A CrossFit Boy Band: Meet Barbell Shrugged

Go behind the scenes with Barbell Shrugged
By Abi Reiland, CF-L1,


Typically, top iTunes sales and a cult following are reserved for boy bands harmoniously crooning viral verses. And you can’t deny that it’s easy to be drawn in by an enchanting group of men with some sort of magical chemistry. But replace those frosted tips and skinny jeans with manly beards and barbells, and you’ve got the boy band of the CrossFit world; Barbell Shrugged. They aren’t known for singing and dancing, but they do offer regular words of wisdom and entertainment on the topics of Olympic lifting and fitness. They top YouTube and iPod charts with their popular podcasts, and their following continues to grow weekly.

Turns out, this band of misfits had captured the hearts of the CrossFit community with their witty banter, tattooed tough-guy attitudes, and ability to educate. So like a crazed fan (or stalker; call it what you want.), I set out to learn more about our favorite foursome.

Doug Larson is the clean-cut ninja of the group. He’s a ninja with expertise in fish oil and math, which seems a perfect pairing with CrossFit. Back in the day, Doug attended college in the unknown town of McMinnville, Oregon, and decided he wanted to commit his education to chemistry and math. Personally, I think he’s got a screw loose, but he assures me his interest remains steadfast, stating, “I think lipid biochemistry IS THE SHIT!” In graduate school, Doug studied fish oil in depth and discovered its magical recovery and anti-inflammatory capabilities. As co-owner of Faction Strength and Conditioning, home of CrossFit Memphis, Doug shares his experience and knowledge with his coaching staff to ensure his athletes become their best.

There’s a lovable goofy guy in every group, and CTP (a.k.a. Chris Norman) earns that title with Barbell Shrugged. His glasses and on-camera antics keep things fun and carefree. He has what I would classify as a strong affection for Julie Foucher, calls himself the Rich Froning of sub-par CrossFit, and keeps our podcast view interesting with camera nods of agreement and chirps of cheerful widsom. CTP (Chris The Producer) is also the guy behind the Barbell Shrugged social media experience and claims to be the best-looking of the bunch.

Chris Moore is a bit of a beast. He squats small cars (975 pounds) for fun, and would be content being covered head-to-toe in tattoos if it weren’t so pricey. His is an inspiring story. Chris’ journey to Barbell Shrugged began with the diagnosis of a degenerative disc disease in college, which ended his football career. After some wallowing, he sought out powerlifting as a means to strengthen his spine, and his passion for lifting and living healthy was born. Although his exterior may suggest meathead, Chris prefers discussions surrounding the scientific plausibility of super heroes over death metal and bro-talk.

Mike “Matraca” Bledsoe is a man with the gift of gab. His college career consisted of serving as guinea pig in a number of research studies, and although he exhibited interested by beginning grad school, it didn’t last. This multifaceted entrepreneur jumped into the world of lifting and fitness, and built Barbell Shrugged as well as Faction Strength and Conditioning/CrossFit Memphis. And he didn’t stop there. His programs range from a 6-Month Muscle Gain Challenge, to a regional prep course called Road To Regionals, and he’s got two new websites (barbellbusiness.com and barbelluniversity.com). He’s a man with a mission, folks.

So pick your favorite Barbell Boy and buy a poster to hang on your wall to kiss because these dudes represent the cool-kid boy band in our developing CrossFit culture. They play a major role in putting a spotlight on the radness of snatches, and sexy nature of squats, and the fun in front squats.

Barbell Shrugged offers an opportunity to not just do CrossFit or weightlifting, but to live it and learn it. They continue to offer insight that help athletes, coaches and owners progress in an effort to keep our sport relevant and safe. And for that their loyal following will undoubtedly grow. They’re the most badass boy band in the world, if you ask me.

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