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.



Looking At : Sep 14, 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.

Video for Gymchat 256 - Injury Prevention & Management (John Paul Catanzaro)

Have you ever been unable to train due to injury? How do you minimise the risk of it happening again?


Thanks again to everyone who watched and joined in the discussion Gymchat 256 - Injury Prevention & Management [with Exercise Physiologist John Paul Catanzaro and Personal Trainer and Strength Athlete Josh Hewett] - much appreciated. If you haven't seen it yet (or simply want to go over a particular point again), here's the entire video.


Encyclopedia of Underground Strength and Conditioning (Zach Even-Esh)


Fantastic. I've long been a fan of Zach's approach to training (for a bit of an overview, check out Gymchat 217), and suffice to say I'm looking forward to this one. Full review shortly, in the meantime a couple of lines from the main page :
"From the minute I began reading I was completely captivated. The mixture of life lessons along with powerful workout information is what makes this book truly phenomenal and one that belongs on any strength enthusiast's book shelf." -- AJ Roberts
Zach Even-Esh's 'Encyclopedia of Underground Strength and Conditioning'.

Quick Tip : Fine-Tuning Your Lifestyle

Ready to change your life?


One of the areas that Josh Hewett and Adam Farrah covered in Gymchat 255 - Pillars of Paleo was the general approach to fine-tuning your lifestyle. Though the specifics will obviously vary from person to person, Adam 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 256 - Injury Prevention & Management (John Paul Catanzaro)

Have you ever been unable to train due to injury? How do you minimise the risk of it happening again?


Have you ever been unable to train (or unable to do the things you'd like to do) due to injury? How do you minimise the risk of it happening again? And if you're fortunate enough to have avoided them completely, what sorts of things can you do to ensure it stays that way? This week we'll be joined by Exercise Physiologist John Paul Catanzaro, together with Strength Athlete & Personal Trainer Josh Hewett looking closely at these and a whole lot more. Fantastic.
NB : We'd love to hear your questions and comments. If there's a particular subject you'd like John 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.

Details -

Who : Exercise Physiologist John Paul Catanzaro, Personal Trainer and Strength Athlete Josh Hewett, and You Topic : Injury Prevention & Management When : Wednesday Sep 10, 8:00pm EDT (the Event page shows what time that is in your local timezone). How : Watch the live stream, join the hangout (just add Top Form Fitness to one of your circles, and Josh'll send out the URL when the Hangout starts), or jump in the Q&A on the Event page itself. We'll also post the full video on the main site shortly after the Gymchat.

907x5 Deadlift with Reverse Bands



George Leeman doing a little band 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.


Looking At : Sep 7, 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.

Video for Gymchat 255 - Pillars of Paleo (Adam Farrah)

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


Thanks again to everyone who watched and joined in the discussion Gymchat 255 - Pillars of Paleo [with Kettlebell and CrossFit Coach Adam Farrah and Personal Trainer and Strength Athlete Josh Hewett] - much appreciated. If you haven't seen it yet (or simply want to go over a particular point again), here's the entire video.



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'.



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.