Train to Avoid the Pain: Five Must-do Exercise for Barbers to do at the Gym

Train to Avoid the Pain: Five Must-do Exercise for Barbers to do at the Gym

It’s the first sunny day in April, and instead of enjoying some quiet time in the park or catching up on some much needed sleep, Artisan Barber founder Charlie McCoy, who is father of newborn baby girl Phoenix Rose, is on his back on the floor of an Upper East Side gym with a yoga block between his knees paying attention to his breathing. Not exactly the kind of workout that pumps vanity muscles, but one that Charlie needs to train for marathon days ahead where he’ll spend hours on his feet aggravating a repetitive stress injury caused by spending hours on his feet.

Today Charlie is working with Jamal Coston, personal sports performance trainer and founder of Strength in Numbers, to break a cycle of pain.

“Even before I assessed him,” Jamal said. “I could tell by watching him work that his left hamstring is weaker than his right. I could tell by the way he stands that there is more weight on one side, which is probably causing him back problems. And just by the fact that he’s standing all day, I knew that he definitely experienced some kind of foot pain.”

Keeping a mindset to combat patterns is something that should go beyond the four walls of the gym

“Today, we’re going to work to help Charlie compensate for the pattern that’s brought on a lot of the back issues that he’s experiencing,” Jamal said.

But for Jamal, keeping a mindset to combat patterns is something that should go beyond the four walls of the gym. “When you’re in the gym, or you’re not working, you should be thinking ‘how can I get out of this pattern? How can I shift weight to the other side of my body?’” Jamal advises.

As for Charlie, there are certain workouts he should be incorporating into this gym regimen to work out specific muscles. According to Jamal, Charlies focus should be behind him, working muscles, he’ll probably never see without a mirror, but ones that will help him get through shifts that can exceed nine or ten hours at a stretch.

“Strength-wise, I’ve always recommended working on the posterior chain to create strong hamstrings, strong glutes, and a strong back. In order for Charlie to stand up all day, he’s got to have his chest forward and his pelvis tilted. So those muscles in the back have to be strong. Squats to strengthen his quads and also exercises to strengthen his feet.”

How can I get out of this pattern?


First be aware of what shoes you are wearing. Most shoes have a little too much heal lift, which will push you forward. Try going with a flat shoe or barefoot.

  1. Stand over the kettlebell, lining your heels up with the handle

  2. Check to make sure you feel grounded. This means your heels are planted and you are slightly pressing the big toe into floor giving your foot an arch.

  3. Start to bend your knees as you push your hips backwards and reach straight down to grab the kettlebell. By time you reach the bell, your spine should be at a 45-degree angle

  4. Stand all the way up, then return the kettlebell back to the starting position. Try going for 8-12 reps.

90/90 Side plank

  1. Be sure to reach with the down arm. We want to feel those side abs; you should be actively pushing your elbow and hand into the ground to get the most bang for your buck

  2. Tuck your hips (Bring your belt buckle towards your belly button). This will ensure we are training the lateral abdominals and not your lower back.

  3. Go for breaths, not time. This will keep your form cleaned up and most importantly make you abs much stronger


Glute bridge dumbbell press

  1. Find something around the size of a yoga block to squeeze between your legs. As you begin to pull the floor towards you with your feet, you will feel your hamstrings and glutes being to fire.

  2. Tuck your hips, reach the weights to the sky, and give yourself a long exhale. This will help you keep your ribs down and abs on.

  3. Maintain this position as you begin your chest presses, try going for 8-12 reps.

*Pro tip – Check to see if you are in the right position by asking yourself if you feel abs and hamstrings.

Squat plate reach

  1. Find something relatively light (10-20lbs will do)

  2. Take a deep breath through the nose, then begin to squat as you reach the plate away from you.

  3. Once you feel like you can’t get any lower, return to starting position, try going for 10 reps at a time

Long seated reach & row

  1. Inhale into the back

  2. Long exhale while rowing and reaching with opposite arm

  3. 8-12 reps is a good place to start

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