For many of us, the journey to fitness is a never-ending. Even people in very good shape in terms of body composition, endurance, flexibility, and strength, will for some reason, feel they need to do more. Sometimes it's to avoid boredom with the same exercise routines. But just as often it seems there's just a constant drive to do more. It's like we become obsessed with the Olympic motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius, i.e., Faster, Higher, Stronger.
A very good female friend asked about doing upper body work with a barbell. Although she's plenty fit and does cardio and resistance several times a week, she's been reading some materials by body builders and is curious about standard exercises with the barbell, such as dead lifts, squats and presses. Some of her interest is driven by a desire to further strengthen her upper body (maybe a little to get a little more buff looking) and add variety to her workouts.
She's works out routinely and effectively with dumbbells, mostly high rep endurance exercise. Now she's started doing some low rep deadlifts and thinks about doing the same with presses. There are some specific benefits to pressing a barbell, but most of the benefits can also be realized with safer exercises like push ups. True, you can get stronger lifting more than your body weight, but who needs to be that strong?
My friend is a TOJ. The main reason I wonder about her getting wanting to lift significant weight on a barbell is because there is a much higher probability for injury. Lifting a weight overhead can invite shoulder or back problems if the joints aren't already strong and stable. The problem with either a shoulder or back injury is that they don't just slow your journey to fitness, they can bring it to a frustrating and permanent halt.
She's already in great shape and will do it if she decides to. Maybe she can start with just the bar with no added and see what it feels like, if pressing the bar recruits muscles she feels need more work. Or maybe she'll discover she's already doing plenty of good resistance exercises with calisthenics, straps, kettlebells and dumbbells.
Exercise is too fun and important to our health to put at risk. Whenever taking on a new challenge, ask why you're doing it and be honest about the risk. If you decide to go for it, be guided by a modified Olympic motto: A Little Faster, A Little Higher, A Little Stronger.