This is some of the barbell training we've been doing with folks lately. It has been going really well. The barbell has a lot to offer folks, more than they think from watching bodybuilding. Barbells are sophisticated tools, for sure. Here's a wonderful testimonial from a client that has been doing nothing but barbell training with us. We're very humbled by what he's said and it's always an honor to train clients like this:

Brian's experience

I first heard the Formosa Fitness name while looking into some options for proper exercise around Taipei.  I saw a posting on Forumosa for a used STX suspension training system and figured that would be a good investment for getting back into shape.  I had moved to Taiwan about two months prior and hadn’t done any kind of exercise aside from walking (and sweating) a lot.

I met Dave at his gym to pick it up, we chatted briefly, and I checked out the equipment there. He had everything I was interested in using: barbells, bumper plates (because dropping heavy things is fun), kettlebells, rings, and a squat rack.

I was researching several strength training programs based primarily on barbell work and had no interest in machines or treadmills. I was also into the functional-fitness principles, so this seemed like an ideal place to train.

After using the STX system at home for several weeks, I went in for the free private training assessment session.  I really liked it – enough to commit to coming back twice a week after work, with a 45-minute commute each way.

The private training sessions are outstanding.  I’ve really never gotten so much out of a 30-minute routine before.  The warmup and stretching portion is quick, but still manages to be comprehensive and effective.  I love the efficiency, and the stretches are a series of useful, dynamic movements which can be continually progressed. In fact, the stretching routine alone has helped me with a problematic tight shoulder and hips (I sit at a desk for extended periods every day), and with my overall posture.  The rest of my routine is based on compound barbell movements.

Dave sequences the lifts such that the ones needing the most improvement come first, also ensuring that my legs get a bit more warmup time before squatting.  Although there’s no specific cardio or interval-style training in my current program, the intensity stays pretty high with brief rest periods and movements that engage the entire body.  I’ve been fit enough from these lifting sessions alone to do 3-5 hour hikes with decent elevation gains on the weekend without feeling winded.

I was quite nervous about attempting heavy squats and deadlifts without advice and critique from an expert, but luckily Dave is great at analyzing form and spotting.  I’m never worried about failing a lift and injuring myself, I can just remain focused on moving the weight.  Dave never interferes with a lift unless it’s absolutely necessary, and even then, provides just the minimum amount of help to finish.

He also suggests ways to break through plateaus, which is something I would likely never get sane advice on at a big gym.   Overhead presses have been problematic for me, and we tried a few different approaches to move the weight up – things I had never read about or considered trying.  Occasionally he also modifies the main lifts I work on to add challenge, emphasize a different muscle group, or investigate potential problems.

For example, we’ve moved from barbells to kettlebells a few times to look for any imbalances in strength or flexibility on one side of my body.

Another thing that I appreciate is that Dave is constantly learning and trying new things with his own workouts and with other clients.  I’m sure everyone working at Formosa Fitness benefits from this continuous learning.  Dave is very familiar with a lot of the current material I’ve read online and in bookstores about strength training, and recommended other good reading that was new to me.

It’s been really motivating and exciting to see my lifts go up steadily in weight.  I’ve progressed from never having done a single barbell squat or deadlift, to hitting 150% and 200% bodyweight (in squats and deadlifts, respectively) in just 4 months.  Also, you really can’t help but be pleased with the efficacy of a program when people comment on your strength, and can’t believe that you only exercise 1.5 – 2 hours per week.  Many people spend over an hour each day in the gym and fail to meet their fitness goals.

As long as you’re willing to push yourself hard and not miss workouts, you’ll get excellent results from Formosa Fitness.  The only way I could imagine things improving is with complimentary post-workout bacon.

Wow. Thanks to Brian and all our other clients for their hard work.


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