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 ).

 

cheers,

Scott

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.

Podcasts

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 :

instagram.com/officialgainsthetics.

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 :

https://twitter.com/scottbird/lists

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.

Ferocious Fitness (Phil Ross, Marty Gallagher)

Remember this? Great book. Ferocious Fitness:A Fighter’sProven Action Planto Develop Blazing Power, Animalistic Strength and Killer Conditioning is a distillation of Phil Ross’ trainingwisdom, in the form of a superbly comprehensive book.

We took a look at the digital version recently, and you’ll be pleased to know that the paperback version is now available. Definitely worthy of a place on the fitness shelf.

Phil Ross’ Ferocious Fitness.

NB : There’s a full list of all the equipment/books/videos we recommend over in the SttB Strength Store. Dive in.

Monday, 3 Aug 2015

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’re keen to do a little fitness writing and would like to submit your own piece for Straight to the Bar, get in touch.


Video : Quadruped Crawl (Quadruped/Bear Crawl Combo) Progressions




Nice one.

Gymchat 277 – TBA

We’re still finalising the details for this week’s discussion. I’ll post them on the blog (and Twitter, Google+ etc) shortly.
In the meantime, take a look at some of the previous episodes of the show – (there’s an example below, and a full list here). And if you’ve got any questions or comments on the various topics discussed, we’d love to hear them. Just leave a note below the video.

Previously : In Gymchat 223 we discussed Progressive Calisthenics (with Personal Trainer Al Kavadlo, joined by Strongman & Personal Trainer Josh Hewett). Great conversation.
If you missed the live stream (or just want to go over a particular point again), you can watch the entire video here.


NB : if you’d like to take part in a future episode – either as an interviewee, or as a guest host – just drop us a line. Love hearing how everyone else trains.

Tip of the Week: Addressing Squat Weaknesses – Bending at the Knees First

Each week we publish a number of tips and techniques via Twitter, Google+, the blog; and now the newsletter. Wherever you are, there’s always a way to improve what you’re doing.


Back

Back.



When it comes to the squat, Powerlifter Rick Walker clearly knows what he’s talking about.
If you’ve ever tackled this wonderful exercise yourself and felt that your form just didn’t feel quite right, check out his article Addressing Weaknesses in The Squat. To give you an idea of what it’s all about, here’s how he corrects one of the more common problems found in squat technique – the simple act of Bending at the Knees First.
Over to Rick.

This is a common problem among many beginning squatters as the lifter is usually afraid of falling backwards with the weight. Instead of sitting back first, the lifter will bend at the knees to go down. This causes the knees to go forward well over the toes and often times causes the lifter to go up onto their toes in the hole. This is not only dangerous, but you are limiting how much you can squat. The pressure on the patellar tendons in this position is tremendous and leads to big time problems down the road.
Yes, some lifters, especially Olympic lifters, can adapt to these kinds of stresses from having their knees that far forward.
However, the goal here is to improve the squat and move more weight, and that will be accomplished by sitting back into the squat.

How to fix it

The lifter must learn to sit back and not down. This can take a long time to get them to do, and even longer to get them to do it under maximum loads. I start all newbie squatters on a box.
I use a very high box and a very light load, usually the empty bar with some light JumpStretch© bands attached for tension. The basic commands I give are for the lifter to sit back like he is searching for a chair that is behind him. Once the lifter can get down to the high box by sitting back, I lower it an inch and start all over. Eventually the lifter will be able to sit back to a parallel box and the movement will become second nature.
Another possible reason for the lifter’s inability to sit back is hamstring strength. If the lifter has weak hamstrings, he won’t be able to sit back into a squat without falling. It gets much worse as the weight increases. To address this, get the lifter on the glute-ham machine pronto!
This is the best way to bring up lagging hamstrings and prepare the lifter for handling more weight in the squat correctly. I have also found Romanian Deadlifts and reverse hypers to be effective for improving the sit back portion of the squat.

And yes, I can assure you that it works. Cheers, Rick.

Re-Reading : HardStyle Abs

Great book.
This week I found myself chatting with a friend about abdominal work, and ended up diving back in to Pavel Tsatsouline‘s excellent HardStyle Abs. For the uninitiated, a couple of paragraphs from the main page to explain what it’s all about :

The sole goal of Hardstyle Abs is to achieve an extraordinarily strong mid-section. But not simply to swivel heads with your rippling “six-pack“. For, according to Pavel, your abs should be simultaneously weapon, armor and force generator. The six-pack is just a side effect of the coiled power with which you now operate.

Hardstyle Abs will give you impenetrable body armor–to withstand a direct hit of the greatest magnitude. Hardstyle Abs will give you the generative force to retaliate with a devastating backlash. And Hardstyle Abs will help you lift more weight than ever before–more safely.

Pavel Tsatsouline’s HardStyle Abs.


Quick update on the Hip Thruster we mentioned recently – fantastic thing.
Rather than trying to explain how it works, here it is in action :



Good stuff Bret, looks great.

Exercise of the Week : Reactive Rows




One of the many superb exercises in Combat Core – the Reactive Row. Love it.


Incidentally, if you’d like to get in touch regarding this or any other aspect of strength, you can contact me here. Look forward to hearing from you.

Want to Guest Host a Gymchat?

I love the Gymchats – great show. Fantastic to hear how everyone trains.
To help uncover even more, I’d like to extend an invitation. For you to act as a Guest Host, and interview someone you know about their own workouts & competitions. Whether that’s a work colleague, training partner or just someone you know who likes to lift.


If you’d like to Guest Host an episode or two of the show, let me know. And if you haven’t watched any yet and would like to see what they’re all about, there’s a full list here. Cheers.

Images of Strength

Wide Plate Pinch

Wide Plate Pinch.

As you might expect, we love seeing training-related photographs. Pics of your home gym, DIY equipment, workouts, diet or competitions – it’s all fantastic.
If you’ve got an image or three that you’d love to share with a strength-focussed audience, just upload them to Flickr/Instagram/SmugMug and send us the link. Cheers.


Straight to the Bar Strength Calendar

Taking part in, helping out with or going to watch an upcoming strength competition?
Tell us about it.

Kettlebell Exercise Demonstrations & Tutorials

Pavel Tsatsouline with Flamebell

We’ve looked at a lot of kettlebell exercises and variations over the years – in the form of tips, tutorials and demonstrations.
Where do you find them all? Right here – a complete list of Kettlebell Exercise Demonstrations & Tutorials.
Enjoy.

A Daily Dose

Straight to the Bar Daily

Love this stuff? Same here. If you’re looking for a daily dose of strength-training goodness, grab the Straight to the Bar Daily.
Absolutely free.

Giving

If you’ve been training for a while, gradually cleaning up your diet, no doubt you’ve experienced the amazing power of transformation. It’s a tremendous feeling.
If you’re ready to give someone else a hand to transform their own lives – through education, sharing equipment, financial help – take a look at the full list of organisations on the Giving page. Cheers.