All Articles & Reviews by
Scott Andrew Bird




(10729 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: 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'.


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.


Punch Drumming - Offenbach's 'Orpheus in the Underworld' (aka 'The Can Can')

What exactly is 'Punch Drumming'? Watch.

Over to the incredible Alan Khan.
Incidentally, there are an incredible number of speedbag techniques employed here. To learn more about them, swing by his other videos on Straight to the Bar; and head over to the Speedbag Forums. Fantastic place.


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 3, 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.


The Straight to the Bar Strength Calendar

Watching? Competing? We'd love to hear it.

A couple of the guys here have been adding their own strength-related competitions to a Google Docs spreadsheet, which makes it much easier to see what everyone's getting up to, and to find new competitions to take part in.
It's time to open it up to everyone - if you'd like to add your own upcoming competitions (or any that you know of), feel free. Anything at all relating to fitness : whether that's strength athletics, bodybuilding, running, triathlon and so on. If it helps your training, it's fair game.


Team Wingate - Obstacle Course (2014)


An impromptu obstacle course. 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.


Car Deadlifting at the Capalaba Strongman

Love the Car Deadlift.

Car Deadlifting at the Capalaba Strongman. Photo courtesy Jamie Reimers.
Car Deadlifting at the Capalaba Strongman. Photo courtesy Jamie Reimers.
Via strength athlete Jamie Reimers : A dose of serious car deadlifting - a 1,600kg Lamborghini. Nice one. NB : We're currently putting together a calendar of fitness competitions around the world. If you'd like to add yours, drop us a line.


Looking At : Jul 27, 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 252 - Alpha Aesthetics (Personal Development In The 21st Century with Omar Atlas)

Ready to become number one?

Thanks again to everyone who watched and joined in the discussion Gymchat 252 - Alpha Aesthetics (Personal Development In The 21st Century) [with Physique Coach Omar 'Bromar' Atlas 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.



Misses Are Just Warm-ups


Excellent way of looking at it Jedd.


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 20, 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.


The Kennedy Lift

The Kennedy Lift
The Kennedy Lift.
One of the lifts that Warren Lincoln Travis included in his 'Challenge to the World' - the Kennedy Lift. A partial Jefferson Lift, performed here with the aid of a Hand and Thigh Bar attached to a regular bar. Love it.


Muscle-Ups For Reps

Nice one.


Nice one. btw, if you're currently unable to do them, here's the basic progression.


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 252 - Alpha Aesthetics (Personal Development In The 21st Century with Omar Atlas)

Ready to become number one?

How do you become the 'alpha dog' - the leader of the pack? And how do you use strength training to do it? This week we're exploring this enigmatic area - the intersection of bodybuilding and personal development. Tackling this is the wonderful Omar 'Bromar' Atlas, 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 Omar 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.


Looking At : Jul 13, 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.


Maximum Functional Mass

Superb. If you watched the Gymchat last week, you'll know exactly what to expect. Bud Jeffries shares some truly incredible information. We'll post a full review shortly, but in the meantime, here's a piece from Bud's own site to help explain what Maximum Functional Mass's all about :
The first in our new series on how to build muscles - Large muscles! Powerful muscles! Muscles that can do more than they look like they can do. Muscles that actually work, not just look impressive.
Maximum Functional Mass.


Gymchat 252 - The Power of Mental Strength (Dru Patrick)

Think about it.

UPDATE (9 Jul 2014) :

Unfortunately a connectivity issue got in the way of this one, so we've rescheduled it (full details shortly). Apologies for that.

Scott


How important is it to be mentally strong? Does it help you gain physical strength? This week we'll be looking closely at the area of Mental Strength - explaining exactly what it is, how it impacts physical strength and how to go about acquiring some. Helping us tackle this fascinating area is Powerlifter Dru Patrick - Powerlifting Instructor at Crossfit Gulf Coast - together with 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 Dru 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.

Details -

Who : Powerlifter Dru Patrick, Personal Trainer and Strength Athlete Josh Hewett, and You Topic : The Power of Mental Strength When : Wednesday Jul 9, 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 Josh to one of your circles, and he'll send you 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.


Pec Poppin' Pushups

Pushups with a twist.


Nice one Joe.


Looking At : Jul 6, 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 251 - Gaining Maximum Functional Muscle Mass (Bud Jeffries)

Gain size, gain strength.

Thanks again to everyone who watched and joined in the discussion Gymchat 251 - Gaining Maximum Functional Muscle Mass [with Performing Strongman Bud Jeffries 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 251 - Gaining Maximum Functional Muscle Mass (Bud Jeffries)

Gain size, gain strength.

What's the relationship between size and strength? How much muscle mass do you need to add to get seriously strong, and at what point does it actually work against you? This week we'll be tackling this enigmatic area with the incredible Bud Jeffries, who I first saw performing in 2006 (he was tackling a bottom-up-squat with an insane 1,000lb).
Joining Bud is 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 Bud 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.

Details -

Who : Performing Strongman Bud Jeffries, Personal Trainer and Strength Athlete Josh Hewett, and You Topic : Gaining Maximum Functional Muscle Mass When : Wednesday Jul 2, 8:00pm EDT (the Event page shows what time that is in your local timezone). How : Watch the live stream, or join the hangout (get your questions ready), directly on the Event page. We'll also post the full video shortly after the Gymchat.


Personal Trainer Magazine

Looks great. Although I'm not a Personal Trainer myself, I'm very much interested in the world of fitness. From both the client and business sides of things. With that in mind, I'm certainly intrigued by John Spencer Ellis' Personal Trainer Magazine. Available in both PDF and Kindle forms (same content, it's just personal preference), I'll be checking it out tonight. Review soon. Personal Trainer Magazine.


The Pass Around


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 : Jun 29, 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 250 - Serious Training for Ignored Populations (Bill Kociaba)

Training everyone.

Thanks again to everyone who watched and joined in the discussion Gymchat 250 - Serious Training for Ignored Populations [with Personal Trainer & Massage Therapist Bill Kociaba 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 250 - Serious Training for Ignored Populations (Bill Kociaba)

Training everyone.

This is a fascinating area, and quite possibly one you haven't spent much time thinking about - strength training for the blind, those in wheelchairs and anyone else with reasonably uncommon requirements. On this week's show we'll be talking to Personal Trainer & Massage Therapist Bill Kociaba - who himself is completely blind. Bill teaches exercise classes via the Blind Cafe online community, runs his own gym and promotes a number of bodybuilding shows.
Joining him is 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 Bill 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.

Details -

Who : Personal Trainer & Massage Therapist Bill Kociaba, Personal Trainer and Strength Athlete Josh Hewett, and You Topic : Serious Training for Ignored Populations When : Wednesday Jun 26, 8:00pm EDT (the Event page shows what time that is in your local timezone). How : Watch the live stream, or join the hangout (get your questions ready), directly on the Event page. We'll also post the full video shortly after the Gymchat.


Adam Glass' Flag Progress, May - Jun 2014


This video says a lot about Adam Glass - incredible tenacity and experimentation. 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 22, 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 : Week Ending Jun 15, 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.


Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Looks great.

Looks great. This is the one that Brian mentioned in the Gymchat last week (and if you're wondering how it relates to strength-training, he explains it here) - Chip & Dan Heath's Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. Although it's been out for a while now, I missed it the first time around and am definitely looking forward to diving in (I read their previous work a few years ago, and they're great writers). Full review shortly. Chip & Dan Heath's Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard.


Coach B and the Dip

Good stuff Mike.


Good stuff Mike.


Looking At : Week Ending Jun 8, 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 248 - Establishing Standards for Strength & Progressions (Brian Tabor)

How you you begin? How do you progress?

Thanks again to everyone who watched and joined in the discussion Gymchat 248 - Establishing Standards for Strength & Progressions [with Personal Trainers (and Strength Athletes) Brian Tabor and 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 248 - Establishing Standards for Strength & Progressions (Brian Tabor)

How you you begin? How do you progress?

When you begin strength training, what sorts of things should you assess? As you become stronger, how do you go about progressing things - the types of lifts you do, and the weights you expect to shift? This week we're talking about these key areas, from both the clients' and trainers' points of view. Tackling these are Personal Trainers (and Strength Athletes) Brian Tabor and Josh Hewett. Fantastic.


Paleo Breakfast

What does breakfast look like when you're Paleo? This.


Curious : what do you currently eat for breakfast? Cereals, this sort of thing or something else entirely?



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.