Workout of the Day

Get Stronger With The Barbell (Without Touching A Barbell)


If you’ve been with us long enough, you probably remember our legendary “Stone Cold Challenge” held last winter. In short, students were challenged to improve their strength in a barbell movement -- the power clean -- without doing a single power clean. The 5-week challenge started and finished with a one-rep max test in the power clean, and during the 5 weeks, students were given the opportunity to accumulate as many lifts with the atlas stone as they desired. Students loaded, shouldered, deadlifted, squatted, carried, and performed extensions with the atlas stones at various loads and rep schemes whenever they stopped by the gym. (We even had a few late night “drive-by” events, with our night-shift folks grabbing a few stone loads on their way home from work at 3am!).

The results were nothing short of remarkable. Without doing a single power clean, students improved their power clean numbers across the board, with improvements ranging from 5lb all the way up to 30lb after 5 weeks of zero power cleans. And even though it wasn't our focus, we saw improvements in other movements such as the deadlift as well. Not bad, if you ask me.

The method behind the madness here is pretty simple, though. The atlas stone happens to be a remarkable tool for teaching the elusive skill of hip extension (which happens to be very important in the power clean). An athlete who may take months to properly learn hip extension in the power clean can meanwhile demonstrate picture-perfect hip extension with the atlas stone in a matter of minutes. In short, the implement demands the execution. Add this to the list of reasons we prioritize use of odd objects in our training.

It’s for this reason (among others) that students enrolled in our Strongman 101 course often find themselves surprised by how much their main barbell lifts go up over the span of the 8-week specialty course (which uses exactly zero barbells). You can’t argue with effective, folks.

(P.S. We have only a couple spots remaining in our upcoming Strongman 101 course. If this sounds like your cup of strength-building tea, now is your time to jump on this opportunity! Sign-up HERE or contact your coach. Open to both members and non-members of the gym.)

- PS


  • EMOM 10

    • Max time L-support hold


  • 10 rounds for cals:

    • 30s max cal bike

    • 90s rest