Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength


Welcome to the Gymchats III : Using Google+
Written By : Scott Bird

I love Google+. It’s proven to be a great place to share article links & commentary, photos and research from both the fitness and medical worlds. It’s also ideal for the Gymchats.
For those who are new to these conversations, a quick definition : the Gymchats are weekly discussions (currently held on Google+) on a variety of fitness-related topics. Everything from nutrition to competition; if it relates to training, we’ll be talking about it.

To give you an idea of what these look like, the most recent Gymchats have been listed below :
Gymchat 145 – Running
Bill Long
Conversation on Wed Nov 23, 9pm EST (2am GMT)

Although I’ve sampled a number of forms of strength-training, running isn’t one of them. Yet.
This week we’re taking a look at this enigmatic activity, and finding out just what I’m missing out on. How to train for it and how it helps with other forms of
your training (and overall condition). Fantastic.

Gymchat 144 – Training at Home
Jackie Burgmann
Conversation on Wed Nov 16, 9pm EDT (1am UTC)

I love the home gym – everything’s always ready to go, set up exactly the way I like. Adjust weights, add bands/chains/other fun things and dive in. Perfect.
This week we’re returning to our conversation on Training at Home – equipment & space required, sharing progress and getting feedback. The many ways to make the most of what’s available. Fantastic.

Gymchat 143 – Strength Training Over 40
Raymond Ho, interviewed by Kirk Fontaine
Conversation on Wed Nov 9, 9pm EST (2am GMT)

A little over a year ago we first looked at the idea of training longevity; specifically Strength Training Over 40. Time to revisit some of those ideas, from a slightly different angle.
This week we’ll be returning to our discussion, looking at the nutritional, recovery, injury and equipment considerations related to training at this age. Everything that will help make sure you’re stronger, healthier and in generally better condition in your 40s (and onward) than you are/were in your 20s.

Gymchat 142 – Fitness & Autism
Eric Chessen, interviewed by Kirk Fontaine
Conversation on Wed Nov 2, 9pm EST (2am GMT)

Good afternoon or evening Plussers I will be hosting a gymchat with Eric Chessen of who is speaking on autism and fitness. We will be discussing how health and fitness principles are used in helping autistic people. Jump in the discussion to chat and ask questions concerning this issue.

Gymchat 141 – Stretching & Warming Up
Kirk Fontaine, interviewed by Derek Peruo
Conversation on Wed Oct 26, 9pm EST (2am GMT)

When you work out, do you warm up at all? Stretch perhaps? Or do you dive straight in?
This week we’ll be discussing the benefits of warm-ups and stretching – how, and when. Fantastic.

Gymchat 140 – How Do You… III
Conversation on Wed Oct 19, 9pm EDT (1am UTC)

One of the many fascinating aspects of strength-training is that everyone has a slightly different approach; based on their own goals, available equipment and information. Love it.
This week we’ll be returning to our discussion on training approaches, focusing on the many aspects of fitness other than the lifting itself. What’s your current diet like, and do you take any supplements? What sort of music do you listen to whilst training, or do you prefer to lift in silence? Other than getting a good nights’ sleep, how do you recover after a heavy session?
However you train, we’d love to hear about it.

Gymchat 139 – Hand Strength II
Lane Hagen
Conversation on Wed Oct 12, 9pm EDT (1am UTC)

I love challenging the hands. Fingertip push-ups, climbers’ chins, TTK work and a whole lot more. Good fun.
This week we’re continuing our discussion on Hand Strength, focusing on the Grip Training side of things. What it is, why it’s important and how to go about it. Fantastic.

Gymchat 138 – Hand Strength
Lane Hagen
Conversation on Wed Oct 5, 9pm EDT (1am UTC)

I love challenging the hands. Fingertip push-ups, climbers’ chins, TTK work and a whole lot more. Good fun.
This week we’re taking an in-depth look at all aspects of Hand Strength. What it is, why it’s important and how to train for it. Fantastic.

Gymchat 137 – Grip, Clubs & Health
Ryan Pitts
Conversation on Wed Sep 28, 9pm EDT (1am UTC)

I’m a huge fan of hand and forearm strengthening. Serious grip training, and all kinds of leverage work.
This week we’re taking a look at this superb partnership, particularly when it comes to using equipment such as clubs. Beautiful things.

Using Google+

Although the basic structure of the discussions is simply in the form of ‘replies to a post‘, there are a number of ways to squeeze a little more out of Google+. Both in the Gymchats, and in general.

Note that there are a lot of aspects to Google+ : the circles, hangouts, games and so on. In this post I’ll be focusing on the ‘Stream‘, or the posts themselves. This is the part of Google+ that the Gymchats use.
Let’s dive in.


Although you can simply write everything in plain text, you also have the ability to add things like bold, italics and strikethroughs to your comments and questions.
To do this :
bold – write the text between asterisks, eg
*bearhug deadlift* = bearhug deadlift
italics – write the text between underscores, eg
_bearhug deadlift_ = bearhug deadlift
strikethrough – write the text between dashes, eg
-bearhug deadlift- = bearhug deadlift
In a post, it’ll look something like this :
*David Horne* used the *Bearhug Deadlift* as part of his training to lift the _Dinnie Stones_.


When you’re looking at a page of several posts (or one long one, as is the case with each Gymchat after a few minutes), you can quickly move around with a few keyboard shortcuts. The ones I use most frequently are :
To move down to the next post, hit ‘j’. To move up to the previous post, hit ‘k’. Once you get comfortable using these keys (and they’re next to each other on the keyboard, so it’s nice and fast), you can quickly move through the posts as they appear in your stream. Much easier than trying to scroll using the mouse.
You can also click on the black bar across the top to instantly move to the top of the page. Very handy.
In the Gymchats themselves (or any post on Google+), you can get around using the following :
Hitting the space bar will scroll you a few comments down the page. Pressing Shift-Space will scroll you upwards the same amount.
Once again, clicking on the black bar (at the top of the page) will scroll you all the way up to the top. If you join the conversation late, this is a great way to see what’s been going on.
NB : if you’re familiar with other Google products, you’ll already be used to many of these shortcuts. If you’re ever in doubt, try the same ones you use with things like Gmail, Google Reader and Google Docs.

+1 Buttons

You may have seen the +1 buttons in a number of places. They simply mean ‘I like this‘ (think of Facebook’s ‘Like).
In the Gymchats (and on Google+ posts in general), you’ll see these both for the post itself and beneath each comment. If you enjoy what’s being said, show your appreciation by clicking +1.
It really is a valuable form of feedback.

Sharing, and Resharing

Beneath each Gymchat (and again, each Google+ post) is a ‘Share‘ link. This enables you to share the post with your own circles, or the people who are following you.

When the Gymchat post appears each week (if you’re following me on Google+ you’ll see it; it’s also in the weekly newsletter, and on the forums), share it with as many people as possible. I always love hearing a range of opinions from many different people.


Finally, invitations.
If you’d like to take part in one of these discussions, let me know. Send me a message on Google+, and we’ll sort out the details.
Look forward to hearing from you.

Previous articles in this series :

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.



  1. Monday, 10 Jan 2022 | Strength & Fitness Newsletter - […] video. Lane Hagen. Previously : In Gymchat 138 we discussed Hand Strength with the wonderful Lane Hagen and Personal…
  2. Monday, 17 Jan 2022 | Strength & Fitness Newsletter - […] Hagen. Previously : In Gymchat 139 we discussed Hand Strength II : Grip Work with the wonderful Lane Hagen…

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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.
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