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, 30 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 : Bulgarian Bag Guillotine Series

Interesting way to put the Bulgarian Bag to work. Nice one.

Twitterchat 120 – Exercise Variations

You know the feeling.
Perhaps you’ve run out plates, or room on the bar. Perhaps you’re sick of the routine, and want something a little different. Or perhaps you’re just having a great day, and want a bit more of a challenge.
Whatever the reason, there’s always a way to switch things up. An alternative exercise, the use of bands or chains; shorter rest breaks and so on.

This week we’re discussing these options, and many others. How to make your favourite exercises just a little more interesting, challenging and – in some cases – effective. Looking forward to it.

Details –
Who : Strength-training fans
Topic : Exercise Variations
When : Wed Jun 1, 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.

The Gathering 2011

Kris, this looks fantastic.
The Gathering is quite simply a way to physically meet those you’ve only competed against virtually (in the Virtual Meets – great things). It takes place in Kris’ own outdoor gym just outside Vaasa, western Finland.
To give you an idea of what goes on during the 4 days of The Gathering, here are some of the photos from the last meet-up in 2009. There’s also an excellent write-up by Alberto Caraballo over on his blog The Reinvention Tour.
For full details – and to sign up – head over to the Virtual Meet site. Beautiful.

Quick update on last week’s twitterchat : Thanks once again to everyone who took part in the discussion on Biofeedback. 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: Why Armwrestlers are Called ‘Pullers‘ (and How To Be a Better One)

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 professional armwrestler Scott Latella, and is part of his superb article How to Become a Better Armwrestler. Enjoy.

Scott Latella

Scott Latella.

Pulling: If you go to an armwrestling tournament or maybe watch some matches on YouTube you will notice people calling matches pulls or hear armwrestlers being called pullers. Why?? Well the best basic move in armwrestling is to first pull your opponent’s arm back to you before trying to press sideways for the pin.

Armwrestling is a leverage sport; gain that advantage and your chances of winning skyrocket. So when getting your grip focus on a nice tight grip, tighten your whole arm so it stays super tight at a 90% angle and then when the ref (or 3rd buddy) says go, yank his arm straight back to you (aim for your nose). If he is not ready for this his arm will open up and you will have a great leverage advantage. At this point you go for the pin and thrust sideways. Can you say winner??

Checking Out : The StrongerThanU Ultimate Anchor

This is a great idea.
StrongerThanU is a collaboration between StrongerGrip’s Ryan Pitts and trainer Eric Chessen. This product – the StrongerThanU Ultimate Anchor – is a superbly simple concept; an anchor point for undulating rope training, for up to 4 people at once. If you train groups of people using things like the Battling Ropes, the StrongerThanU Ultimate Anchor really is an essential piece of kit.

Quick update on Explode Your Deadlift : A few weeks ago we mentioned Explode Your Deadlift, Andy Bolton‘s much anticipated ebook on deadlift training.
As I’m more than a little partial to the deadlift, I’m a big fan. What do you think – has Explode Your Deadlift helped you in your own quest?
A great read.

Exercise of the Week : Front Plate Raise

Eye levelThese are beautifully simple. Love ’em.
The Front Plate Raise really is just what the name suggests. Grab a plate, hold it at arms’ length and raise your arms to parallel. At the top of the movement, you’ll find yourself briefly looking through the hole in the centre.

Here’s a bit of video to show you what I mean :

NB : as this is almost an isolation exercise for the anterior deltoid (the front of your shoulder), you don’t need to go all that heavy for it to be brutal. If a plate is too much, use something like a medicine ball; or you want more of a challenge, grab something like this and add a plate or two.
Whichever way you do it, it’s great fun.

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.