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, 15 Aug 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 :

  • Al HeinemannThe Bulgarianization Experiment
    Al Heinemann
    This is a very interesting insight into how different trainers deal with their clients, and which approach is most effective. Definitely one to think about.

  • Scott Andrew BirdAustralian Strongman Don Athaldo
    Scott Andrew Bird
    Walter Joseph Lyons (better known as Don Athaldo) was an Australian Circus Strongman in the 1920s and 1930s. Although he published several books, it was his The Athalding System mail-order offering that helped give him lasting fame.
    Here’s a brief biography of this incredible man.

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 : Farmers Walk Variations and Alternatives

A brief overview of Farmers Walk technique and variations. If you’re just beginning your Strongman career, this is definitely one to check out.
Great information Josh.

Twitterchat 131 – Horseshoe Bending


Ready to take your bending up a notch?

As strength feats go, a spot of horseshoe bending is downright impressive. This week we’re discussing how to get started – and for the seasoned veterans, how to fine-tune things a little – in the world of Horseshoe Bending. Progressions, Wrapping, Techniques and much, much more.

Helping us explore this fascinating topic is none other than the Diesel Crew‘s Jedd ‘Napalm‘ Johnson (@jeddjohnson). Fantastic.

Details –
Who : Strength-training fans
Topic : Horseshoe Bending
When : Wed Aug 17, 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 Supplements : Vit D. 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: Maximising Your Workouts

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 Synergy Athletic‘s Joe Hashey, and shares some simple ways to ensure you get the most from your training sessions.

From the article 5 Ways to Maximize Your Workout :



Whether your time is devoted to your family, a career or anything inbetween, chances are your schedule is pretty-well full. Wasting time in the gym simply isn’t an option.
Here are a couple of tips to make the most out of that invaluable gym-time.

  • Monitor Rest Periods.

    In order to achieve your goals, you should be aware of a proper rest period. Also, the rest period should vary according to your objectives. Not only will this save you time, but it will make your workout more effective.

  • Be Creative With Conditioning

    Many people are looking “to get in better shape.” This doesn’t have to mean trotting away the hours on a treadmill. You can lift AND condition on the same days. Since we are focused on athlete training, strength development is important, however it won’t go far if the person is always fatigued. During pre season preparation, we include things like 6 x 30 yard hills, DB circuits, rope battling, and sledgehammer conditioning. Often, these exercises only take 10-12 minutes to perform at a high intensity.

These are general principles that can be adapted to fit your training goals. For example, my rest periods on maximal effort lifts are longer than on repetition and supplemental exercises. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t pay attention to time, it just means I need to adapt the rest period to meet my goals.
With everything on your plate, your training session should be well paced and planned to be efficient and maximize results! Remember, make corrections, not excuses.

Good stuff.

Reading : The Way to Live

I love this book.
Recently I’ve been reading a load of books on the history of Physical Culture, and George Hackenschmidt‘s The Way to Live is the one I’m currently working through. Absolutely superb.
First published in 1908, The Way to Live has been published numerous times since – in fact it’s still one of the largest selling books on Physical Culture. My own copy is decidedly more recent, but just as full of incredible information. It’s a great read.
Full review shortly, but just quickly, here are the main parts of the book :

  • Dozens of very inventive exercises (both bodyweight and weighted), for people at any stage of their training
  • Hackenschmidt’s thoughts on training, nutrition and recovery
  • A brief biography of Hackenschmidt, complete with numerous photos of the champion wrestler

As you can see, there’s a lot in there. If you’re at all interested in the history of this great man, The Way to Live is essential reading. Love it.

SEALFITQuick update on the SEALFIT Training : A few weeks ago we noted this incredible training approach. Fantastic.
If you’re keen to incorporate some military fitness into your own training, SEALFIT is a perfect place to start.

Exercise of the Week : Alternating Leg Press

Alternating Leg Press with Iron Boots

Alternating Leg Press with Iron Boots.

This is an interesting one that I stumbled across whilst researching the exploits of Don Athaldo. The Alternating Leg Press.
In the York Barbell Course How to Build Super Strength, Health and Development there are several exercises which involve their Iron Boots. Of these, my own favourite is the Alternating Leg Press pictured. Looks fantastic.
Incidentally, replicas of these boots – together with a series of exercises so you can test them out – are available from Atomic Athletic. As for the originals; eBay. Beautiful things.

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.