Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength


Scott Andrew Bird.

Straight to the Bar Writers

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

Below are several of our articles, to give you an idea of the topics we explore. And the various authors who’ve helped make this possible. Thank you.

NB : If you’d like to write a guest post for Straight to the Bar, drop us a line.

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.