How To Improve Barbell Cycling

Improving your barbell cycling skills requires practice, technique refinement, strength development, and conditioning.
In preparation for the upcoming CrossFit Open, let's look at different ways to improve our barbell cycling!

What Is Barbell Cycling?

Barbell cycling refers to performing multiple repetitions of a barbell exercise in quick succession, often with a focus on maintaining good form and speed.

It's commonly seen in various strength and conditioning programs, weightlifting, and CrossFit-style workouts.

Barbell cycling can be performed for various purposes, including building strength, improving muscular endurance, enhancing power output, or as part of a metabolic conditioning workout. It requires coordination, technique, strength, and cardiovascular endurance to perform the movements with proper form and speed over multiple repetitions.

Why Should You Barbell Cycle?

Barbell cycling offers several benefits that make it a valuable addition to strength and conditioning programs. Some of these benefits include:


Barbell cycling allows you to perform multiple repetitions of a barbell exercise in quick succession, which can lead to greater training efficiency. Instead of performing single reps with rest intervals between each one, barbell cycling enables you to complete more work in less time.

Muscular Endurance:

Performing high-repetition sets with a barbell challenges your muscular endurance, helping to improve your ability to sustain effort over extended periods. This can be beneficial for activities that require repetitive movements, such as sports, functional fitness, or endurance events.

Cardiovascular Conditioning:

Barbell cycling can elevate your heart rate and provide a cardiovascular conditioning stimulus, especially when performed with lighter to moderate weights and higher repetitions. Including barbell cycling in your training regimen can help improve your aerobic capacity and overall cardiovascular fitness.

Power Development:

Barbell cycling exercises like cleans and snatches involve explosive movements that require a combination of strength, speed, and coordination. Practicing these movements with barbell cycling can help develop power output.

Technique Refinement:

Regular practice of barbell cycling movements allows you to refine your technique and become more proficient in executing the lifts. As you become more comfortable with the movement patterns and barbell mechanics, you can improve your efficiency, speed, and overall performance.

Functional Strength:

Barbell cycling exercises are compound movements that engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, promoting functional strength development. These movements mimic natural human movement patterns and can translate to improved performance in everyday activities and athletic endeavors.

Mental Toughness:

Barbell cycling workouts can be physically demanding and mentally challenging, requiring focus, determination, and grit to push through fatigue and maintain proper form. Incorporating barbell cycling into your training routine can help build mental toughness and resilience.

How To Improve Your Barbell Cycling

Master Technique:

Focus on refining your technique for the specific barbell movement you're working on, whether it's cleans, snatches, thrusters, or another exercise. Break down the movement into its component parts and practice each one individually before putting them together into a fluid motion.

Increase Strength:

Barbell cycling requires strength to efficiently move the weight through multiple repetitions. Incorporate strength training exercises that target the muscles used in your chosen barbell movement, such as squats, deadlifts, presses, and pulls. Progressive overload, gradually increasing the weight you lift over time, is key to building strength.

Work on Speed and Efficiency:

Practice moving the barbell quickly and efficiently through each repetition while maintaining proper form. Focus on minimizing the time between reps and optimizing your movement patterns to conserve energy. Video yourself performing the movement to identify areas where you can improve your speed and efficiency.

Improve Mobility and Flexibility:

Optimal mobility and flexibility are essential for performing barbell cycling movements with proper form and range of motion. Incorporate mobility exercises and stretches targeting the muscles and joints involved in your chosen barbell exercise to improve your overall flexibility and movement quality.

Build Endurance:

Barbell cycling can be physically demanding, especially when performing high-repetition sets or complex movements. Incorporate conditioning workouts that challenge your cardiovascular endurance and muscular stamina, such as interval training, circuit training, or CrossFit-style workouts.

Practice Transitions:

Smooth transitions between repetitions are crucial for maintaining momentum and efficiency during barbell cycling. Practice transitioning smoothly from one rep to the next, paying attention to your footwork, grip, and barbell path.

Interval Training:

Incorporate interval training protocols specifically designed to improve barbell cycling performance. This could involve performing sets of barbell cycling reps followed by short rest periods, gradually increasing the intensity and volume over time.

Focus on Breathing:

Proper breathing can help you maintain energy and endurance during barbell cycling sets. Practice rhythmic breathing patterns that synchronize with your movement, exhaling during the concentric phase and inhaling during the eccentric phase.

Recover Adequately:

Allow your body sufficient time to recover between barbell cycling sessions to prevent overtraining and promote muscle repair and growth. Adequate nutrition, hydration, sleep, and active recovery techniques can all support your recovery efforts.

Seek Feedback:

Work with a knowledgeable coach, trainer, or experienced athlete who can provide feedback on your technique, offer guidance on programming and progression, and help you identify areas for improvement.

Accessories To Help With Grip Strength


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