Strength & Fitness Newsletter

This Week on Straight to the Bar

I’m constantly amazed at just how much my training is influenced by the people on this site. Whether you’re looking for a new piece of equipment, an unusual exercise variation or just an idea of how others approach things, you’ll enjoy these :

Over to you. I’d love to hear what you think : leave your comments on the above articles, and share them with your friends/colleagues/clients and so on.
NB : If you’d like to submit your own piece for Straight to the Bar, here’s how.

Video : Band Resisted Tug-of-War

Interesting idea.

Gymchat 159 – Recovery Methods : Sleep II

Sleep is a topic that’s long fascinated me, and it was one of the first ones we tackled in the original Twitterchats (now Gymchats); nearly 3 years ago.
This week I’d like to return to it with the simple questions :
How do you sleep?‘ and ‘How does it influence your recovery?
Look forward to hearing your answers, no matter what they are. Biphasic sleep, ZMA, late evening meals; whatever works for you.
See you there.

NB : If you’ve just joined us on Google+, welcome. Join us on Mar 7, and add a comment/ask a question or three. Dive in.

Details –
Who : Strength-training fans
Topic : Recovery Methods : Sleep II
When : Wed Mar 7, 9pm EDT (2am UTC)
How : Post a comment, question or reply
Where :
If you’ve never been to one of these discussions before, here’s how to join in the fun. Simple, quick to set up and free.
And to see when it’s on in your timezone, head over to the calendar.
See you there.
Incidentally, cheers for all the feedback on the Maik Wiedenbach interview we mentioned last week. For those that haven’t seen it yet, head over here.
Nice one.

Quick update on last week’s gymchat : Thanks once again to everyone who took part in the discussion on Heavy Duty – The Mentzer Legacy. Some superb ideas in there.
For those who missed out on the conversation, here’s the transcript. Was a great one.

NB : if you’d like to add a fitness-related event (either a competition you’re taking part in, or something you’re helping to organise there), just login to the forums and add it to the calendar. Cheers.

Tip of the Week: Buying a Power Rack – Determining the width you’ll need.

Each week we publish a number of tips and techniques via twitter, Google+, the forums, the blog; and now the newsletter. Wherever you are, there’s always a way to improve what you’re doing.
This tip comes to us following a discussion I had over the weekend (I was helping a friend choose a power rack), and is a snippet from the article ‘Buyers’ Guide : the Power Rack‘. Determining the width you’ll need.

Although the width of a barbell never changes (within one type, that is – standard bars are about a foot shorter than their Olympic counterparts), the width of racks vary from brand to brand. The rack’s minimum width will depend largely on what you’re going to do with it.

Sumo squats and rack pulls will take the most room; somewhere around 40″ would be an absolute minimum, but your best bet is to measure your own squat (outside one foot to outside the other).

If you intend to bench press in the rack, or use the bench as a seat for other exercises (such as the overhead work I mentioned earlier), make sure the bench fits. If you’re buying them both at the same time, great. Test them out.

One more thing to note with the bench inside the rack – if you plan to use dumbbells from the bench, make sure there’s plenty of room to drop the dumbbells once they get heavy. Oh, and something to protect the floor (in the drop zone) is always a good idea – a couple of rubber mats will do nicely.

Good stuff.

Checking Out : Mastering the Muscle-Up

Remember the muscle-up DVD we mentioned on Google+ a while ago?
It’s still on the top of my ‘must see, soon‘ pile. Have to say though, it looks fantastic. If you’ve ever wanted to improve your skills with this wonderful exercise, this is definitely the ideal way to learn them.

Quick update on the superb Super Human Training Workshop (#2) we noted a few weeks ago. Looks fantastic.
For all the details of who/what/when (and believe me, there’s a lot going on), head over to

Exercise of the Week : GripWalking

Dan talked about this one a while ago, and I must admit it works extremely well. For more details check out the original article; in the meantime just think of it as a grip-centric Farmers’ Walk.
Good fun.

Incidentally, if you’d like to get in touch regarding this or any other aspect of strength, you can send me an email here. Look forward to hearing from you.

Free Straight to the Bar eBooks

10 Essential Conditioning ToolsAs a Strength & Fitness Newsletter subscriber you get several great eBooks, absolutely free. Just head over here, save them to your hard-drive, and dive in.
Good stuff.
NB : This is an ever-changing list of books. If you’d like to put your own work in front of a fantastic strength-focussed audience, let me know.

Time for Some New Gear? Here’s What to Get, and How to Use It

Straight to the Bar GuidesThanks to everyone who’s sent in feedback (via email, Facebook and Twitter) about the Straight to the Bar Guides – it’s greatly appreciated.
For everyone who hasn’t seen them yet, the Guides will help you decide what to get (and where), and how to train with it. There’s some great information in there.