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, 4 Jul 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.

Video : Jump Workout

Nice and simple. Love it.

Twitterchat 125 – Supplements : Fish Oil

A little dietary fine-tuning can have a big impact. Bigger gains, faster recovery and better health overall. More time in the gym.
Over a few weeks we’ll be taking a detailed look at several of the supplements that are commonly taken, and the benefits they can bring. First up, Fish Oil.

Helping us explore this fascinating topic is none other than nutritionist Jessica (@fish_oil). Fantastic.

Details –
Who : Strength-training fans
Topic : Supplements : Fish Oil
When : Wed Jul 6, 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 Advanced Bodyweight Training. 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: Using Rags, Old Clothes & Curtains to Fill Your Sandbag

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 Music Teacher & Personal Trainer Anna Papij (@annapapij), currently gearing up for the Fairfield Bootcamp. Should be a great one.

Ever find yourself on-the-road and looking for a quick (and inexpensive) way to fill a sandbag or two?
When sand isn’t available – or when you’re simply after a bit of a change – try filling the bag with rags, old clothes or curtains. Here’s one of Anna’s own curtain-filled bags, which retains many of the sandbag’s properties (reasonably heavy, shifting weight etc) without being incredibly hard or making a mess. Ideal for conditioning work.
To explain how it’s done, here’s Anna :

I used 2 curtains for their heavy weight. I folded up each curtain and put each one in a plastic bag. I doubled the bag because I’ll be using it outside and I don’t want water to get in. Then 2 bags, the size of the white one you see, just fit into the black bag. The black bag is waterish proof too so it should be good for outside. All up the bag weighs 12.8kg. It’s a decent weight for throwing around for general conditioning.

Reading : UnThinkable

Once again, I’m catching up on a little reading.
This time it’s in the form of UnThinkable, Scott Rigsby‘s autobiography which I somehow missed when it first appeared. It’s perhaps the most inspirational story you’ll ever hear.
If you don’t know Scott, part of the book’s description on Amazon will give you a good idea :

After losing both of his legs in a car accident at age 18, Scott Rigsby battled his way back from depression and addiction to achieve the unthinkable–become the first double-leg amputee ever to cross the finish line in the sporting world’s most gruelling and prestigious competition, the Ironman Triathlon. Scott has since become an inspiration to hundreds of thousands of physically challenged and able-bodied athletes the world over. Unthinkable documents Scott’s remarkable journey.

As I noted above, it’s an incredibly inspirational book. Definitely one to check out.

Quick update on the Introduction to Strongman Training DVD : Last week we noted this incredible instructional video. Fantastic.
Whether you’re keen to incorporate some Strongman work yourself, or are coaching others; the Introduction to Strongman Training DVD is a brilliant place to start.

Exercise of the Week : The TRX Bodysaw

The TRX is a fantastic thing, and here’s a very interesting way to put it to work – the Bodysaw. It’s easier to see than to describe, so here’s a quick demonstration from Troy Anderson :

btw, this is from Troy’s excellent Healthy Shoulders, Happier Hamstrings series. If you haven’t already, check it out – loads of creative exercises such as this.

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 Straight to the Bar eBooks

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.