Kids who don’t break their toys……..

If you read this blog it’s fair to say you like to train, like to play sport, you push your boundaries and explore your mental and physical limits.

And if you play hard, there’s a damn good chance that you’re going to get hurt.
Injuries are par for the course, we don’t want to get hurt, but it’s an undeniably inevitability. Kids who never break their toys aren’t playing hard enough.

So my mountain bikers are going to stack it on the single track.

My runners are going to go over on their ankles or pull a.hamstring.

My grapplers will land badly from a throw or tap a little too late.

My boxers will test their timing, and get it wrong.

My lifters will do that one rep too many or add one kg too much.

It’s a part of who we are and what we do.

When we’re in our teens and twenties, we’re bulletproof. We bounce. We get injured and are back in the game in no time.
In our thirties we get downgraded to bullet resistant. It takes a little longer to heal, our old injuries come back with interest, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

All we need to do is be aware of our bodies and learn to train accordingly.

Spend more time on mobility.
Do more single leg work.
Focus on training from the core out to the extremities.
Get the rotator cuffs jacked.
And know when to push and when to back off.

There’s almost never a reason to not train.

I’ve trained around many injuries and work with a lot of injured guys. Most of the time we.come back stronger as we take the time to systematically work on our rehab while also targeting our weak areas with targeted training.

Train smart and you can train for life.


Dave Hedges

On Mental Health

I just saw this clip of Irish celebrity Bressie talking about his experience with Mental Health.

I’m not familiar with the guy, but damn this is a powerful speech.

I ask you to watch and listen.

Then to contemplate.

Here’s the video:

Later this afternoon I’ll have a group of lads in from the RehabCare HOPS centre for mental health coming into me for an Eskrima class.
Seeing this video helps me realise how important running these classes is.
The segment of the speech where Bressie talks about how using exercise helped him gain “relative control of my mind” is such a powerful part of the speech for me, as the training I’ve done has helped me as an individual and I see the guys I work with focus through their own issues in order to do the training I give them.

My old Wing Chun coach, Sifu Mark Rasmus used to tell us, “The Mind leads the Chi, the Chi leads the Body.”
Whether you believe in the concept of Chi or not is unimportant, because we can leave out the middle of the sentence and it gives us:

“the Mind Leads the Body”

If we can control the mind through proper breathing, good training and a sensible diet, we all have a chance.

I want to thank everyone who’s bought a Mind Over Metal garment these last few months, you guys have collectively sponsored the HOPS Christmas Dinner, the money raised from the T-Shirts and Hoodies will cover a large portion of the bill for the 30+ attendees.

It means a lot.



Dave Hedges

A Lesson in Attitude & Humility

On Saturday I was down in Tramore Kettlebell Fitness using my Anatomy in Motion training to help out several of gym owner Gan Power’s clients.

Over the day I learned a good deal from the various bodies as I assisted them to better movement and hopefully pain free performance.

But one guy stood out.

By far the quietest and oldest guy in the group.

When it came to his turn to be assessed I asked him about his injury history.
He wasn’t very forthcoming, he didn’t think he had much wrong at all.

Except a bit of shoulder pain from time to time. But that went away when he warmed it up.
He then lifted his arm demonstrating what looked to me like a very uncomfortable and restricted action.

But, “it gets better when I warm it up”

Then he told me that he’d “Broken a knee, but it never bother me” he told me this in the same manner you’d tell someone that you’d just crossed a road or something equally banal.

And then he dropped the clincher. He casually told me how he “used to have arthritis”

“used to have”

When was the last time you heard someone talk about arthritis in the past tense?

He said it may flare up in various places as Rheumatoid Arthritis is prone to, but only in times of stress. But it never bothered him.

When I asked about how he beat it, he simply said, “I changed my diet” and left it at that.

On further questioning about the shoulder he thought back to how it may have happened back when he was in  a pretty bad car accident.

So in front of me I had an older gentleman, quiet and unassuming yet talking about how he beat arthritis, survived a car crash and broke his knee as if they were nothing. Minor inconveniences of a day gone by.

I figured this history would leave discernible evidence in his movement assessment.
But no, he moved well. Better than many with almost no injury.

I helped him improve what he has but was left scratching my head by this seemingly indestructible older guy.

His attitude is the reason he’s healthy.
He takes personal responsibility for himself and his health, which is probably why he’s in such good nick.

He demonstrates an attitude that is dying in the modern world. He doesn’t sit feeling sorry for himself, probably couldn’t give a shit about what people think of him and I dare say wouldn’t know an emoticon if it punched him in the face.

He’s old school. A gentleman and a dying breed.

I challenge you to be more like him, I know I’ll be watching myself a little more closely.

Will you?


Dave Hedges


Your Excuses are Invalid and How to Achieve Your Goals


“Glory is fleeting, mediocrity lasts forever”
– The Rasta Jesus

I asked on Facebook the other day “what exercise to see being butchered the most?”
And the answers are coming in thick and fast, here are the most common so far:

  • Plank
  • Push Up
  • Squat
  • Deadlifts
  • Pull Ups
  • Cleans

Also getting a few people mention the Lunge and even the Punch!

So I guess I’ve a busy few days putting together some video footage for you.
I’ll get a few tutorials done covering the above list, much in the same vein as the tutorials I previously recorded covering the kettlebell lifts.

So that’s what’s coming up.

Today though I want to talk about getting your head right.

Everything say,everything you do, everything you’ve ever achieved and everything you are today and everything you’re going to be. It all starts and ends in your head.

And that means you need to gain control of your head.

There are a multitude of blogs and websites talking a vast amount of crap about self help, positive thinking, meditation, visualisation etcetera, etcetera.

Most of these sites are run my hyped up ego’s bent on emptying your wallet.

So here’s the Dave Hedges version.

Free of charge.

Workout what you want.
Workout why you want it.
Workout how you’ll get it.

End of.

Right now, I have a list of people working towards a list of training goals.
I’ve 8 guys on the Kettleheads GS Team working towards a Kettlebell competition.
I’ve a lad on the final approach to an Ironman triathlon.
I’ve a girl who desperately wants to get back to triathlon following injury.

And I’ve got Seb.

And because of Seb, all your excuses are invalid.

Seb managed to mess up his knee about badly as is possible and still be able to call it a knee.
As soon as he was somewhat mobile again, he asked me if he could come back training.
Seb is a BJJ player, last year he won a bronze medal in his category at the European championships. I look after is Strength & Conditioning needs.
When he asked to come in, I said yes.

We had a think and got him working. Mostly Pull Ups and Dip, with some pilates core work and seated battling ropes.
This went on, three days per week for a few months. After the first few days, I could see the changes in his personality, the damaged and depressed Seb was fading away in the face of this physical onslaught. The old Seb, the athlete, started to come back.

A while later he got rid of one crutch.

Then the other.

Then we sent him to our Physio, Andy Watson, who knows knees.

Pretty soon we got rid of the knee brace and upped his training from 3 to 5 days per week.

Seb now runs, he squats, he jumps and he even started skipping.

In January, he will compete again at the European Championships.

And only because he kept his head right.

He chose who to talk to and who to ignore. He knew the physio at the hospital wasn’t up to the job so he asked for my input. I sent him to Andy, who’s a no BS kind of guy.

Seb kept coming training, even though he was limited in what he could do. He threw his entire focus into what he COULD do not wallowing in what he couldn’t do.

He hung around the gym longer than needed, just so he could be around motivated people. Turned out, his presence and persistence is a huge motivating factor for the rest of my crew, they know their excuses are invalid when he’s around.

Seb took the time to get his head right. He found the people that would keep his head right. He did, and still does the work to ensure his head stays right.

This is why his injuries are making such good progress.

This is Seb a few weeks ago, remember only a few weeks previously he was wearing a massive knee brace, and before that was on crutches:

So what can we take from this story?

How about the following:

  • If you want something bad enough, you’ll find the motivation to get on with it. Seb said from the word go, that he wanted to be in the European champs, this is when he couldn’t even walk yet. This thought is what kept him working.
  • Surround yourself with people who will support you.
  • Set small goals and tick them off along the way.
    Seb went from two crutches, to one to none. He now doesn;t even wear the brace. Then we got him walking right and are working on regaining full ROM in the squat. Each is a step towards the greater goal.
  • Consistency is key.
    There will always be days where you don’t want to, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Sometimes you just have to get on with it.
    This is where all the positive thinking bull shit falls down, you don’t have to be happy about doing your work, just remember what it is your working towards and dig your heels in and go for it.

Anything is possible.

Are you willing to work for it?


Dave Hedges

Ask Dave: I Gas Quickly When Drilling Power Punches, How Should I Train Them?

This question was asked on Sunday at the end of the Basic Self Defence Skills workshop.

I know the asker well. He’s no spring chicken and a lifetime student of the martial arts, a guy who has attended several workshops I’ve either run or hosted on self defence and even attended Wild Geese Martial Arts classes on and off for several years. These days he trains mostly out of his garage.
He’s the kind of guy who has thought long and hard, who has tried and tested, and when he asks a question, he’ll see right through you if you attempt to feed him with bullshit.

He’s my kind of student!

So when he asked the question in the title, I had to turn the answer into a blog post, because, like most of Brians questions, if you haven’t thought about this yet, you will.

So, you’re training to hit with maximal power, yet you find yourself gassing early.

This is problematic, especially for those with a self defence / combatives mindset.
Training for combat sports is very much centred around conditioning, it’s about building up to and peaking for an event where there are a predetermined number of rounds with predetermined work and rest times. Your opponent will be matched as closely as possible to you in terms of weight and experience.
If you stand on the door, work in any field of security/law enforcement or hold down a full time job and have a family you train to protect any time, any where against anyone, it’s a little more tricky to prepare.

That isn’t to say the protocols used by the combat sports athletes aren’t useful to you, they are. They just may not be ideal. So lets look at how we can train with maximal efficiency in minimal time.

Rule 1: Train like a sprinter or Weightlifter

sprint absThis is a debate I’ve had ad-nauseum with several other coaches, but I will stick to my guns here.
I do not, never have, probably never will mix high level skill training with high level conditioning training.
This means that if you’re working to train that perfect punch, you need to prioritise the mechanics of the hips and shoulders as well as the alignment of the skeleton upon impact above all else.
Fatigue will reduce the ability to focus upon and develop quality.

So we take a look at the training undertaken by sprinters and 1 rep max weight lifters.

These guys spend a large part of their training time doing nothing at all, yet they are some of the most powerful people on the planet. Yes, their cardio may not be that of a UFC fighter, but in the combatives world, our job is to end a fight as soon as possible, we’re talking three to five seconds. The longer it goes on, the higher the stakes get.

So, train like them. Short bouts of incredible effort with plenty of rest.
If you’re building pure power into your strikes, do them in sets of 3-5reps. Treat each rep as a single unit rather than a set of 3 reps (think along the lines of rest-pause training), so do one, quick reset, do the next one until the set is done. Then take all the time you need before repeating.
Maybe set a timer, have the buzzer go off on the minute, even every 2 minutes. On the sound, bang out three to five perfect and powerful punches. This goes on until the impact, speed or movement quality begins to break down.

If your happy with the quality and are looking for the ability to hammer in a cluster of strikes, be that a simple repeat of that big right hand or even a more boxing style left right combination, then we do things slightly different.
Set your timer now for 10 seconds work with 1-2 minutes rest.
On the sound, launch into the heavy bag with everything you have. Make it swing away and use your strikes to keep it at that angle until the 10 seconds are up, then rest.

Perform several rounds of this, as many as you can while maintaining quality of work.

Rule 2: Keep You Conditioning Work Short and Sharp

Short, intense bouts of conditioning work are the order of the day here. Simplicity works best, don’t add anything complex to these workouts as you’re looking to improve your power output, power endurance and strengthen movement patterns.
Use whatever equipment you have at hand, but focus on developing hip extension, Core Stability (including the shoulder) and upper body strength.
Train the body as a unit, as a whole.

For this I advocate circuits, especially Power Circuits and / or complexes.
Keep these tight, 20 minutes or even less. Work hard, but maintain quality. If you’re training with and anyone-anytime mindset, you can’t afford injury or burn out. These workouts must support and improve your main training, not hinder it.

Here’s me doing a power circuit:

Rule 3: Every now and then, go fucking nuts!

One of the greatest assets a fighter can develop, any fighter whether their arena is the ring, the octagon, the pavement or the jungle is tenacity.
It’s the will to push and push. To work beyond their physical limitations.

For this I advocate that from time to time, it may be once per month, once per quarter or even once per year, but be sure to take on a challenge that pushes you way out of your comfort zone. Something that leaves you sick in the stomach just thinking about it. The kind of thing that keeps you awake at night.
See it through, no matter how much you want to pull out before hand or how much you want to quit doing it. See it through.

You can make yourself more accountable for these kind of events by using them as charity fundraisers, or you can simply do it for yourself.

It could be entering a competition, be it Kettlebell lifting, Power Lifting, amateur boxing. It could be a marathon or a mile of walking kettlebell swings.
The actual nature of the event is unimportant, it’s the physical, mental and emotional stress it instills that counts.

A training session may look like this (example only):

1: Power emphasis: Rear Cross 10 sets of 3L/R, full bore strikes.

2: Speed / Power Endurance: Repeating Rear Cross (piston style) x 10sec burst x 5rounds L/R

3: General Fitness Power Circuit:
3A: Deadlift x 3-5
3B: Clean & Press x 6-8
3C: Seated Russian Twist x 6-8 L/R
3D: Anything goes bagwork x 30seconds
Repeat for either 3-5 rounds, adding weight to the deadlift each round, or do a 20 minute AMRAP with a set load.

4: Yoga type stretches to cool off.

If you don’t have time for this, separate it into two sessions, combatives specific in one session, circuit in the next.

If you train out of your garage, or even if you are training for general fitness but with a view to being able to protect your family if needs be, try this training template 2-3 days per week and see how you get on.



The Unglamorous Truth to Smashing Your Goals

“So, where are all the best downhills?” asked the young mountain biker.
“At the top of the best climbs!” replied the seasoned local.

And in that brief exchange overheard in a Mountain Bike shop and hang out in the English Lake District, you can learn everything you need to know about achieving your goals.

Modern society has developed around shortcuts.
We have perfected the microwave, the dishwasher, we drive to convenience stores, we drive THROUGH restaurants. We have 7 day detox’s, we can “get shredded” in 90 days we even have 6 second abs!


Every piece of knowledge and information you could ever want or need is a few clicks away on the internet, and you have the internet at you disposal on that smart phone that’s never out of easy reach.

So are we more productive?
On average, no, we have every time saving, convenience device on offer, yet the only result we seem to have gotten out of this is a reduced attention span and the inability to so the herd graft to get the cool results.
The graft has been removed, technology does it now, in return we have instant gratification.

Which is hollow at best.

But if we really want to hit the best downhills, find the sweetest singletrack and gain the most satisfaction from our ride, we must first grind our way up the mountain.

If we really want that athletic physique, we need to eat real food and train with real resistance.

If we really want to be able to do that cool push up variation, you know, the one you saw on youtube, then first you need to master the basic push up.

You want to do more pull ups, DO MORE PULL UPS!

You want to emulate your sporting hero, don’t watch what they do in the arena or on the pitch, find out what they do day in, day out, week in, week out. See how methodical, boring and repetitive being truly great is.

So take the advice of the Lakeland mountain bike man and remember, the best downhills and found at the top of the best climbs.



Which Comes First, the Mind or the Muscle?

Mental strength is an integral part of what we do here at WG-Fit.

Professor_xMaybe that’s the reason I enjoy working with the guys from the local Mental Health centre.
Much of the feed back I get from the guys I train talks about the non physical as much as they talk about strength gains and improved athleticism.

Right now I have a handful of guys all preparing for their first Kettlebell competition.
The competition involves an unbroken 5 minute set of lifts, the person with the most reps, wins. The other day the guys did their first ever 5 minute test set and to a man they noticed that most of the battle wasn’t with the weights, but it was in their own heads.

This is not unusual, many events are won and lost even before the athlete even arrives at the venue.

There’s a great boxing anecdote about a British boxer travelling from London to a fight in the north of England. He never showed for the fight, apparently getting of the train and turning for home about halfway there.
The story goes that he sent a message to his opponent that he lost the fight in Birmingham and got off the train in Manchester.

I guess the point I’m rambling towards us this, training the body is worthless unless you also train the mind.

In my youth I would fall apart at a Karate tournament, I was a great scrapper in the dojo, but as soon as I stepped on the mat my legs would fail me and my nerves would shatter.
That is until I realised that I was missing the most vital aspect of training, the mental aspect.

Mental strength is built by facing challenges that make you nervous, that make you not want to face them and then doing it anyway.
It’s the reason that every Special Forces regiment in the world will run you into the ground and then run you some more, they need to test your mental strength before building you physically.

And this is the key to true awesomeness.

The mind must come before the body.
You cannot truly become awesome if you first won’t go places mentally and physically that are seriously challenging.

Every do something that kept you up for several nights prior to the event?

Every sign up for something that made your stomach turn even just thinking about  it?

Ever see something through that you wanted to quit every step of the way?


Then it’s about time you did.

Be it a marathon, an adventure race, a kettlebell comp, a power lifting meet or just some ridiculous challenge, it doesn’t matter. Just do it.

In doing so you will face Demons within yourself that will make you want to break down and cry. Will make you want to run home for a hug. Will make you want to stay in the comfort and warmth of your bed.

And in beating these Demons into submission and completing the task regardless  you will become awesome.

Many gyms, Personal Trainers and websites try to sell you on weight loss and 6 pack abs.

Fuck that, appearance means nothing.

Performance is everything. And you’ll only perform if your mind is right.

Each of these women competed in the last Olympics.

Each of these women competed in the last Olympics.