Strength & Fitness Newsletter

What's This?

The Strength & Fitness Newsletter is a weekly email newsletter which summarises the things added to Straight to the Bar (as well as a few gems from the archives). Absolutely free.

To add your name to the list, sign up below. You’ll receive a confirmation shortly afterward, and a newsletter every Monday (Sydney time) after that.

btw, I’d love to hear your feedback – both on the individual items and the newsletters themselves. Drop a comment below the relevant issue, or swing by Twitter ( I’m @scottbird ).




Monday, 15 Sep 2014

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’re keen to do more writing in 2014 and would like to submit your own piece for Straight to the Bar, here’s how.

Video : Band Assistance (for Pull-Ups, Dips & Push-Ups)

This past weekend I was showing someone here how to perform Band-Assisted Pull-Ups. If you’d like to give them a try yourself – and if pull-ups are currently just out of reach, they really do helpRoss Enamait demonstrates the procedure here. Nice one.

Gymchat 257 – Muscle Activation Techniques (Eric Seifert)

How do you assess – and correct – muscular imbalances? Is there any value to isometric exercises, and how do you perform them?
What about active vs passive stretching – should you be doing one or the other, and when?

We’ll be touching on all of these areas and a whole lot more in this week’s discussion. Tackling this will be Core Strength‘s Eric Seifert, joined by Strength Athlete & Personal Trainer Josh Hewett. Fantastic.

NB : We’d love to hear your questions and comments. If there’s a particular subject you’d like Eric and Josh to address, just swing by the event page for this Gymchat and leave a comment or jump in the Hangout and ask it directly.
And if you’d like to point your friends/colleagues to the discussion, just use the ‘share‘ button at the top of that page. The more the merrier.

Details –

Who : Core Strength‘s Eric Seifert, Personal Trainer and Strength Athlete Josh Hewett, and You
Topic : Muscle Activation Techniques
When : Monday Sep 15, 8:00pm EDT (the Event page shows what time that is in your local timezone).
How : Watch the live stream, join the hangout (just add Top Form Fitness to one of your circles, and Josh’ll send out the URL when the Hangout starts), or jump in the Q&A on the Event page itself. We’ll also post the full video on the main site shortly after the Gymchat.

Previously : In Gymchat 256 we discussed Injury Prevention & Management (with Exercise Physiologist John Paul Catanzaro and Personal Trainer and Strength Athlete Josh Hewett). Great conversation.
If you missed the live stream (or just want to go over a particular point again), you can watch the entire video here.

Tip of the Week: Fast or Slow Reps?

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.

One of the areas that Josh Hewett and John Paul Catanzaro covered in Gymchat 256 – Injury Prevention & Management was the general approach to choosing rep speed based on your goals. John Paul outlines the basic idea :

Good stuff.

Checking Out : Resistance Bands

Fantastic things.
If the video above got you considering some resistance bands (and they’re well worth having – incredibly versatile things), you’ll be pleased to know that there are a number of varieties available. I personally use the Iron Woody ones, and I’ve also had good experiences with these.
As for what to do with them : in addition to the assistance exercises that Ross noted, check out a few of the videos on the guide page. If you want a way to make a particular exercise gradually easier/more difficult through part of the range, bands are ideal.

Quick update on the Hip Thruster we mentioned recently – fantastic thing.
Rather than trying to explain how it works, here it is in action :

Good stuff Bret, looks great.

Exercise of the Week : Dumbbell Snatches

Don’t have a kettlebell yet? No problem – grab a dumbbell and try some of these.

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.

New Guide : The Straight to the Bar Guide to Fat Loss

We’ve received some fantastic feedback following Vic Magary‘s Gymchats on Fat Loss, cheers. Greatly appreciated.
If fat loss is one of your own fitness goals, and you haven’t yet watched the discussions, you’ll find them all here. I’ve also added several other fat loss resources we’ve noted over the years – all of them highly recommended. Dive in.

Straight to the Bar Strength Calendar

Taking part in, helping out with or going to watch an upcoming strength competition?
Tell us about it.

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.

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.


If you’ve been training for a while, gradually cleaning up your diet, no doubt you’ve experienced the amazing power of transformation. It’s a tremendous feeling.
If you’re ready to give someone else a hand to transform their own lives – through education, sharing equipment, financial help – take a look at the full list of organisations on the Giving page. Cheers.