Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength


70 of the Best : 7 Years of Straight to the Bar
Posted By Scott Bird
Filed In : Articles
Straight to the Bar

Yes, I love the deadlift.

This site – Straight to the Bar – has been around for an incredible 7 years (the first post was on Jan 17th, 2004), and to say I’m grateful is a gross understatement.
Thank you.

There have been some superb articles in that time (my favourites are listed below), as well as training logs, product reviews, forum discussions and of course the twitterchats. It’s really been (and continues to be) an incredible ride.
Before we dive in to the list itself, a quick word on the content : while it’s quality stuff, there’s a lot of it. Feel free to pick out your favourites, bookmark them, add them to Instapaper/Evernote/Pinboard; Stumble them and share them with your friends. Dive in.

And now for the articles themselves. Once again, thankyou.

DIY Equipment

Ready to build your own? It's a great way to try new forms of training.

    1. DIY Gym Gear : How to Make Your Own Clubs - Scott Bird

      Build your own. Good fun.

    2. Making your own gym equipment : DIY grip tools - Scott Bird

      You want a grip tool that does what? Make one.

    3. How to Build Your Own Sandbag - Derek 'Body By D-Rock' Peruo

      It's easier than you may think.

    4. DIY: Home-made Gym Equipment (part II) - Scott Bird

      Build it yourself.

    5. DIY: How to Build an Olympic Weightlifting Platform - Kat Ricker


    6. DIY Hanging Handles, psuedo "rings" - Kat 'The Mighty Kat' Ricker

      Brilliantly simple.

    7. The Sled - Kira Robert Clarke (Fight Geek)

      Extremely creative.

    8. How to make your own bumper plates on a budget - Mehdi Hadim (Stronglifts)

      Quick, simple and inexpensive.

    9. How to Make a Rack-Mounted Wrist Roller - Rory Hickman (Stronger Designs)

      Love your wrist work? Same here.

    10. How To Make an Adjustable Slosh Pipe - Joe Hashey

      Light weights, nice and challenging.

    11. Fattening Up the Chin-up Bar - Scott Bird

      A great way to thicken up any bar at all.

    12. The Fat Bar - Max Shank

      Incredibly simple, incredibly brutal.

    13. Let the voting begin - Scott Bird

      There were some brilliant entries in the DIY Equipment Competition.

Old-Time Strongman Techniques

Fantastic to watch, learn and do.

    1. Bare-Handed Nail Driving Basics - Ryan Pitts (StrongerGrip)s

      Want to learn how to drive a nail through a board with your bare hand? Here's how.

    2. Blast from the Past : The Forgotten Lifts (part II, III)

      Although these lifts aren't often seen in commercial gyms, they're absolutely superb. Give them a run.

    3. Tearing A License Plate - Strongman Chris 'Haircules' Rider

      Yep, that's as hard as it sounds. Superb.

    4. Unusual Goals Require Unusual Measures - Jeff Wilson (Basic Instinct Fitness)

      How do you train for something like this?

    5. The Human Rack Lift - Mike 'The Machine' Bruce

      You've got to see this.

    6. Jaw Lifting : What, Why and How - Ryan Pitts (StrongerGrip)

      Training, technique and just a dash of determination.

    7. Pleasure Spiked with Pain : Training for the One Finger Lift - Jeff Wilson

      A superb feat - if a little painful.

    8. Building A Neck Of Steel - Mike 'The Machine' Bruce

      So you want a strong neck? It's actually quite simple.

Hands, Wrists & Forearms

This is where the fun (and real strength) begins. Love it.

    1. Nails : Converting imperial to metric - Scott Bird

      Next time you pop down to the hardware store, take this.

    2. Why Bend Steel? - 'Unbreakable' Adam Glass

      Simple question, great answer. Point your non-bending friends here.

    3. Straight to the Grip Contest (part II, III, IV, V and VI) - 'Napalm' Jedd Johnson (Diesel Crew) Getting ready for your first grip contest? Here's what to expect.
    4. The Many Types of Blobs - 'Napalm' Jedd Johnson (Diesel Crew)

      What's a Blob, and where did it all begin?

    5. Lifting the Inch Replica Dumbbell (part II, III, IV and V) - 'Napalm' Jedd Johnson (Diesel Crew)n Want to train with a replica Inch? Here's how.
    6. Shot Tossing for Dynamic Grip Strength - 'Napalm' Jedd Johnson (Diesel Crew)

      Shot tossing? Great fun.

    7. Hammering Strength into the Wrists (part II)
    8. Leverage Lifts: Reverse Engineering Turned To A Breakthrough In Power - 'Unbreakable' Adam Glass

      These lifts are downright fun.

Free Weights

The 'normal' things you'll see in the gym.

    1. The Step-up : a Real Squat Alternative? - Scott Bird

      Squats are undoubtedly key, but have you tried heavy step-ups lately?

    2. Holding the bar in the Front Squat - Scott Bird

      There are many ways to hold the bar.

    3. Bars, Plates, Hooks and Collars - Scott Bird

      Ready to hit the garage sales? Here's what to look for.

    4. A Little Yoke Work : 10 Exercises for a Bigger Neck - Scott Bird

      Traps maketh the man.

    5. Buyers' guide : the Power Rack - Scott Bird

      Ready to buy a rack? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

    6. Addressing Weaknesses in The Squat - Rick Walker

      Work on weaknesses = massive PRs. Here's how to find them.

    7. Innovative Training : Band Suspended Weight - Not Just for Bench - Justin Andrushko

      And the bands begin to play.

    8. 29 Things to do with a Barbell in the Corner - Jason Kirby

      This is absolutely superb.

    9. Specific Training for the Transverse Abdominis: Belt It In - Kat 'The Mighty Kat' Ricker

      Time to tighten your built-in belt.

    10. Workout Music : Soothing Or Aggressive? - Scott Bird

      How do you like your tunes?

    11. 10 of the best : Parkour television commercials - Scott Bird

      Love watching Parkour? So do I.

    12. Taking Advantage Of Your Location : At Last - Some Real Outdoor Space - Scott Bird

      Ready for some serious outdoor training?

    13. The Investments (part II, III, IV, V and VI) - 'Unbreakable' Adam Glass Several tools which form the basis of a great training plan.
    14. From Running to Kettlebell Swings - Jordan Vezina

      Why run when you can swing?

    15. Back To The Future : The Power Of Bodyweight Exercise - Adam Steer

      The training tool you always have with you.

    16. Outdoor Fitness: Log Flippin' - Daniel Lapic

      This is seriously fun.

    17. What are Bumper Plates? - Mike Beatty

      What? How? Why?

    18. Blast from the Past : Squat Variations - Scott Bird

      There are many ways to get your squat on.


Time to get the sweat flowing.

    1. Why Conditioning is King - Dean Coulson

      What conditioning is really all about.

    2. Evolution of Sandbag Training (Part II)
    3. Conditioning Without Trying : Walking 10,000 Steps Per Day - Scott Bird

      Time to go for a walk.

    4. Suspension Training 101 - Derek 'Body By D-Rock' Peruo

      What can you do with a TRX? Over to Derek.

    5. The Heavy Bag (Gimp) - Kira Robert Clarke (Fight Geek)

      Thinking about getting a heavy bag? Make sure you read this first.


Ever get that 'just run over by a truck' feeling?

    1. Biphasic Sleep : 30 Day Summary - Scott Bird

      I switched to Biphasic Sleeping in September 2006, and have never looked back. Love it.

    2. Recovery and Regeneration for the Strength Athlete - Patrick Ward

      Tips for better recovery.

    3. Using Pulse Rate to Determine Rest Break Length - Scott Bird

      Use the pulse, Luke.

    4. Fix Your Body with a Foam Roller: The Basics - Derek 'Body By D-Rock' Peruo

      What exactly do you do with a foam roller? This.

    5. Strains and Sprains - Scott Bird

      What's the difference between a strain and a sprain?

Diet & Nutrition

Eating well makes a massive difference to your overall training.

    1. Fuel and Rest - Scott Bird

      There's a good reason I eat so much.

    2. 8 Glasses of Water Per Day? - Scott Bird

      Where did the current guideline of '8 cups per day' come from?

    3. The Truth About Honey - Sam Cox

      Honey has a lot more going for it than you might think.

    4. Transitioning to a Paleo Diet - Methuselah (Pay Now, Live Later)

      Ready to try Paleo? Great. Here's how to begin.


There's always a new way of looking at it.

  1. Visualization : The Vision Wall - Girlwithnoname

    This is a very creative idea.

  2. Give it Away : Donating Disused Training Equipment to Charity (part II) - Scott Bird

    What happens to it when you update your home gym?

  3. Checklists and Complex Problems - Adam Stoffa

    How do you tackle complex problems like athletic performance? Like this.

  4. Starting Your Fitness Journey : 10 Things To Consider - Scott Bird

    Where do you start? Right here.

  5. Ready for a Virtual Meet? - Kat 'The Mighty Kat' Ricker

    This is a brilliant idea. Cheers, Kris.

  6. Training Partners - Kira Robert Clarke (Fight Geek)

    Sometime it's great to train with someone like-minded.

  7. Get Mental! The Psychology of Strength - Josh Hewett

    The thinking side is half the challenge.

  8. Small Victories - Josh Hanagarne

    Improve what you can improve, every day.

  9. Give Your Workout a Name! - Kira Robert Clarke (Fight Geek)

    This helps more than you'd believe.

  10. Working out in the Heat - Scott Bird

    It's getting hot in here.

Yes, we love talking about strength-training. Welcome.

NB : if you’d like to contribute an article/training log/review or anything else to Straight to the Bar, get in touch. Look forward to hearing from you.

Incidentally, if this has got you thinking about your own diet, you might like to check out Dr John Berardi’s Precision Nutrition. Love it.

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.

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.

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.

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