All Articles & Reviews by
Scott Andrew Bird




(10929 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.

Checking Out : Rings of Power (Mike Gillette)

An ideal starting point.

This looks superb. Mike Gillette's 'Rings of Power' explains the various ways to use - progressively - this incredible tool. With clear emphases on both strength and rehabilitation, it's an ideal starting point for many. Particularly the 'over 40' (of which I'm a proud member) crowd. For a glimpse into the world of 'Rings of Power', a brief quote from the review page :
If you care about getting strong, staying strong, and remaining injury free, Rings of Power is essential reading. I incorporated rings into my own training program a couple of years ago and am glad I did. At 45 years old, I am able to continue my strength pursuits unhindered by the joint and tendon injuries that plague many in the over-40 athletic community. - Dr Chris Hardy
Mike Gillette's 'Rings of Power'. 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.


How to Set Up Bands and Chains

The basic technique.


Although he's demonstrating their use with the bench press, the same basic idea applies to any lift at all.


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 : Jul 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.


Checking Out : STRONGER! Bodyweight Workout Series 2

Remember the bodyweight training videos Lachlan Walker & Tyson Edwards put together a couple of years ago? Their latest offering - STRONGER! Bodyweight Workout Series 2 - will soon be hitting the virtual shelves, and they've got a Kickstarter campaign to help explain what it's all about :

Sounds great. STRONGER! Bodyweight Workout Series 2.

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.


Weighted Jumping Squats


Interesting combination.


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 : Jul 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.


Checking Out : Swede Burns' '5th Set for Powerlifting'

This looks great - Cory Swede Burns' '5th Set for Powerlifting'. A customised training course designed for anyone who likes to lift heavy. For a peek into Cory's mindset, and the general thinking behind '5th Set' :
Cory Swede Burns' '5th Set for Powerlifting'.


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.


Improving Ankle Mobility

Good stuff.


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 They Got Started : Benjamin Andrews

How the enigmatic Benjamin Andrews began.

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

I was that kid who was really fat in high school, and started hitting the gym hard after graduation. Since then, I've finished my first BA and somewhere along the way I've lost 30lb, and turned most of my mass from fat to muscle. I've been doing dedicated weight training in the gym for about a year and a half now, having just recently recovered from a bad case of Crossfit blues. Currently I'm training to compete in my first Strongman contest next summer, and I'm pushing myself hard to reach my goals before I do so.

My training approaches are almost entirely self-taught. Youtube and the internet community are both great places to learn techniques and get tips from the pros. I've been tinkering with my own routine for about 9 months, and I've settled into a rotation that fits my needs and my body's abilities. I train a mixture of powerlifting and bodybuilding, mainly anything I can lift in the gym, and I devote one day out of my Eight Day cycle to training for strongman events, either using equipment my tiny gym has, or any lifts I can simulate using gym equipment. I'm working on some implement of my own at home, and hope to have my first lifting log carved soon.

Beyond that, I try to listen to my body when training. If I finish my squat sets on leg day, and my arms feel like they need to be hit, I'll do a few exercises for the arms and call it a day. If I'm not feeling my training, I'll probably call it a day, or change up my routine to something more suited to my energy levels. I think listening to your body, and learning what it needs, and when it needs a push, and when it doesn't, is the most important part of training.

Cheers Ben, appreciated.


Looking At : Jul 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.


Checking Out : The Strength Calisthenics Certification (SCC)

This sounds fantastic.

This sounds fantastic. A stripped-down version of the 3-day PCC we looked at a while ago, the Strength Calisthenics Certification (SCC) sounds like the ideal introduction to the world of progressive calisthenics work. Full details over on the Dragon Door page, but briefly; the course covers cornerstone movements such as push-ups, pull-ups, squats and bridges - in an intensive, 1-day seminar. 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.


Functional Roles of Muscles

Another great bit of anatomy education.

Another great bit of anatomy education.


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.


Want to Guest Host the Gymchats?

We love hearing how everyone trains.

I love the Gymchats - great show. Fantastic to hear how everyone trains. To help uncover even more, I'd like to extend an invitation. For you to act as a Guest Host, and interview someone you know about their own workouts & competitions. Whether that's a work colleague, training partner or just someone you know who likes to lift.
If you'd like to Guest Host an episode or two of the show, let me know. And if you haven't watched any yet and would like to see what they're all about, there's a full list here. Cheers.


Looking At : Jul 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.


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.

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.



Straight to the Bar Strength Kit

Are You as Strong as You Could Be?

Grab the Straight to the Bar Strength Kit.

Training Guides, eBooks and of course the Strength & Fitness Newsletter. Absolutely free.