Let's be honest, variety is fun, it adds something different and interesting to our current routines which can sometimes feel mundane. The same is true for exercise and exercise variation. Although it’s very important to stay with exercises for 3-6 weeks in training blocks so you can successfully adapt from them, it's also very important that you’re changing these exercises to lifts you find fun and interesting. Changing the exercises to something you find novel and fun can be great for both adaptations and training consistency.
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Consistency over intensity is one of the best-known truisms of training. This is because without consistency your intensity means nothing. Finding what drives your consistency is the best way to build an exercise routine that works for you, people are different and are motivated by different things.
Some love it when the exercises stay the same for years on end as this drives simplicity while others love it when exercises change regularly as they find it more interesting and fun, which is probably one of the reasons for the success of training regimes like CrossFit and F45. If you're the later and enjoy it when exercises change regularly then adding new and interesting exercises like these three different barbell exercises into your training regime may help you drive consistency and allow you to establish the movement routine that will enable the results or adaptations your striving towards.
The swapping of exercises regularly (every 3-6 weeks) is a great way to avoid injury from repetitive strain. Always putting emphasis on the exact same movement can put a lot of pressure on certain body parts this can result in injury. Even making minor changes in exercise variation can have a big difference in avoiding repetitive strain injury, this can be seen in the conjugate powerlifting system where they make minor changes to exercises for example changing the bench press for the close grip bench press to avoid injury and remain high levels of intensity.
The B-Stance Squat is one of the most novel single leg squatting variations that you can do with a barbell, it is an excellent addition to any intermediate or advanced training regime who are looking for a different style of barbell exercise. It needs a great deal of concentration as if you’re not careful you will find yourself cheating and using both legs to lift the weight, so make sure you are putting emphasis on putting as much weight as possible onto one leg. This is a great exercise to use as a primary for a bridge between back squat cycles or as a secondary exercise with a back or front squat as the primary lift. It can also be an excellent way to improve mobility of the hips as it requires a slightly different range of motion than a traditional squat.
The Away From Body Straight Leg Deadlift is one of my go to exercises when someone is in need of a different hinge barbell movement. It is slightly more challenging than the traditional straight-leg deadlift and puts more pressure on both the lower back and the hamstrings making it a great secondary to heavy deadlifts or heavy hex bar deadlifts. This exercise should be loaded with causation as it is substantially harder than a traditional straight-leg deadlift. Give this fun but challenging hinge variation a go if you feel very competent in the hinge movement pattern.
The Front Squat to Box is a very different barbell exercise that can be a great addition to a training programme as either the primary or secondary squatting movement. I love it for people who have been injured or sedentary and are just easily back into barbell work, especially for those who are attached to the weight on the bar, as its different its hard to reflect back on “where I was before” which can make re-entry into training very difficult for some. This is a really fun exercise that is effective for anyone looking to add some variety to their squatting sessions.
I hope you enjoy trying out these three effective and fun barbell exercises in your training regime. Let us know if you have any questions about the exercises or want more exercise recommendations.
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This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.