All Articles & Reviews by
Scott Andrew Bird




(10910 posts in total - only latest ones shown)

Scott Andrew Bird is a writer, photographer and a guy who just loves this stuff. He's been at home in front of a computer for more years than he cares to remember (OK, 32) and is now making amends for years of many mistakes noted in the De-constructing computer guy articles (part 2) on T-Nation.

Stalkers may wish to track his every move via Twitter, Google+ or Facebook; everyone else is cordially invited to hop over to his online home. Enjoy.

NB : Like to write a guest post for Straight to the Bar? 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.

Looking Forward To : Sandbag Fitness - 150 High Intensity Workouts

Just got yourself a sandbag? Perfect.

Looks great. This one's exactly what the title suggests - 150 superb sandbag-focussed workouts. If you've just got yourself a sandbag (or are about to get one), this book is an excellent place to start. Full review when it launches - it hits the shelves on Aug 1st. Matt Palfrey's Sandbag Fitness: 150 High Intensity Workouts. NB : as a bonus for readers of Straight to the Bar, here's a discount on what is already an incredible price : just enter the code 'straight10' at checkout for a further 10% off. Perfect.

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. And if you're looking for other training-related books I recommend, check out the complete lists on Goodreads.


Kettlebell Rowing Variations

Very interesting combinations.

Very interesting combinations.


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 : Jun 28, 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.


Checking Out : Strong Medicine - How to Conquer Chronic Disease And Achieve Your Full Genetic Potential

Looks great.

Looks great. Still working my way through the 'to read' pile. Next on the list - Dr Chris Hardy and Marty Gallagher's Strong Medicine. Can't wait to dive in. A brief comment by Paul Wade will help explain what the book promises to deliver :
Strong Medicine is flat-out amazing. If you ever wanted to take your training and your nutritional theory to an elite level--better than 99.9% of certified personal trainers--this is the book for you. It's all in here: genetics, gut bacteria, cutting-edge stress biology, molecular nutrition.
Full review shortly.

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. And if you're looking for other training-related books I recommend, check out the complete lists on Goodreads.


Tutorial - Straight Arm Press to Handstand

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 : Jun 21, 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.


Checking Out : Ignite the Fire

Looks great.

The list of books to read is still growing (and here's my Goodreads page if you'd like to add to it). Next up is Jonathan Goodman's Ignite the Fire. Looks great. Full review shortly.

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. And if you're looking for other training-related books I recommend, check out the complete lists on Goodreads.


Multiplanar Skaters Exercise

Very interesting variations.


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 : Jun 14, 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.


Checking Out : Onnit 12kg Harpy Legend Bell

You know you want one.

A 12kg custom kettlebell designed to look like a 'Harpy' (if you're not into your Greek mythology, a harpy is a female monster in the form of a bird with a human face). Good stuff. Here's a brief clip of the bell in action :
Oh, and if you're wondering, why a 'Harpy'? The name means 'snatcher'.


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 Squat, with Ed Coan

Great tutorial.

Ed Coan explains the Squat. Fantastic. NB : Ed goes in to plenty of detail here, and the entire video's a little over 30min. You can download the entire thing using something like Keepvid.


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 : Jun 7, 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.


Looking Forward To : Jedd Johnson's Inch Dumbbell DVD

Really looking forward to this one.


How to Bench Press, with Eric Spoto

Excellent tutorial.


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 : May 31, 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.


A Commercial Gym in 2020

Training in 5 years' time.

We've talked about the future of fitness several times over the years (and we've got another Gymchat coming up on precisely that topic - let me know if you'd like to take part). Here's my own view of part of that world, looking at a commercial gym in 2020 - both from a client's and gym owner's point of view. I'd love to hear your thoughts.


How To Perform Glute Ham Raises

Just got your new toy? Here's how to use it : Nice one.


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 : May 24, 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.


Checking Out : Becoming a Supple Leopard - 2nd Edition

Looks great. Remember Kelly Starrett's wonderful Becoming a Supple Leopard? The updated version - the 2nd Edition - is about to hit the virtual shelves. Looking forward to it. Full review shortly; in the meantime, a quick overview to give you an idea of what the book's all about : It's Kelly's approach to mobility. A detailed understanding of how the body works; in order to improve athletic performance, reduce injury time and a whole lot more. Becoming a Supple Leopard - 2nd Edition. Fantastic.
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. And if you're looking for other training-related books I recommend, check out the complete lists on Goodreads.


Weighted Dip Basics

I was asked a couple of times during the week about adding weight to dips, so here's a quick tutorial on doing just that : Nice one. Incidentally, the weight can be anything at all (preferably with a hole to feed the chain through) - I frequently use kettlebells here. Whatever's handy.


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 : May 17, 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.


Checking Out : Olympic Weightlifting for Masters

Looks great. Matt Foreman's 'Olympic Weightlifting for Masters: Training at 30, 40, 50 & Beyond' looks at the various aspects of programming and expectations for a slightly older athlete; notably how particular elements differ from their younger counterparts. As one of the reviewers says :
After reading Matt's book I now longer feel I have to apologize for lifting less than my younger cohorts. -Peter Nathan, World Champion.
Fantastic.

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. And if you're looking for other training-related books I recommend, check out the complete lists on Goodreads.


Bodyweight Skill Progressions

As Max notes in the video's description :

There are two roads to strength, one is to add more weight, the other is to progress the skill.
This is a glimpse at the second part of that. NB : He certainly engages in both. For a great demonstration, check out The Fat Bar.

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 : May 10, 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.


Checking Out : The Natural Method

Cheers. There's a rapidly growing pile of books here (courtesy a recent donation from a friend), including the translation of the Georges Hébert classic The Natural Method (translated): Georges Hébert's Practical Guide to Physical Education. This is the Kindle version, and I must say, it looks great. Take a peek at the 'Look Inside' part of the Amazon page and you'll see what I mean. Full review shortly. In the meantime, I'm curious : what are you reading right now?

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.


Road to Conviction (Episode 7 - Ground Zero)

A great series, looking at a handful of CrossFit journeys. NB : Once again, they're fairly lengthy videos. If you'd like to download them for later viewing, you can do that using something like Keepvid.


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 : May 3, 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.


Checking Out : Strong Arm Tactics

Looks great. James Retarides' Strong Arm Tactics: Training and Technique in Competitive Armwrestling is a look at the world of competitive armwrestling - the various techniques and methods employed by a number of the sport's greatest athletes. Take a peek at the 'Look Inside' part of the Amazon page, or grab the full version and dive right in. Strong Arm Tactics.

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.


Blueprint to Cut (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

A fascinating insight into Arnold Schwarzenegger's approach to training. Good stuff. NB : It's a fairly lengthy (42 minutes) video, so sit back and put your feet up. And if you'd like to download it for later viewing, you can do that using something like Keepvid.


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 : Apr 26, 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.


Re-Reading : Card Tearing eBook

It all began with a conversation on card-tearing. When it migrated to a serious question-and-answer session, I pointed them to Jedd's 'Card Tearing eBook'. Wonderful resource. The result? Pics in a day or two, but it's fair to say that they were pleased with the purchase. It really is a fantastic place to start.

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.


Explaining the Seal Row, Engaging the Lats, & Working on Deadlift Weaknesses

What's a 'Seal Row'? This.

Very interesting insights, as well as a demonstration of the somewhat uncommon Seal Row. 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 : Apr 19, 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.


Nerve Repair = More Personal Training Clients

When will it be possible to repair/replace damaged nerves?

An idea I'd love to run past everyone - whether you're on the 'lifting' or 'training' side of the fence : At some point in the not-too-distant future (I suspect it'll be about 2020, but it doesn't matter all that much), it'll be possible to repair/replace damaged nerves. Think people with MS, paraplegics and so on. Full function restored. This means that many people who are currently in wheelchairs will become clients for Personal Trainers. Looking to strengthen their legs (which they might not have used for years), as well as add some muscle mass to them. What do you think - can you imagine this happening; and if so, when? Does 2020 sound reasonable, or perhaps a little ambitious? Would love to hear your thoughts.


Re-Reading : 8 Weeks to SEALFIT - A Navy SEAL's Guide to Unconventional Training for Physical and Mental Toughness

Great read. I'm a big fan of both physical and mental strength, and this book has an intriguing combination of the two. Mark Divine's 8 Weeks to SEALFIT. Here's a comment from the Amazon page to give you a taste :
Jumping into this program taught me something really important: you cannot HIDE from the work required here. I've been doing more traditional weight lifting and strength programs at the gym over the last many months, and while the plans and programs have gone rather well for me, in just six days of working on this program I realized that I hadn't been giving it my all, and I'd been cutting corners. With 8 Weeks to SEALfit, if you stay committed to the work in front of you, you can't hide. And that's a great thing.
Good stuff. 8 Weeks to SEALFIT.


Relentless Performance

Essential.

Essential.


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 : Apr 12, 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.


Looking At : Apr 5, 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.


Gymchat 280 - How to GRIND for Your Gains (Nassim Jebran)

Get ready for a new PR.

Time to show what you've got. How do you squeeze out the last few percent - both mentally and physically? Whether it's for your own training or in competition (or both), it's an essential skill. Helping explain exactly what's involved - and how to maximise things - is Strength Coach (and Strength Athlete) Nassim Jebran, and Personal Trainer (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 Nassim 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 : Strength Coach (and Strength Athlete) Nassim Jebran, Personal Trainer (and Strength Athlete) Josh Hewett, and You Topic : How to Grind for Your Gains When : Sunday Apr 26, 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 shortly after the Gymchat.


Looking At : Mar 29, 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.


The Pendulum Swing

Which aspect do you focus on?


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 279 - The Power & Importance of SLEEP (Adam Farrah)

How'd you sleep last night?

What's your sleep like currently? More to the point, what should it be like? This week we're taking a close look at this wonderful area, whether your goal is muscular recovery, a mental reset or simply to perform better throughout the day. Joining us is Kettlebell and CrossFit Coach Adam Farrah, and Personal Trainer (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.

Details -

Who : Kettlebell and CrossFit Coach Adam Farrah, and Personal Trainer (and Strength Athlete) Josh Hewett, and You Topic : The Power & Importance of SLEEP When : Monday Mar 30, 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 shortly after the Gymchat. Previously : We've been fortunate enough to have Adam on previous episodes of the show. Check out Gymchat 221 - The Paleo Approach to Nutrition, and Gymchat 255 - The Pillars of Paleo. And of course, you can watch any of the previous Gymchats whenever you like - there's a full list here.


Looking At : Mar 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.


BioLayne's Arnold Classic Summary

A close look at Layne's training for and competition at the Arnold. Nice one.


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 : Mar 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.


Gymchat 278 - Are Saturated Fats Really That Bad for You? (Kirsten Gallagher)

Should you, and how much?

What's the research like on saturated fats and cholesterol - what levels are optimal? How much do we need, and what sorts of things should we avoid? This week we'll be tackling these and a whole lot more, together with Personal Trainers Kirsten Gallagher and Josh Hewett. Fantastic.
NB : We'd love to hear your questions and comments. If there's a particular subject you'd like Kirsten 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 : Personal Trainers Kirsten Gallagher and Josh Hewett, and You Topic : Are Saturated Fats Really That Bad for You? When : Monday Mar 16, 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 shortly after the Gymchat.


Looking At : Mar 8, 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.


How They Got Started : Matt Davidson

How the enigmatic Matt Davidson began.

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

Hi, Scott. You said that you would like to hear about my workout past and my methods, so I'm finally getting back to you about that. I started working out in my early teens at the age of 13 or 14, using my dad's old Sears Roebuck and Co. vinyl coated weight plates and standard barbell. I didn't have access to a squat rack, so my leg training was always a little lacking. As far as goals, I wanted to build everything: speed, strength, stamina, power (once I learned that there was a difference between strength and power), and agility. As much as I wanted to build these different things, I mainly followed a basic body-building program. I was able to build my deadlift strength up to around 280 lb.

Unfortunately, I went for a period where I got out of my workouts routine and I lost some of my strength. Even now at the age of 20, I'm still struggling with staying consistent with my workouts. I recently purchased a Yoke, which doubles as a squat rack, so I can build my lower-body strength and power (I desperately need some lower-body strength. Since I've just start squatting I can only squat around 135 lbs, and I'm having to adjust to the crushing feeling of having a barbell across my shoulders). My goals are still focused on strength and athletic ability. In my workouts now, I utilize a lot of compound and complex training, while focusing on movement patterns. For example, for my squats, I'll do a heavy 5-rep barbell squat, immediately doing five reps of an explosive leg movement such as speed skaters or squat jump, and then an isometric one-leg split squat, while holding a 25 lb. kettlebell. My thinking for this approach is along the lines of the theory behind compound training, that the heavy set will activate the muscle fibers, the lighter-weight, explosive movement will utilize the activated muscle, and then the isometric move (my own addition) will utilize the slow-twitch muscle fibers as the fast-twitch fibers tire out and the slow-twitch fibers begin to kick in. With my squats, I'll also incorporate an overhead pressing complex, and a pull-up complex. I'm trying to incorporate as many exercise tools and methods as possible: barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, weight-sleds, medicine balls, a yoke, and resistance bands to substitute weighted cables. I also have my eye on several peices of exercise equipment to also incorporate into my training so I can keep my workouts (and my body) versatile.

Thanks for taking an interest in my workouts and training methods. I hope you found this interesting, and that it may help someone else along and give them some ideas. Keep lifting, Matt.

Cheers Matt, appreciated.


The Stubborn Fat Solution 1.1

Looks good. As you can no doubt tell from the title, this is the updated version of Lyle McDonald's Stubborn Fat Solution. Full review shortly (I'm about to dive in to it myself), but first a few words from Lyle on the reason for the update :

In the original Stubborn Fat Solution, I briefly discussed a hormone called Atrial Natriuretic Peptide (ANP). As I talked about, ANP represents an entirely new fat burning (lipolytic) pathway that works outside of the normal insulin/catecholamine mechanisms.

But at the time, I saw and knew of no meaningful way of manipulating or impacting the pathway and left it at that. A little while later I would find a solution and this booklet was actually started years ago; then I put it away.

Recently, in researching something else, I found that ANP appeared to be even more powerful than I had previously thought. Because in addition to stimulating fat mobilization, ANP (and the other natriuretic peptides) can also increase levels and activity of beige fat (a brown-fat like type of fat that humans actually have) along with helping to control appetite.

Lyle McDonald's Stubborn Fat Solution 1.1. 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.


Crushing Potatoes with Your Hands

The best way to mash potatoes. Nice one Chris.


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.



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