Shrugged Collective

The Weightlifter’s Journey, Part One – Barbell Shrugged

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This week on Barbell Shrugged we are kicking off an epic 5-part series on the sport of Weightlifting.

It’s a big year for the sport. This fall, the World Championships are coming to Houston, Texas, and the timing of this competition could’t be more perfect. Every day across the planet waves of new athletes are flooding into Crossfit gyms, all eager to discover and eventually master THE Olympic lifts – The snatch, clean and jerk.

There’s no doubt about it, this recent injection of talent, resource and attention has led this sport to revival. There’s just never been a better time to be a Weightlifter. However, this moment has been in the making for a long time now, much longer than you might think actually.

If you want to understand the future of weightlifting, it helps to know a little bit about the past. So, that’s where we’re going to start.

Want some more barbell history? Watch this video.


The roots of this sport stretch back to ancient times, when athletes and warriors alike lifted wooden clubs and heavy stones. The methods were primitive, to be sure, but people still took strength training very seriously. According to Anthropologist Peter McAllister, there is evidence that the recorded stone-lifting capabilities of a few ancient Greek beast-men rival that of any modern strongman, even with the advantage of drugs and gear.

Strength was also always venerated in tales and myth. The most famous example would be the story of Milo of Croton, a 6th-century BC wrestler who built up his strength by lifting and carrying a small calf daily. As the animal grew in size, so did Milo’s strength. Yes, carrying around an ox is cool…and very impractical…but the really interesting part to this myth is that it clearly communicates a basic understanding of progressive overload.

After countless centuries and advances, this simple idea is still the core tenant of lifting – You cannot get stronger without trying to lift heavier and heavier loads.

In more recent, lifters and their feats of strength have captivated crowds, but it was actually the advent of the barbell that made the modern sport of weightlifting possible. Calibrated steel enabled the spread of the lifts and programming knowledge around the world. It built the strongest Olympic champions of all time, lifting greats like Naim Suleymanoglu and Pyrros Dimas to name just a few. And most importantly, it has inspired a new generation of athletes to step out onto the weightlifting platform.

Some great advice on how to begin your journey.


You are witnessing history in the making. Right here, right now, one of the oldest sports on earth is finally getting the attention it deserves. And what’s more, now it’s YOUR chance to join the story and make a contribution of you very own.

Welcome to The Weightlifter’s Journey, Part One.


We’ve come to hook you up!

Like we said, the World Championships of Weightlifting are coming to Houston, Texas this November. You need tickets to that event, and we can help you get a discount!

Just click HERE and enter the code “SHRUG” at checkout to save 10% on the purchase.

See you in Texas!


Chris Moore is a writer, recovering meathead, fledgling raconteur and rabid imbiber. He's also cohost and resident potty mouth on Barbell Shrugged, a weekly podcast devoted to Crossfit, strength, fitness and all things brash. His experience is drawn from over twenty-years spent training for and competing in American Football, Powerlifting, a bit of strongman and a dash of mixed martial arts. Also, it's possible that he's had one too many cups of coffee. A caffeine fever is a hell of a thing, you know?


  • Great episode as usual folks. Definite top 10 contender.

    One question. Around 24:30 Chris says we should all go to Houston in November to see Ilya Ilyin break a world record (yet again). I heard on the grape vine recently that Ilya has said he definitely won’t be at this year’s world champs but instead is focusing his training on preparing for Rio next year. However I haven’t seen any reports on this in the usual sources. Can anybody confirm, or does my grape vine need pruning?

    • @Kevin:
      Hookgrip Post from today:

      lya Ilyin snatching 160kg/352lb in the afternoon training session yesterday in Spała, Poland. This is the heaviest snatch he attempted and he said it is his third week back to normal training. While his plans are not 100% set, he does have to compete in one more qualifying event for individual qualification for the Olympic Games and it sounds like the President’s Cup in Grozny is most likely. Since he is definitely skipping Worlds, if he misses the event in Russia he will likely have to compete in the 2016 Asian Championships which would interrupt his Olympic preparation. So expect to see him in Russia in December! We have dozens of additional training videos from yesterday which we will release in the next few days on YouTube and Facebook.

  • Will the Barbell Shrugged guys be coming the Weightlifting Championships? If so, I’m from Houston would be awesome to meet you guys!

  • Hey Guys,

    I’m in Houston and planning on going to Worlds. Also if you guys need a place to workout at and/or do a podcast at you are always welcome at my gym. Crossfit Memorial Houston. Hope to see you guys in November!

  • Great episode, can’t wait for the rest of the series! Hopefully you will share the days you expect to be at the IWF Champs so we can say hello. Additionally, if you are interested in working out with some great people, hit up Crossfit Roughnecks in Houston. It’s just a few blocks from the Hilton where the event is held, and as a bonus for Doug: the owner, Alex, has a martial arts class on wed and sat. Thanks for the stellar work you all do!

  • Living about an hour outside of Houston, I’m very excited for this event! Hope to meet up with you guys too!


  • Awesome episode guys. Really looking forward to this series you guys are doing. What online resources are good for weightlifting information if there isn’t a coach really close. I read all your ebooks and a lot of stuff catalyst athletics puts out.

    • I would make time to go out and visit coaches. You can always make a drive once a month…whatever…to visit and trying, learn. Do it, so worth the effort.

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