Bar Patterns in Strength Training

Bar Patterns in Strength Training

Part 1 in the series


Establishing proper movement patterns in our sports is one of the keys to success in reaching our goals. The human body has seven primary movement patterns that are refined throughout life: gait (walking or running), squatting, lunging, pulling, pushing, pressing (overhead) and twisting. Your brain is very efficient and one of its objectives is to record and recall movement patterns that make life easier, allowing it more capacity to handle anomalies in movement such as speed, rate of force production, and forces moving through our bodies in multiple directions as well as spinning through our bodies.

   I had a coach years ago tell me, “You are continuously building patterns, good or bad, with or without your consent.” What does that really mean? He was teaching me that when I’m training I need to be very conscious about the skills I’m trying to learn. Even when I’m not training, I still need to be conscious about how I’m moving because if I was moving poorly I was ingraining those poor patterns. Once the brain has formed a pattern it will repeat it over and over the same way. It takes about 300 repetitions to ‘ingrain’ a new movement pattern, depending on its complexity. It’s estimated that it takes 10 times that initial number of repetitions performed in order to over-write a bad pattern. The implications of this are that spending time getting a pattern right the first time saves a mountain of extra work later trying to change a problematic pattern.

Establishing proper movement patterns in the weight room is paramount. When you are in the gym your goal is to build strength and power in positions that are similar to, but not identical to, the positions you will encounter in your snow sports. When an additional load is added to your body (ex: holding onto a bar or DB) in the weight room, the number one rule is to move safely and properly. Begin all of your strength training sessions with bar patterns. Pay close attention to the proper movements and spine positions in order to safely prepare your bodies for all of the possible positions you will encounter during the session. Here is the list of Bar Patterns we use at the Copper Mountain Clubhouse to begin all of the strength training sessions.


  • Clean Pull [from mid-shin, pull slow]  8x
  • Romanian deadlift                               8x
  • Bent-over row                                       8x
  • Full back squat                                      8x
  • Snatch grip, push press-behind             4x
  • Overhead squat  [snatch grip]               4x
  • Snatch balance-behind                          4x
  • Snatch Pull [from mid-shin, pull slow] 8x
  • Good mornings                                     8x
  • Full front squat                                      8x
  • Muscle snatch-from crease                    4x


Over the next 11 newsletters, I will be detailing the execution of all of these exercises. Please add these patterns into your strength training warm-ups as you become familiar with the movements.