Strength & Fitness Newsletter

Posted : Jul 30, 2013
Monday, 29 Jul 2013

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 : Step Vault Tutorial (Parkour)



Great tutorial. Nice one Ryan.

Gymchat 207 – Body Transformation (with Jason Paris)

Body Transformation. How do you go from incredibly unfit to fit? Shed the excess fat, add a bit of muscle and so on?
This week we’re going to be tackling this one from a number of angles. Sleep, nutrition, strength-training and a whole lot more.
Helping us is Strength and Conditioning Coach Jason Paris, Personal Trainer Kirk Fontaine and You. If you’ve got questions (or you’re ready to make this transformation yourself), join us on the Hangout. Details below.


Details –
Who : Strength and Conditioning Coach Jason Paris, Personal Trainer Kirk Fontaine and You
Topic : Body Transformation
When : Wed Jul 31, 9pm EST (here’s how to find out when that is in your timezone)
URL : We’ll be announcing this shortly – both on the blog and on Google+ itself.
See you there.

Previously : In Gymchat 206 we talked about ‘Sandbag Training‘, with Strength and Conditioning Coach Matt Palfrey and Personal Trainer Kirk Fontaine. Great discussion.
If you missed the broadcast, the video is available over on Kirk’s Youtube Channel. That’s also the best place to subscribe to the videos directly, and to see previous discussions.


If you’d like to suggest a future topic, or schedule an interview for one of the upcoming discussions, you can send us a message privately here, or swing by our Community site on Google+. Look forward to hearing from you.

Tip of the Week: Addressing Squat Weaknesses – Bending at the Knees First

Each week we publish a number of tips and techniques via Twitter, Google+, the blog; and now the newsletter. Wherever you are, there’s always a way to improve what you’re doing.


Back

Back.



When it comes to the squat, Powerlifter Rick Walker clearly knows what he’s talking about.
If you’ve ever tackled this wonderful exercise yourself and felt that your form just didn’t feel quite right, check out his article Addressing Weaknesses in The Squat. To give you an idea of what it’s all about, here’s how he corrects one of the more common problems found in squat technique – the simple act of Bending at the Knees First.
Over to Rick.

This is a common problem among many beginning squatters as the lifter is usually afraid of falling backwards with the weight. Instead of sitting back first, the lifter will bend at the knees to go down. This causes the knees to go forward well over the toes and often times causes the lifter to go up onto their toes in the hole. This is not only dangerous, but you are limiting how much you can squat. The pressure on the patellar tendons in this position is tremendous and leads to big time problems down the road.
Yes, some lifters, especially Olympic lifters, can adapt to these kinds of stresses from having their knees that far forward.
However, the goal here is to improve the squat and move more weight, and that will be accomplished by sitting back into the squat.

How to fix it

The lifter must learn to sit back and not down. This can take a long time to get them to do, and even longer to get them to do it under maximum loads. I start all newbie squatters on a box.
I use a very high box and a very light load, usually the empty bar with some light JumpStretch© bands attached for tension. The basic commands I give are for the lifter to sit back like he is searching for a chair that is behind him. Once the lifter can get down to the high box by sitting back, I lower it an inch and start all over. Eventually the lifter will be able to sit back to a parallel box and the movement will become second nature.
Another possible reason for the lifter’s inability to sit back is hamstring strength. If the lifter has weak hamstrings, he won’t be able to sit back into a squat without falling. It gets much worse as the weight increases. To address this, get the lifter on the glute-ham machine pronto!
This is the best way to bring up lagging hamstrings and prepare the lifter for handling more weight in the squat correctly. I have also found Romanian Deadlifts and reverse hypers to be effective for improving the sit back portion of the squat.

And yes, I can assure you that it works. Cheers, Rick.

Checking Out : Muscle, Smoke, and Mirrors

This looks great.
Muscle, Smoke, and Mirrors is the Randy Roach book that Adam talked about in Gymchat 205. As I’m still waiting for my copy to arrive, a quick piece from the Amazon page will help explain what it’s all about :

“Muscle, Smoke and Mirrors” is the rise and fall of what was truly once an extraordinary discipline associated with a term known as “Physical Culture”. Experience what bodybuilding was originally and learn just exactly what “Physical Culture” really is.

Muscle, Smoke, and Mirrors. Fantastic.


Quick update on the Renaissance Fitness Supplement Kits we mentioned recently – superb idea.
As we noted, we’ll be reviewing these shortly. And if you missed the announcement, here’s a brief video to explain the basic idea :

For more information, head on over to the official site – renaissancefitnessinc.com.

Exercise of the Week : Body Crawl Variations



These are great (and harder than they look). Body Crawl Variations.


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

Kettlebell Exercise Demonstrations & Tutorials

Pavel Tsatsouline with Flamebell

We’ve looked at a lot of kettlebell exercises and variations over the years – in the form of tips, tutorials and demonstrations.
Where do you find them all? Right here – a complete list of Kettlebell Exercise Demonstrations & Tutorials.
Enjoy.

A Daily Dose

Straight to the Bar Daily

Love this stuff? Same here. If you’re looking for a daily dose of strength-training goodness, grab the Straight to the Bar Daily.
Absolutely free.

Free Downloads from the Strength Kit

Returning to Heavy Training After a Break

I recently added a number of resources to the Straight to the Bar Strength Kit, and as a Strength & Fitness Newsletter subscriber you’re more than welcome to download as many of them as you like. Several great eBooks, podcasts and videos – all absolutely free.
Just head over here, save them to your hard-drive, and dive in.
Good stuff.


NB : This is an ever-changing list. If you’d like to put your own work in front of a fantastic strength-focussed audience, let me know.

Want to Help Out?

Shout!

As you’ve doubtless noticed, in addition to the main site is a Community on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. Wherever you are, a daily dose of strength isn’t all that far away.
To help run all of these sites, we’re on the lookout for several new Moderators. To welcome new community members, bring up new items to discuss and generally keep the conversations on track.


If you’re already spending a bit of time at any of the above sites, and would like to offer your services as a Moderator, just drop us a line below. And thanks for that, it really is appreciated.

Contact either :

Kirk Fontaine, Community Manager, Straight to the Bar



or me :
Scott Andrew Bird, Editor, Straight to the Bar



Thanks again. Look forward to hearing from you.