waves upon this very day.

I’m doing this “drip” release for a few reasons…

First, because I’m still adding to the units mentioned.

Second, because I don’t want you to drown trying to do too much at once. You spread your resources thin, which leads to less progress, which leads to de-motivation, which spirals you into the abyss…

Think about something…

If you normally train a position or pattern for one minute every day, then you have 30 minutes accumulated at the end of 30 days. If you spend eight minutes on a position or pattern per day, then you have 30 minutes accumulated in FOUR DAYS.

This is as close to using cheat codes as you can get when trying to game your physiology.

Because this is a beta and dusty, I’m launching it ahead of schedule. At a discount. And a heavy discount, I dare say. Some eight week programs online are $297. This is a “forever” course and it’s not even close to that number. Not yet.

At least, not right now.

If you want in now, click the button below to purchase. After your purchase, you’ll be redirected to a screen with a blue button that says “Download Product” or something similar.

Click this blue button. You’ll be redirected to the course area and get details on how to register your user name and password in order to get access to the course.

You only need an Internet connect. Now clunky download. It’s all hosted online. All all falls into your lap immediately after purchase.


If you don’t like dust or the idea of a beta, then that’s cool, too. The price of this thing has nowhere to go but up, but if you want to wait, then you can wait your pants off.

If nothing else, think about how comfortable you are as you train. There should be no second guessing your ability to hit positions or your confidence with technique.

If there is, something is wrong.

Z2B can make it right.



Hit ’em my way ~

anthony -at- anthonymychal -dot- com