All Articles & Reviews by
Scott Andrew Bird




(10767 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, or point us to an upcoming strongman or bodybuilding competition? Here's how.

Quick Tip : Finding a Personal Trainer

How to identify the 'right' one.

Dollars and muscles
It's about more than the money.
When it comes to getting a fitness professional who's going to help you clarify and reach your goals, finding one is half the battle. Offering a couple of suggestions in that area is Total Transformation's John Kaiser, who's had more than a little experience himself. Nice one. Over to John.
From the article Eliminating the Lug Nuts: How to Find a Good Trainer, a few thoughts.


Ready to Run - Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally

Looks fantastic. Last week we looked at my own collection of fitness-related books (and cheers for all of the suggested ones to add - much appreciated); in particular Kelly Starrett's Becoming a Supple Leopard. Great read. Kelly's new work - Ready to Run - Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally - comes out tomorrow, and sounds equally comprehensive. To give you an overall idea of the content covered in the book, and Kelly's thinking in general, check out his latest appearance on the Bulletproof Video podcast :
Ready to Run - Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally. Fantastic.


Gymchat 260 - How to Use DROP SETS for More Gains (Bill Piche)

What exactly are drop sets, and how can you use them most effectively? This week we'll be taking a deep dive into the wonderful world of Drop Sets; exploring answers to the questions above and a whole lot more. Helping us get a handle on this particular technique is Powerlifter Bill Piche, together with Personal Trainer and Strength Athlete Josh Hewett. Fantastic.
NB : We love hearing from as many people as possible. Join Bill and Josh on the Hangout, or fire in your questions via the Q&A. Full details below. 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.


Handstand Human Flag Hybrid

Looking for a challenge?
Good stuff Al.


Looking At : Oct 19, 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.


Looking At : Oct 12, 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.


Ramstein Blob Challenge

A fairly unusual approach to lifting the Blob. 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.


Cadence Based Gripper Training

Time to get seriously strong.

Perfect. It seems as though my 'to read/watch' pile has exploded in the past week or two; although 'Napalm' Jedd Johnson's Cadence Based Gripper Training certainly made a rapid rise to the top. I have to say, it looks superb. I'll post a full review once I finish the course (8 weeks); for the full explanation of what it's all about, over to Jedd : Cadence Based Gripper Training.


Gymchat 258 - Questioning Fitness Authority : Your Trainer Might Be Wrong (Bud Jeffries)

When to listen, when to question.

When should you accept that your trainer knows what they're doing, and when should you question things? And if you do, what sorts of areas are up for grabs? This week we'll be tackling these, and all of the underlying questions they invoke. Helping us get a handle on this critical area is Performing Strongman/Author/Speaker Bud Jeffries, together with Personal Trainer and Strength Athlete Josh Hewett. Fantastic.
NB : We love hearing from as many people as possible. Join Bud and Josh on the Hangout, or fire in your questions via the Q&A. Full details below. 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 : Alana Grimolfson

How it all began.

Alana Grimolfson's Home Gym
Alana Grimolfson's Home Gym.
I love hearing everyones' fitness backgrounds, it's always fascinating to hear how someone got started. Here's how Alana Grimolfson began her own training journey. Scott


Looking At : Oct 5, 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 : The Stages of Workout Nutrition

What, when and how much?

This tip is a brief look at the major stages of workout nutrition, and their goals. A bit of fine-tuning here can go a long way indeed. From Gymchat 133 - Workout Nutrition :

Kurtis Frank
Kurtis Frank.
Any meal can contribute to a workout (glycogen replenishment mostly), but generally workout nutrition is broken into three segments. The pre-workout, the intra-workout (optional dependent on goals), and the post-workout. Pre-workout is literally just a meal you eat before you hit the gym. It holds more importance than other meals (say, breakfast if you train in the PM) since the nutrients you ingest at this meal will still be floating around in your blood when it comes time for a workout. Intra-workout is typically something you bring to the gym to sip on, and where stuff typically gets all fancy with supplementation and is the area most people like to talk about. (This includes post-workout shakes consumed immediately after training) Post-workout is when you get home and make a nice meal. There are typically higher rates of muscular metabolism and generally more metabolic direction to muscle and away from fat mass (compared to other meals). So nutrients post workout tend to be put to better fates than other meals.
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.


Enter the Dragon

Fantastic. I was lucky enough over the weekend to re-watch all of the Bruce Lee movies (as well as a couple of the more recent documentaries); with my favourite still being Enter the Dragon. Love that film. If it's one you've never seen, definitely give it a run. Quite apart from the '70s charm, it's a superb display of Lee's incredible abilities. Enter the Dragon.


Gymchat 259 - How to Choose the Right Gym for YOU (Jaime Smith)

Find the right place to train.

Whether you're just embarking on your strength-training journey, or have been lifting for years : how do you find the 'right' gym? The one that has the equipment you want, the people that can help; the one that best suits your needs? This week we'll be tackling these, and all of the underlying questions they invoke. Helping us get a handle on this critical area is Personal Trainer Jaime Smith, together with Personal Trainer and Strength Athlete Josh Hewett. Fantastic.
NB : We love hearing from as many people as possible. Join Jaime and Josh on the Hangout, or fire in your questions via the Q&A. Full details below. 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.


Squat Like an ANIMAL 2014 - 500lb for Reps

How many times can you squat 500lb?

How many times can you squat 500lb?


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 28, 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.


StrongerGrip BandGrips Handle and StrongerGrip BandAnchor

StrongerGrip BandGrips.Fantastic. Ryan goes into a bit more detail over on the Strongergrip Blog, but in short : you'll want these. Beautifully simple idea. These will be available in a couple of days. In the meantime, the pre-order page briefly...


Gymchat 258 - Fitness Business Strategies (Matt Palfrey)

What works, and what doesn't?

If you've been involved with the fitness industry for any length of time, chances are you've thought about setting up your own gym. Perhaps you've already got one. Either way - how do you promote it? Attract new customers? Learn about what works, and what doesn't?


Quick Tip : Getting Back Into It

Take it easy. It'll come back.

Returning to Heavy Training After a Break
Returning to Heavy Training After a Break
If you've been away from the iron for a while, how do you get back into it?
Vic takes a thorough look at this in the 'Returning to Heavy Training After a Break' ebook. For a brief overview though, check out the discussion we held on that very same topic.
In Gymchat 136 - Heavy Training after a Break, Vic noted :
I lost a LOT of strength on some lifts. It was surprising. That's why that initial 3 weeks of lighter work was important to me - it was smart to underestimate my strength at first.
And
It's important to consciously do less those first few weeks. I was off for almost 2 years - as a rule I did not put any more than 135lbs on the bar the first week. I did not push any sets to failure the next two weeks while still staying at 5 reps or less for most sets.
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.


Ascending Pull Up Ladder

Great bit of technique fine-tuning.

Great exercise, and an interesting bit of technique fine-tuning. 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 : Sep 21, 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 : Fast or Slow Reps?

How fast should you move the weight?

One of the areas that Josh Hewett and John Paul Catanzaro covered in Gymchat 256 - Injury Prevention & Management was the general approach to choosing rep speed based on your goals. John Paul 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.


Band Assistance (for Pull-Ups, Dips & Push-Ups)

Beautiful things.

This past weekend I was showing someone here how to perform Band-Assisted Pull-Ups. If you'd like to give them a try yourself - and if pull-ups are currently just out of reach, they really do help - Ross Enamait demonstrates the procedure here. 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.


Video for Gymchat 257 - Muscle Activation Techniques (Eric Seifert)

How does it all work?

Thanks again to everyone who watched and joined in the discussion Gymchat 257 - Muscle Activation Techniques [with Core Strength's Eric Seifert 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.


Gymchat 257 - Muscle Activation Techniques (Eric Seifert)

How does it all work?

How do you assess - and correct - muscular imbalances? Is there any value to isometric exercises, and how do you perform them? What about active vs passive stretching - should you be doing one or the other, and when? We'll be touching on all of these areas and a whole lot more in this week's discussion. Tackling this will be Core Strength's Eric Seifert, joined by Strength Athlete & Personal Trainer Josh Hewett. Fantastic.
NB : We'd love to hear your questions and comments. If there's a particular subject you'd like Eric 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.


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

Give it a name.

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.


Video for Gymchat 253 - Improving Recovery & Performance (Sincere Hogan)

Maximize your time with the iron.

Thanks again to everyone who watched and joined in the discussion Gymchat 253 - Improving Recovery & Performance [with New Warrior Training Systems' Sincere Hogan 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.



Jim Stoppani's Encyclopedia of Muscle & Strength (2nd Edition)

Looks good. Although it's not out for a while yet (Oct 12), I'm keen to check out the 2nd Edition of Jim Stoppani's Encyclopedia of Muscle & Strength. I'll certainly be posting a review shortly after it becomes available; in the meantime, a couple of brief comments from the first edition of the book :
Readers will appreciate the combination of plain facts and expert advice. Anyone looking to build muscle mass will appreciate this thorough, no-nonsense guide to proper strength-training technique.
The book is very well written, and provides a complete, precise set of tables throughout the chapters that allow the novice or advanced bodybuilder or strength athlete to start using proven exercises/techniques to improve their appearance and/or performance. The "Rating" matrices of Time/Length/Difficulty/Results alone were, for me, worth the price of the book.
Jim Stoppani's Encyclopedia of Muscle & Strength. Good stuff.


Gymchat 253 - Improving Recovery & Performance (Sincere Hogan)

Maximize your time with the iron.

No matter what your training goals are, chances are that at some point you've thought about recovery. What to do - and when - in order to spend as much quality time as possible around the iron. This week we'll be exploring those various recovery options. The things to do before/during/after training, and between the workouts themselves. Adjusting sleep, oxygen intake, temperature and so on. Helping us get a handle on everything is New Warrior Training Systems' Sincere Hogan, joined by 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 Sincere 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 : New Warrior Training Systems' Sincere Hogan, Personal Trainer and Strength Athlete Josh Hewett, and You Topic : Improving Recovery & Performance When : Wednesday Aug 13, 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.


Shoulder Training Tips? Intensity!

Over to the incredible George Leeman.


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 10, 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 They Got Started : Braiden Stevenson

It's always fascinating to hear how someone began their training. Over to Braiden.

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


Gymchat 253 - TBA

Full details shortly.

Mystery Guest
Mystery Guest.
As Josh is currently on-the-road (his Instagram feed will give you an idea of what he's getting up to), we're rescheduling the next couple of discussions. New details shortly. In the meantime, take a look at some of the previous episodes of the show - there's a full list here. And if you've got any questions or comments on the various topics discussed, we'd love to hear them. Just leave a note below the video.



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