If you follow my blog you may know that one of my fitness goals for 2012 was to be able to do the Bar-barian Requirements.  They are as follows:

5 muscle ups
45 dips
25 pull ups
55 push ups
5 muscle ups

All of these exercises have to be in unbroken sets (you can’t drop off the bars and resume) and everything needs to be completed within a scarce 6 total minutes of time.

It is a daunting physical task that only a select few have completed, earning themselves the title of being an official Bar-barian.

This is actually the second variation of the requirements.  When they first were introduced several years ago you “only” had to do 40 dips, 20 pull ups, 50 push ups and 5 muscle ups and you had TEN MINUTES!

Well now I heard that once again they are making the requirements even tougher in a couple months.  They are giving you one less minute to complete all 135 reps.  You now will only have FIVE minutes.

I have some opinions on this.

First let me clarify, I am speaking as someone that is still relatively low on the bodyweight/bar progression scene. I am a guy that has found bar work as an excellent way to build functional strength well into the age that many people have already given up and started down the slippery slide to poor health/fitness.  Take my opinion for what it is worth based on that.

I guess my big question is, why is this necessary?

The requirements as is, are an extremely difficult physical feat that only a select few can complete, especially if an individual tries to use proper form while doing the movements.

Now if people were completing the requirements on a routine basis then I could see where it might make sense to raise the bar, no pun intended.  However as far as I know, I can count the number of new Bar-barians in the last year on two hands, maybe actually only one.  That is an incredibly small number based on the explosion in popularity of bar-based exercise in recent years.

To me, making the time limit for the requirements even shorter has a couple potential effects.

It makes them all but unreachable except for a a tiny fraction of people, beyond the tiny fraction that have completed the current requirements.  I don’t think I would be exaggerating if I predicted the majority of the guys that have completed the current and original requirements could not complete what is to be rolled out next.  Knocking off close to 20% of the allowed time is a HUGE obstacle for most.

I think the other problem is the time limit is so short it is going to make using borderline form almost necessary.  You need to bounce through your reps at breakneck pace if you hope to be done that quickly. Generally speaking, high speed reps almost always wind up with sloppy form.

Finally, if this is going to be the pattern, making the requirements more and more stringent, it doesn’t seem quite right that there is just one Bar-barian title.  There is a huge difference between someone that completed the original requirements in 10 minutes and someone who does the new requirements in 5, yet to the outside world they appear the same.

Anyway that is my two cents on the subject, not that I expect it to influence the decision to change the requirements.  I also realize that this fuss is only about a title.  It just happens to be a title I really hoped to attain at some point.  This latest constriction of time has made that a pipe dream at best.  Maybe I am just spilling sour grapes as a result.

My vote is to don’t fix what isn’t broke.

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