In this post, we’ll share our thoughts on the Barbell Logic Online Coaching program. Read on for the full review!
Barbell Logic is a company that provides online strength coaching through individualized programming. Their highest priority is to increase quality of life through strength and nutrition coaching, which is why they’ve teamed up with some of the best coaches in the industry.
BLOC’s coaches truly understand their clients’ needs and are able to craft programs that work around your lifestyle. This review offers my personal experience with the program since becoming a client in August 2019.
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Let’s admit it, we’re all busy, and staying in shape is no easy business with the demands of life, whether it be work, marriage, or kids. The reality is that we only have one life and one body. While technology has made existence easy, we humans are truly out of our habitat these days.
With the advent of processed foods and speedy delivery, we can get 10x more calories in a minute without getting out of bed than our ancestors could after a long day’s hunt.
According to some experts, this lifestyle of being a “keyboard warrior in the concrete jungle” can lead to muscle atrophy (and eventual injury), lower testosterone in men, osteoporosis in women, and mental issues such as depression.
As our bodies age, it’s up to us to take responsibility and build lifelong habits to ensure we’re able to do the things we are passionate about for as long as possible, whether that’s roughhousing with the kids, changing a tire on your car, or going out for a weekend bike ride.
Whatever your fitness goals are in life, getting strong is a prerequisite, and that’s where Barbell Logic Online Coaching (BLOC) comes in.
BLOC’s services are for people of all ages, genders, and professions. They offer different levels of service at different price points:
- Club – $199/month
- Classic – $219/month (most popular)
- Exclusive – $279/month
I started with their entry-level package: Club Coaching, which is just a steal in terms of value. After signing up, they sent me a lengthy questionnaire that asked me about my interests/goals and what I hoped to get out of the program.
The whole point of training is to help you become better at your passions and interests such as running, cycling, skiing, mountain climbing, etc.
Included in the introductory emails were a few PDFs with a “Start Here” guide which shows you how to download and use TrueCoach, the third-party app where workouts are recorded.
In addition, I received an invite to the Barbell Logic Family Slack channel, where all the coaches and clients congregate online. This is a great addition because there’s a lot of helpful discussion about fitness, wellness, and life in general.
Right out of the gate, they have you do a test workout. This initial workout will look different for everyone. (For instance, elderly people might not be able to do all the basic movements due to mobility issues.) Therefore, the coaches get the person to “work up to” being able to use the barbell.
The goal here is to make sure you have the camera angles correct for recording and start at a weight that is appropriate. I used an iPhone for my workouts, and to get the correct height for each lift, I picked up an inexpensive tripod off of Amazon.
If you use a public gym and they won’t allow cameras, it’s time to change gyms. The same can be said if they don’t allow you to use chalk with the barbell.
Club Coaching is offered at a lower price point because the service is provided by Barbell Logic Associate Coaches. These individuals not only went through the Coaching Academy but also passed written and in-person coaching tests.
The Associate Coaches rotate through clients, so you can expect to get a new person at the beginning of each month. Outside of an introduction through the app, the transition between coaches is seamless.
BLOC also offers basic nutritional guidelines in the introduction. They offer 1-on-1 nutrition coaching at an additional cost, and I decided to upgrade to that as well.
Most people track nutrition with software such as MyFitnessPal. The nutrition coach provides weekly feedback (and sometimes questions) after reviewing your eating patterns.
They try to help you develop habits that are in line with your goals, but they do so with the understanding that you need to enjoy life at the same time. Your nutritional coach talks with your strength coach to better help align goals through the process.
BLOC’s highest (and most expensive) level of coaching is Exclusive, where you receive training from a coach who has a minimum of five years in the strength training business and has developed a specialty for specific training needs.
This is key because there are many people with unique issues, such as having one leg longer than the other, a history of back/joint pain, or unusual body proportions. These specialists are very efficient at being able to serve these folks.
I transitioned to Exclusive Coaching in mid-November 2019 when the owner Matt Reynolds decided to take on a few new clients. Of course, the quality of coaching went up, but that’s because Matt has over 20 years in the industry and spent much of that time competing as well.
BLOC uses a few guiding principles to build programming for their clients. The barbell is the most effective and efficient tool to build strength, and the programming focuses on the four main lifts: squat, deadlift, press, and bench press.
These lifts were selected because they train the greatest amount of muscle mass over the longest, safe, effective ranges of motion with endless scalability—from the lightest beginner weights to the heaviest loads you can lift using good form.
As a client progresses through novice linear programming (NLP), which is where weight is added to the bar with each workout, their progress will, at some point, slow down and almost come to a stop.
The philosophy of Barbell Logic in this space is the principle of Minimum Effective Dose (MED), where they isolate all the training variables and make one simple change to drive a response in your lifting.
Given the number of clients and workouts recorded, BLOC now has enough data to better understand how to make these changes to keep clients progressing along the strength curve.
Initial lifting is three days a week and includes squats, deadlifts, and alternating bench presses and strict presses. This process may go on for weeks or even months.
One thing that BLOC is good at is understanding the challenges that come up in life, say a vacation where you don’t have access to a gym. The more you can plan ahead for special events and time away, the better your coach can keep you progressing.
You get feedback on the lifts within 24 hours, usually in the form of a link to a private YouTube video where you can see a play-by-play breakdown of the lifts.
As the weight gets heavier, your form starts to break down, and coaches will offer “cues” or phrases to get you to change your body in a certain way to correct your form.
These are very short statements or words intended to get you to change a specific part of your body position to correct a form error.
BLOC can also program for certain sports. Whether you are a marathoner, cyclist, or lifter, BLOC can ensure the programming complements what you are trying to do outside of the gym.
For those looking to compete in lifting related competitions, BLOC hosts their own online competitions from time to time, and they also prep clients for in-person meets.
For me, the sign of a good coach isn’t when things are going well but when things are breaking down. I suffered from an injury in my ribs in February 2020.
While the doctor was skittish and said I should take four weeks off, given how much it hurt to breathe, my coach suggested I deload 100lbs on squat and do five sets of two instead of the standard three sets of five.
Instead of resting for four weeks, I was able to work steadily through the injury and land exactly where I left off.
This is the type of experience you pay for from experts with years of real-world experience, as many of them have seen nearly everything under the sun and know how to react accordingly.
As of the time of this writing, I am 5’7”, 165 lbs, and 35 years old. I’m still progressing through a version of NLP, and my best numbers are as follows: Squat 3 x 300, Deadlift 3 x 375, Bench Press 3 x 225, and Press 3 x 135.
Given the nature of my job, it’s hard to stay consistent sometimes, and that’s the real key to making progress.
Barbell Logic Online Coaching is a luxury service, but you get what you pay for. For those moving toward a home gym lifestyle, this is perfect. I work out at the local gym in DC, and they don’t have a problem with me recording lifts (but this may not be the case everywhere).
I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with multiple people on staff, and they display the highest level of professionalism in the industry and are always treating my needs as if they are number one. I plan to stay with these folks for a very long time.
If you are interested in learning more about the rigorous training the coaches are put through—or if you’d like to be an online coach—check out BLOC’s Barbell Academy Principles Course, an in-depth video course that covers anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, programming, and lift analysis.
I completed an earlier version of this course in March 2020 and highly recommend it.
Barbell Logic also gives away a ton of free content including blog articles, e-books, podcasts, and videos. This will definitely help you learn more about the staff, their mission, and their values, not to mention how to lift.
Barbell Logic also supports other small businesses in the industry by offering special discounts. They partnered with A7 International to develop a Tribe bar grip shirt, which is super helpful for keeping the barbell in place during squats or keeping your shoulders planted during the bench press.
I featured the shirt along with other A7 products in this post about strength training gear. Barbell Logic also worked with Dominion Strength to create a 4” lever belt with their logo. My product review of that belt and other Dominion Strength products is here.
If you’re ready to jump in and take the plunge, check out my landing page with BLOC here to start working out for free.
If you like it, sign up, and join me in the ranks with other clients such as Brett from the Art of Manliness, Eric from Beardbrand, Tom from College Info Geek, and Tanner from Masculine Style.