Tim Ferriss is perhaps best known for his first book, The Four Hour Work Week, which positioned him as a productivity guru and a role model for entrepreneurs everywhere who want to upend the 9-5 way of approaching work and moneymaking.

But he also had a runaway success with his second book The Four Hour Body, which introduced many to the “Quantified Self” movement as Ferriss hacked his way through fat loss, powerlifting, swimming, sprinting, and seemingly almost every other competitive physical endeavor.

Put simply, Ferriss knows fitness pretty well, which is why it was cool to see that he not only had the 2008 CrossFit Games Champion and jiu-jitsu athlete Jason Khalipa on his top-rated podcast this week, but had him break down his approach to the most fundamental barbell exercises for some extra bonus footage.

What’s really great about this surprisingly useful video is that Ferriss asks the kind of questions that will provide info for readers with almost any level of experience with a barbell.

Barbell training is indeed the focus, but the content is just advanced enough that beginners and intermediate lifters can learn something. Here are some of our favorite tidbits:

The Warm-Up

At 0.17 in the video, Ferriss asks about the most common mistakes people make when warming up. Khalipa points out what a warm-up should get the core body temperature up, take your body through a full range of motion, and prepare the different movement patterns you’ll be incorporating into the workout. Importantly, it should also be time-bound: set a clock for 10 or 15 minutes.

[Check out our review of Jason Khalipa’s EMOM of the day workout program!]

Khalipa then goes through how he warms up for squats at 1:45, which is worth a listen for absolutely any athlete. He recommends hanging out at the bottom of the squat and moving around, opening up the joints, hips, and ankles with the arms held overhead. Then he starts doing very slow air squats, adds speed, then throws on the bar.

Progressive Overload

Khalipa is currently doing the 5×5 routine, popularized by Bill Starr and Mark Rippetoe and seen by many as the best — and most basic — approach to gaining strength. It’s usually recommended for beginners, which is why it was great to hear Khalipa talk about how he’s approaching it at this stage of his career.

Right now I’m going up in 10-pound increments (per week). (…) I’d recommend most people to (squat) twice a week, but maybe do 5 pound jumps. (…) I’m gonna get to a point where I can no longer complete those 5 reps. Then what I’ll do is I’ll go ahead and revert back to two sessions before and then I’ll start going up in five-pound increments. Then when I can no longer do that I’ll go ahead and reevaluate and drop back down.

He also rests two minutes between sets, though it depends on how heavy he’s going.

There’s a lot more, from how to set up for the deadlift (at the 20.30 mark) to the right way to front squat (27.12). It doesn’t get too deep into the weeds (as Ferriss and Khalipa are both sometimes wont to do) but the clip covers everything you should already know if you’re attacking these exercises — and chances are, there are a couple of tips that have slipped your mind.

Featured image via Tim Ferriss on YouTube.


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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of different kinds of things, but his passion for health ultimately led him to cover it full time.Shanghai was where he managed to publish his first health related article (it was on managing diarrhea), he then went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before he finished his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and headed to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.Nick’s interest in health kind of comes from an existential angle: how are we meant to live? How do we reach our potential? Does the body influence the mind? (Believe it or not, his politics Master’s focused on religion.)Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.