Strength & Fitness Newsletter

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 a little fitness writing and would like to submit your own piece for Straight to the Bar, get in touch.


Video : The Hook Grip




What, why and how.

Gymchat 278 – TBA

We’re still finalising the details for this week’s discussion. I’ll post them on the blog (and Twitter, Google+ etc) shortly.
In the meantime, take a look at some of the previous episodes of the show – (there’s an example below, and a full list here). And if you’ve got any questions or comments on the various topics discussed, we’d love to hear them. Just leave a note below the video.

Previously : In Gymchat 192 we discussed Supplementation & Olympic Lifting (with Personal Trainers Derek ‘D-Rock‘ Peruo and Kirk Fontaine). 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.


NB : if you’d like to take part in a future episode – either as an interviewee, or as a guest host – just drop us a line. Love hearing how everyone else trains.

Tip of the Week: Overhand Card Tearing

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.


Tearing cards

Completed tear.

When it comes to the various feats of performing strongmen & women, one that frequently comes to mind is the tearing of a deck of cards. In the article Overhand Card Tearing, Bikes Cut the Correct Way, Adam explains the basic technique for doing exactly that :

  1. Hold it firmly

    Hold it firmly.

    Hold the deck firmly with your weak hand (right side shown for me) with the deck firmly and horizontal to the floor.

  2. Pinch the deck

    Pinch the deck.

    Pinch the deck with the strong hand with the thumb and index finger. It’s the same grip you use to use a remote control.

  3. Pull towards your chest

    Pull towards your chest.

    Pull your strong hand (pinch side) towards your chest. The index finger splits the deck. You must pinch hard!

  4. Turn your weak hand towards the floor

    Turn your weak hand towards the floor.

    Continue to pull hand towards your chest, turn your weak hand towards the floor. The deck will rip – not twist – if you have a tight grip. The tear line will be clean.

  5. Separate the deck

    Separate the deck.

    Continue to pinch the deck hard and pull back towards your chest until you separate the deck. The line will be a clean cut right through the deck. With this method you can put the cut anywhere you want on the deck.

Tearing cards

Tearing cards.

It takes pain tolerance and hand strength with this method. Keep practicing. THERE IS NO TRICK. Rub some lip balm on your hands after you tear if the skin is raw.


I can now rip decks of bicycles in less than 3 seconds, and quarter them in a second with this grip. It makes you strong.

NB : it’s certainly possible, but by no means easy. If you enjoyed doing that and would like to take it a step further, check out Jedd Johnson’s superb Card Tearing eBook. Invaluable resource.

Checking Out : Neuro-Burner (Jon Bruney)

Very interesting idea.
The picture will undoubtedly give you a good idea of what it is & how it’s used – something like a large towel combined with Battling Ropes.
Although there are undoubtedly several alternative items (such as the aforementioned large towel) which could be put to work like this, the Neuro-Burner looks ideal for the ‘bootcamp in the local park‘. One trainer, a handful of clients and fairly limited space.
Well worth checking out. The Neuro-Burner.


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 : Inverted Rope Pull

Russian barbell twist with chains

Barbell Twist and Inverted Rope Pull.

Think “Charles Bronson in The Great Escape“. Upside down, of course.


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.

Want to Guest Host a Gymchat?

I love the Gymchats – great show. Fantastic to hear how everyone trains.
To help uncover even more, I’d like to extend an invitation. For you to act as a Guest Host, and interview someone you know about their own workouts & competitions. Whether that’s a work colleague, training partner or just someone you know who likes to lift.


If you’d like to Guest Host an episode or two of the show, let me know. And if you haven’t watched any yet and would like to see what they’re all about, there’s a full list here. Cheers.

Images of Strength

Wide Plate Pinch

Wide Plate Pinch.

As you might expect, we love seeing training-related photographs. Pics of your home gym, DIY equipment, workouts, diet or competitions – it’s all fantastic.
If you’ve got an image or three that you’d love to share with a strength-focussed audience, just upload them to Flickr/Instagram/SmugMug and send us the link. Cheers.


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.

Strength Training on Instagram

It’s fair to say that we’ve checked out quite a few images over the years – on Flickr, Smugmug, and of course Google+.
A friend of mine just pointed me to Chris Stanciu ‘s Instagram feed, which contains a great mix of nutrition and workout images :
instagram.com/officialgainsthetics.

Powerful Peacemaker

If you’re involved in law enforcement, you doubtless understand the importance of keeping as fit, strong & healthy as possible. Can make a real difference.
Whilst there are many ways to learn the various skills and techniques required, the one I personally favour is something like the Powerful Peacemaker‘ Facebook group. To find out what it’s all about – and for access – head over to :
powerfulpeacemaker.com.
It’s a great way to learn.

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.