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Lifting Beyond Limits: The Barbell is Your Gateway to Transcendence

TO Transcend. Finally, this is what life is all about. 

From birth onwards we're thrust into certain situations and have to navigate our way through and hopefully find meaning in the process. For some, we reach the point of an existential crisis at some point(s) in life, when we have a deep spiritual search for meaning.

That crisis is sparked by a moment when our conscious mind is made aware of and interacts (to whatever degree) with the transcendent dimension. Something higher in our being has decided it needs more from this life. At that moment we can either suppress this awareness or affirm it and act. Acting on it will always lead to challenges with varying degrees of risk (some very extreme) but suppression of the transcendent by a consciousness that is now aware of it most often leads to greater crisis in the future, one that is often disastrous.

Assuming we're willing to take the affirmative the path of the ascension is essentially one where we face challenges from various forces and powers, and our ability to overcome them determines the speed of the ascent.

In the "Rise of Superman," author Steven Kotler discussed how the world's greatest action-adventure athletes experience profound and almost superhuman "flow" states (a biochemical term for the experience of the transcendent dimension) when the tackle death-defying ski slopes, rock faces, 100-foot waves, wing-suit flights off skyscrapers and more.

These athletes take the challenge of extreme forces overcome them experience reality from higher levels than normal life and become more in the process.

The main force they grapple in a deathlock with is the one we all experience every moment of our lives and the one that gives form to our entire physical world: Gravity.

When one of these athletes ascends an impossible rock face, skis down a nearly vertical mountain spine, or flys from the top of Willis Tower through the caverns of other buildings to the streets of downtown Chicago they are essentially taking the challenge of gravity pulling them toward the earth at an acceleration of 9.8 meters per second squared and overcoming it, becoming better than it, increasing their force and power.

In this article, I want to highlight how we can grapple with this force and transcend ourselves gradually, week to week.

For this purpose, we require a way we can progressively deal with greater and greater levels of Force. A perfect interface between gravitational force and our neurological/musculoskeletal system. That interface is the Olympic Barbell.

The barbell is the most efficient tool for loading the human biomechanical-neurological system with external force in a movement or static hold. The bar’s perfect ergonomic design places the mass (weight plates) out of your way, facilitating constant alignment of the bar’s vertical force line with the middle of your foot (human center of balance); and the constant alignment of the bar’s mid-point with vertical mid-line of your body.

This is why movements with a barbell are the ones in which the human organism produces maximum Force or maximum Power. 

Barbell Back Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift became the sport of Powerlifting because they are the exercises of maximum Human Force; these are lifts in which you can move the most weight, period.

The Snatch and Clean & Jerk became the Sport of Weightlifting because they are the exercises for maximum human Power. No other actions are even close regarding how many Watts your body can produce.

A barbell training program where we increase our total maximums on these lifts makes us more Forceful and Powerful, we progressively push past our previous limits, and we transcend the state we were in before.  

Anyone who has ever hit a new maximum on any of these lifts knows the feeling of those next few minutes after breaking the barrier, there is a euphoria in the brain and nervous system. Our motor cortex and neural networks must produce a huge electrical output to fire enough muscle contractions to lift the weight. When you put the weight down the electrical environment in the body is still heightened and the feeling is out-of-this-world. This is the immediate transcendent effect of lifting.

The long-term effects of barbell training are well known. Your neural networking across the brain and throughout the body becomes more integrated and efficient, meaning your spatial reasoning and control of your perfects. Your cell will store greater amounts of energy and utilize it quicker. Your muscles will grow and your body fat will decrease, you will eventually look like a different creature altogether. After some time you will have completely transcended your former body.

When we contemplate the immediate, short-term, and long-term effects of strength training, we come upon a profound reality:

The space between a barbell and the earth is the dimension of human transcendence or is at least the most accessible portal to it.  

Get in there. Put yourself between the irresistible force and the immovable objective. Become something that overcomes them. Do it again, and again; progress until you transcend. Use the crisis and defeat it.

Once you have excelled in that high-pressure area under the bar you'll see your force and power capacity manifest in other areas of life.

When we transcend we become something new. Like a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. We should all become the best version of ourselves. We each need it for personal fulfillment, and the world needs all of our full creative contributions.  

That is what we do at StratFit. We make your journey of becoming your best and living your best life a systematic, objective process. Let's do it.

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