Results matching “Bird”

Submitting Articles

One of the things I really enjoy in the world of strength training is people's willingness to share their ideas. Everywhere you look, someone's performing an exercise in a different way; or using an uncommon training technique.
If you'd like to share your own strength-training insights, a guest post on Straight to the Bar might be just what you're looking for. Whether you're a personal trainer, professional athlete or just someone who loves this stuff; an article here will put you in touch with some incredible readers.

The process involved is nice and painless. To share an article, simply log in and copy/paste your article from your word processor of choice. One of the editors here will review it, and publish as soon as possible.

If you'd like to join the superb team of writers here, let me know.

Talking About It

The other side of the articles is the conversation beneath each one, which discusses the various points raised in the article itself. Many of the Straight to the Bar writers have contributed greatly to many of the posts on this site.

If you'd like to do the same, I'd highly recommend starting with the 'Best of Straight to the Bar' articles. You'll find them all here :

Pointing to Upcoming Competitions & Events

If you know of a strongman or bodybuilding competition - or a similar fitness-related event - tell us about it. Just add it to the Strength Calendar, and point everyone to it. You'll find the calendar here :

The Gymchats

If you'd like to be on an upcoming Gymchat (the weekly interviews) - or would simply like to point us to someone you'd love to see on the show - feel free to contact Josh directly. You'll find all his contact details here.

Asking Questions, Seeking Help

Straight to the Bar Community on Google+
Straight to the Bar Community on Google+.
We also receive a number of messages asking specific questions, and asking for help. Greatly appreciated.

The best place for these is in the Straight to the Bar Community on Google+ : plenty of trainers, coaches and serious fitness enthusiasts over there. Or for things which are a little more confidential, you can also contact us privately. Either way is fine.

Scott Bird. Artwork by Vince Palko.
Yes, I love the deadlift.
If you're just beginning your fitness journey, you know what it's like. There are a lot of questions.

Here are several resources we've seen - and recommended - over the years which will help you learn what to do, what to eat, which equipment to use, and where to go when you get stuck. In the form of ebooks, podcasts, video demonstrations, sites and newsletters.

And yes, they're all free.


You can never learn too much. We've looked at an incredible number of free ebooks over the years, and these are a handful of my favourites. Enjoy.

Returning to Heavy Training After a Break

Returning to Heavy Training After a Break

Scott Andrew Bird and Vic Magary

No matter how long you've been away from the iron - months/years/decades - this free ebook will help you get back to it. To return to a regular routine, using the gear you've already got, and without getting injured.
Suspension Training 101

Suspension Training 101

Scott Andrew Bird and Derek 'D-Rock' Peruo

If you're entering the world of suspension training - whether you've been working out for years, or are just getting started - this free ebook is a must-have. Using the incredibly popular TRX Pro as an example, Derek 'D-Rock' Peruo explains how to set up and use this incredible tool; as well as providing sample exercises and routines.
10 Essential Conditioning Tools

10 Essential Conditioning Tools

Scott Andrew Bird and Kira Robert Clarke

Whether you're getting ready for a fight or just keen on looking after yourself, you'll be pleased to know that there are a number of conditioning tools out there. Here's a brief look at what's available, and where to get them.
14 Things You NEED for your First Strongman Contest

14 Things You NEED for your First Strongman Contest

Jedd 'Napalm' Johnson

Getting ready to compete in your first Strongman contest? Brilliant.
Freak Strength

Freak Strength

Zach Even-Esh

Ready to get obscenely strong? Here's how.
Grrl's Valentines Day Wishlist

Grrl's Valentines Day Wishlist

Kat 'The Mighty Kat' Ricker

What to buy a woman who loves training? Kat has a few ideas.
How to Paint a Kettlebell

How to Paint a Kettlebell

Scott Andrew Bird

A great way to customise your workout equipment.
Active Recovery Training

Active Recovery Training


No matter what sort of training you favour, there's no doubt that recovery can play a huge role. Here's a brief look at several forms of recovery work to make the experience both more effective and more enjoyable.
What Really Works

What Really Works

Josh Hewett

This is a superb overview of exactly what's involved in serious training. If you're ready to become stronger, faster and generally more capable; this is a great place to start.
Sgt Sweaty's Old-School Training Course

Sgt Sweaty's Old-School Training Course

Kevin 'Sgt Sweaty' Miller

Simple, heavy and effective. Perfect.
1st Star Performance

1st Star Performance

Conor Doherty

Ready to shine? Conor'll put you on the right path with this simple routine for beginner athletes.

Video Demonstrations

When learning a new exercise, it can be incredibly valuable to watch it being performed by someone who clearly knows what they're doing. Accordingly, I've compiled the best 'how to' videos - covering a number of training approaches - over on my youtube channel.

You'll find them all here :


I'm a big fan of constantly learning what's going on in the world of strength-training, and podcasts (both audio and video) are a perfect way to do that. They're also great for keeping up-to-date with various other interests - sports, photography and so on.

A couple I particularly enjoy :

Samovar Stories
These are interviews with a range of athletes, entrepreneurs and generally interesting people. If you're new to this podcast, I recommend starting with the Dean Karnazes interview. He's a fascinating guy.

TED Talks
As with the Samovar Stories interviews, TED Talks cover a wide range of subjects (TED stands for Technology, Entertainment & Design). The simplest way to get a feel for these - and to experience the variety of material, training-related and otherwise - is to dive in and watch a few talks. The short ones (typically 6 minutes or less) will give you a good idea.

Recommended Sites

There are several sites I read on a regular basis - blogs, forums and a cup of coffee. A great way to start the day.

Three of my favourites are :

The Pound
This is the online home of Kira Robert Clarke, better known as The Fight Geek. This site shows his clear passion for Muay Thai, underground fitness and the Essendon Football Club. Fantastic.

Mark's Daily Apple
If you're intrigued by the Paleo and Primal diets, you'll love this site. Mark's Daily Apple is the blog of Mark Sisson, the guy behind The Primal Blueprint. It's a brilliant read.

The Grip Authority
As many of you already know, I'm a huge fan of grip training. If you're like me, and keen to learn the skills necessary to master this extremely competitive game, head over to The Grip Authority. A wealth of instructional videos, articles and discussions to help you become obscenely strong.

Recommended Newsletters

Finally, newsletters. As with the blogs and forums above, these are perfect when paired with a few quiet minutes and a cup of coffee. Dive in, pick out the bits that look interesting, and soak it in. Beautiful.

Consider these :

Minute of Strength
Each newsletter contains a brief video demonstration of a kettlebell-related exercise, idea or piece of equipment. If you love a spot of kettlebell work (and if you do, you're certainly not alone), the Minute of Strength is highly recommended.

Serious About Muscle
The strength-training community is fantastic, and I've learnt more about training in the past 7 years than in all the years up to that point. Love it.

Wannabebig's Serious About Muscle is a perfect example of precisely why this is the case, combining the wisdom of the site's founders with the thoughts of a massive forum community. A great read.

Of course, there are many, many more. Which are the ebooks, podcasts, sites and newsletters that you've found most helpful when beginning your fitness journey? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Got the Shirt? - Straight to the Bar

What's black, comfortable and helps you out in the gym? A Straight to the Bar t-shirt of course.

Let me explain how.

For a regular companion in the gym, your clothing doesn't get anywhere near as much credit as it should. Not only does it help keep you warm and give you the ability to move freely, it helps the sweat to escape from your skin and away from the work area. Enables you to focus on the lift, not your shirt.

At least, that's the theory.

Most t-shirts will help keep you warm, and - if they're the right size - will let you move freely. As for helping the sweat escape though, that's another story.

The Straight to the Bar t-shirts have built-in moisture management. That means that when you sweat, it'll be quickly taken away from the area; so you can push yourself even harder, without worrying about pools of water building up. In short, it's far more comfortable to train in.

To show you what they're like, here's a quick clip of Josh Hanagarne - better known as the World's Strongest Librarian - in action. As you can see, these are ideal for either indoor or outdoor training, whether you're in the home gym, a commercial facility or at work.

NB : the shirt in the photos and video is the 'Got Yoke?' design, which you can grab here. And if you'd like to send us a photo or two, just upload it (or them) somewhere and send us a link. Cheers.

Finally, I'd love to see (and hear) how the t-shirts help with your own training. Once yours has arrived and you've started putting it to work, drop us a line and share your experiences. Look forward to hearing from you.

Until then, train hard


Ready to share your strength-training passion with the people around you? Why not grab some of the Straight to the Bar Wallpapers shown here, designed by Glenn Bird, Rory Hickman and You.

Absolutely free.

Box squatting
Box squatting.
Nothing like it.

1920 x 1200
1600 x 1200
1440 x 900
1024 x 768
320 x 480

Of course, we'd also love to see some of your own designs. If you've got one that you'd love to share with an incredibly passionate, strength-focussed audience, just upload it somewhere and send us the URL.


NB : the above images are hosted by Flickr - head over to the Straight to the Bar (SttB) Flickr Group for more.

This page lists many of the strength feats often performed by professional old-time Strongmen, and demonstrates/explains exactly how to train for each one. Even if your goals do not include spending a bit of time in front of an audience, these are well worth learning.

After all, you can never be too strong.



Technique and Training


Georges Christen.


Chain Breaking

Pierre Gasnier.



The Crushdown.


Ears and Eyes


Finger Lifting

Finger lifts.


Technique and Training

Frying Pan Rolling




Technique and Training

Hair Feats


Hammers and Levering


Technique and Training

Hand Balancing

Doug Hepburn.


Technique and Training

Human Link

Louis Cyr.


Juggling Weights


Technique and Training

Muscle Control

Maxick (Max Sick).


Technique and Training

Nail Driving with the Hands


Technique and Training

If you've ever wondered just how to get started in the world of grip training, biphasic sleep, eating well or anything else related to health & fitness - we're here to help. These guides will walk you step-by-step through the process.

And yes, they're all free.

Sieg Klein
Siegmund Klein demonstrating Exercise #4 in his Super Physique course.


Considering a new piece of equipment? Wondering exactly how to use it? It's all here.

And of course, the big one :

Taking a Nap
Just Resting.


If you ready to transform your body, your workouts or your lifestyle - you've come to the right place. Dive in.

NB : We've talked about sleep - particularly as a recovery method - for many, many years. In addition to the articles above, check out a few of the ones listed here.

Product Reviews

There have been a number of product reviews posted on this site over the years; these are just a handful of my own favourites. Enjoy.

Want even more? No problem. Grab the free Strength Kit, or perhaps in one of the weekly Gymchats. If it's in the world of strength-training, we'll be talking about it.

Monday, 28 Feb 2011 - Issues

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 : if you enjoy the articles, show the authors your appreciation by voting (using the 'Like' button beneath each post). Cheers.

Video : Tire Rotation by USAJG

This is a beautifully simple idea. Love it.

Twitterchat 107 - Nutrition For Fat Loss

When I started lifting weights a little over 7 years ago, I wasn't exactly thinking about what I ate. No matter what it was, I was certain the training was going to make up for it.

Over the years I've gradually learnt the benefits of eating cleanly, and made the occasional tweak to my diet. It now falls into the 'Primal, and very, very clean' category.

More recently, I've begun exploring the scientific side of nutrition - the fine-tuning that's possible with a little effort in the right areas. And yes, it makes a massive differece.

This week we're looking closely at this third aspect, Nutrition For Fat Loss. How to work out what your body needs, when, and in what form. Helping us explore this fascinating topic is none other than Food and Fitness's Anthony Paradis (@foodnfitness). Fantastic.

Details -

Who : Strength-training fans
Topic : Nutrition For Fat Loss
When : Wed Mar 2, 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 Recovery : Improving Monophasic and Biphasic Sleep. Some superb ideas in there.

For those who missed out on the conversation, here's a brief summary. Was a great one.

Considering : MiR 20LBS Adjustable Weighted Vest

I buy the majority of my stuff online, and regularly find myself trawling places like Amazon in search of discounts. One I just came across - the MiR 20LBS Adjustable Weighted Vest.

Although it's a whopping 60% off the usual price, I'm still wont to read a review or two. In particular, this one stood out :

I am a 34 year old U.S. Army soldier in currently stationed in Afghanistan, so you can guarantee that if I am taking time to write a review (down time that I could be using to sleep or write my family) that It will be accurate review based upon actual facts and not emotions.

Setup: I received my MiR 20LBS Comfortable Exercise Adjustable PRO Weighted VEST 5 days ago. I bought it new on sale for $26.99 (marked down from $69.99). It took about a week to get here. Shipping cost me more then what I paid for the vest ($29.99), but it's what I expected it to cost for a 20lb package to be shipped to Afghanistan.

Results after 5 days(approx. 64hrs of wear): So far I am very impressed with the vest, it fits well and is easy to adjust and seems to be made out of really durable material. I tried jumping up and down rapidly for 30 secs and the vest barely moved. The vest is a little bulky under my uniform but I see that as a small price to pay for increase speed and endurance. I only wear it continuously 12-14 hrs a day but since I only got it five days ago I am taking it slowly by letting my body get use to the weight before I start actually exercising with it on. The only down side I see is the burst of energy I feel when I take it off before I go to sleep. I can't wait to take it on a run! Check back for my update when I start exercising and am able to see what this baby can really do!

Sounds great. Anyone here tried one?

Quick update on the AtLarge BCAA+ : Thanks to everyone who grabbed some, it's great stuff. The discount still applies for another couple of weeks, so if you missed out (or would just like to grab some more), here are the details :

Head over to the AtLarge BCAA+ page, grab a bottle or three, and use the coupon code SB25 when ordering. Tell Chris that Straight to the Bar sent you. He'll look after you.

Want to take your conditioning workouts up a notch? Throw in a bit of sandbag training. Love it.

What to get

The equipment is pretty simple. I personally use an Ultimate Sandbag (which I highly recommend - full review); and there are also several DIY options (the basic idea here).

In terms of space, the workouts don't require all that much - though it's great if it's available. As long as you have room to swing the bag in front of you and to press it overhead, you'll be fine.

What to do with it

There are many, many ways to train with a sandbag. Here are a few of my favourites :

There are also a number of superb sandbag exercises on the High Octane DVD, and in Matt Palfrey's Sandbag Training books ( his latest is Sandbag Fitness - 150 High Intensity Workouts ). Highly recommended.

Where to find out more

There's actually quite a bit of info (both online and offline) available on sandbag training methods, including :

Final thought on sandbag training

Sandbag workouts are one of the few forms of training I perform daily. Once you try them, you'll quickly see why. Beautiful things.

SttB Guide to Bending - SttB Articles

Want to take your workouts up a notch? Throw in a bit of short steel bending. Love it.

What to get

If you're ready to give nail bending a bit of a run, you'll be pleased to know there are only three things you need. You'll be bending within hours.


Diesel Crew Bending Manual
The Bending Manual. Highly recommended.

I ventured in to the world of short-steel bending fairly recently (2007), following a shoulder injury that ruled out my usual lifts for a while. This is the book (review) that got me started; detailing everything from wrapping techniques to the many types of bending available.

A couple of years later, I still refer to it regularly.

When it comes to unbraced short-steel bending, this is the perfect place to start. Brilliant.


Cow hide wraps
Cow hide wraps.

At first I tried using a couple of chamois car cloths from a local auto accessories place. Once I got my hands on the real thing, however, my bending abilities seemed to shoot up instantly.

It's worth getting a decent pair of wraps. Here are a few of my favourite online sources :

In the US, grab a pair of Cordura pads from Ironmind.
In the UK, David Horne has suede wraps ready to go.

Alternatively (or while you're waiting for your online purchases to arrive), try one of these :

  • hand towels
  • tea towels
  • cordura
  • denim

Although a set of good leather wraps will instantly make a huge difference, these alternatives will still protect your hands during the bend.


Beginner's Bag
Beginner’s Bag from FBBC.

Finally, nails. There are essentially two sources of nails, bolts, screws and other fun things to bend - hardware stores and online suppliers.

The local hardware store is usually fine for those just starting out; it's pretty easy to get your hands on a few 60D nails or similar (Imperial -> Metric conversion).

When it comes to more challenging supplies, online suppliers such as IronMind are the first port of call. Here are a few others to check out :

What to do

The Bending eBook above details a number of techniques for short-steel bending. In my case, I found the best strategy was to learn a particular technique, try it out for myself (usually starting out with a 60D), and then return to the book for a spot of fine-tuning. Rinse and repeat.

It also helped to watch a lot of bending in action, using the various techniques available. Here's just one of the many clips that came in handy at various stages :

Where to find out more

There's actually quite a bit of info (both online and offline) available on short steel bending, including :

  • Scott Styles maintains The Gripfaq, a superb resource for all manner of things relating to hand strength - including bending. A great read.
  • In addition to the clip above, 'Unbreakable' Adam Glass demonstrates a number of incredible bending feats on his youtube page. Definitely one to see.

Final thought on bending

Bending is one of the few strength-related activities that I perform at least once a day (and usually several). Once you try it, you'll understand why.

Want to take your workouts up a notch? Throw in a bit of suspension training. Love it.

What to get

Suspension Training

The TRX.

The equipment is pretty simple. I personally use the TRX from Fitness Anywhere; which I'd highly recommend. Beautiful thing.

In terms of space, the workouts don't require all that much - though it's great if it's available. As long as you have room to get into a basic push-up position, you'll be fine.

What to do with it

There are many, many ways to enjoy some suspension training. Here are a few of my favourites :

Further reading

Want more? Take a look at these :


Wondering what to use? How about these :

  • TRX
    There are a few similar offerings on the market, and the TRX is a clear favourite. Just hook it up and go.
  • Jungle Gym XT
    Perhaps Monkey Bar Gym's Jungle Gym is more your cup of tea. Great thing.
  • Blast Straps
    As with everything Dave puts his name behind, these things are tough. Brilliant.

There's also an incredible array of articles and videos on this site. Use the search box at the top of each page, or send me an email.

Final thought on suspension training

I love incorporating suspension training into my bodyweight workouts - particularly when travelling. Just hook it up and go. Beautiful.

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