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.

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 ).




DragonDoor Workshops

Ready To Learn Even More?

I love learning new skills, and the many seminars & workshops available are a great way to do that. If you’re looking for a specific type of workshop nearby, check out the ones on Dragon Door. Great mix of kettlebell and calisthenics-based offerings.


I listen to an ever-changing pool of podcasts, discussing the many aspects of training and nutrition possible. Most recently :
FoundMyFitness (Dr Matthew Walker on Sleep)

Over to you. Any you’d recommend?

Strength Training on Instagram

It’s fair to say that we’ve checked out quite a few images over the years – on Flickr & Smugmug in particular.

A friend of mine just pointed me to Chris Stanciu ‘s Instagram feed, which contains a great mix of nutrition and workout images :

NB : if you’d like to share your own images, just add them to one of the sites noted above and send us a link.

Strength Training on Facebook

I suspect you love talking about strength training constantly (certainly the case here), and you’re always on the lookout for places to do that. Comments on various sites, forums as well as various in-person communities.

Online, I gravitate toward both Twitter and Facebook. In addition to the SttB offerings, here’s another one you may wish to check out :

Garage Gym Reviews (Cooper Mitchell’s page)

We’ve noted a few of his videos in the past, and they’re great for diving in deep on a particular type of equipment. Nice one.

Twitter Lists

I use Twitter for a number of things, as I’m sure everyone else here does. To talk about strength training, nutrition and many other topics. Works well.

To make this a little easier – and so people can dive right in to the topics that interest them – I use Twitter’s ‘List functionality quite a bit. There’s a full list of them here :

Whatever you’re in to, it’s all there.

NB : the above lists are always being fine-tuned. If you know of someone who tweets regularly about a particular subject and should be on one of them, let me know.

Other (Daily) Newsletters You Might Like

Finally, for a daily dose of tangentially-related information – check out the following. All are compiled daily, and cover the following topics :

Aging & Longevity (living for a very, very long time)
Electric Cars in Australia (great way to help tackle air-pollution)
Better Sleep Nightly (my favourite form of recovery)

And yes, they’re absolutely free.

Bruce Lee : The Art of Expressing the Human Body (Bruce Lee & John Little)

If you’ve ever watched a Bruce Lee film and marveled at his strength, speed, agility, endurance, flexibility or muscularity, this book should take pride of place in your collection. Unlike many other writings covering everything from Lee’s training methods to nutrition, this book is based not on the recollections of people around him; but on Lee’s own notes. Brilliant.

Definitely worthy of a place on the fitness shelf.

Bruce Lee : The Art of Expressing the Human Body.

Monday, 31 Jan 2011

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 :

Ready to add your own opinion, workout log or training article? Just head over to the Forums, Training Logs, or swing by the Article Submissions page. They’re fantastic ways to share your ideas.

NB : if you enjoy the articles, show the authors your appreciation by voting (using the ‘Like‘ button beneath each post). Cheers.

Video : Grappling Ball Drills

Stability balls seem to be unappreciated in a lot of gyms, but they’re incredibly versatile tools. Train Fight Win shows just a few ways to put one to use.
Good stuff.

What’s This?

A few weeks ago we noted this superb set of dumbbells (pictured). Beautiful things.

Dan Hardisky has graciously been doing a little digging, trying to track down the origin of this equipment. His current thinking is that they were originally steam engine governors (or similar objects), such as the ones shown at right.

What do you think? 19th C governor weights repurposed as training tools? If there are any steam engine historians reading, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Twitterchat 103 – Pinch Grip, Blobs and the U-GO Handles

I’m a huge fan of hand & forearm work in many forms, most notably in the form of grip work. Love it.

This week we’re diving in to the world of Pinch Grip Training, in any form, anywhere. Everything from blobs to the brilliant U-GO handles. Helping us explore this fascinating topic is none other than StrongerGrip‘s Ryan Pitts (@strongergrip). Fantastic.

Details –
Who : Strength-training fans
Topic : Pinch Grip, Blobs and the U-GO Handles
When : Wed Feb 2, 9pm EDT (1am UTC)
How : Include #sbgym in your tweets.
To see when it’s on in your timezone, head over to the twitterchat calendar.
See you there.

Kevin 'Sgt Sweaty' Miller

Kevin ‘Sgt Sweaty‘ Miller.

Quick update on last week’s twitterchat : Thanks once again to everyone who took part in the discussion on Odd Object Training. Some superb ideas in there.
For those who missed out on the conversation, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Stones, kegs, machinery – what do you like to lift?

Competition Update : 7 Years

Just a quick reminder that today’s the last day to get your competition entry in. If you haven’t yet – and honestly, it doesn’t get any simpler than this – here’s all you need to do to win a superb collection of training gear :
Hop onto twitter, and :

  1. Follow our sponsors at They share some fantastic information.
  2. Tell your friends about the contest with a quick tweet :

    Win $500 worth of fitness gear : 7 Years of Straight to the Bar ( ). Just follow @scottbird/sttbsponsors . #7yearsofSttB

That’s it.
To check out the prize list, swing by the main entry page at :
7 Years of Straight to the Bar
And thank-you. Sincerely.

Checking Out : Iron Nation

This looks great.
I’m currently catching up on a little reading; diving into my ‘books I’ve been meaning to get to‘ pile. Next up : the superb-looking Iron Nation.
For the uninitiated, just a brief roll-call will tell you everything you need to know about this book. Here are just some of the book’s contributors :

Vic Boff, Stephen Boyd, Matt Brzycki, Dick Conner, Jan Dellinger, Jim Duggan, Clyde Emrich, Fred Hahn, Bill Hinbern, Drew Israel, Osmo Kiiha, Brooks D. Kubik, Jamie Labelle, Dr. Ted Lambrinides, Tom Laputka, Kathy Leistner, Dr. Ken E. Leistner, Ken Mannie, John McKean, Stuart McRobert, Tom Metzger, Bill Pearl, Gregg Pickett, Glenn Pieschke, Steve Pulcinella, Mabel Rader, Ralph Raiola, Dick “Smitty” Smith, Jon Schultheis, Bill Starr, Bradley J. Steiner, Dr. Randall J. Strossen, Mike Thompson, Dennis B. Weis, Bob Whelan, Paul Young
As you can see, there are some great names there. Really looking forward to this one.

Exercise of the Week : Waterball Work

I first heard about this fantastic tool from Ross Enamait, in his article The Water Ball. Brilliantly simple.
Although the Waterball is not particularly heavy (it’s just a water-filled Swiss Ball), the movement of the water makes it far more challenging than it looks. Give it a go, and you’ll quickly see what I mean.
What can you do with a waterball? Think of it like a sandbag – a variety of presses, squats, carries and so on. It’s a versatile beast.
Here it is in action :

Good stuff.

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 eBooks from Straight to the Bar

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.