Enhanced Athleticism through Unconventional Kettlebell & Bodyweight Lifts

10 02 2014

“Bodybuilding is about time under tension, Kettlebell Lifting is about time out of tension” – Valery Federenko

anasenkoThis is a quote that has intrigued me for a while.

Over the years I’ve been coaching, especially the more recent years as I’ve visited other gyms as a guest instructor, I’ve noticed a trend amongst people.
It seems that while everyone I deal with does some kind of physical fitness training, and many are capable of greater feats of strength than myself, it seems that they are locked into a tight box of movement, unable to break out.

All their time under tension had created a body that was good at one thing, being tense. So while standing still and lifting something heavy came easy, anything else was a chore.

Strength training is great, don’t get me wrong, but to get strong for strengths sake isn’t the best approach in my mind.
Getting strong to improve performance is the key.

This means that even if you don’t play some sport, you must still do something that expresses the body’s ability to move, to celebrate the glory of movement, not simply be living statues.

On the Anatomy in Motion course I attended recently I was chatting with Chris Sritharan, the AiM no 2 man. In conversation he mentioned that strength training does not improve human movement. We’d already been taught how the AiM opinion is that a muscle must lengthen before it can contract, which falls in line with a lot of the martial arts tuition I’ve had.

So if strength training doesn’t improve human movement, what does it do?

Simple, it increases the potential for human movement. It expands the limits in which the human body can perform.

But only if performance is practised.

If you run, play sport, fight, climb or whatever, I dare say you are using your strength training to improve what you do. But what about those who just lift?
Those that train strength for strengths sake or for the aesthetic benefits are often the ones who become muscle bound, tight and uncoordinated.

It’s to these people that the lesser known kettlebell and bodyweight drills are most useful.
Not only will they round out your training, but they’ll ensure you stay agile, athletic and able to move freely, generating force in any direction at any time.
If you are a practising athlete, these drills may just give you that edges as well as elongate your career.
spiderman push up 4s
Bodyweight and kettlebell movements follow the AiM rules of stretching a muscle to make it fire, so keep the nervous system firing like its supposed to. Not only that, they break out of the standard linear movements that the majority of strength training lifts follow.

This is some of what I’ll be teaching on March 9th during the Kettlebell & Bodyweight workshop.
Over the day we will look at:

Odd Kettlebell Lifts including:
  • Windmills, Side Press & Bent Press
  • “Zoro”
  • Lateral Swings & Circular Cleans
  • More if we have the time

We’ll also take on variations of the classical kettlebell lifts,  taking the kettlebell lifts away from the saggital plane.

We’ll also look at intermediate and advanced bodyweight drills, animal and agility movements, turning the Plank into a worthwhile exercise and……
Yes, burpees, we have 18+ variations on this already tough drill, dare you try them all?

This is a loose format, we will be taking questions and answering them as they come up.
The workshop is open to everyone, although a basic knowledge of the common kettlebell lifts is necessary to get the most out of the day.
We’re taking bookings now, our early bird price expires this afternoon, so move quickly!
THIS LINK will take you to the booking form.
And if thats not enough…….
I’ve just launched a new service for booking appointments/classes, tracking your membership and even allowing you to pay online. It’s a service called FrontDeskHQ and so far seems very user friendly, I hope to make it my primary system after I’ve finished trialling. So please get yourselves registered, or at the very least have a look and tell me what you think of the service, keeper or not? Here’s the link: https://wgfit.frontdeskhq.com

Kettlebell Snatch Tutorial part VI – Double Bells

20 11 2013

Welcome to part 6 of the Snatch Tutorial series.
In case you missed them, here are Part 1 Part 2 Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5

How you feel after a set of Double KB Snatch.

How you feel after a set of Double KB Snatch.

This is the post that didn’t want to get posted! First of all I lost the bloody video, probably deleted without thinking, and then wordpress herself decided to have a hissy fit for the whole morning!

So, all apologies, here is Part 6: Double Bells.

So far we’ve covered the Snatch in a fair bit of detail, but only wit one bell. However, everything you’ve learned so far is relevant here when we double up. Everything except the rotation from the waist.
And the staggered stance.
Or the diagonal flight path.

Everything ELSE is still valid….

What I’m trying to say is, make sure you can snatch well before moving up to doubles.

Once you make the jump though you will not be disappointed, it’s a monster lift for developing explosive power and power endurance. If you play contact sports, especially Rugby or any form of wrestling, this will add some real pep you you punch.

Do take care when you first start. You’ll see in the video my first demo started with a we swing to get the bells moving. This was simply because it was cold and I can feel my old back injuries sending out their wee warning s signs. I have another lifter who struggles a bit with his back does the same thing, he always starts his swings/cleans/snatches with a wee pre swing before the first rep. This is not poor technique, it’s simply recognising that going from a dead start (as I do in latter sets in the clip) requires good mobility and a strong back.
If the mobility is lacking, or the back isn’t great, the deep initial start position can be problematic.

Then there’s the drop.
To start with, segment to the drop into two stages. Bring the bells first to the chest, then down into the swing, as you would if performing  the Clean and Press or Long Cycle lifts.
Again, this will reduce the load on the back as the bells won’t have as much time / distance to accelerate in. And as we know from watching the Big Bang Theory, Force = Mass x Acceleration.
The further the bells drop, the faster they will be travelling at the terminus of the back swing, so a pair of 24′s as in the video will be exerting significantly more than 48kg’s of force as I arrest and reverse the motion.
As you get stronger, this is a good thing, but for starting out, not so much.

Here’s the video:

As I mention in the clip, there are many ways to implement the lift, here’s a few examples:

  • Prior to the heavy main lift, ie your deadlifts. Try 3 sets of 5 reps with 2 minute breaks before a heavy deadlift session.
  • Stand alone posterior chain work – 10 sets of 3 or 5 sets of 5 will smoke you. I recommend lots of low rep sets for this, it’s not a lift you want to take to fatigue, especially if you’re working heavy.
  • Finisher, you saw in the video one of the finishers we use, feel free to use it as a kickstart to your own ideas.
    5 x double snatch, 10 x sit thru, 10 x push up for time….or
    Press x 5, Front Squat x 5, Double Snatch x 5 for several sets
    the options go on….

Have fun with this.

I have another Snatch post in the pipeline for you offering some of the less common variations on the lift and a few ideas on how to integrate the snatch into your training.


Dave Hedges


Kettlebell Snatch Tutorial part V – Foot Position & Bell Flightpath

13 11 2013

Not how you do it.

Not how you do it.

Welcome to part 5 of the Snatch Tutorial series.
In case you missed them, here are Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 and Part 4

In this episode we discuss two things, the path along which the bell will travel and also the addition of footwork to the lift.

The bell path has already been touched on with some of the drills in previous tutorials. By using the wall to restrict movement and also by swapping hands, we have had to adjust the path of the bell. But there’s still more to it.

Each lifter has a different body shape and history of training and injury. They also have differing training needs and goals. So with that in mind the Snatch is open to a fair degree of personalisation.

Some call these personalisations “Styles”

I tends to stay away from the whole styles debate, instead looking at the solid principles behind a lift. Once these are understood, you can add in whatever you need to make the lift fit your needs better.

For example, the changes in stance and flight path here give the lifter a very different feel to the snatch.

When a lifter initially learns to snatch they are taught to have the bell travel in a near vertical path, but it is clear from looking at the end position, this is not the most efficient track. For the bell to travel vertically would mean for it to finish directly overhead. This is not possible.
So there is a diagonal element to its flight, from below the groin to its terminus over the shoulder.
If we stagger our stance slightly we can make further use of this path by creating space for the bell to continue on its diagonal track unobstructed by the off side leg.
This also spreads the load away from the often problematic sacro-illiac joint taking it deeper into the rearmost glute. The angled hip also allows for a greater whip from the waist during the acceleration phase of the lift.

Have a look at this video clip as it discusses the stance work and bell path.

Now these techniques are best suited for competent lifters, spend time reviewing the basics as discussed in the first part of this series. And if you like these posts on Kettlebell Technique, please have a look at the Kettlebell Manuals available by clicking on the image below:

Click Image for more info

Click Image for more info


Dave Hedges

Basic Self Defence Skills Sat 31st Nov
Rapid Response Knife Defence Sun 1st Dec
Bookings now being taken HERE

Kettlebell Snatch Tutorial part IV – Correct Breathing Patterns

6 11 2013

Welcome to part 4 of the Snatch Tutorial series.
In case you missed them, here are Part 1 Part 2 and Part 3

b-w snatchIn this edition we look at the breathing patterns behind successful snatching.
Kettlebell lifting happens best of we follow the anatomical breathing pattern. In simple terms this means that as the body expands, you inhale, as it compresses, you exhale.

This is contrary to the majority of lifting practices, but has solid reasoning behind it.
For most lifting, a heavy barbell lift, say a squat or deadlift, you take a breath in to lower and exhale to lift. In other words you compress the body with a bellyful of air and only let it out as you fully expand. This is known as paradoxical breathing but it serves to keep the intra-abdominal pressure high in order to create stiffness through the torso and keep the spine safe. Ideal for maximum effort or high threshold lifting but no good for endurance.

Kettles are not maximal weights. Well, not usually on the Snatch, and certainly not if you’re only using one kettlebell (we’ll cover the double snatch in a future post….)

So the need for maximal intra abdominal pressure is greatly reduced once good form and good technique is learned. And to be fair, if you learn to swing properly, you should be already swinging bells heavier than you can snatch.

If we switch to using the anatomical style of breathing we will be able to get more air in and out, you’ll even manage more breath cycles per rep and in doing so will be able to work for much longer.

If you plan on taking on the “Hard Style” secret service snatch test or compete in a kettlebell sports event, then you’ll want as much oxygen going through you as possible.

This video goes into a good deal of detail on the hows and why’s of breathing for maximum efficiency in the snatch:

I’ve written about breath control techniques before and talked about how extra breath cycles, with an emphasis on the exhale, are the key to both power endurance and fast recovery. You can read that one HERE

And if you like these posts on Kettlebell Technique, please have a look at the Kettlebell Manuals available by clicking on the image below:

Click Image for more info

Click Image for more info

Next week we discuss the flight path of the Kettlebell and also footwork for the snatch.


Dave Hedges

There are only a couple of spots left for the Bodyweight & Kettlebell Workshop in Tramore. More info & booking details HERE

Kettlebell Snatch Tutorial part III – The Drop

30 10 2013

Welcome to part 3 of the Snatch Tutorial series.
In case you missed them, here are Part 1 and Part 2

Anton Anasenko, possibly the best pound for pound lifter in history begins the drop

Anton Anasenko, possibly the best pound for pound lifter in history begins the drop, he recently put up 207 reps in 10 minutes with 32kgs at a bodyweight of 85kg, and that’s with only 1 hand change

So we’ve covered the basic technique and gone into detail on the hand insertion. The next big stumbling block for most people is the drop.
This segment is often overlooked, it’s the non glamorous side of the lift. Everyone gasps in awe as you effortless throw that weight overhead, but few care about how you put it down again.
If you’re an Olympic Weightlifter, that’s fine as the weight is simply dropped to the floor after setting their one rep max. Kettles are different though, it’s not about lifting it once and going for a little sit down, no it’s about lifting it over and over. It’s about power endurance, work capacity and being able to demonstrate strength, stamina and staying power.

And for this to happen, efficiency is key.

Once we’ve snatched and locked out our kettle, we are now thinking about our next rep. To get this rep efficiently we have to control the descent of the bell so as to conserve energy and get the bell into the optimal position to relaunch it.

It’s where a huge amount of lifters fail.

To get the most out of the snatch as both a training drill and a competition lift, we must understand one key idea:

We must counterbalance the weight of the bell with something and that something is our head.

This is some thing I’ll go into more detail on in next weeks instalment, but for now I just need you keep in mind the importance of moving the head to counter the bell and keel the body balanced.

The very first thing a lifter will do in order to initiate the drop will be lean the head and torso back while they bring their elbow in towards their midline. Check out the image of Anton Anasenko above to see this in action, and I don’t care what school of lifting you come from, but anyone who can put up 207 reps with a 32kg in 10 minutes, while only changing hands once, has to be someone you can learn from.

So if your aim to get as many reps as possible, as quickly as possible, then you must not ignore this step.

By leaning the head and torso back you will be able to:

1 – reduce the height the bell must fall
2 – bring the bell into a position where it has the most efficient line to swing through the legs
3 – bring the upper arm closer to the torso so that the body can start decelerating the bell as early as possible.

All in all, we get a more efficient drop that is smoother and less taxing on grip, back and shoulder and therefore allows us to work faster for longer, or with more weight.

The video presentation here shows all that as well as some of the correctional drills we use to tidy up the drop.

Have a watch:

If you’re enjoying this series, don’t forget to grab yourself a copy of the Level 3 manual covering the Jerk & Snatch lifts in high detail:

Click Image for more info

Click Image for more info


Dave Hedges

Kettlebell Snatch Tutorial part II – “Hand Insertions”

23 10 2013

snatchWelcome to Part 2 of the Kettlebell Snatch Tutorial, if you missed part 1, click HERE

I have to say a big thankyou for all the positive feed back from last weeks post, including one guy telling me that the video was the most informative one he’d seen on the subject.
Well, just wait for this and the following posts!

In this instalment we look at one of the most difficult aspects of the lift to get right, the hand insertion.

The hand insertion is where you transfer the bell from the hook created by the fingers during the swing portion of the lift, to the heel of the hand in the lockout on the way up and reversing it on the way back down.
Get this wrong, especially on the drop and you:

  • Increase the likelihood of tearing the hands
  • Fatigue the grip
  • Fatigue the shoulder
  • Drop the bell
  • Will become unstable in the lockout
  • End up working far harder than necessary!

Fortunately there’s a drill for this.

This drill serves to teach you the timing on the hand insertions, as soon as you’ve mastered this, the drill becomes defunct. So use this until you can do it, then bin it and just get back to training the snatch.
All too often people get tied up in these kind of supplementary or “attribute development” drills and lose sight of the bigger picture.  Don’t be that guy!

Although, this does look cool!

Essentially we change hands halfway through the lift. As we swing the bell up with one hand, we will swap it to our other hand to lock it out. This requires the development of:

  • A good, dynamic swing
  • An accurate swing that follows the correct path (more on this next week)
  • Development of the confidence to let go of the bell in mid flight.
  • Timing on the release from one section of the hand to the other.

Simply getting this drill working smoothly is one of the most all encompassing self teaching methods for smoothing out your snatch technique.

Enough words, here’s the video:

As I already stated, don’t spend your life being distracted by this drill, no matter how cool people think you look tossing a bell from hand to hand. But always remember, there is a risk of dropping the bell, make sure you don’t drop it on you or anyone else!

Next week we’ll cover both the drop and breathing patterns.

All this info and more can be found in the Level 3 Kettlebell Manual available by clicking the image below:

Click Image for more info

Click Image for more info


Dave Hedges

Kettlebell Snatch Tutorial Part I

16 10 2013



Welcome to the first in a series of posts covering the Kettlebell Snatch.

The Snatch is a incredibly deceptive lift. Initially it seems fairly simple, but as you get into it you will find it like the rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland, it just gets deeper and deeper.
It is a lift that requires hard work but rewards technical precision.
To get the most out of it you must demonstrate patience and persistence.
Failure to delve into this rabbit hole of technical mastery will lead to frustration, lost skin and potential injury.

So in this series of articles, each with video presentations I’ll offer insights and technical corrections that you can add into your training to get the most out of this incredible lift.

Before we begin, you should not be snatching until you have your swing dialled in tight. If in doubt, check out these tutorials on the Kettlebell Swing.
I’d also advise reviewing the Kettlebell Clean tutorials because the hand insertion on the clean is the same as on the snatch.

For ALL tutorials and more click here!

So now you’ve done that and you’re swinging and cleaning with proficiency, lets have a crack at the Snatch.

In this first video we go over the basics, what I refer to as the “rough snatch” and how we tidy it up to minimise the potential damage to the hands and wrist.
The clip is a bit blurry, it seems my kids have been messing with the camera when I wasn’t watching!

Here’s the first clip:



Next week we’ll go into refining the hand transition and also the drop, two areas that most people struggle with.


Dave Hedges

For details of upcoming Workshopsplease click HERE



8 Reasons for Adding Kettles to your Training

30 08 2013

Kettlebell Lifting in 2008 under the instruction of Vasily Gincko

Kettlebell Lifting in 2008 under the instruction of Vasily Ginko

I like kettlebells.

I make a living teaching people to train with kettlebells.

I help people increase strength, power and athleticism by using kettlebells.

I’ve been doing this since 2008, a few years after I’d discovered the benefits of training with them myself.

So here’s a few observations of what proper kettlebell technique can do for people who implement then into their training.

  1. Low back strength.
    Actually, to be more accurate, it’s endurance not strength that we’re talking here.
    The low back muscles are part of what Janda called the Phasic or anti gravity muscles (LINK) which are prone to weakness. The majority of kettlebell movements are born out of a swinging, pendulum like action which directly targets these phasic muscles stimulating them to remain strong and more importantly, enduring.
    When it comes to back health, you can;t do much better than a daily dose of 1 handed swings.
  2. Dialing in the hip hinge.
    The hip is the primary hinge of the body, the pelvis is and anchor point for a massive amount of musculature,

    The Hip Hinge

    The Hip Hinge

    many of which are the big players in power development.
    So many people I’ve worked with over the years have lost the ability to hinge properly through the hip, instead they bend and flex through the spine. Needless to say, they are often injured and struggle to put out any meaning levels of force.
    A few weeks of practicing the kettlebell swing pretty soon has them moving and feeling a lot better.
    Once the hip hinge is reestablished, the glutes can work better, the hamstrings become more tolerant and nearly every other movement pattern gets cleaner as a result.

  3. Forgiving for the shoulder.
    I can’t press a barbell overhead or do hand stand push ups with any frequency. To do so will leave me unable to lift my right arm.
    Yes, I have banged up shoulders, and I’ll bet you do to.
    But the overhead press is a key movement in a strength and conditioning program. It’s good for the rotator cuff, it strengthens the core and it’s just damn cool to hoist heavy metal over your head.
    The shape of the kettle lends a helping hand here. With it sitting low on the back of the forearm, you can rack the bell on the chest with the elbows tucked in. As you press them, the arms move independently in an unrestricted path to lockout.
    The whole lift allows a far more natural motion from the shoulder and therefore isn’t as stressful as it’s barbell counter parts. So even me, with my bum shoulder can press with frequency when using the kettle.
  4. It’s great for teaching the Squat Pattern.
    I like training using a movement pattern format. I’ve spoken about this many times, and even in this post I’ve covered the hip hinge and vertical press, so we may as well look at the knee bend or squat pattern.
    Holding a kettle tight to the chest and then performing a squat is a self teaching lesson in movement. Lean too far forwards and you’ll drop the bell, fail to sit back and you’ll overbalance forwards.
    Dan John christened this the Goblet Squat and he knows what he’s on about. In this previous post I talk about the squat progressions and regressions I like to use, and how the barbell sits at the highest point of the hierarchy.
  5. They sit in a unique position on the strength curve.
    Kettles are light. Even the heavy ones.
    Think about it for a moment.
    A 40kg kettlebell is a monster, it’s pain in the arse to do anything much with, yet if you think about it, it’s the same weight as a barbell with two tens on.
    Now a barbell loaded with a pair of tens, well who’s going to take that seriously?
    But a 40kg kettle? that’s vicious.
    It’s the way we lift kettles that makes them hurt so bad with so little weight. It’s that repetitive ballistic loading that we endure on every rep of a swing, a clean or a snatch.
    The faster the bell moves, the heavier it feels at the turn around point behind the body. Get a measuring tape, a calculator, a stopwatch and a physics student and I’m sure you can figure out exactly how much extra force that 40kg bell is exerting as you halt it’s backswing with your hammies and back before asking those muscles to fire even harder to swing it forwards again!
    To keep a long story short, the classical kettlebell lifts are about as close to plyometric as you can get without actually jumping up and down.
    While we’re on the subject of weight, kettles that weigh less than 8kg aint kettles. They’re paperweights. Stop waving them around.
  6. The swing is a horizontal movement
    How many exercises can you think of that train the hip extension with an emphasis on horizontal force

    Sprinting requires massive amounts of horizontal force production

    Sprinting requires massive amounts of horizontal force production

    production that you can do standing up?
    Not many.
    Most lifts are vertical in nature. Deadlifts, Power Cleans. Both vertical.
    Pull Throughs, ok, horizontal, but a cable stack costs a shit load more than a kettle.
    Hip thrusts, fantastic, but you are lying down. Although, I dare you to try super setting heavy barbell hip thrusts for 4-6 reps with heavy swings for 8-12 reps. Go back and forth between the two with 1 minute breaks between drills for at least three sets. Good luck on the walk home!

    Back to the point of the point.
    How many sporting actions require horizontal force production from a standing position?
    Sprinting, kicking, punching………….

  7. Strength – Power – Endurance
    This is the true function of the kettle. Ever seen kettlebell sport? I bet you’ve heard of Pavel’s Secret Service Snatch Test (SSST).
    You see that SSST, it pales in comparison to Kettlebell Sport, but both are rough. You need to be strong enough to lift the bell, powerful enough to do it quickly and enduring to do it lots of time. Do you think that’ll help your athletic performance? Hell yes.
  8. Injury proofing
    Pretty much all of the above adds up to creating a body that is very hard to kill.
    I have rugby players, GAA players, triathletes, BJJ players, Thai Boxers and athletes from just about every other sport where getting hurt is part of the game. They have all reported massive improvements in toughness from adding the kettle lifts to their training program. Simply adding swings to a lower body session and switching your pressing to kettlebells will do wonders for your longevity.

And I’m still learning.

You want to learn more come to the

Kettlebell Lifting Levels 1 & 2 workshop
September 8th, 1000 – 1600
At Wild Geese Fitness, Dublin 2
Details HERE.

 and if you are a coach,  this is for you:
Kettlebell Instructor Training Certification:
October 5th & 6th, 0900 – 1700 both days.
Details HERE



Dave Hedges


Workshops for 2013

27 08 2013

The year is flying in at breakneck speed and we’re running out of time.

My little man will be back in school next week starting his second year, senior infants. It wasn’t that long ago we were doing with him what we are currently doing with his little brother, potty training!

It’s nuts how quick time is passing by.

It’s the reason I announced a few weeks ago that I’m scaling back on my workshop schedule and any events that take me away from my kids for any length of time.

So with only 4 months remaining this year, I will only be running 4 workshops.

Here’s how it looks:

Kettlebell Lifting Levels 1&2

8th September, 1000 – 1600
This is the last public kettlebell workshop I’m running this year.
We will stick more or less to the Level 1 and 2 syllabus, but if we have the time we may explore other avenues of the kettle.
The information covered will be:

  • Joint Mobility
  • The Swing, from beginner to advanced practitioner
  • Clean
  • Press & Push Press
  • Squats
  • Turkish Get-Up
  • Breathing patterns
  • Workout ideas
  • Potentially more………

The day is open to all, it is ideal for those picking up a kettle for the first time or practitioners looking to better understand the lifts. It is also a prerequisite for attending the following months Instructor Training Cert.
For booking details, please CLICK HERE


Kettlebell Instructor Certification

5th & 6th October, 0900 – 1700 both days.
This will be held in Dublin, venue tbc.

This is a pass or fail cert where you will be tested from start to finish on your ability to actually teach the lifts, arrange classes and create workouts. Your fitness is only worth 15% of the pass mark.
This is about becoming a quality instructor, not merely a practitioner.
If this sounds like the kind of certification program you are looking for, CLICK HERE to read more.


Kettlebell / Bodyweight Training

9th November, Tramore Kettlebell Fitness, Co Waterford
This is going to be an action packed, fun day covering an array of kettlebell lifts from the mundane to the downright awesome. We’ll also be looking at how we can combine them with bodyweight exercises to create strong, athletic bodies.
Some of what we’ll cover are:

  • Kettlebell Pressing variations
  • Full body push up variations
  • Combining kettles & bodyweight to create an iron midsection
  • Power development
  • Complexes
  • Contrast Sets
  • And more……..

Like I say, it’ll be a fun day and largely steered by the participants and their questions.

Booking details will be announced in the next few days.


Self Defence Skills and Rapid Response Knife Defence.

7th December: 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

Sunday 8th December: Rapid Response Knife Defence
- Flinch Response
- Blocking, Parrying, Passing &Trapping Skills
- “Safe” position
- Counter Offensive techniques from safe position
- Simultaneous Cover & Counter

Attend one or both days, be sure to book ahead, no entries on the day will be taken.
As always, questions on the day will be encouraged, and indeed expected.
Kit Requirements:
Notebook & Pen
Groin Guard recommended
Gum Shield recommended
Open Mind

The cost for the day will be €50, or €70 for both days
The max no of participants will be 18 people.
Deposits can be paypalled to dave@wildgeesema.com
or dropped into me direct.

I am also potentially hosting the guys from Anatomy in Motion, we’re in early stages of conversation, so keep an eye out for this one.


And that will all the workshops I am running until next year.


Dave Hedges


Next Workshop:
Kettlebell Lifting Levels 1 & 2
September 8th, 1000 – 1600
At Wild Geese Fitness, Dublin 2
Details HERE.

Kettlebell Instructor Training Certification:
October 5th & 6th, 0900 – 1700 both days.
Details HERE

Kettlebells, Towers and Bunkers

21 08 2013

Well, did you read it?

Did you see Monday’s post about the launch of my Certification Program?

Well, this is where I’m supposed to go on some sort of marketing drive, but to be fair, I can’t stand when people send me sales pitches, and I really suck at writing them for my own stuff.

So here’s about as much marketing bollocks as I can manage, before we go into a regular blog post about something useful:

The WG-Fit Kettlebell Instructor Program will be:

  • Bullshit free
  • You will learn to teach
  • You will learn how to design workouts and programs
  • Everything will be taught from a principle based standpoint, not style based
  • It is very possible to fail this course, you will be examined and scored according to:
    • Physical Fitness 15%
    • Technical Proficiency 25%
    • Teaching Competance 30%
    • Structuring a class 15%
    • Program Design 15%

This is not about your physical ability to train, it is about your ability to pass on the skills and bring up other people.

If that sounds like the kind of cert you wish to hold, HERE’S THE LINK!


Now, back to the normal distribution of awesome reading material.
Today though, I’m doing the writing. This one is from a guy I go to for training, a Self protection expert with whom I share physical training knowledge. Not that he needs it!

Mick, originally posted this on his forum and then shared it on his facebook page. I love the message in it, it is a reflection of the way I think about Training and Fitness.

I’ll hand over to Mick Coup:

Mick Coup talking about the punch

Mick Coup talking about the punch

Towers & Bunkers


I’m a huge believer in traditional training practices – and all the truly effective training I have ever seen is traditional in approach believe it or not, no matter how ‘modern’ it purports to be. Unfortunately the mere word ‘traditional’ seems enough to send most ‘progressive’ types into shock – yet a great deal of them, the ones that get the best results anyway, are a lot closer to using these so-called ‘outdated’ methods than they believe.

Before getting into the meat of this article, let’s establish exactly what I mean by the term ‘traditional’ lest there be any misunderstanding. It’s actually easier to define what ‘traditional’ isn’t – I feel that when many people hear the ‘T’ word they think of highly stylised and historically-orientated methods, which I feel is more accurately described as being ‘Classical’ in nature as opposed to ‘Traditional’.

Traditional systems and methods, as I understand them, originated for a definite purpose, and when we compare them to our ‘modern’ efforts it must be considered that they were just as ‘modern’ in their day and possibly more practical due to their immediate requirements. Give what we do now a few decades to evolve and it will become traditional compared to future approachs will it not?

I’m guessing it will, so where is the actual benchmark? It obviously has little to do with time/date issues if the above is taken into account – that term would be ‘vintage’ I suppose – so what defines this traditional approach that I put so much stock into?

In a word – basics. Building foundations is the primary task, above all else – the majority of work is channelled into the perfection of the underlying core skills, the essentials that support all future endeavours. This to me epitomises the traditional approach, the repetition and constant drilling of the primary tools and skills, and – wait for it – everything is progressive in nature, structured and organised, each component building on the last in an integrated fashion.

Before I’m swamped with critics claiming how ineffective various traditional styles are, especially when compared to their ultra-modern ‘combative super-system’ (I actually teach one of these myself, so there is no bias here!) just bear in mind that truly traditional systems work – that’s what they were designed to do – it’s the ones that have become ‘classical’ that lose effectiveness, through becoming over-stylised and aesthetic.

Ultimately it’s all about application in context, and about how the training is conducted, and finally about the person. If all three are on-track, everything will be effective – if not, then nothing – even the high-speed modern stuff – will fail.

The title of this piece? Not an attempt to be cryptic I assure you, but rather a parallel that can be drawn to illustrate my point – using the construction industry as an abstract analogy.

I prefer not to build upwards in all truth, but to dig deeper in the same spot. Once I have a basic structure that suits my needs and requirements in place, then I want to concentrate on the footings, the foundations – not add rooms I’ll rarely use or decorate the place to make it look nice!

Everything to me is about function, the form is a by-product – have you ever seen an old Naval cutlass, a heavy plain blade with basic fittings? Nothing about it has anything to do with looking nice, just so long as it is manageable and durable in combat – the ornamentation is absent, it’s designed to kill human beings with – nothing more. When it was no longer used for this purpose, replaced by firearms, it became beautiful, decorated and stylised to be pleasing to the eye – a modern officer’s dress sword will still be bad for you if it runs you through, no doubt, but nothing like it used to be!

Sticking with the firearms subject for a little while, definite parallels can be drawn between ultra-modern ‘high-speed’ firearms training and traditional martial arts – again all hinging around the basic skills and the disproportionate attention that they should receive, compared to the more ‘advanced’ techniques.

I come from a military background predominantly, and I recall basic weapons training being a real anti-climax after all I’d anticipated – I’m from the UK and didn’t grow up around guns, apart from what I saw on TV anyhow so I wasn’t expecting what seemed to be so exciting turn out to be boring, or so it felt at the time!

Spending hours in the classroom, everyday for weeks on end just going through the motions – by rote – of handling and loading, making ready, making safe, unloading, stripping and assembling, clearing malfunctions, etc etc before going anywhere near a shooting range – what was all that about? When we were finally deemed competant enough to shoot real bullets, we only got five at a time, and practiced getting the holes in the target as close together as possible, lying in a comfortable position with a convenient sandbag for support – nothing more exciting than that!

Still the classroom lessons continued, learning how to transfer the basic skills from one weapon to another, using universal concepts that seemed more obvious the more we understood them, and this was the light-switch right there – understanding. Once you knew why something was happening, everything just slotted into place – no longer were you trying to remember, always one step behind – now you were doing the thing on your own. This was only possible because we started slow, worked progressively and concentrated on mastering the basics above all else. This all progressed into the ‘high speed’ exciting stuff I’d initially expected – but only when we’d done enough of the basics, and the intermediate, to enable us to not only perform the advanced material but actually get something out of it.

In essence we built a foundation, and getting back to the construction analogy this wasn’t just having the ground cleared and levelled before building – that isn’t enough, you have to then dig down and pour some concrete into the hole, and only when it has set properly can you even think about starting to build. The quality and quantity of the foundation determines many things, not least how high you can build and certainly how stable and long-lived the structure will be. It is the one process that simply cannot be skipped, or even rushed – it really is that important. I see a great many ‘structures’ on the horizon that don’t have much depth in my opinion – lots of height at first inspection, but built too soon on ground that has only been cleared, and little more. Everyone, almost, seems to be in such a hurry to dive into the advanced training that the basics get little attention. Building too high, too fast, without a good foundation is never a good idea.

Like I alluded to earlier, personally I don’t build ‘towers’ these days, I build ‘bunkers’ instead. I don’t need, or want the extra rooms, and neither do the individuals and groups that I teach – function is everything, and this is where I concentrate my efforts. The ‘structures’ might look minimal above ground, but this is far from the case when you step inside and press the ‘down’ button in the elevator!

Coup snatchDo I get bored? Do I ever want more? To be honest – no. It’s all there anyway, across the full spectrum. The only thing missing is the ‘trim’ that makes other pursuits only appear to be more comprehensive, and instead there is a more efficient and ergonomic user interface that makes the whole thing seem simpler and more accessible – just as technology is striving to achieve with even the most complex systems elsewhere. Complex does not, and should not, have to be complicated.

The only thing that ever gets ‘boring’ is the result, the end effect, the performance, and this is what I want more of, this is what I want to add to to change for the better – and it’s truly a long time time in the making if you do it right!


Check out Mick’s website, especially the forum where there are many articles of this quality. His site is www.CoreCombatives.com


Dave Hedges


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