1 Leg Romanian Deadlift with an important regression

21 03 2014

I like single leg work.

I think I got into it as I’ve always lived in out of the way places, at least until I landed in Dublin. Out of the way places, means limitations on training facilities.
Even in Dublin, we keep our place minimalistic. We do specialise in Martial Arts so floor space is a premium for, we can’t be cluttering the place up with stacks of equipment.

So Kettlebells and Bodyweight training fits my personal ethos as well as my Gym’s ethos extremely well.

The problem then is getting a good load into the posterior chain in a hip hinge pattern.

Kettles are all about the posterior chain, but in a very ballistic pattern, load and explode.
This is fine, but sometimes we want time under tension, we want controlled tension we may even need to hypertrophy the hamstrings. One thing we definitely need is to improve how the Hamstrings, Glutes and low back work together as a team.
And for that we need the deadlift.

But kettles are light.

No really, they are.

A pair of 40kg kettles may look big and intimidating, but really that’s only the same as a barbell loaded with 2 x 20′s and 2 x 10kg plates. So not much then.

Unless we do the lift standing on one leg….

But then another issue pops up.

Most people are so unstable and out of touch with how their supposed to move from being paid vast sums of money to sit at a desk all day. As soon as we get people to hinge, they try to do it all with their back. And that aint good.
Get them out of that and into a decent hip hinge and we’re usually ok. But sooner or later we want them on one leg, and that’s a big leap forward. A jump that they feel right into their lumbar.
So we have a stepping stone, a half way house.

We take a split stance and instead of doing a 1 Leg RDL, we do a 1 Leg Emphasis RDL.

This allows the person to get a stack of load into their hamstrings and glutes but with enough stability they can keep their back in good shape. When they get used to this, which often times doesn’t take long at all, they can start lifting the back leg and get into the full lift.

This video explains it all for you:

I’m on the final approach now of getting the new eBook, “Fighting Back – How to Reduce Back Pain and Improve your BJJ Game” ready for launch.
Just a few bits to get dialled in and it’ll be ready to go.

As a teaser, check out the incredible cover that my layout dude and graphic designer put together for me:

Almost there!

Almost there!


Dave Hedges


Mobility Matters

11 03 2014

Last weekend was a busy one. My Mum was over for a visit on the very weekend I told her not to come as I was away all day Sunday teaching a workshop. But as usual, if you tell me mum not to come on a certain weekend, guess which weekend she’ll choose to come……?

Anyhow, the workshop

I love teaching workshops, they’re a chance to interact with people at a whole different level, they are set up for teaching and learning as opposed to my regular day duties of coaching.
Of course I always try to educate my clients as I coach them, but not everyone wants that, some just want to break a sweat, others are simply focussed on getting their desired outcome from the training.

A huge part of the weekends workout was about movement and trying to enhance it.

If we take a look at performance we have to recognise that it all starts by moving well, then adding all other attributes on top of that.

After all, if you can’t move freely, you’ll never move optimally.

This is where mobility training comes in.

It’s been a while since I wrote a monday mobility post, but i think I’ll have to get back on that.
But lets stop a moment and consider what mobility is and is not.

Everything we do involves moving. In fact all those muscles you work so hard to build are only there in the first place to move us.
If your training interferes with your movement quality, how useful is it really?

Strength is good
Flexibility is good
Combining them gives us mobility, this is better.

Whatever your training entails that day, start out by doing mobility work to warm up with.

In between sets, don’t sit idle, go through some low level movements, the type that don’t interfere with your recovery and maybe address something your program or your sport misses out.

After the session, do some of the thing your training for.
If you’re a martial artist, do some of your drills, or hit a bag.
If you’re a runner, run a bout, do some sprints.

It’s all well and good lifting weight, but we lift weight to get stronger so we can move with more speed and power. Very often people take up lifting and actually end up with poorer quality of movement than they started. They become “Gym Strong” but not real world strong.

In your gym session, focus on big, full body lifts. Use isolation lifts sparingly and only if absolutely necessary and move in between each set.

I’ll grant that this hasn’t been my best thought out blog post, but it’s a topic i’ve written a lot about on in the past and since taking the Anatomy in Motion courses has been brought back to the forefront of my mind.
In teaching the workshop over the weekend I got to work with people I don’t usually work with and get to see how their training has made them move.
So expect to hear more about mobility and movement over the next few weeks.

Until then, buy yourselves one of these awesome T-Shirts, scientifically proven to increase both your awesomeness and attractiveness by 736%

Click here to get your T-Shirt and give €5 to Mental Health

Click here to get your T-Shirt and give €5 to Mental Health


Dave Hedges

Improving Efficiency and Eliminating Pain

3 03 2014

Hi All,

If you’ve ordered yourself a Mind Over Metal T-Shirt, they arrived in last week but as I was away on a course, I’ve not had chance to get to the post office and send out the ones that can’t be collected.
I’ll be getting on top of this tomorrow, I’ve shirts to send to the four corners of Ireland and even one that’s going out to Canada.

If you haven’t ordered your yet, get on it here:

Click here to get your T-Shirt and give €5 to Mental Health

Click here to get your T-Shirt and give €5 to Mental Health

Now, where was I all week?

I was with a guy called Gary Ward, the creator of the Anatomy in Motion (AiM)  method of physical/movement therapy.
AiM is kind of hard to define, but it fits perfectly with the tag line I use on this website:

“Improving Human Efficiency”

I first heard of AiM when a very smart Physiotherapist friend of mine told me about them and that I ought to look into it. I did and very quickly became an avid reader of their material.

Their philosophy seems to be that the body can heal itself if it’s allowed and encouraged. Something I firmly believe in.
It also revolves around studying the foot and how the health, strength and mobility of the foot affects every joint up the chain.
Anyone who knows me knows I think the Hips and Feet are crucial for athletic performance. Everyone goes on about the hips, but Gary Ward is the first person I’ve come across who really gets the foot.

And he really gets it.

Already after only studying the first two of his 5 module syllabus, my clients are reporting that their old injuries are falling away, their step is springy and their joints are loose.

All from following a few simple exercises that are designed to realign the skeleton and encourage proper muscle function, timing and coordination. The exercises are based on exaggerating specific phases of the gait pattern. Gait, or walking is hard wired into us as human beings, it’s one of the most primal of the primal movement patterns. In fact our foot and pelvis are unique in the animal kingdom to allow us to become the only truly upright biped and able to travel for huge distances.

If we are working at optimising this deep rooted pattern, the effect it has through everything else we do is phenomenal.

Now I just read all that back and it sounds a bit hypey I know.
But after the course where all the attendees were basically treating each other, my own injuries have never felt so good. But still, that tells you nothing.

I’ve been testing the Module 1 info on some of my regulars who’ve all reported improvements. And also Paul Cox who runs the martial arts side of Wild Geese.
Paul’s hip is destroyed with arthritis, I saw the MRI scan he had taken a couple of years ago and it looks like it was designed by Slartibartfast

"Look at me - I design coastlines. I got an award for Norway... I've been doing fjords all my life...for a fleeting moment they become fashionable and I get a major award." — Slartibartfast, Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy

“Look at me – I design coastlines. I got an award for Norway… I’ve been doing fjords all my life…for a fleeting moment they become fashionable and I get a major award.” — Slartibartfast, Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy

Well, after one session Paul managed to get an entire night of undisturbed sleep, first time in years!

I’m not taking credit for this, but the only thing he changed was the addition of the AiM exercises created specific to his needs.

After module two I took one of my girls who has had knee problems on and off since her teens. The result of an old ankle injury.
She’s currently building up the volume on her running in preparation for running three marathons on three consecutive weekends.
Last time she escalated her running, her knee swelled like a balloon.
Since giving her one session with the module two AiM info, she running faster and smoother than ever. The nagging knee pain has completely dissipated and she sent me the following text message:

“feeling more grounded and stable when I walk. Normally I have this rushing posture, leaning forward on my toes. Now I’m using my whole foot and feeling more relaxed. Also much less of a twist side to side of the hips when I jog/walk, something I especially noticed walking down stairs.
Thanks again!”

I’ll be testing the system out more over the coming weeks with my regulars, many of whom are beaten up by a lifetime of hard playing. So expect further reports popping up here.

I’m also now offering this as a service.

The initial AiM appointment will need 90 minutes, if further sessions are needed they may not take as long, but still allow a minimum of an hour.
If this sounds interesting to you, go HERE to book yourself in.


Dave Hedges

Random Monday Musings and Spine Health.

17 02 2014

Having a random thought kinda day here.
I’ve attempted to write a single blog post conveying useful information but have failed each time. So instead here’s a few things that other people have written that you may enjoy and a couple of snippets from my own brain.

1: “Deadlifts are the worst thing you can do for your spine!”

This is a peach of an article from Tony Gentilcore where he takes on the deadlift detractors with some solid facts.

2: Getting Our Stretch On

On Saturday we had a guest instructor visit WG. Lisette Krol of Tribe Dance & Fitness dropped in to teach us a few things about flexibility and show some of the stretching practices she uses.
I gathered together a fine group for her to work on consisting of champion BJJ players, top level Kyokushin Karate instructors, Free Runners, Kettlebell Sports athletes and other assorted lunatics, all of whom were buzzing after the event.
One thing I was impressed with was that her list of the top stretches mirrored my own, she just takes them to Nth degree.
A standout point in my mind, echoed by Gan who owns Tramore Tactical Fitness and Aidan of the IADT Freerunning Society, was the instruction on how to develop the spine and shoulder flexibility. So many of us have terrible rang of motion through our spines, which if you think about it has 24 articulating vertebra or in other words, 24 opportunities to move. Yet we spend so much of our time trying to prevent the spine moving.
Doesn’t make sense.
I’ve worked with many who have hurt their backs getting poor advice from ropey yoga teachers, shit personal trainers and under qualified pilates instructors who had them back bend all wrong. I’ve also dealt with many who’ve spent years trying to stabilise their spine and ended up immobilising it.
Take the adage that “You’re as old as you’re spine is flexible” and have a think on it.
Then give Lisette a shout and visit her flexibility classes.

3: Kettlebell & Bodyweight Training Workshop

The countdown is on, three weeks until I teach my first workshop of 2014.
On March 9th I’ll be showing lesser known variations on Kettlebell lifts and how to combine them with top tier bodyweight drills.
There’s a hell of a lot more to kettles than Turkish Get Ups, Swings, Snatches and Jerks. And if you’re interested in developing strength, power and endurance in multiple planes of motion, you really need to look outside of the standard exercise box.

You can get more info including booking details HERE.


Dave Hedges

Creativity, Reductionism and Doing Whats Right for You

12 02 2014

Over on twitter a moment ago I posted a link to a blog post that was recommended to me by one of my regular members.
It’s from Ross Enamaits blog, which is always worth a look, but this post in particular is a corker.
Head over no and have a read, I’ll wait………


………ok, you back?

Did you get the point?

When I first started out training people as a professional, I’d visit the odd forum site and scout for questions I could answer as a way to get my name out. I rarely answered anything as the real forum lurkers and keyboard guru’s were constantly online answering almost everything with “Just get stronger” “Squat, Bench and Deadlift are what you need” and other similar advice.
Go to the kettlebell sites and you either get “Swings and Get Ups rule” or “Snatch and Jerk, snatch and jerk, snatch and jerk”

It’s all a bit reductionist for may tastes.
Don’t get me started on all the dickheads who#’s entire training philosophy revolves a round a single piece of kit or a single mentality.
You know the ones “I do TRX you know…..”, “Have you tried hot yoga? I heard that it helped someone regrow an amputated limb you know…..”, or “Did you hear what [insert guru’s name] said recently………”

Here’s a question then, if all we need to do is Squat/Bench/Deadlift, or Snatch/Jerk, or twist ourselves into pretzels. If so many styles of training have been developed independently of each other over the course of history, then how can there possibly be one single answer?


Here’s an idea for you, train to improve your movement potential.

Woooo! That sounds fancy!

Yeah, I’m kind of proud of that one. Basically it means that if I get stronger I can generate more force when I move, but if I prioritise strength above all else, there’s a good chance I’ll begin to lose the ability to do much else other than my key lifts.

To do this you need to do a few things, the first of which is be honest with yourself.
Are you piss weak but mad bendy?
Are you strong like bull but couldn’t touch your toes to save your life?
Are you able to run non stop for days but cant’ lift you carry on luggage into the overhead locker?
Are you able to bench press an elephant but are so slow the damn beast keeps running away from you?

Ask yourself questions like these, then answer them honestly.

Then start getting creative, use whatever styles, systems and tools you want to address all your weaknesses.

But make sure you have a bit of fun doing it.

And don’t forget to book yourself into the Kettlebell & Bodyweight workshop I’m running on the 9th March, where you’ll get inspiration and knowledge to spice up your training. I don’t adhere to “styles” of lifting, I don’t do “hardstyle kettlebell” or “fluid style kettlebell” I just lift according to solid principles, and I’ve no problem demonstrating what I mean.


Dave Hedges

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

What are you training for?

5 02 2014

I was browsing through facebook the other evening when I came across a post from a very inspirational facebook buddy of mine, Mr Wolfgang Brolley.
I’ve mentioned him on this blog a few times and his is the last entry in the Motivation pdf (which you can download from the side bar —->)

Wolf posted that during one of his open air workouts in the park a woman asked him “What is it you are training for?”
A valid question, but that’s not the good part, it was Wolf’s answer that stunned her into silence. He simply responded with a single word, “Life.”

So I ask you, what is it you are training for?

There’s a group of people I train who train for the ability to enjoy and experience life. These are the guys who attend the HOPS centre for Mental Health and come into me a few days a week for fitness and martial arts training.
As a coach I’ve noticed significant changes in their mind sets over the last few years, but nothing compared to what the service manager, Nessa, reports to me. Physical training has been one of the most effective “therapies” that these guys have ever had.

This is why I’ve launched the new Mind Over Metal T-Shirts with a separate logo to the usual WG-Fit kettlebell.
Each T-Shirt bought will put €5 in the coffers at the HOPS centre which will hopefully help the guys there have an ever greater experience of this thing we call life. If you click here you’ll be taken to the order form: http://bit.ly/1kS0Bx7

Too many take our physical and mental health for granted, most don’t even realise we have it until it’s gone. It’s when someone as eloquent and direct as my friend Wolfgang sums it up in a single word or expands on it in a few paragraphs that we take stock.
Here’s those few paragraphs:

“I can start by saying that a fair amount of what keeps me going is the phrase, “glide ratio”. I’m
guessing that it was roughly 10 years ago that I was treating a recently retired long-haul pilot.
Despite just having come back from Asia myself, I jokingly told him that I didn’t believe in
“Think about it: you fill a giant cigar tube full of people, throw it 40,000ft up in the air and it lands
on the other side of this planet in someone’s driveway – AND you know which driveway it is!”
He chuckled and proceeded to tell me the many ways that 747s were remarkably airworthy, “you
know they have a glide ratio of 8:1,” he told me. His point was that a fully loaded plane (with all its
engines cut) could glide eight miles for every mile it dropped.
Suddenly I had the image, the phrase that I could use to succinctly describe why I worked out as
maniacally hard as I did and do.
The fact is that we are all going down. Eventually, we lose all our engines – my job is to keep
maximum elevation going. No matter what my personal glide ratio might be, the higher I can keep
my plane flying, the longer the ride.” – Wolfgang Brolley, www.StretchPT.com

Once again, here the link to the T-Shirt order form: http://bit.ly/1kS0Bx7


Dave Hedges


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