Diesel Dad is a training program created by Barbell Shrugged designed for busy dads that want to make the most of their time in the garage gym. I’ve been testing the program over the past month as a busy father myself. The focused-approach that gets you in and out of the gym while still getting results is a great combo and a program we would recommend for those short on time.

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Diesel Dad Review
Barbell Shrugged Diesel Dad

I’ve used a lot of programs over the years. Typically, my programming is all about being extremely effective. How can I get stronger, bigger, faster, etc? However, as I’ve gotten more kids and responsibilities, my time to train has gotten less and less. Diesel Dad is for guys like me that have limited time, but the desire to still get it done. Although I personally make more time for training than what Diesel Dad is designed for, it’s because it’s part of my job. Most fathers are lucky to get even one day of training in, so I think a program like Diesel Dad is a perfect option and one I’d recommend.

What is Diesel Dad?

Diesel Dad is a training program created by the guys at Barbell Shrugged.

I first started listening to Barbell Shrugged’s podcast in 2013 when I was training as a CrossFit Athlete and have followed their content on and off ever since. Although their initial focus was on the CrossFit market, they’ve since expanded to various types of training focused on the athlete training out of their garage gym.

The Diesel Dad program is designed pretty much for who its name suggests. Fathers. Although moms and people without kids could certainly benefit. The reason it’s marketed towards busy dads is because...

  1. Training in a home gym is the most efficient way to lift.
  2. The workouts lack fluff and focus on high-impact movements done in a short timeframe window.

I know all too well the difficulty in getting workouts done with kids. As of this writing I have three kids under the age of three and I don’t have plans of stopping anytime soon. I love my kids, but I also love the physical and mental benefits of working out.

Diesel Dad is designed for people like me. You want to get in the gym, train hard, and get back to living life.

Is Diesel Dad the Right Training Program for You?

Before I dive too deep into my personal experience with the programming, I first want to quickly hit who I think the Diesel Dad program from Barbell Shrugged is best suited for as I don’t think it’s perfect for everybody.

Who I recommend Diesel Dad for

  • Dads who are looking for the minimally effective dose of training will love this program.
  • If you have access to a garage gym with basic equipment, you can perform this program.
  • If you’re just getting back into training and don’t want to make a huge time commitment, these are fun workouts that work.
  • If your goals are less competition-focused and more on looking good naked and being productive outside of the gym, you’ll appreciate Diesel Dad.

Who I don’t recommend Diesel Dad for

  • I highly suggest looking at other programming if you stress about the details such as the exact weight on the crossfit barbell, angle of the weight bench, etc.
  • If you have extra time that you want to devote to training, follow a different program that is longer and more in-depth.
  • Home gym owners with decked-out gyms will probably not love the amount of variation of specialty bars and equipment within the program.

What is the Programming Like?

For $52/mo you get access to everything within the Diesel Dad program. This includes various courses and Ebooks, but most importantly three different goal-specific programs. 

The programs offered are:

  • EMOM Strength
  • EMOM Aesthetics
  • Density Weight Training

EMOM Strength is as the name suggests designed around training that takes place Every Minute On the Minute. An example would be a superset of a pistol squat, dumbbell bench press, and hanging knee raise done as an AMRAP each minute for 3 rounds.

I’ve done EMOM’s for years and they’re actually one of my favorite ways to train. You get enough rest that you can hit each movement hard, but you know exactly how much time you have to put all the work in. These are really popular in CrossFit Affiliates and the EMOM Strong program uses Westside Barbell’s conjugate method to vary up training and using accommodating resistance such as bands and chains.

EMOM Aesthetic takes a similar approach as EMOM Strong but is more focused on building muscle and increasing hypertrophy while using short rest cycles to burn fat.

These sessions are shorter at a max of 20 minutes, but the program is designed to be done five days a week. This program has my favorite mix.

The last program is called Density Weight Training. This program had higher volume than the others is similar to EMOM Aesthetic with fewer EMOM’s. It’s also a 5 day a week program but the sessions only last 15-20 minutes so you can get in, hit it hard, and get out.

Coop's Experience Using the Program

I’ve been able to test Diesel Dad over the past month and get a good idea of how the training is structured and what the overall goals of the program are.

Like I said previously, I’m a guy who owns multiple businesses, has multiple kids, a wife, hobbies, and little time to fit everything in. I also love training. There’s little better in my opinion than running out to my garage gym, cranking up the music, opening the garage door, and getting bigger, stronger, and better overall.

The issue is that all of these things conflict with the other–and this is the problem Diesel Dad seeks to solve.

If it’s not obvious, more time in the gym spent training will increase the likelihood of the trainee reaching their chosen goals. This is the same for nearly every endeavor. If you want to become a better reader, read more. If you want to become a better piano player, play the piano more.

However, with each incremental minute spent doing the thing, there is the law of diminishing returns at play. With this in mind, for fathers who are juggling all of these competing forces as well as their desires to still look and perform like they did when they were younger, it’s not worth spending hours in the gym.

The goal shifts from “what’s the most effective programming” to “what’s the most efficient programming.” These are two different goals.

While trying out Diesel Dad, if felt it was efficient. It lacked a lot of fluff often seen in other programs we’ve tested like Rennaissance Periodization (which by the way is a tremendous program) where you have tons of curl variations with dropsets and the like and instead gives you the meat and potatoes. This is the best way I can describe Diesel Dad–it’s the meat and potatoes of training for strength or aesthetics and it’s also fun.

One session started out like this:

Build to a 1RM for the Low Back Squat and Close Grip Bench in less than 15 min EMOM (which also included tempo recommendations.)

Once that is done the program had two 6 round triplet EMOM’s focused on squat and press accessories.

I was in and out of the gym in under 30 minutes, had a great pump, and felt sore the next day.

It wasn’t the most exhaustive training session. It also wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had in the gym. But, I got in and out of the gym quickly while being able to check the voluntary hardship box.

I like Diesel Dad and would like to see more garage gym owners incorporate this sort of training into their life. We often get overwhelmed by trying to something the best that it prevents us from doing anything at all.

Diesel Dad will allow you to reach your strength and aesthetic goals, albeit at a slower pace while allowing you to be a great father to your kids, husband to your wife, and employee/owner at your job.

Full Rating

Barbell Shrugged Diesel Dad

Effectiveness - 4.8
Time Duration - 4.5
Value - 4.3

Diesel Dad is a training program created by Barbell Shrugged designed for busy dads that want to make the most of their time in the garage gym. I’ve been testing the program over the past month as a busy father myself. The focused-approach that gets you in and out of the gym while still getting results is a great combo and a program we would recommend for those short on time.

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