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, 20 Jun 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’ve set up a new commenting system for Straight to the Bar, which makes it even easier to share your views with the world. You can log in using your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Disqus accounts. Much simpler.

To kick things off (and to test that everything’s working correctly), I’d love it if you could share a few thoughts. If you can, please leave comments on 2 or 3 of the superb articles on the site.

Thank you. It really is appreciated.

Incidentally, if you’re looking for a list of the various articles by a particular author, head over here :


Video : Broomstick Shoulder Mobility Drills

A couple of simple ways to get the shoulders ready for action. Nice one.

Twitterchat 123 – Nutrition for Beginners II

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 ‘Nutrition for Beginners‘ discussion, taking a further 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 II
When : Wed Jun 22, 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 Turning a Good Gym into a Great Gym. 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: Add Tennis Balls to Your Pull-ups

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 David Heaton (@Alpha82), and is part of a longer conversation on twitter, facebook and email. Enjoy.

Looking for a challenge? Grab a couple of tennis balls.
Via David :

@scottbird here’s a tip for grip, Hold tennis balls in the palm of your hand while doing pullups! If you’ve never done this try it and feel it!

NB : While you’ve got the tennis balls out, there are a couple of other ways to use them in the gym. They’re great things to always have available.
Two of the most common are for soft tissue work and for direct grip training. Good fun.

Looking Forward To : Historical Dictionary of the Olympic Movement

This looks great; perfectly combining three of my own passions.
First – and perhaps most obvious – is a fascination with the Olympic games themselves. With only 403 days to go (there’s a countdown clock on the London 2012 site), it’s definitely time to start planning things.
Second is the historical aspect. There have been some superb sports presented at the Games over the years, both as demonstration and competion sports. Tug-of-war, Roque and many, many more. Love it.
Third is the fact that – and yes, I know this is somewhat unusual – I collect dictionaries. Odd, yes, but also fascinating.
Overall, it’s a fantastic mix. No matter which aspect of things (perhaps even all three) appeals to you, keep your eyes open for the Historical Dictionary of the Olympic Movement. Beautiful.

Quick update on the The Ultimate Sandbag : Last week we noted the incredible Ultimate Sandbag. Beautiful thing.
Whether you’re looking at it as a conditioning or strength-building tool (or both), swing by the Straight to the Bar Guide to Sandbag Training. Loads of information there, examples and ideas.
Dive in.

Exercise of the Week : Hill Sprints on Dunes

If you’ve tried any of the forms of hill sprinting (on your own version of Puke Hill), you’ll appreciate just how challenging this can be.
Hill Sprints on Dunes.
From the article Workout locations: the beach :

Percy Cerutty hill sprint training on sandWithout getting into the intricacies of hill sprinting itself, let me just assure you that running at any speed up a sandy surface is a challenge. Running coach Percy Cerutty (pictured at left) used this training technique with great success on legendary runners John Landy and Herb Elliott. Hill sprints on sand are also enjoyed regularly by several major Rugby League teams.

Good 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.