Welcome to Straight to the Bar

Scott Bird. Artwork by Vince Palko.
Yes, I love the deadlift.
If you’ve just joined us, welcome. Here you’ll find everything that grunts, groans and ticks in the world of strength training. In short, this site is the home of all things strength.


Incidentally, this site’s been helping people become fitter, healthier and stronger since January 2004. If you’ve just joined us, I highly recommend subscribing to the weekly Strength & Fitness Newsletter, which contains details of new posts on the site, freshly-minted video demonstrations & tutorials, details of upcoming Gymchats and a whole lot more.

And yes, it’s absolutely free.



Quick Tip: The Power of Naming Your Workouts


Here's a simple technique which greatly increases the potential of your workouts. Kira describes the full process in the article Give Your Workout a Name!, but here's a quick story to give you the basic idea :
A few years ago, a couple of young dudes I trained with (Muay Thai), wanted to do some extra conditioning work. I offered to take them on a run up Puke Hill on the weekends. After a few nervous side-glances, both of them asked, "Why is it called Puke Hill?" After striking a suitably melodramatic pose, I just smiled and then walked away. When they finally got to do the run, I noticed three distinct changes to the way they normally trained:
  • Intensity - It was the hardest I'd seen either of them train.
  • Team-work - When one of them almost gave up, the other one slowed down and ran beside his friend--helping him to complete the last set of sprints.
  • Accomplishment - After the run, neither whined or complained. In fact, despite their exhaustion, both had shit-eating grins plastered across their ugly faces.
Of course Puke Hill is just a hill. Sure it was steep, and using it for interval-sprints was quite challenging, but what hill sprints aren't challenging? So here's the point of my story: I believe that by simply giving the run a name, my two padawans trained harder, worked together better, and gained a greater sense of individual and shared achievement.
Good stuff.
NB : We first looked at this one in the weekly Strength & Fitness Newsletter (part of the Strength Kit). If you'd like to have it sent to you automatically (free!) each week, just add your email here.


Master The Kettlebell (Max Shank)


Looks great. Max Shank's 'Master The Kettlebell' is quite simply the book I wish I'd had when I was first experimenting with kettlebells. I'll post up a full review shortly; in the meantime, here's a snippet from the main page on Dragon Door :
This book is a must-have for current or aspiring RKC or HKC instructors, or anyone who needs real, practical, and POWERFUL advice for kettlebell use. The exercise descriptions, mobility information, and solid program design strategies are incredibly worthwhile. My advanced clients will love having a resource to reference when practicing new intermediate/advanced moves at home too. A great all around approach and one that I will be very proud to regularly reference and share.
Max Shank's 'Master The Kettlebell'.

Josh Hewett's Pursuit of a 600lb Deadlift


Fantastic goal. Josh is working with Strength Coach Craig Bongelli (who we chatted with in Gymchat 246 - great discussion), specifically targetting a 600lb pull. Good stuff.


NB : We first looked at this one in the weekly Strength & Fitness Newsletter (part of the Strength Kit). If you'd like to have it sent to you automatically (free!) each week, just add your email here.

Looking At : Aug 31, 2014

What we were talking about this week on Google+, Twitter and the Daily 'Paper'



During the past week we've discussed a number of great links; on Google+, Twitter, Facebook and so on. Here are a few of my favourites.

Quick Tip: Sleep Hygiene


One of the areas that Josh Hewett and Sincere Hogan covered in Gymchat 253 was the general approach to sleep hygiene. Though the specifics will obviously vary from person to person, Sincere outlines the basic idea : Good stuff.
NB : We first looked at this one in the weekly Strength & Fitness Newsletter (part of the Strength Kit). If you'd like to have it sent to you automatically (free!) each week, just add your email here.


Gymchat 255 - Evolutionary Eating (Adam Farrah)

What's your current diet like? What do you eat, and why?


What's your current diet like? What do you eat, and why? In Gymchat 205 we talked to the wonderful Adam Farrah about the basics of the Paleo Diet, and how it can help. This week we're returning to the conversation - looking at things in detail. Examining exactly how everything works, and how to tweak it in order to get what you want. Once again we're joined by Kettlebell and CrossFit Coach Adam Farrah, and Strength Athlete Josh Hewett. Fantastic.
NB : We'd love to hear your questions and comments. If there's a particular subject you'd like Adam and Josh to address, just swing by the event page for this Gymchat and leave a comment or jump in the Hangout and ask it directly. And if you'd like to point your friends/colleagues to the discussion, just use the 'share' button at the top of that page. The more the merrier.

Strongman Circuits & Tug of War Battles

A glimpse at the training approach of the incredible Zach Even-Esh.


A look at the training approach of the incredible Zach Even-Esh.

NB : We first looked at this one in the weekly Strength & Fitness Newsletter (part of the Strength Kit). If you'd like to have it sent to you automatically (free!) each week, just add your email here.


Looking At : Aug 24, 2014

What we were talking about this week on Google+, Twitter and the Daily 'Paper'



During the past week we've discussed a number of great links; on Google+, Twitter, Facebook and so on. Here are a few of my favourites.

How To Squat

You know you should be doing it - here's how.


Over to the incredible Alan Thrall.
NB : We first looked at this one in the weekly Strength & Fitness Newsletter (part of the Strength Kit). If you'd like to have it sent to you automatically (free!) each week, just add your email here.

Looking At : Aug 17, 2014

What we were talking about this week on Google+, Twitter and the Daily 'Paper'



During the past week we've discussed a number of great links; on Google+, Twitter, Facebook and so on. Here are a few of my favourites.



Like to contribute something? I love hearing about how other people are training; if you’d like to write an article, record a video or tell us about a site you’ve discovered, get in touch.


Want More?

As you can imagine, there’s an incredible amount of material on this site. Articles, video demonstrations & tutorials, the weekly Gymchats and a whole lot more. To keep up with everything going on in the World of Strength, sign up for the weekly Strength & Fitness Newsletter.

Absolutely free.