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 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.

Video : The TRX Spider Man

Interesting exercise.

Twitterchat 128 – Measuring & Monitoring

Measuring Tape

Measuring Tape

No matter what your goals are, it’s essential to have an idea of your starting point; as well as keeping an eye on your progress along the way.

This week we’ll be discussing the various ways to measure particular aspects of your own health & fitness, and techniques for monitoring their changes over time. Your bodyfat, levels of various vitamins, the number of calories you need and a whole lot more.
Whatever your goals are, we’d love to hear how you stay on track. Join us for Measuring & Monitoring. Fantastic.

Details –
Who : Strength-training fans
Topic : Measuring & Monitoring
When : Wed Jul 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 How Do You … II. 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: Making your own Fat Bars

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 Straight to the Bar‘s own Scott Andrew Bird, and shares one of the many ways to thicken up your own bars and handles.

The benefits of thick bars are well known; increasing the grip component of many an exercise.
And although it’d doubtless be fun to rush out and buy a load of thick bars and handles for your workouts; that’s not always possible or even desirable. Here’s a simple way to fatten up the bars and handles you’ve already got. Even the fixed-weight dumbbells.

From the article Fattening Up the Chin-up Bar :

The chin-up bar that forms part of the rack – as much as I love it – was just too thin. At a diameter of around 2.5cm/1″, it was one of the thinnest bars I use.
Fattening it up a little was a relatively simple (and cheap) process, involving nothing more complex than a length of pipe insulation (just rubber tubing), some super glue and a little cloth tape. If you’ve never used the tape, think of duct tape with fibres embedded to strengthen it a bit.

Chin-upThe final bar is now a little under 5cm/2″ in diameter (not quite as large as I’d like, but much better than it was), and presents just a little more of a grip challenge.

Checking Out : SEALFIT

SEALFITI love the SEALFIT approach.
If you’ve ever thought about incorporating aspects of military fitness training (both the group and individual components) into your own workouts, consider SEALFIT. Camps, seminars, online coaching; wherever you are, there’s a way to get involved.
Looks superb.

Quick update on the Introduction to Strongman Training DVD : A few weeks ago 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 : Band Sprints

I love these – Band Sprints. Perfect for interval training.
The idea is simple (as you’ll see in the video below) : attach one end of the band to something heavy, such as a rack, bench or a pole that isn’t going anywhere.
Step inside the band, and sprint away from the rack/bench/pole. After a few steps (or when a wall stops you going any further), allow the band to bring you back to the start. Repeat.
That’s it. There are several ways to vary this (such as jumping sideways instead of sprinting), depending on your goal. Good fun.
A brief video demonstration :

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.