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, 16 May 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 : TRX Clap Push Ups

I love the TRX.

Twitterchat 118 – Nutrition for Beginners

Over the past few years I’ve gradually been refining my diet, and seeing some incredible benefits in the process.
This is the second part of the ‘Getting Started‘ discussion, taking a close look at the things we eat; and how to adjust that to our advantage. To reduce weight, improve health, accelerate recovery, reduce stress and a whole lot more.

Helping us explore this fascinating topic is none other than All Round Athlete‘s Dean Coulson (@DeanCoulson). Fantastic.

Details –
Who : Strength-training fans
Topic : Nutrition for Beginners
When : Wed May 18, 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 Myofascial Release. 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: How To Use Lifting Straps

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 via Straight to the Bar‘s own Scott Andrew Bird (@scottbird). Enjoy.

Lifting straps are not exactly going to challenge your grip, but they certainly have their place.
The matter of ‘when do you use them?‘ is up to you (personally, I use them whenever I feel that the weight being lifted is more important than challenging my grip; typically on the last couple of sets of something like heavy deadlifts), but the video below will show you how. Give them a go.

NB : this post first appeared on the Straight to the Bar Forums. For more tips like these, swing by the Beginners area. Good stuff.

Looking Forward To : How a Champion is Made

This looks great.
Two weeks ago we discussed how to Get Started‘ with weight training in general. And yes, it’s a great journey.
In the book How a Champion is Made, Steve Cardillo takes a close look at one particular aspect of this journey – the education of a son or nephew in the world of strength training. From the publisher’s notes on Amazon :

This is a must read for all parents who want to instill in their son the determination, leadership skills, and confidence to succeed through weight training and nutrition. Cardillo demonstrates what your son needs to do to get the most out of his workout routine while maintaining a safe training environment.

Fantastic. The book comes out in just over a months’ time – July 1st. Looking forward to it.

Quick update on the Beast Sled : A few weeks ago we noted the Beast Sled; beautiful thing.
If you haven’t ordered yours yet, swing by the The Beast Sled site and check them out. I’d love to hear what you think.

Exercise of the Week : Weighted Bench Dips

I love these. Nice and simple, and you can do them almost anywhere.
When it comes to exercising your triceps, there are loads of possibilities. Everything from the well-known pushdowns to the humble dip (and variations).
The Bench Dip falls between the two, and there are a number of variations that’ll let you give it a go regardless of your starting point (here’s a full progression). This version – the Weighted Bench Dip – comes near the end of the series, and can be as challenging as you like. And yes, it’s a great (and quick) way to work the triceps.
The video below shows the basic technique. Load up with your choice of weight (anything heavy, it doesn’t have to be weight plates), find a bench/short wall/set of stairs, and go to work. Great exercise.

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.