May 13, 2013

Not too long ago I had the privilege of meeting two fellow coaches and strength fanatics who happened to have the same philosophy that I do when it comes to training.

We of course hit it off right away and have been in close contact ever since working on programming, training together, and throwing out ideas for future endeavors.

You've all met Bryan Tompkins whom I interviewed a little while back after deadlifting 3x his bodyweight during his first powerlifting meet. The other day I got the chance to sit down and chat a little with his super strong girlfriend, Jessica Del Barrio.

Here's how it went:


Jess, can you introduce yourself to the readers and tell them a little bit about what you do?

JDB: My name is Jessica Del Barrio and I'm a mom and a strength coach. I love strength training and helping other women get stronger.


So you train mostly women?

JDB: I train a couple of guys, but yes, I train mostly women and I love it.


Do you ever have any issues getting women to train with weights? I know the majority of the clients I've worked with in the past have told me the classic excuses like "I don't want to get bulky" or "If I don't do a bunch of cardio I won't lose weight."

JDB: It's usually out of shape dudes doing biceps curls in the squat rack telling women that they will get bulky if they weight train.

Total BS. I like to use myself as an example or current clients. All that bulky stuff is nonsense.

I've only had one client who refuses to deadlift. She tells me she would rather do pushups, which is cool because pushups are awesome. I think the key to getting women to strength train is education.

Most women want to strength train, they just don't know it yet!!


How do you go about educating the women you train to get them more interested in big lifts like squats, deadlifts, and farmer's carries?

JDB: Right from the get-go whether or not they express concern about getting bulky, I tell them that it will simply not happen. We don't train or eat like bodybuilders so we won't look like bodybuilders. Again, I use myself and current clients as examples.

I tell them I do chin-ups, deadlifts, squats, farmer's carries, and pushups. Then I ask them if I look bulky. They respond by saying, "No, of course you don't." I tell them that doing these types of exercises will do way more for their curves than endless hours of cardio. Running on the treadmill for hours on end will get you nowhere except flabby. Strength builds curves.

They're usually sold after that.


Nice. My explanation to my own clients and friends is pretty much along the same lines. I usually add in that they quite literally don't have the "balls" to get bulky, but that's just me. You mentioned that strength builds curves; what types of exercises would you put your ladies through on a typical full body training day?

JDB: Exactly!! It depends. If I have a lady that has good movement patterns and a solid foundation we will always do some sort of glute exercises because it's all about that bootay!!

Goblet squats paired with jumps, either pushups or chinup practice, and we finish off with heavy farmer's carries and walking lunges.


Do you ever use sleds or kettlebells?

JDB: I teach primarily kettlebells, although not everyone can do a swing. We really have to nail down the hip hinge and make sure the glutes are working properly.

Whenever I can I will incorporate some sled work. The sled is everyone's favorite haha.


Now that we've touched on how you train your clients, what exactly is your training philosophy and how do you train yourself?

JDB: I train for strength. The same way I train my clients is how I train myself. Simple. Practicing what I preach.


So we won't catch you curling in the squat rack?

JDB: Haha no, not any time soon.


I hear there may be a powerlifting meet in your future. Are the rumors true?

JDB: Yes!! I'm excited about that. I'm training for a full meet. I've dedicated one day to each lift per week.

Bench Mondays are my favorite. I recently fell in love with benching after never benching at all in my life. But deadlifts are still my go-to. My current deadlift is 250 for a single.

Coach Erica Dirksen along with Coach BT are in charge of my programming.


Awesome. I wish you the best of luck. You already know I'll be in the audience cheering you on.

JDB: Thank you so much for your support.


But of course. And before we close this out, are there any words of wisdom you would like to give to the lady readers?

JDB: Strength training is so empowering and there is so much support amongst women who strength train. It goes beyond just looks.

People post stuff on Facebook and see all these pictures of shredded women and think anyone who trains for strength will look like that, but it's not the case. Women who really train know what it takes. They know how it feels to struggle to put more weight on the bar or do 1 solid chinup. No matter what we look like, we can all appreciate the hard work that we put behind accomplishing our lifts.

Strong girls stick together!!


Thanks so much for taking some time out for this interview Jess, it was much appreciated.

JDB: Thank you Franco...

Jessica Del Barrio - Split Jerk Practice

You heard it here first: Strong girls stick together. Don't be scared of strength; embrace it and come one step closer to becoming the strongest version of yourself.


In Strength,
Franco Crincoli


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Franco Crincoli
I am a personal trainer, strength coach, and all around iron addict, with a philosophy deeply rooted in old school methods. My training has been influenced by strongmen, powerlifters, Olympic lifters, gymnasts, and the Golden Era bodybuilders. I believe in reaping the greatest rewards the simplest (not easiest) way possible and having fun doing it.
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