Lab Rats Needed to Test the Transfer of Dumbbell Strength Training to 1RM Barbell Strength

By Rob Shaul

MTI is calling for fit lab rats to test the fitness effects of strength training to barbell 1RM (1 Repetition Max) strength.

The training will begin Monday, March 7, 2022.

The deadline to apply is 1700 Mountain Time, Friday, March 4, 2022.

Lab rats must be 20-40 years old.


All lab rats will complete the same, focused 3.5 weeks, 5 day/week focused training cycle.

We’re looking to get 6-12 committed, fit, lab rats for this study.

Athletes must have solid free weight strength training experience and know their way around a weight room. This cycle isn’t appropriate for athletes new to lifting or strength training, or de-conditioned athletes.

You’ll work directly with MTI Founder Rob Shaul for the duration of the project and communicate through a group-only message board/forum.

What We Hope To Learn

  1. The transfer of dumbbell strength training to 1RM Barbell strength.
  2. Test a creative dumbbell exercise selection and set/rep scheme as a way to overcome some of the disadvantages of dumbbell strength training.

We’ve previously tested the ability of sandbag strength training to improve 1RM barbell strength.

This study do the same for dumbbell-based strength training. Dumbbell training has an advantage over sandbag training simply because the ability to manipulate load (increase/decrease) is as simple as changing dumbbells.

However, the disadvantage dumbbell strength training has to max-effort-based barbell training is that for the big, classic, compound barbell lifts like back squat, and hinge/dead lifts it can be difficult to find dumbbells heavy enough to tax some athletes.

So, in addition to testing the general principle of the transfer for dumbbell strength training to barbell strength, this study will test single limb dumbbell strength training as a way to overcome some of the loading disadvantages of using dumbbells.

Required Equipment

  • Fully outfitted functional fitness gym (racks, barbells, bumper plates, dumbbells, sandbags)

Cycle Duration

This study project will take 3.5  weeks. It will begin Monday, March 7, 2022 with a general strength, work capacity, and endurance assessment, and end, Monday, with a 1RM assessment, and end the week of Monday, March 28, 2022 with a re-assessments.


To Participate

  • You’ll need to commit to training 5 days/week for 3.5 weeks, and follow the program as prescribed
  • You’ll need to commit to following only this programming as formal fitness training for the study project period. You can’t double up this training with any other physical fitness training.
  • You’ll need the required equipment (see above).
  • You’ll need to be 20-40 years old, fit, and a weight room veteran. This is intense programming, and not appropriate for functional training rookies or deconditioned athletes.

Want to be an MTI Lab Rat?

Please email, and put “Dumbbell Strength Lab Rat” in the subject line.

Please include:

  • Age, Height and Bodyweight
  • Verify you have access to the required equipment and have a solid strength training background
  • Verify you will commit to the 3.5 weeks, 5 day/week program
  • Verify if you are either (1) current Athlete’s Subscription subscriber, or (2) past purchaser of an MTI training Program or packet of plans

We’re hoping to get 6-12 lab rats for this project.



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