In this review we go over the Duffalo Bar manufactured by Kabuki Strength. The Duffalo Bar is sold as a powerlifting performance squat and bench bar. Here we go over what you can expect from purchasing the bar and using it in your own training.
Like many other athletes in the sport, I'm pretty broken down and suffer from chronic tendinitis that affects my bench. In preparation for APF State 2017 I knew this would be a problem if I didn't figure something that worked for me and fast.
The general consensus is that if you're in meet prep all bench work should be paused. Well this was what was hurting my joints the most. So after experimenting I decided to go with touch most of my prep as it was the least stressful on my tendinitis. Traditionally a big no no it actually ended up saving my bench for the meet.
So what did I bench? Well in training I had to reduce my volume and frequency dramatically from the original plan. I only went up to 343 because by the end it started hurting pretty bad. At the meet I hit a smooth 352 bench which matched a PR after a year of not competing due to opening the new gym.
The moral is this: If you're struggling to hit your programmed work load or you can't seem to work around an injury; don't be afraid to change it! I can't stress this enough. It drives me nuts when I see people stick 100% to a program even if it's killing them. Yes some new challenge required stress but it shouldn't be making you worse! The whole point of the sport is to progress and if you're not then you should definitely take the time reevaluate.
It's not quitting or giving up, you won't ruin the program by changing a few things. It makes you a smart athlete! I do have a disclaimer though, whatever you decide to change. It needs to work and it needs to be consistent. There is no right or wrong answer for what works for you BUT don't be that person changing their program every other week because eventually nothing will work out.
It'll take some time to figure out but the more meets you do the more experience you'll have under your belt to eventually figure out what works best for YOU and only you.
With the growth of social media platforms and the simultaneous growth of powerlifting it sometimes seems easy to forget who truly drives this sport when looking at only the highlights. Yes it's great to see a new world record broken but by default the term elite means "a select group" or only a given few. When we think about it this way and the fact that powerlifting like any other sport needs financing in order to continue; it's easy to see there has to be more than a few people maintaining the sport.
Last year alone there was a huge growth spurt in the amount of new competitors that became involved with the sport and this year seems to be panning out to do the same. As a result there are now more competitions available than ever before and you can find one literally at any given month of the year. Stages are getting bigger, sponsors are becoming more involved, and clothing and equipment companies are having more business than they could have ever dreamed of five years ago.
Obviously there is money to be made for the meet directors, powerlifting federations, powerlifting related companies, and even the local communities that benefit from those traveling to stay at hotels, eat at restaurants, etc. (look at Columbus Ohio). For those who understand sport, recreation, and tourism all three are essentially intertwined in an ecosystem of sorts that if done right benefits all in a win-win situation. The athletes get to compete, meet directors can do what they love, sponsors can sell their products, and local communities can benefit from the tourism.
So who's driving all of this? Obviously it can't only be the elite so if you guessed beginner and intermediate lifters then you would be right! By nature they make the majority and without them I truly believe that powerlifting would NOT be growing at the rate that it is today. I've seen complaints within the community about this sometimes but honestly there's a few things we have to remember:
Now I'm not saying that the elite don't help bring exposure to the sport because they do and all the monsters we have right now are truly bringing main stream attention BUT let's just remember that can only take us so far! The new lifters of today are the future of the sport and personally I can see I'm okay with that.
I had a guest come in recently and something they said stuck with me. "If I walk into someone's house and they have dirty dishes all over their sink, guess what? Chances are I'm not going to wash my own. If everything is clean however, I feel like I need to wash my dishes too. Coming into you gym everything was clean so of course I'm going to respect it and make sure I put everything back"
When I built Surge to New Levels Gym I had two things in mind: quality and professionalism. This is something that as an owner I've tried to establish early on with not only my members and guests but also my clients. In powerlifting I think there is a misconception that a dirty floor, leaking toilets, and ugly paint jobs means hardcore and that's something that I wanted to avoid when building the gym.
Instead I strongly believe that what makes a gym hardcore is the intensity of the lifters that it welcomes. At any time in my gym the mood can switch from easy going in the morning with my older clients to intense and loud in the evening with my powerlifting members. Either way the gym stays clean and everyone respects the equipment and each other.
So why is keeping the gym clean important? Well it commands respect from its members. When people don't care about something they are more likely to devalue it and ruin a gym. What's a $500 squat bar really worth if you have people doing cleans with it? Nothing. This is something we avoid and set early on.
Our culture will continue to grow as our gym grows but one thing that will never change is the need for quality and professionalism. There will always be business for people who want hardcore, gym rats who don't want to put their away their weights, etc. but unfortunately for them it won't be at Surge to New Levels.
Respect and be respected. Clean after yourself, treat others well, and be open to learn and grow.
August of 2016 my competitive endeavors took a huge nose dive while we worked on opening Surge to New Levels Gym. After a successful start up I finally felt ready to step on the platform and after the first week of meet prep I'm remembering one thing: this whole lifting thing is really fucking scary.
Now I mean that in the most positive of ways. Putting 500 pounds PLUS on your back and telling yourself you are going to rep it out is not the easiest thing in the world. It takes a lot of concentration and will power not to give into weak thoughts. Your body goes straight into fight or flight mode but that's where the positive comes and that's what forces you to be a successful competitor. Either your ready to fight or you are ready to fail.
While I was setting up under the bar I remembered this fight or flight response and it made me realize that's why I love this sport so much. The thrill of conquering something that can completely crush me is exhilarating. That high you get after everything is over and you know you didn't give into weak thoughts makes you feel that much more stronger. It's honestly one of the best feelings in the world!
Now that I'm getting ready for this meet prep I also realize that it's time to wake the fuck up. The weights are only going to get heavier and if you're truly trying to push your limits there's no room for cruising. Either you're ready for what's coming and get that adrenaline rush from the challenge of being crushed OR you give into excuses and settle for being "okay". I know which one I'm choosing and I'm ready to push my limits.
Let me start off by saying this: if you think you are strong, you are not. That's your first mistake and I hate to break it to you but there will always be someone stronger. Now I'm not saying you are not a good lifter but what I am saying is you can't let yourself think that way and here's why.
At least to myself, to admit I am "strong" would mean I'm putting some sort of cap on something that has a limit. It'd be kind of like working on a project for years only to wrap it up with a pathetic "yeah that's good enough". I'd be doing myself a huge disservice in this way because at that point my goals would become measured to receive some sort of ending that doesn't exist.
Just like you can't shut your brain off because you've learned everything there is in the world (or at least you shouldn't), you can't let yourself get convinced you've hit the pinnacle of strength ever.
There's always room for more and that's why I am a STRONG believer in HUMILITY. Humility is what separates the successful competitors from the mediocre. Humility means you know two things as a successful athlete. One you know that if you think you've hit a limit there is always more and two that there's almost always someone out there stronger than you so there's still room to improve.
Vice versa you have the lifter who's a big fish in a small pond. In the comfort of their own little gym they think they're the best because no one else can match them but being the "best" is also the nail in their coffin and the biggest detriment to their strength.
The solution? Opening your mind to seeing what's out there. Actively seek out new opportunities to put yourself outside of your comfort zone. This may mean joining a new gym where you're the smallest person, pairing up with a new training partner who reps out your max, or even just going out to the next local/national meet to watch the lifters.
Some people can be intimidated by this but that's is why I choose to train with people stronger than me. It's a fresh reminder that there's room for me to improve but also a strong motivator showing me that anything is possible if you push your limits. As long as their is someone there to load up the bar and demolish big numbers; I know I'll always make progress.
With over 8 years of total experience, Sergio has dedicated his life to sharing everything he's learned along his journey to improve the lives of others. A huge proponent of changing people's lives through fitness and powerlifting, Sergio has thoroughly immersed himself into the culture by not only learning the technical trade but also actively involving himself in the community through a variety of different roles.