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.



Royal Marines Fitness Manual


Looks good. Next up on the 'books to check out' list is the Royal Marines Fitness Manual, by former Marine Sean Lerwill. Quite simply it covers the fitness training the recruits are put through; which doubles as a training regime for anyone looking to achieve that 'whole lot fitter' status. Whether that means being able to run a marathon, lift heavy objects, or push through your own mental brick walls. Sean Lerwill's Royal Marines Fitness Manual. 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.


How to Wrap Your Knees (Matt Vincent and Mark Bell)

Good stuff guys.




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 : Feb 22, 2015

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.

Globe and Blob Lifting


A quick dose of grip work. 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.


Revisiting : The Encyclopedia of Clubbell Training


Weighted Vest Workouts.Remember these? Over the weekend I was chatting to a friend of mine about club training, and the excellent Encyclopedia of Clubbell Training came up. We first looked at it a while ago now (and we'll be posting...

Gymchat 276 - NLP Skills for Fitness Professionals (Jen Mulhall)

There are some valuable skills in there.


Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Certainly an interesting - if somewhat controversial - form of psychotherapy. Perhaps more widely known in communications and personal development contexts. This week we'll be looking closely at these last two areas, identifying the specific skills which are most valuable in a strength-training environment. Particularly for those on the Fitness Professional side of the fence. Tackling this one are are Personal Trainers (and Strength Athletes) Jen Mulhall and Josh Hewett. Fantastic.
NB : No matter where you stand on a subject like this, we'd love to hear your thoughts. If there's a particular subject you'd like Jen and Josh to address, just swing by the event page for this Gymchat and leave a comment or jump in the Hangout and ask them 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.

How They Got Started : John Keating

How the enigmatic John Keating began.


The enigmatic John Keating
The enigmatic John Keating.
I love hearing everyones' fitness backgrounds, it's always fascinating to hear how someone got started. Here's how John Keating began his own training journey. Scott

Thank you for the warm welcome. Up to age 18 I played sports, cycled and ran cross country (badly). At 18 I was 8 and a half stone (about 53kg/115lb). I started doing push-ups, chins and sit-ups for about six months; then I got Arnold's 'Bobybuilding for Teens' from the library and started doing weights in a gym in town. I mixed Arnold with Stuart McRobert's 'Hardgainer' approach and started training twice a week - focusing on the powerlifts. That worked well for the next 6 years (I got to eleven stone of pure muscle). Then I blew my ACL. I spent five years running, cycling, swimming and doing yoga; before I said "Lets lift again like we did last summer". It took a couple of years to kick back in and I discovered the fitness world was filled with wonderful gurus; notably Pavel, Dan John and Paul Wade. Now I deadlift to the max (140kg at 70kg bodyweight), do regular kettlebell and calisthenics work and have lifetime goal of deadlifting with 5 plates on either side. I'd also like 15 clean chins, 60 push ups in a minute, 200x24kg kb snatches in ten mins, 5 handstand wall push ups; and focus on health rather than muscle.
Cheers John, appreciated.

Looking At : Feb 15, 2015

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.

Weighted Vest Workouts


Weighted Vest Workouts.Looks good. Next on the reading list here : Jonathan Thompson's 'Weighted Vest Workouts'. A close look at this deceptively simple piece of equipment; how to load it up (in all kinds of ways), and how to put...

Workout and Vitamin Supplementation

What sorts of supplements do you take?


More diet-related goodness : supplementation. Nice one. Btw, what sorts of supplements do you take there?
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.




Like to contribute something? I love hearing about how other people are training : if you've got a strength-related competition or seminar coming up, add it to the calendar. And if you'd love to be on one of the weekly Gymchats - get in touch. Look forward to hearing from you.


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.