Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength


Soothing Music and a Handful of New PRs
Posted By Scott Bird
Filed In : Favourites | workouts

After nearly 4 years I still haven’t adjusted to the Scottish weather. This morning on leaving the house I debated whether or not a t-shirt and jeans would be enough. 10 minutes later it was snowing.

By mid-afternoon the snow had all but disappeared, the sun was back out in force and I was on my way to the garage for another squat/dead session. There was one small (but significant) difference between this and last Saturday’s session – the accompanying music. Having read Matt Furey’s blog this morning (can’t stand his methods, but some of the information’s great), I decided to try working out to soothing, rather than stimulating music. The general idea being to relax, reduce your heartrate, breathe deeper and generally perform better.
The music of choice was a collection of Bach cello suites played by Yo-Yo Ma. Relaxing it certainly was – and yes it did change things. A few observations :

  • I quickly lost track of time. The feeling was one of methodically working through pre-planned sets/reps, rather than thinking in short bursts between sets.
  • I didn’t feel at all distracted by the music – it was all instrumental so there was no tendency to want to sing along to it (always a frightening experience for the neighbours), and I was able to focus completely on the exercises themselves.
  • There were no highs and lows throughout the workout – attempting a PR was no different to warming up.

Overall, being somewhat more relaxed from the beginning of the session seemed to have a positive affect on endurance. Very positive, as there were several new PRs – despite only repeating a workout pattern from less than a week ago.

2×30@20/44 (was considering ultra-high reps here, but my fingers went numb from just 30)
Bottom Squat
Rack pull (6 holes showing, just above knees)
To put the above rack pulls into perspective, last Saturday I was repping at 160/352. Last April I managed a single at 180/396 from slightly lower pins (hence the set at 182.5). Finally holding 200 felt great.

Over to you. Drop us a line on Twitter ( @scottbird ), or add a comment below.



NB : if you love talking about strength-training as much as I do, you might also like to check out the weekly newsletter. A regular dose of fitness-focussed discussions, absolutely free.

And if you'd like to check out any of the stuff mentioned above (or in the comments), swing by Amazon. Huge assortment of fitness gear.


Leave a Reply

What's This?

Straight to the Bar is the online home of fitness enthusiast Scott Bird, and looks at the many training approaches, essential techniques, uncommon exercises and superb equipment to help you become as strong as humanly possible. In short, this site is the home of all things strength.

images of strength


Want to see (and learn) more Feats of Strength like this? Dive in.

Just Joined Us? Try These.

There are some incredible writers on the team here. To give you an idea, check these out :

If you enjoyed these, check out the complete ‘Best Of Straight to the Bar‘ list. Fantastic.

setting up a home gym?

If you’re getting ready to put together a solid Home Gym (fantastic thing), here’s how.

For more, swing by the full guide. Absolutely free.

And of course, you’ll find everything you need over in the SttB Strength Store. Massive range.

Ever Tried Kettlebells?

If you’ve seen people using them but never taken the plunge yourself, here are the ones I use personally. You can also pick up a book/DVD/course if you want to learn how to put them to work.

Ready To Learn Even More?

I love learning new skills, and the many seminars & workshops available are a great way to do that. If you’re looking for a specific type of workshop nearby, check out the ones on Dragon Door. Great mix of kettlebell and calisthenics-based offerings.

The Precision Nutrition Certification Program

The Precision Nutrition Certification Program

The Precision Nutrition Certification Program.

If you’re a fitness professional and love the Precision Nutrition approach, check out their certification offering. To say it’s comprehensive is an understatement.

Wherever You Are, We Are.

In addition to the main site, you can share your strength-training passion with a like-minded community on :

Wherever you like to hang out, get your regular dose of strength. Straight to the Bar.

Written By Scott Bird
Scott is a long-time fitness enthusiast (Jan 2004!), writer and photographer living in Sydney, Australia. If you share the passion for spending a bit of time under a bar, welcome. Love hearing how everyone else trains. You can connect via X (Formerly Twitter), Facebook and the various networks listed in the sidebar.
Drawing of Scott Andrew Bird performing a deadlift. Artwork by Vince Palko.