I’ve been following the Barstarzz online for a couple of years now. They’re one of the most positive physical culture groups out there, and I’m 100% behind anyone who is genuinely interested in helping people gain strength and improve their quality of life. So I was quite pleased when Edward Checo invited me to take a look at their bodyweight training DVD and share my thoughts about it.
Before I do that, I’d like you to become better acquainted with the group and what they do. I first became aware of them as “those guys who are always working out on that playground.”
For starters, here’s the fairly jaw-dropping introduction to the video:
Very, very strong stuff.
Now, the DVD isn’t going to teach you to do all the stuff you just saw–they put a premium on creativity, which will be up to you once you have gained the strength to start practicing some of that madness. But it will teach you what the Barstarzz consider the fundamental areas of bodyweight strength training prior to getting more creative on your own.
What is on the DVD?
Progressions on how to go from man-on-the-street-raw-trainee to performing some pretty solid feats of strength.
I’ll use the pushup for an example. Everyone knows what a pushup is. The pushup segment of the DVD pretends you don’t, however, and takes a couple of steps backward to help someone work up to the pushup proper. Kneeling pushups come first, then half pushups, and so on.
But the progression goes through the pushup, to the one arm pushup, to the one arm clapping pushup, which was something I’d never seen anyone else doing.
Similar progressions follow for movements like the dip, the one legged squat, muscle ups, and more. But each gets taken beyond the completion of the full movement to something more extreme.
Other than the progressions, there are also segments on suggested warm ups and suggested programming options.
What I like
These guys walk the walk and I believe they genuinely are passionate about helping others grow stronger, healthier, and better in their lives.
They can do the feats themselves.
They are good teachers and the progressions are pretty much impossible to misinterpret.
There is a Barstarzz forum where the members are generous with their time and talents and they talk things over, compare notes, and offer encouragement to newcomers.
The DVD is shot on location in New York, which adds some charm. I love the idea of people getting super strong in the park, with minimal equipment.
What I wish was better
Sound quality: while there’s some charm to the on-the-street instruction, it makes the sound poor at times. You can tell when a woman is walking just off camera with a squalling baby in a stroller, for example, so suddenly you can’t hear what’s being said. But the exercises are all demoed for you, so it’s not a huge deal. But keep in mind that you’re going to hear a lot of street noise.
Just a personal note: I simply don’t think there’s a way to make watching an exercise demo exciting. So I was bored by watching a guy do a half dozen kneeling pushups, but that’s nobody’s fault. I’m not suggesting that the demos aren’t important, just know that you’ll be watching a lot of them.
And one more personal preference: I don’t follow programs in my training. So I would never take a set template and try to follow it to the letter. I don’t make as much progress that way, personally. But if you are someone who benefits from a template and the structured programming makes you feel more confident in the beginning, I would not discourage you from trying it.
I cannot do the things they can do (yet) so feel free to ignore what I said in the paragraph above. But whenever I review a program I do feel obligated to mention that it is not exactly what I do for myself. I just don’t want any confusion there.
The Barstarzz are legit. I’m a big fan of their work and I’m proud to be Edward’s friend. If you want to follow in their footsteps they’ve made a high-quality product that I believe could benefit you in your bodyweight training, if that is your goal.