The Barbell Fight Club

The First Rule of Barbell Fight Club is you do not talk about it. Not because we’re trying to keep it secret or anything like that, it’s just that you probably talk about your workouts enough as it is my friend and frankly your friends are tired of hearing about it. Besides; talk is cheap and actions don’t lie.


No, we do not talk about Barbell Fight Club because the only thing that matters is what you do when you’re here. If we didn’t see it or it didn’t happen here then it doesn’t exist does it.


The Second Rule is we don’t allow pussies and whiners. If you’re not ready to throw-down when you walk through the door then don’t come in. You deserve more than half ass efforts and so do your trainers and fellow club members. This is serious shit we do here my friend and it isn’t for the weak of heart, or uncommitted.


The Third Rule of Barbell Fight Club is there are no guarantees; workouts are random, so come prepared for an ass kicking all the time. Workouts will go on as long as they need to.


The Fourth Rule; we’re all men here so leave your excuses at home and your ego too. Sometimes you win sometimes you lose and the losses are the best part so don’t whine like a bitch if you can’t keep up or man up, just grow stronger and keep working at it. You are not less of a man if you can’t bench as much as the guy next to you, except of course if you refuse to even try.


The Fifth and final rule; if it’s your first time you have to throw down.



I had been invited to attend the once weekly meeting of the local Barbell Fight Club by a friend who was a regular at the CrossFit Box it was held at, five days a week. You had to be invited to come by one of the trainers or by a member but only with a trainer’s permission. At first I thought this was an elitist approach but soon realized it was more of an attempt to keep numbers low and personal attention high during the hour and a half long meets each Saturday night after the close of business.


Simply put Barbell Fight Club is a chance for guys to come together and square off against each other in specific workouts. Some are simple “how much can you really bench?” affairs, others are long and grueling chippers. Every workout involves a barbell though hence the name or occasionally Dumbbells. Guys are paired off with someone around their height weight and size and then two at a time they go through the workout. Sometimes it’s to see who can finish first, sometimes its max number of reps or highest max weight. The night I came it was a chipper for time and we were competing with each other as much as we were against the clock and ourselves.


The Chipper was simple starting off with 30 Ground to Overhead lifts at 95lbs; Clean and Jerk or Snatch your choice. Next were 30 Deadlifts at 135lbs, then 30 Front Squats at 155lbs, followed by a 20 yd walk with the Barbell held at the front rack position finally finishing with a 20ft rope climb. Now I’m a strong guy; but after the first 30 Clean and Jerks I was sucking wind. The next 3 moves were a blur I barely remember and the rope climb seemed to stretch on for miles. I lost my own little competition to a 37 year old plumber with forearms like hams but I didn’t care, I was just glad to finish. After each heat we walked or in my case stumbled to the cooler for a free beer and cheered on the guys that followed us. There was some light hearted ribbing and shouted cues and encouragement from the trainers and some of the more accomplished athletes that turned into jokes and teaching points as we all gathered round the trainers at the end of the night sipping beer for another hour.


So what’s the take-home from my Saturday night ass-kicking? First I think there need to be more clubs or meetings like this. The one I attended wasn’t actually called anything other than “Saturday Night” all the references to Fight Club were tongue in cheek or sarcasm meant to set an atmosphere and because who doesn’t like Fight Club? Though the way all the lights were turned out except those directly above the workout area did create a feeling like being in the ring for a fight. The only guys visible were the two working out everyone else was anonymous. There were also no women there. I am told this is one rule the trainers are absolutely unwilling to budge on. Women have their own night and the meets are run by the female trainer.


In this age where testosterone is continuously legislated and dictated by society and marketing it’s nice to be able to cuss, sweat, and grunt, without fear of reproach or scorn. People seem to forget that for a long time the way boys learned how to be men was to dare I say it hang out with the guys free of female scrutiny. That’s certainly how adolescent males learn the ways of manhood in every other species; bachelor groups. As a side not and after attending these meets for the past 3 months, guys, me included don’t seem to be such chumps when there’s no woman around to impress. The guys at the meets are laid back and about getting it done. That’s not to say things don’t occasionally get heated or competitive but it should and the group tends to foster an atmosphere of accountability and keep a lid on stupidity.


If you have the chance to attend one of these after-hours meetings I encourage you to. If there’s none near you start one yourself. Guys need to learn how to be men again, and stop being afraid to let a little testosterone flow now and then.

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