Barbell Intimidation: It’s a Thing

We often hear from friends of yours or from people interested in joining the gym: “I know CrossFit works but I don’t want to get too muscly or hurt myself lifting.” The hurt yourself myth is just a wild, false accusation pushed by the corrupt agenda of Big Soda that we don’t really have time to get into. All I’m going to say about it is that we took them to court and we won. 

The barbell intimidation really does go way back though so I would be remiss if I didn’t address that. The modern barbell got its start in Germany in the early 1900s. German inventor, Franz Veltum, was looking for a way to increase strength and health with an apparatus that allowed for the entire body to be tested. At this point, dumbbells were the king of exercise. They had been deemed the only resistance equipment necessary to promote any kind of health. The problem was they could only be made so heavy. There was little call for them to be made any heavier because there was only so much you could do with them at the time. 

Veltum was interested in recreating every day movements such as bending and lifting but providing the safety needed to increase weight. He used the dumbbell as inspiration and from that the modern barbell was born. A simple way to increase a balanced load on an object. The barbell allowed for all the same mechanics as bending over to pick up a piece of furniture or big rock or anything that needed to be moved without the random shifts in weight that those objects come with. The barbell became the safest way to pick up a load from the floor. 

Fast forward a few years and the boom of Olympic Weightlifting took off around the world. It became the foremost test of strength to see how much weight a man could take from the floor and put it above his head. This, however, is where the barbell began to lose favor with every day people who didn’t have access to world class coaching. The novices of the world began trying these complex movements without any supervision and of course injured themselves. This is like people who play intramural sports or join city leagues without much of an exercise regimen to stand on before they do so. We’ve all seen “Ted” from finance limping around the office because he strained him hamstring in his flag football league. 

Once the barbell became sport injuries were sure to follow. Doctors around the world and most notably in the U.S began to curse the barbell and demonize safe, natural movements such as the deadlift and squat. The abstinence from these movements though created one little problem, health. People no longer were capable of picking up things around their home. They had no capacity to even pick up a 30lb bag of dog food and back injuries sky rocketed around the country. 

The barbell is the safest way to learn how to do these everyday things we do at home or wherever moving objects is needed. Yes, they need to be taught but so does driving a car. The risk of fatality associated with driving car is 1000 times greater than that of lifting a barbell but we haven’t stopped teaching people how to drive. And that’s because driving is essential for life in the world we live in today, just as being able to move a barbell is too.


To learn more about the barbell – and to learn how you can change your life with nutrition and fitness, call us at 210.651.1047 or email