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, 19 Mar 2012

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 :

Over to you. I’d love to hear what you think : leave your comments on the above articles, and share them with your friends/colleagues/clients and so on.
NB : If you’d like to submit your own piece for Straight to the Bar, here’s how.

Video : Band Terminal Knee Extension Step Ups

A very interesting exercise combination for dealing with particular types of knee pain. Nice one.

Gymchat 161 – Belts, Wraps & Straps

Padded Lifting Straps

Altus Athletic Padded Lifting Straps. Photo via Amazon.

When do you need to use a bit of protection/assistance in the form of a lifting or chinning belt, a pair of wraps or straps? How do you use them, and do you need to?
When I bought my first set of bars & plates, it was assumed by the barrel-chested salesman that I’d be wanting the abovementioned assistance devices. Perhaps it was because I sounded keen to experiment; perhaps it was because he was on commission. Either way, I ended up with a few of the standard ‘extras‘.

This week I’d like to look at when and how to use these items – if they’re essentials for everyone who lifts, or if they’re only suited to particular types of training. Helping us explore this fascinating topic is none other than Olympic athlete, personal trainer and nutritionist Maik Wiedenbach. Fantastic.
NB : As a bonus, five random questioners (from this Gymchat in particular) will receive several small gifts. I’ll announce details a little closer to the discussion itself, but suffice to say that they’re probably already on your wishlist. It’s good stuff.
And if you’ve just joined us on Google+, welcome. Swing by on Mar 21, and add a comment/ask a question or three. Dive in.

Details –
Who : Strength-training fans
Topic : Belts, Wraps & Straps
When : Wed Mar 21, 9pm EDT (2am UTC)
How : Post a comment, question or reply
Where :
If you’ve never been to one of these discussions 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 calendar.
See you there.

Supplements & Shakes

Supplements & Shakes. Photo by Noodles and Beef.

Quick update on last week’s gymchat : Thanks once again to everyone who took part in the discussion on Supplementation. Some superb ideas in there.
For those who missed out on the conversation, here’s the transcript. Was a great one.

NB : if you’d like to add a fitness-related event (either a competition you’re taking part in, or something you’re helping to organise there), just login to the forums and add it to the calendar. Cheers.

Tip of the Week: Neck Bridge Progressions

Each week we publish a number of tips and techniques via twitter, Google+, the forums, the blog; and now the newsletter. Wherever you are, there’s always a way to improve what you’re doing.
This tip is in the form of a video which we first saw back in 2008; I was reminded of this technique after a brief discussion of neck training over on Google+. It’s a very interesting series of neck bridge variations.

Over to Martin Rooney :

Good stuff.

Checking Out : Raising the Bar

Here’s another one that’s quickly moved up to the top of my ‘books to read‘ list. Looks fantastic.
To help give you an idea of why, here’s a snippet from the foreword by Paul Wade (author of Convict Conditioning) :

[Raising the Bar] is something very special. It’s likely the most important book on strength and conditioning to be published in the last fifty years. That’s a big claim, but I stand by it. Not only is it of historical importance as the only book I’ve ever seen that’s dedicated to bar athletics–the “missing link” of strength training–but it’s also a phenomenal conditioning resource in its own right. In this book you’ll learn all the techniques you need to succeed; you’ll find out how to dominate different types of bar set-ups; you’ll discover how to combine and balance your bar moves with other advanced training techniques, like handstand push-ups; and, just as crucial, you’ll be taught to forge all these new skills into a routine of laser-like efficiency.


Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss
Quick update on the superb The Primal Blueprint we first looked at quite a while ago now. Holds up extremely well.

Recently I re-read this (yet again – it’s a great book), after discussing the numerous benefits of a Primal diet with a friend of mine. There’s a full review here, but suffice to say if ridiculously good health is something you’re after, it’s essential reading.
Love it.

Exercise of the Week : Bear Hug Deadlift

I love this exercise; although you rarely see it being performed for some reason. The Bear Hug Deadlift.
Here it is in action :

Good stuff.

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

As 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

Thanks 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.