Many people (including the entire gym chain known as Planet Fitness) mistakenly think that the basic barbell exercises are only for ‘serious, hard-core lifters,’ or bodybuilders. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We’ve found that nearly everyone, regardless of gender and age, gets the absolute best results when focusing on strength training with the barbell, and conditioning appropriate to their training level and goals.
Our article on the topic, Strength and Barbells: The Foundations of Fitness explains why strength training with barbells is so effective no matter the goal.
However, there are some people with pre-existing injuries or issues that prevent them from doing some, or all, of the basic barbell exercises. In populations like this, we use the trap bar, dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, medicine balls, and other tools that still allow us to train the whole body in an integrated way. This approach works well for those special populations who are unable to make use of the basic barbell exercises in their program.