Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength


Why I Started Training
Written By : John Cammidge

I knew lifting weights was for me when I was 12 years old; the year was 1997 and we had just moved from London out to the countryside. My father continued working in London and had to make the two hour commute every day, so he had to wake up every morning at 5am.

I have always looked up to my father, and during my summer vacations as a child I used to wake up with him at 5am to spend time with him. Every morning we watched those pointless infomercials all trying to sell the latest gadgets, tools and fitness products, we used to joke about how pointless and funny they were, but yet we still watched. I was always interested in the fitness products and distinctly remember this ab crunch machine, it was basically a red seat with two handles and it promised a six-pack in only 30 days or “your money back!

The ab crunch machine is where it all started, from that point on I was bitten by the fitness bug. Although I was a little different, I was more interested in looking bigger and stronger compared to looking like a lean fitness model. So in the summer of 1997 at the young age of 12 I remember starting my fitness regime, I would run or cycle twice a week to keep up my fitness and to get stronger I did body weight exercises, such as pullups, press ups, sit ups etc. Doing this worked well, even at such a young age, but I quickly progressed and needed to take the next step – lifting weights.

So, for my 14th birthday my parents bought me something I had wanted since I started my fitness regime, a set of dumbbells. I was ecstatic, I had a set of dumbbells totalling 50lbs, I was finally ready to start lifting weights. For the next couple of weeks I read books on the many different exercises you can do with dumbbells, I must have tried 50 or more exercises, most of which I can’t even remember. My favorite of all exercises was the dumbbell biceps curl, which I’m sure is a favorite for many young guys. I distinctly remember doing dumbbell curls twice a week in my bedroom, I remember curling 10lbs each arm for 2 minutes, resting for 30 seconds then starting again for another 2 minutes, I did this for a total of 30 minutes!

By the time I was 15 I had a home gym setup in my parents garage, I had a multi gym, a bench press and a barbell set. I could now perform more advanced exercises to help me get bigger and stronger, I remember doing bench press, chins, deadlift, rows, squats and shoulder presses about 4 times per week and let me tell you, I loved it. I was getting bigger and stronger and my school friends started to take notice!

Today I’m 26 and my passion for lifting weights grows stronger. My training routine consists of a full body workout which I do 3 times per week. I train at my local fitness center which is about 5 miles from my home, so my cardio consists of cycling to the gym. I have always been interested in feats of strength rather than the bodybuilder look, although I must admit I like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but always loved watching world’s strongest man competitions. I have been to a few powerlifting events but purely as a spectator, my plan is to compete next year just to see where I rank compared to others in my weight category.

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



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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.

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Written By John Cammidge
John Cammidge has been lifting, learning and sharing for more than 10 years. Find out more over at He can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Swing by.
Drawing of Scott Andrew Bird performing a deadlift. Artwork by Vince Palko.