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, 25 Apr 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 : I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment beneath the article itself, and share your views with the fantastic strength-training community. Cheers.

Video : Improve Your HIp Flexion and Nerve Tunnels

Very interesting indeed. Nice one.

Twitterchat 115 – Strength & Conditioning for Judo


I’ve always loved Judo. Not only was it my first experience with training as a group (outside school, that is), it’s the first time I experienced the connection between sport and fitness. Perfect combination.

This week we’re discussing the Strength & Conditioning techniques employed by this superb sport, whether you’re a competitive athlete or simply looking to ‘stay in shape‘. Helping us explore this fascinating topic is none other than Judo FitnessJohn Schneider (@JudoFitness). Fantastic.

Details –
Who : Strength-training fans
Topic : Strength & Conditioning for Judo
When : Wed Apr 27, 9pm EDT (1am UTC)
How : Include #sbgym in your tweets.
If you’ve never been to one of these twitterchats 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 twitterchat calendar.
See you there.

Quick update on last week’s twitterchat : Thanks once again to everyone who took part in the discussion on Buying Second-Hand Training Equipment. Some superb ideas in there.
For those who missed out on the conversation, here’s a brief summary. Was a great one.

Tip of the Week: Shoulder Flexibility for Squatting

Each week we publish a number of tips and techniques via twitter, facebook, 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 from The Rotater‘s Chris Melton (@chrismelton), who blogs over at . Enjoy.

Low Bar Squat

Low Bar Squat.

We don’t really consider how shoulder flexibility impacts our ability to perform squats with good form. If our shoulder flexibility is poor, we compensate by gripping the bar wider and usually the bar must sit much higher on the shoulders. I guess that’s okay if you just want to do some squats and you’re not really concerned with how much weight you’re lifting.

For powerlifters, this is not the case. They want to lift BIG weights and most would like the weight to ‘ride‘ a little lower on the shoulders, closer to their center of gravity and giving them a mechanical advantage….a shorter lever.
This is tough if you don’t have good shoulder flexibility…which includes most people. So, when you start your next leg training session, take a few minutes to stretch and loosen your shoulders. Dislocations with either a band or stick is a good place to start, “around the worlds” with a light weight, and use the Rotater to stretch your external rotation.
Most people who’ve spent years of lifting heavy weights have poor external rotation…you know the look….rounded shoulders, palms point backward when at rest….it’s just how their body has adapted to the stresses of working out. Take a few minutes and loosen your shoulders…your squats may improve.
NB : for more tips like these, swing by the Prehab and Rehab & Beginners areas of the forums. And for more on The Rotater, check out the full Straight to the Bar review. Superb device.

Looking Forward To : 7 Weeks to 50 Pull-Ups

When it comes to bodyweight training, the humble pull-up is a firm favourite. Love the things.
In 7 Weeks to 50 Pull-Ups Personal Trainer Brett Stewart sets out a program for achieving an insane-sounding 50 reps in a single session; based on your starting point, whatever it is. It’s a customised routine that’ll vary from person to person.
NB : if you’re thinking to yourself ‘that’s great, but I can’t even do one‘, take heart in this line from the book’s author :

I stopped thinking I couldn’t do pull-ups and trained until I could do one… then two… then 25. I still find it amazing that I can do 100 pull-ups in a workout when just a couple years ago I had *never* even completed one.

Honestly, 50 pull-ups is within reach no matter what your starting point is. Give it a go.

Quick update on Home Made Strength II : Grip Strength Edition : A few weeks ago we noted Jedd’s most recent DVD – the second in the Home Made Strength series. Absolutely fantastic.
This is the one that shows precisely how to build – and train with – several fantastic grip tools. It really is top quality.
Thanks to everyone who grabbed a copy, and to those that left feedback; it’s greatly appreciated. If you haven’t yet got one for yourself, you can grab it here. Love it.

Exercise of the Week : Duck Walk

One of the exercises in the Animal Warm Up video we saw last week was the superb Duck Walk. Nice and challenging.
If you’ve never done one before, the video below will show you how. It’s essentially walking around whilst squatting.
Great way to get ready for a serious leg session.

NB : if you’re looking for a way to progress, a simple way is to add a little resistance in the form of a weight vest. Or perhaps even a guitar.

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.

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.