Stick Vs Loaded Bar 131113 - CrossFit Fibre

When it comes to choosing the right weight for your training, it comes down entirely to choice based on an educated, informed and risk assessed decision. Talk about complicated right? Yes and no.
Most weight lifting movements are complex full body movements which require you to be able to control your entire body as a single unit. Hence the definition of functional.
Depending on your amount of practice with that complex movement and coaching you may or may not be aware of simple technical movements of your body that may allow you to move efficiently throughout the movements.
There is never any harm with reducing the weight back down to the stick. It is your best and foremost teacher of the movement. There are 2 schools of thought. To use nothing but the stick as a teacher and then the other is to load up as quickly as possible so as to load the correct muscles.
When you are unloaded and using only a stick, you will need to use your technical ability to move the stick in its movements. It allows you to engage all muscles and be in the positions where smaller stabiliser muscles will be engaged. Training the stick in the right path will see you using the rotating, shrugging and catching in the right areas.
The good thing about this is that it also highlights your weaknesses that you may have in the lift, identify tightness required for the movements. From here you go back to the drawing boards and work on Mobility issues that may be hindering.
With the second school of thought to load up as quickly as possible and ‘get clients moving weight’ as quickly as possible, I can also see the merits for this technique. No one will stay in the stick weight zone for ever. The idea is to train them with load so they get the neuro-muscular adaptation to utilise larger muscle groups that can assist in the larger lifts. This adaptation which also occurs when using smaller weights. The amount of weight used is then almost as important as it becomes crucial for that neuro-muscular adaptation.
Although this method is not recommended for beginners who have never used barbells, the weights that they use must be carefully selected to avoid any injury.
The takeaway message. Training barbell technique in both methods have their merits and their cons. Either way it is a question of where the barbell user is in their training life be it a beginner, novice or elite. Elite lifters will go back to their ‘stick weights’ which may be a 20kg bar. Both types of methods are essential in ones training. It does not hurt nor wastes any time.
As with any training method or ideology, there is not one set way to learn or train. We are all individual in our learning and training styles and it really depends on the coach to adjust accordingly to the athlete.