Barbell Shrugged

The energy system you’re probably avoiding and the weakness holding you back

Doug Larson

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  • I think it would be great if you guys filmed some of the workouts you do with your guests pre-podcast. It would have been neat to see Julien working you guys to the point of puking without seeing a close-up of the actual puke 🙂

    • Hugo, we’re trying different things. Trying to tell different stories, in different ways. But we’re always working back to this core message…Finding ways to get better. New viewpoints. Thanks for the comment.

  • Great episode! Do you think you could do a technique WOD that goes over range of motion under tension for the hamstrings? Flexing at the spine once the BB goes past my knees during RDLs is an issue that I’ve been dealing with.

    • We should. But the thing is, it’s tough to do when Julien’s not there. So easy to pull back into movement, without really knowing it. We need to do more on this, as we all came up short.

  • Mind BLOWN right now! Great episode. Thank you!! It would be tremendously helpful if you guys could provide a technique wod or blog post on how to develop these weaknesses and imbalances that were discussed. You guys talked about a lot of very important problems but didn’t offer too many solutions/suggestions on how to correct.
    For example:
    1. What else can we do aside from rope prowler pulls to help supinated grip?
    2. How to develop Mid back besides just barbell rows
    3. Hamstring stretching exercises under tension like the barbell RDL. what does that look like? how to prescribe?
    4. any other anerobic threshold training exercises if we don’t have a prowler?
    5. Finally, where do we find a Julien to help us identify our imbalances?

    • Check out for more from Julien. In terms of your questions, there will be a part 2 next week. But also consider…you don’t need many alternatives. The sled pull and push is great, but you can also use the rower, wingate, hill sprints, car pushes, etc to go there. No special equipment needed always. You can find a way. Also, if you row supinated, work rope climbs, heavy dumbell rows, supinated pull-ups….not sure how many other grip and back options you would require.

      For the RDL movement, you really need Julien to take you through it. It’s hard to get down.

  • Absolutely awesome episode!! I definitely learned a lot!
    I just have one question and maybe he mentioned it and I missed it, but how often should the carry and the hold movements be performed during each week? I know it would depend on the individual but are there any general guidelines?

    Thanks a ton for bringing awesome info every week!

  • I’m not going to lie I enjoyed the quick glimpses of you guys working your asses off. great episode as usual.

    • It doesn’t hold the same place as it does in Crossfit, for sure. That’s because specificity is still king in powerlifting. You have to drill the lifts first. But that said, going towards the threshold and beyond for your conditioning will reveal “deeper” source weaknesses. Things you can hide or compensate for when pacing, or when you’re lifting in your comfort zone. So, working this stuff will help you find the real thing to be working on. In my case, I realized that some shoulder issues were tied to a stubborn right lat. And THAT is capping my strength. There’s always something there. Also, this work will raise your overall capacity. Do this and sets of deadlifts or squats will just feel much easier in comparison. You’ll work harder, for longer, and thus will probably get much stronger just from the mindset and toughness shift. Hope that helps.

  • The stuff about the shoulder to lat to back to hip relation was AWSOME!!!

    Please do highlight how this is “fixed”. Work on the lat of the bad/weak shoulder side? or by someother trick?

    Best regards

    • Exactly. Focus on activating, strengthening,balancing the lats. The sled rope pulls. Supinated barbell rows. Some pulldowns. Etc. Julien was so cool. Refreshing when you get to meet a real strength Samurai.

  • You guys are the best thing on the interweb! Thanks for consistently knowledgeable, entertaining and generally great stuff.

  • Normally I listen to the podcasts in my multi hour daily drives, but this one I had to rush home and watch as well! So much solid info in this episode. I’d love to hear/see some follow up interviews with Julian in the future. A wealth of knowledge with that man.

  • Awesome episode. Barbell Shrugged Crew and Julien, can’t get any better than that. I love how you guys always provide entertaining content that I am able to learn something from. Keep it up. Gonna have to watch this one again. Can’t wait for part 2! Thanks again.

  • I am wanting to add the yoke carries into my programming but don’t have access to one. Is there a good substitute for that movement that still incorporates the multiple planes of movement that Julian describes?

  • What an awesome episode! So much knowledge!!! Can’t wait for part 2. Best use of my time – apart from training 😉 – is to watch you guys with my coffee while doing mobility! Hoping to meet you all in Houston in November!!! 😀

  • Around minute 27:00 Julien speaks on how muscle imbalances in your upper back can cause an athlete to favor their right or left side in their squat leading to pain in lower back, hip, knee etc. If one had such issues and wanted to work towards gaining balance in strength on both sides, would it be best to avoid (or at least do less) squatting/weightlifting until some strength symmetry is achieved? Julien said this could take up to 12 weeks for one side to catch up.

    I try not to self diagnose but I’ve known my left side to be significantly weaker and have done nothing about it (Shame one me. Blinded on getting bigger PR’s) and I always favor my right side when squatting or weightlifting (in the pulls as well) and its always those joints that are hurting when lifting. So I believe I could be having a similar issue like Julien is talking about.

    Really enjoyed this episode. Great stuff. Thanks guys.


    • You would allow yourself 12 weeks to adjust. By squatting, but knowing you cannot grind for a while. And of course, by adding in barbell rows/rear delt work and then giving yourself the chance to adapt. It will balance out. But just like most things, it takes a little time.

  • I’ve been following this site very closely for over 1.5 years and can safely say this is one of the best 5 episodes I’ve seen. Kudos to you guys for continuing to dig up useful and insightful information and interviewees that are otherwise lacking across the internet. Once again you guys shirk conventional wisdom about physical fitness, meet with a truly inspired professional, and leave us with much to ponder. Great, great job gents. Absolutely can not wait until the next episode.

  • So many “lightbulb” moments….Love Julien, he is truly a movement genius.
    Thank you for this episode. I first listened to the audio, but knew I would have to check out the vid….I have been having chronic elbow issues, and now I have some real solutions…Thanks to you all at Barbell Shrugged…I love you guys..
    (especially your Beevus n Butthead giggles)..

  • Awesome episode! I listened to it in the car then went home and watched the video. So much knowledge. I think it might help to see muscle engagement without a shirt, it was hard to visualize what Doug was explaining in the technique WOD without seeing it. Keep up the great work guys, by far the best podcast!!

  • Hey guys, loved the episode with Julien. Just wondering where if anywhere he posts his latest workouts. All the posts on appear to be from 2013?

    Thanks for all the great work.

    • I don’t know. That said, you don’t need that. Just visit him once, at least, and let him assess you and introduce you to the principles. That’s so many levels above a blog.

  • Hey Chris. Just reading your book ‘Progress’ at the minute – love it. Asking some serious questions of myself, and trying to set some solid goals to find direction in my training.

    So in relation to this episode with Julien (awesome work boys), do you have any numbers regarding critical mass? What should I bench vs row? What are the other related lifts and numbers for them?

    Cheers, and keep up the good work my friend

    • For bench, I would think at least 1.5* bodyweight is a good number, for balance. That would be strong. 2* would be very strong. Only about 1*…that would indicated undertrained arms, shoulders and chest. Apart from that, be careful with looking around for benchmarks. They are always just a guide, and never definitive. You’ll know rather quickly when you discover a true weakness.

  • Why is rowing being ignored as a pulling exercise? “People that Crossfit don’t do any pulling exercise s”. This episode is nothing more than another person trying to sell their “new thing that others have missed” . Instead of kissing ass, im calling bullshit on this one!

    • Heavy rowing isn’t very common in gyms. Barbell rows? Common in strength circles, but not in crossfit. They row on conditioning devices, yes. Pull-ups, yes. But not a lot of heavy rows at the moment.

  • This is a fascinating episode, so much great information! As a beginner I really try to focus on balancing as much as possible, i.e push/pull, internal/external.

    Thanks for all of the great content!

  • I have watched these two episodes 3 times for just some of the best knowledge i’ve ever encountered anywhere. Thank you Barbell Shrugged – you stay educating and producing the type of shit that keeps motivating myself and my clients.

  • Fantastic episode, thank you, had to watch both parts twice, will definitely be one of my reference episodes. If/when you guys do another episode with Julien can you try and get his coach on as well, I would pay to hear some of his pearls. I love listening to coaches like Julien who see everything in black and white, no frills or over complicating things. Thanks again.

    • I wouldn’t say he makes it black and white, but he works with a principle driven efficiency that’s very impressive, for sure.

  • Just making my way back to podcast and Barbell shrugged, loved this episode. Will support with merch puchases when I’m slightly less of a poor student. Hope this ‘barbellblackout’ thing is a myth or just to hype up the milestone or something!

  • This was long but so worth watching. CF almost 4 yrs, 4th place CF Games masters but the last 2 yrs one injury and MULTIPLE chronic problems, one after another. This explained it >> I’ve basically become physically unbalanced & unstable. Right knee was a mess, now left knee is a mess, quads just above knees always always tight, painfully tight. Right calf chronically cramps every several months so badly I can’t jump rope or run. Takes weeks to recover. Injured shoulder in 2014 took 9 months to recover. I was 4th at Games 2015, but hurts to walks half the time ? Something is NOT NOT NOT right. 2016 Crossfit Open starts in 11 days and right now can not do 10 double unders without calf cramping totally. I want to make it one more lap on this CF journey to the 2016 masters Games but warning lights are flashing caution signs at me. Priority to get things straightened out. Otherwise it’s over.

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