Join the Movement


Working on specific mobility & postural imbalances

Working on specific mobility & postural imbalances

I got moving on my mind.

Movement is the new hot topic, and rightly so.

For too long the bodybuilders ruled the training world and everybody trained like demons in order to look great while standing still.
Then we had the “functional training” craze which I’m still trying to block out from my memory.
Nowadays it’s mostly a combination of Olympic Lifting, Powerlifting and high intensity intervals. Which is cool.

If we look at most athletes and what they do, it’s usually something from Oly lifting, something from powerlifting, a but of interval work and then a shit load of their actual sport.

So the current “model” that fitness is following isn’t far from the what ought to happen.

The problem lies in that the vast majority of the training takes place purely in the saggital plane, ie front to back.
We squat, we deadlift, we snatch, we press, we pull. All in that front to back plane.
We always maintain good form, use the same routine each time we approach and set up the lift.
We are still training and moving like machines.

So this is where the rise in popularity of “Movement” comes in.

Guys like Ido Portal, Dewey Neilsen, MovNat, Primal Move, Animal Flow, GMB, Andreo Spina and the rest are encouraging you to get out of the saggital plane and into utilising all three planes at the same time.
Yes every one of the above mentioned guys still uses the saggital plane for basic strength development, and so should you. But you also need to get out of position, you need to change from one position to the next, you need to explore ranges of motion both loaded and unloaded.
You need to stimulate the central nervous system with physical conundrums. Take it places it really has to think about to get out of.
The joints thrive on challenge, take them to your safe end range under smooth control and then bring them back.
See how many ways you can get into and out of that end range.
Discover where that end range actually is. You can’t know centre until you’ve found the ends.

All this adds up.

Martial Arts guys, Gymnasts and Dancers do this already in their training. Contact sports guys like Rugby players will do a good bit of it in their sport.
But if you don’t take part in a sport like this, when will you ever explore these ranges in your daily life unless you put it into your training program.

So move.

Google the names I mentioned above, watch their videos.

Drop into WG-Fit on a Saturday morning for the Motion is Lotion class or attend one of the monthly Movement Classes hosted by the Irish movers Group.
The next one of these is in my place on Sunday 25th Jan, 1000-1200.
All are welcome.

Now, get up and move.

Regards

Dave Hedges
http://www.WG-Fit.com

Efficiency Over Duration


The_Persistence_of_MemoryTime is sparse.

Many people say they don’t have time to exercise.

I don’t believe them.

What most people mean is they can’t be bothered training. If they just said that, I’d be fine with it, I appreciate honesty, but saying you don’t have the time? That’s poor.

What some other mean, is that they don’t know how to train in a limited space of time.
Most people think a workout must be an hour or more of sweat and grind.

But does it?

Absolutely not.

Efficiency and intensity will trump duration in every case with the exception of developing endurance.

Even still, frequent, short, intense sessions will build work capacity which can then be honed into endurance when time allows.

So how do we get a full workout in in under an hour. Scratch that, that’s too easy. How about in 20 minutes?

Lets look at the major movement patterns. I stole these from Dan John, but since he includes them in almost every article he produces, I don’t think he’ll mind…

We have:

Upper Body Push
Upper Body Pull
Hip Hinge
Squat
Everything else (ie, Gait, Core, Prehab/Rehab etc)

Pick one exercise from each category, pick a rep range and go for it.
That’s it.
I tend to use the “Everything else” category for the warm up, you may choose it for a finisher.
But a sample short sharp workout may go like:

1A: Pull Up x 5
1B: Clean & press x 5
1C: Front Squat x 10
1D: KB Snatch x 10L/R
As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP) in 20 minutes with good form.

Ensure you adhere to good form!

kb front squat Neghar

If you’re following a progressive program rather than a WOD format, then pick 1 or 2 big lifts per session.
Maybe on day 1 use Deadlifts and Presses, on day 2 it can be Front Squats and Pull Ups.
Set a stopwatch for 15 minutes and get as many reps as each done as possible in that time span.
This is so effective, Charles Staley wrote a book on it and called it Escalating Density Training or EDT.
I use it a lot with my clients, especially those looking for fast results with little time used.

2-4 short sharp sessions per week may just be enough to get you the results you need, but only if you put in the required effort.

Each day in WG-Fit we run a lunchtime session with a short sharp “WOD” written up and many people following specific training protocols developed for their needs.
Most attendees only have a 30 minute window in which to train. A few can stay longer, but all of them get in on their lunchtime and get it done.

Join them.

Click here for details

Regards
Dave Hedges
http://www.WG-Fit.com

If you’re interested in my classes / private training, CLICK HERE

Kettlebell Workshops, CLICK HERE

A Forgotten Viewpoint on Fitness


Fitness is an odd word.

confusedFrom time to time I ask people what their definition of the word is.

It’s a question that is often answered by a look of confusion and a drawn out, “Errrmmmm….”

Then you ask them to define “Functional Fitness” and they seem to have an easier time. Easier that is as they at least have a shit load of marketing spiel and buzzwords they can drop here.

Now without pulling out the text books and dictionaries to get the modern definition of fitness, let’s have a think about what it could mean.

One of the greatest summations of fitness comes from the oft referenced Georges Hebert.
Hebert is credited as the founder/inspiration of Parkour/Free Running and also the MovNat system.
So he’s a pretty good influence.

Georges Hebert walked the talk

Georges Hebert walked the talk

He broke fitness down as follows:

“The final goal of physical education is to make strong beings. In the purely physical sense, the Natural Method promotes the qualities of organic resistance, muscularity and speed, towards being able to walk, run, jump, move on all fours, to climb, to keep balance, to throw, lift, defend yourself and to swim.”

No mention of any specific exercises or tools, just attributes that ought to be developed.

And that to me is fitness.

It’s not about the kettlebell, the barbell, the TRX or the Bosu Ball.
It’s not about the Squat, the Deadlift, the Bench Press.
It’s not about the size of your “gunz” or the tightness of your “bunz”

It’s about being strong, mobile and enduring enough to tick all ten of his boxes.

Walking is the most fundamental of all Human movement, we practice it even before we are born and spend the first year of our lives with the sole goal of achieving bipedal locomotion.

Running, is the next step up from walking. We can jog with almost the same energy efficiency of a walk meaning we can cover serious miles. Not only that we can put in a fair turn of speed when we need to.

Moving on all fours, or crawling, is very much back in vogue with the rise of Movement type practice. But not only that being able to get low and utilise four points of contact to locomote with is exceptionally practical in rough terrain.
And there are those that tell us crawling is a reset for our system. It certainly feels good in the hips, spine and shoulders.

"The Daddy Bear is going to eat you!"

“The Daddy Bear is going to eat you!”

Climbing. Here’s an experiment, put a child next to some rocks or a tree stand back and watch. I’ll bet in no time at all there will be an outbreak of climbing. It’s like crawling but on a more vertical trajectory.

Throwing, both hands, forwards, backwards, whatever. It’s fun as well as an expression of full body explosive power.

Lift. Picking up heavy things. Obviously.

Mind Over Metal Seb

Swimming is a life skill as well as great exercise.

Defend. This is the one I was getting to.
Up to this point Heberts fitness standards would be fairly common, most people run, walk and lift. Many Climb and Swim. And pretty much all of us would throw from time to time, even if that’s just the kettlebell ballistics.
But defence. The ability to stand up for oneself and those that you care about.
The ability to give and take a punch, to be courageous in the face of danger?

Well?

Could you?

Would you?

Mick Coup explaining the punch

Mick Coup explaining the punch

The reason Heberts list speaks to me is that it was the element of Defence that got me into fitness and training in the first place.
It’s 26 years now since I walked into St Martins Junior Karate club. 21 years since I added strength work to my Karate (defence), Running and cycling. 18 years since I added climbing. And even today my training still is still directed towards being effective in self defence scenario.
It’s something I’ve spent time in as a professional, as a martial artist and more recently a coach.

This weekend I’ll be sharing genuine, tried and tested Self Defence information and training over tow days.
There are a few spots left for late comers, details can be found HERE

See you on Saturday

Regards

Dave Hedges
http://www.WG-Fit.com

 

The Art of Fighting Without Fighting


It’s no secret that my love for fitness training and passion for human efficiency grew out of my martial arts training.
It’s also no secret that I spent several years working as a full time Pub & Nightclub doorman.

Every now and again I run a self defence workshop, I almost always run one at the end of the year as this is when the streets go wild and the number of assaults rise as the silly season kicks in.

This year though will be a little bit different.

In my gym I have several people who work in the Social and Health services, who from time to time stay back after training to ask me questions about dealing with aggression and aggressive behaviour.

This means I have to lecture them on what we call “Non-Violent Conflict Management”

Truth!

Lets be realistic for a moment.
I’m 6′ 2″, 90kg, strong determined and trained.

Do the maths.

Do you think you could stop me without taking damage?

What if I was armed?

This is where the non-violent methods really stand.
It’s the art of preventing the assault happening in the first place. It means that the 5’5″, 65 kg female doesn’t have to deal with me throwing her around like a rag doll.

Non-Violent Conflict Management is non sexy but it very often works and not just in a professional environment.
It may be the key to preventing a situation from escalating into physical violence.

If you’ve taken one of my courses you’ll have heard me talk about the Self Defence Continuum, which is a fancy term that simply rounds up the basis of my teaching.
The continuum is:

Avoid – Evade – Confront

The first two points, Avoid & Evade are where the Non Violent  training sit, the third option, Confront is for when force becomes the only option.

fightingwithoutfighting

So this is going to make up a good section of this years course. Most of the first day to be fair.
This means on day one we’ll look into:

  • The Self-Defence continuum of Avoid-Evade-Confront
  • Non Violent Conflict Management
  • Situational Awareness
  • Body Language
  • The “Fence” concept
  • Introduction to the hard skills

Then on Day 2:

  • Quick review of day 1
  • Developing the hard skills
  • Determination drills
  • Intro to “anti-grappling”

It’ll be a busy 2 days, but valuable.
With luck I’ll have with me on day 1 an expert in the field of social services who’s worked with young offenders and the mentally ill. Her presentation alone is worth the rest of the course.

For details on booking, follow THIS LINK

Regards

Dave Hedges
http://www.WG-Fit.com & http://www.WildGeeseMA.com

 

 

Ask Dave: Where’s a Good Place to Do Some Meditation?


This one came from one of our Thai Boxers.
We were discussing an injury he’s been carrying and then afterwards he asked the above question.

Meditation, it's good enough for Leo....

Meditation, it’s good enough for Leo….

My answer:

At home.

Simple.

Most things usually are simple.

Meditation has been a part of the martial arts for as long as martial arts have been around, and for damn good reason.
There’s no better way of settling the mind, relaxing the body and attaining focus than spending a few minutes each day in some form of meditation.

The science community have done many studies on people in a meditative state and pretty much all agree that for brain health, it’s one of the best things we can do for ourselves. (here’s a couple to get you started: Psychology Today wrote THIS, and THIS one is from Harvard Medical School)

The problem arises when you look at all the bullshit and bollocks that’s espoused by the new age tree huggers when they wax lyrical about meditation.
They insist on having rituals and props all in place before beginning any sort of practice. They tell you to sit in a particular way, burn a particular incense, chant a particular sound bite.

Not all tree huggers are bad....

Not all tree huggers are bad….

Is any of this necessary?

No.

Do you need those DVD’s and CD’s?

No.

Whale noises?

No.

So what do you need?

Are you ready for this?

Time.

And that’s it.

How much time?

Well, how much can you spare?
5 mins? Ok
10 mins? Better.
2 mins? Hell. that’ll do
20 mins? Probably ideal, if such a thing exists.

Posture:
Anything comfortable. Sit, lie down, kneel, squat, recline, walk.

Breathing:
This is important. You must breathe deep into your abdomen,
If you’re a chest breather, your going to struggle, so for you I suggest training the breath prior to attempting to meditate, here’s how

Everything Else:
Try to ensure you won’t be disturbed. If you like music, play some. If you like incense or smelly candles, go for it.

The key is the breath and your conscious mind.

warrior meditation

This simple method of meditation is called the 100 and is the simplest place to start.
It goes like this:

Each time you exhale, count.

The “goal” is to count 100 exhales.

The word goal is in inverted commas as it’s not really a goal. The goal is to remain focussed on the task of counting the breath.
Should you lose count, so what? Simply start counting from 1 again, no stress, no panic.
If you get caught up in a thought from your busy mind, so what? As soon as you recognise the fact, start counting again from 1.

It’s that simple.
Not easy.
But simple.

It’s so simple it can be done on the bus or train as you commute.
It can be done in bed to help you sleep.
It can be done walking in the park.
It can be done anytime your mind starts racing with uncontrolled or anxious thoughts.

There are many other forms of meditation, but as a start point, this is possibly the best of them.

Try it for yourself.

Regards

Dave Hedges
http://www.Wg-Fit.com

 

Are You Ready For A Night on the Town?


friday-night-workout-weights-04072011It’s friday!

This means most of you will come into me nice and early to get your training out of the way for the day, then as soon as the whistle blows to finish work, you’ll be into your glad rags and out on the town.

And fair play, you possibly earned it.

Possibly.

For the best part of 10 years I was one of those people you walked past with barely a nod on the way in and out of your pub of choice. I stood in the shadows around the dance floor as you danced, oblivious of the people around you.
For ten years I was a Doorman, not just in Dublin either, but in Andorra in the Pyrenees  Dubai in the UAE and Canberra in Australia.

And regardless of the location, the story always went the same.

Each and every shift, myself and the other lads would watch as the alcohol kicked in, guards dropped, egos inflated and before we knew it we’d be in. If we got there in time we’d be diffusing a situation, if we didn’t we’d be pulling two or more bodies apart and physically removing them from the venue.

A lot of the time it was just something stupid, a silly argument that got heated. Sometimes it was more sinister.

bouncer_02

Even on the route home after a shift, I’d see the same things happening on the street. I’ve seen pickpockets tailing some of the people that had left the bar not long before I did. One night I turned a corner and saw a woman on her own with three youths attempting to snatch her handbag. They succeeded, but ran the wrong way. They ran towards me, when they should have run the other way.

Now I’m not writing this for the glory, look at me the hero doorman, no I’m kind of reminiscing over people innocently landing themselves in bother or people setting themselves up as victims almost inviting a predatory attack.
I’m thinking, could these events been avoided or handled differently.

And the answer is a resounding yes.

With a few simple pointers, these people may never have gotten into these situations.

I’m also looking at the Central Statistics Office website at the Assault figures and seeing the number rise year on year going from just over 13 thousand to over 15 thousand cases. Cases of trespass have nearly doubled from 2004 to 2007 and has continued to rise.

This is why from time to time I run a workshop looking at the simple and basic elements of self defence.
It’s kind of what the cool kids call “Reality Based Self Defence” or “Self Protection”
I’m not cool and rather call a spade a spade, so to me the title of “Basic Self Defence Skills” is good enough.

The next one of these will take place on the May Bank Holiday Weekend.
You have the chance to join me from 1000 – 1600 on Sunday 5th for Basic Self Defence Skills and again on Monday 6th for Rapid Response Knife Defence.

Here’s some of what we’ll look at:

Sunday 5th May:Basic Self Defence Skills

  • Environmental Awareness
  • Situational Awareness
  • Avoid/Evade/Confront Continuum
  • Fundamental Body Mechanics for Power Generation
  • The Three Fundamental Arm/Hand Strikes
  • Wedge Defence

 

rapid responseMonday 6th May: Rapid Response Knife Defence Skills

  • Flinch Response
  • Blocking, Parrying, Passing &Trapping Skills
  • “Safe” position
  • Counter Offensive techniques from safe position
  • Simultaneous Cover & Counter

Each day will cost €50, or attend both for €70.
No entries will be taken on the day, so drop me a line about putting down a deposit.

This workshop will not turn you into Jason Bourne, but it will give you the baseline skills, which if practiced and applied can and will keep you and those you care about safe from harm.
I won’t try to baffle you with bullshit.
I will teach you high quality, time proven and field tested information.
This is not a martial arts course, it is pure self defence, like martial arts used to be before competitions were created.

Till then, enjoy your weekend.

Regards

Dave
http://www.wg-fit.com

 

Extreme Training Proves to be Harmful, Who Knew?


I just came across an interesting article highlighted through the power of facebook.
This isn’t an unusual occurrence, quite often I open facebook, scroll through the home page and within a few minutes I have a dozen windows open each one featuring a new article on fitness or strength & conditioning.

But this one caught me, I figured it was worth, not only sharing, but actually discussing.

If you click on the image below you can read the article, for those who can’t be bothered I’ll highlight the key points below:

Click the image to read the full article

  • Running can take a toll on the heart that essentially eliminates the benefits of exercise.
  • But among the running cohort, those who ran a lot—more than 20 to 25 miles a week—lost that mortality advantage.
  • no mortality benefit for those who ran faster than 8 miles per hour, while those who ran slower reaped significant mortality benefits.
  • “Chronic extreme exercise appears to cause excessive ‘wear-and-tear’ on the heart,”
  • “If you are running more than 15 miles a week, you are doing it for some reason other than health,” said Dr. Kenneth Cooper (the blokey who kickstarted the whole aerobics thing)

So what can we take from this?

The key point as I see it is the word “extreme”
Anything taken to the extreme will be detrimental, maybe not immediately, but certainly over time.
Look at any high level sports meet and you’ll see broken people all over the place. Hell, I’m one of the broken people, I took body to the limit far too many times over the years to be anything other than broken!

Perhaps this is why I choose to train my guys the way I train them. I’m all for extreme challenges, I’ve a rake of endurance athletes training under me, I’ve high level martial artists and generally a generally nuts population who all attend WG-Fit on a regular basis, most of whom would happily train themselves into an early grave and do so with a smile.
But my job, as coach, is to moderate them.

And this is the key factor for anyone training for health and longevity.
Yes, if you’re a professional athlete, health is secondary to performance. You know that you push and push and eventually you won’t be able to push any further, but that’s the nature of the beast. The best know to retire before the sport eats them up entirely.

If you’re not a pro, then why?
Why not take a more moderate approach, build up, back off, build up again, back off again. Some call this periodisation, I call it common sense.
If you’re an endurance athlete, such as those I used to admire back when I lived in the English Lake District, mix up your training. The guys in the Lakes would simply go out and run, it’s a lesson that took a while for me to understand, but eventually I got it. Running isn’t exercise, it’s a natural function of being alive, so enjoy it.
Take the time to look around, enjoy the scenery (this why I no longer run much, if I returned to the mountains I’d definitely be lacing up once more), enjoy the experience of flowing with the terrain.

I do find that many involved in more tactical sports, and by that I don’t mean these pseudo military crap that are all over the inter web right now, I mean sports that have tactics involved, skills. Sports that are about more than just all out effort.
These guys spend about half their time just practising and the other half training.

What’s the difference?

Lets talk about a fighter as an example.

pic courtesy of Ce’s The Day Photography

I watch our Muay Thai lads training every day. They work for 2 hours, 4-6 days per week. That will easily equate to the training volume undertaken by a fairly serious endurance athlete.
But here’s the difference. Most of the training is done at a relatively leisurely pace. They are practicing skills, and for practice to be effective it must be perfect. So fatigue must be avoided.
Now a couple of times a week they push harder, but most of the time it is practice practice practice. The training really escalates as a fight approaches, then when it’s over, rest.

How many gym goers or endurance athletes take this same approach?
How many take the time to simply practice running, to perfect their technique?

Very few I’ll bet.
And it’s a safe bet, because I was the same.
It took spending time with some older runners, men who were in their 50’s and were awesome, for me to learn that you don’t always need to push. Sometimes you just go out and enjoy the process. And you know what? Like the thai boxer perfecting his kick on the bag for an hour, half pace, no power, then getting into the ring and delivering a bone jarring kick. Your running or whatever sport you’re into, will improve.

Sometimes playing is more important than training.

Regards

Dave
http://www.wg-fit.com