Yesterday I was fortunate to once again host the Irish Movers Group for a movement class.

This is new group that hopes to introduce the idea of “Movement” to a much wider audience.
Each month it is hosted by someone different who teaches their own interpretation of the topic, look up the group on facebook and come join us for a play.

The conversation at the end that I’m referring to was about the value of individual drills or exercises.

You see i grew up in the martial arts community before I became a fitness coach. During my time in Martial Arts i travelled a lot and trained in many different clubs covering many different arts. But one thing was always present.

Outside of the full contact ring sports (Muay Thai, Judo, Kickboxing, BJJ) many of the martial arts seemed to place a greater value on performing drills than actually being competent in a fight.

And that seemed to defeat the purpose in my mind. Why spend hours training drills that were never applied during the sparring part of the class?

Similar things happen in the world of fitness.

Fitness training was always meant to improve a persons athletic performance. To make them run faster, throw further, hit harder, jump higher.
These events were the application of the drills practised in the gym.

Successful training was measured not by the weight on the bar, but by the performance in the field.

In other words the training had a true and proper purpose.

These days people train to replace the manual labour we used to perform, or they exercise because they think they should.

Wouldn’t it be better, both physically and mentally, if we went back to attaching our fitness training to a grander purpose?

We don’t need to be competitive athletes to go to the gym. We don’t even need to play a sport.
But we all age.

Maybe our gym time can be spent working to slow down the decline of our physical health?
To ensure our muscles, bones and connective tissues are kept strong (read THIS post), to ensure our heart & lungs keep pumping and to stimulate the brain.

When I see regular gym goers who can’t lift their arms overhead or squat full range it bothers me. When I see people who attend fitness classes walk with their knees buckling on every step, it bothers me.
When I look at other dads of my age who can’t chase their kids up and down the slide or show them how to climb a tree, it bothers me.
To me it says their efforts are in vain, they are practising skills but failing to reap the benefits, just like our martial artists who spend hours drilling techniques but still can’t fight.

"The Daddy Bear is going to eat you!"

“The Daddy Bear is going to eat you!”

The human animal is supposed to be a well rounded, adaptable creature.
Train to keep it so.


Dave Hedges

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
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

Dave Hedges

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

Kettlebell Workshops, CLICK HERE

Upcoming Kettlebell Workshops and Instructor Training


Up until the last year or so I was running kettlebell workshops as well as hosting international kettlebell coaches, such as Steve Cotter at Wild Geese.

I stopped doing these as there just seemed to be a glut of workshops and courses for people to learn about safe and effective kettlebell training.
Turns out that quantity did not equal quality and the majority of the courses are neither safe nor effective.

So I’m relaunching them this year, with a an instructor level module.

I have 4 levels of workshop, we’re starting with 1&2, with the others coming later in the year.

The Level 1 & 2 kettlebell workshops each cover 3 lifts, that’s all.
The workshop lasts for three hours.

Three hours to cover warming up and then three lifts, sounds like there’s not a lot of content.
By eliminating quantity of content, we can focus on quality of content.
By eliminating breadth, we can focus on depth.

The aim of the workshop is to leave you with doubts or questions as to how to use the kettlebell, how to apply the lift and how to ensure safe and effective progression.

This level of detail simply cannot be acheived when dozens of exercises are taught in the course of one day. When it comes to retaining information and developing skills, less is more. 

Depth of knowledge trumps breadth of knowledge.
It’s take nearly 20 years of teaching martial arts first, then working as a training officer in the Hilton Hotel I worked in, then back to martial arts teaching and now fitness coaching to realise this.

I’ve also added an instructor level module, not a certification, but a module where we can analyse the teaching element of the content covered over the workshop.

The workshops are suitable for anyone looking to start training with kettles or to look deeper at the kettlebell lifts.
And for anyone who teaches or wants to teach the lifts.
But also for anyone who questions the efficacy of kettlebell training to come and see for themselves.

My methods hold no allegiance to any one system or style, I’ve learned from many sources and used them effectively to train a vast array of people from BJJ champions, Thai Boxers, Kettlebell Sports champions, candidates (who passed) for the RKC and normal people who simply love to train.

Have look at the tutorials on the articles page to see the level of detail we go into.
And for booking information, follow these links:

Kettlebell Level 1: Click Here
Kettlebell Level 2: Click Here

Dave Hedges

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

Kettlebell Workshops, CLICK HERE

Some Advice for the New Years Resolution Success

This is for the people who are hoping to make a start into fitness in 2015.

I’ve two words for you:

Just start


That’s it.

But don’t go in blind, nor should you jump in with both feet.

These are probably the two biggest errors most people make when trying to make changes, especially if one of those changes involves increasing physical activity by joining a gym.

First off, don’t go in blind.

Gyms are selling cheap memberships and running special January offers right now to entice you in. But be aware, you get what you pay for. If you pay bottom dollar, expect to be left to your own devices or if you are assigned a coach, don’t expect much from them.
Decent gyms offer decent training and will personalise information to you. Even if you are part of a group session, you’ll still receive progressions and regressions on exercises to best suit your individual needs.

Do some homework before signing up to anything.

And then, don’t jump in with both feet.

Most people most of the time will jump into training with the energy and enthusiasm of a teenager. But can’t maintain it.
Training is a process, it takes time and consistent application.

The bedrock principle behind all physical training, regardless of the modality or the desired goal is this:

Progressive Resistance Training

All the best programs out there advocate an easy start and then ramping up. The technical term is “an accumulation phase” where work capacity is gradually built before the hard graft kicks in. I like the term “on ramp” as it’s less fancy sounding.
But use the on ramp to build up momentum so that when you start to approach your (old) limits, you should be able to just run right over them.
If you jump in with both feet and go balls out into a training program, you’re not leaving yourself space to progress into and will probably run out of energy or enthusiasm quick sharp.
It’s a bit like the Tortoise and the Hare.


If you have decided that this is the year to start training, then please get advice and start easy.
In no time at all, that advice will have you progressing further and faster than you ever thought possible.

Dave Hedges

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

Kettlebell Workshops, CLICK HERE

Where People Stand is Perhaps Not as Important as Which Way they Face

“where people stand is perhaps not as important as which way they face”  – Terry Pratchett, A Slip of the Keyboard

Terry Pratchett is without a doubt my favourite author of all time.
I’ve read pretty much everything he’s written, owned or owned his entire catalogue (many in hard cover)
And just received his latest two offerings as Christmas presents from my sister who’s as big a fan as I am (ever since I lent her one of mine back when we were teenagers)

I’m currently racing through “A Slip of the Keyboard – Collected non Fiction” and loving it.
It’s in one of the short essays in the book that I found the above quote and immediately stopped to write it down.

Right now we’re fast approaching January 1st, 2015.
In other words, the New Year.

And what happens at New Year?

No! We don’t all get shitfaced and count backwards from ten badly out of sync with whatever clock we’re attempting to focus in on….

What I’m talking about are the resolutions.

And I’m also talking about the folk who’ve maybe over done it over the xmas break with all the excess, but oh so tasty calories we have imbibed.

But it doesn’t matter where you are now, how unfit or badly behaved you think you’ve been, it only matters that you are now facing the right direction and are taking each step in turn, left then right, then left again, towards getting your mind and body back to where it should be and then beyond.

No one cares if you’ve had cake for breakfast, beer for lunch and Cheese & Wine for supper every day for the last week.
Not if you’re back to eggs, meat and veggies now.

No one cares if you spent the days on the sofa in your underpants watching the Top Gear Xmas Special, the Bourne movies and whatever else was on the box.
Not if you’re back to packing your gym bag the night before to make sure it;s ready for you today.

New years resolutions are pretty much bullshit, a few minutes of critical thinking will prove it so. But a daily step forwards in the direction of travel are proven effective.
Small increments.
Start now.

Wild Geese doors open on Sat 3rd and full service resumes on Mon 5th.

1% better each day, no matter where you are starting from.


Dave Hedges

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

Kettlebell Workshops, CLICK HERE


Merry Christmas & Thanks

This is a very quick post to wish everone a Merry Christmas and happy new year.

Wild Geese Fitness Training has closed up for the holidays, but will be back open in full force as of Monday 5th Jan.
Until then I encourage you all to spend a bit of time resting, recuperating and catching up with family and friends.

If training is on your mind, you should have received all of the “12 days” emails by now, but them to good use.

I’m signing off for a few days now to spend Christmas with my wife and kids.
See you in 2015


Dave Hedges

The top 10 most read blog posts of 2014

Would you adam ‘n’ eve it?

2014 is rapidly drawing to an end and it’s been a whistle stop 12 months.

So before we close our doors for the Xmas holidays and I go into hiding available only to my Wife & kids, here’s a list of the top ten blog posts of this year, according to the stats.

So, in reverse order:

10: Ask Dave: Random Training, Training Intensity and More…..

Actually posted in 2013, but has been riding high in the web stats ever since!
This was a very long question that was worthy of a very long answer. In it we talk about:

  • Work outs don’t have to be all out effort every time
  • If I don’t give 100% every time will I lose fitness?
  • Do I want to train at 100% all the time, would this energy be better used elsewhere?
  • What is the point of random training?
  • How do people maintain a high workload while maintaining balance?

Click here to read the full text


9: To Deadlift or Not To Deadlift?

This is another from 2013 that just won’t go away!
It’s a response to an article that one of my lads found and shared with some concern as it seemed to suggest that heavy deadlifts were counter productive.
It took some time to calm the particular lad down, so much so that I had to write this response to reinforce the message.

Click here to read the article


8: On Running

Finally a post from this year!

How should we run?
Does running technique matter?

Read my thoughts on the topic here


7: Fad Diets Piss Me Off

A guest post from the Nut Coach who is our resident Nutrition Coach.
She wrote this one but the tone didn’t fit her normal squeaky clean public image.
Went down well here though…..

Have a read


6: 5 reasons to LOVE the Turkish Get Up

Back to 2013! Did I write anything worth reading this year?
This particular post was shared on Reddit and several forums, as well as appearing in Tony Gentilcore’s extremely popular newsletter.

lick the image to read the article

Click the image to read the article

Click here, or on the image to see what the fuss is about.


5: Kettlebell Snatch Tutorial part II – “Hand Insertions”

The Kettlebell snatch is a technical beast, especially if you want to get into the high reps without tearing up your hands and bruising the wrists.
This post was the second in a series of posts I did on the snatch, all of which I still get good feedback from, but this is the one that is still high in the webstats to this day.

Read it here


4: Minimal Training, Maximal Results

This is a fool proof method of building good, old fashioned, basic strength.
It’s no frills, it’s unexciting but it is flexible and it is effective.
It’s also a fall back for when my schedule doesn’t allow for more elaborate training and many of my former clients keep in touch telling me they default back to this at least once per year.

It’s that good.
Read it here.


3: Knackered Knees, No More!

This is actually my personal favourite in the list.
This came from a conversation on facebook with a fellow coach who also a BJJ enthusiast. I think I’d posted something about the knee to which he asked me to expand on. In his reply he actually raised so many good points I suggested he write the piece.
It was so good I linked to it in this post and simply rode the bandwagon he set in action.
This turned into a 4 part series which has changed the fate of many old battered pairs of knees belonging to both old and young martial artists across in several countries.

If you missed it, now’s you chance.

And this link will give you access to the full series


2: The Squat – Progressions and/or Regressions

This is another one that appeared in Tony Genticores newsletter which is probably why it has stayed so high in the rankings since it was first posted.

Click the image to read the article

Click the image to read the article

The Squat as an exercise is a polarising topic, this explains where I stand on the subject and the progressions I prefer people to take where possible or more importantly how I like to regress people when necessary.

Read it here


1: Elbow Pain In Boxers, a quick fix

And here it is, the most read post of 2014 which was written in March of 2013!
Elbows and shoulders take a lot of stick in boxing. I work with a lot of Thai Boxers as well as people from an array of striking based arts. The drills in this article have yet to let me down in keeping these guys healthy and elongating their careers.

Read it here


There you have it, the top ten most read posts in the last 12 months were mostly from the previous 12 months!

I’ll be closing up tomorrow evening (Dec 23rd) so I can spend Xmas with my Wife, my offspring and my dog. But I re-open with full service on Monday Jan 5th.

Have a very Merry Xmas and I’ll see for an awesome new year!


Dave Hedges

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

Kettlebell Workshops, CLICK HERE

And more info on the bodyweight exercises mentioned above CLICK HERE