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

Dave’s Advice for Surviving the Xmas Season

It’s 6 days to Xmas.
I’m closing the gym for 12 days between 24/12 – 05/01 inclusive.

I for one am looking forwards to having a few days of eating, drinking and playing with my kids toys.

One thing I’ll not be doing is obsessing over how much and what I eat.

Each year facebook starts to piss me off as all the coaches, trainers and gurus start releasing posts and articles on how to “survive christmas”, “not get fat over xmas”, “foods to avoid over xmas” and other such assorted tosh.

Here’s my advice:

Relax, enjoy yourself, have some common sense and realise that a few days of over indulging isn’t going to set back the last 12 months of solid training.

In January I will have people competing in the Brazilian Jiu jitsu European Championships, in Feb I have people (including myself) competing in the Irish Kettlebell Sports nationals. And I gave the same advice to them.

Ignore the guru’s and the fear mongers.
Take the break.
We’ll pick up in the new year, I guarantee you’ll be no more than one or two workouts away from where you left off.

If taking time off is too much for you, revisit my last post on Daily Debt Training, or pull out some of the 12 days workouts you’ve been getting via email, or better yet do something completely different, something new.


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

Daily Debt Training or How To Get Stronger Without Working Out

This has been an insane year for many of my regular members.

Some have had babies.
Some have been promoted in their jobs.
Some have brand new jobs.
Some have changed countries.
Some have founded new companies.
Some have been headhunted by rival companies.

I love this.
It not only means the guys that come to me for training have an unwavering attitude and thirst for training, but also for life as a whole.
The guys inspire me no end.

There has also been a couple of other outcomes as a result of these changes.

1: I’ve space for new members at last.
I’ve a very low turnover usually so I tend to turn away a good few people. But currently I have space in my Lunchtime and Beginner classes.

2: The Online Training program had to be brought back as some of the guys still train under me remotely.

3: Some of the guys struggle to find the time to train. And this is the point of this post.


It seems non of us have enough.

Certainly not those with new babies or new, jet set executive positions.

How then can you still train?

Introducing the Daily Debt method.

It’s a method my Wife used before Son no 2 started school.
It also the method one of my girls used to double her pull up number.
(I might have stolen the title from Mick Coup, it’s also referred to as “grease the groove”)

It goes like this:

Pick a handful of high value exercises.

Pick a number.

Complete this number of repetitions in a 24 hour period.


You’re selection maybe:

Upper Body Pull: Chin Up
Upper Body Push: One Arm Push up
Lower body: Pistol Squat

Today you have to total 25 Chin ups
Tomorrow, 25 Push Ups per arm
The day after, 25 pistols per leg

Pistol Squat

Rhia checking depth, she can be a tough coach!

How many reps you do in any one set is up to you, it maybe done in 3 sets or 30 so long as by the end of the day you have paid off that days debt.

Obviously scale the exercises and number to your ability, your wants and your needs, the example above is simple one I gave out recently.

You may choose instead:

Upper Body Pull: Hanging x 5mins
Upper Body Push: Handstand x 5mins
Lower body: Bridge hold x 5 mins

The possible combinations go on, especially if you have access to some kit.
If you have a kettlebell at home, clean & press it, do Goblet Squats or snatch it.
If you have a TRX, do inverted rows & feet elevated push ups
If you have rings, do Chins, Dips, variations of gymnastics movements.
If you have a child, get down on the floor and copy them, chase them on all fours, use them for squats (I still do this with mine, squatting with a wriggling 3yr old and squirming 6yr old is the epitome of odd object training!)

Even if you do have the time, this is a great way to bring up a weak area or up your non exercise activity to balance out all those christmas treats……


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

6 Things I Learned in 2014

We’re coming to the close of yet another year.

It’s unbelievable how quickly the year has flown in. It seems like yesterday that my kids came down stairs to open their Santa stuff, yet here we are again making final arrangements with Santa before his visit in 2 weeks.

So I want to look back at some of the things I’ve learned over the last 12 months.

1: A Muscle Must Lengthen Before it Contracts

Learning about the Anatomy in motion system from Gary Ward and his right hand man, Chris Sritharan has been an eye opening experience.
The way in which these lads look at the body and broken down movement is astonishing.
In Gary’s 5 Laws, the one that states that muscles lengthen before they contract has been a game changer for many of my crew.
It means that if I have a muscle that is either not firing or is hypertonic, instead of getting on the foam roller and “smashing” it (to quote K-Star) or trying to stretch it into submission, I can simply find the position that add a little length to the muscle and then move into and out of that place.
In no time at all the muscle spindles and golgi tendon organs start telling the muscle to contract and lo and behold the nervous system kicks in to get that muscle firing properly.
Not only that but we can take any movement now and look at it through AiM eyes and see where the stretch is occurring, where contraction is happening and then begin to use that to build our training program.


2: Human Movement is both the Foundation AND the Top Tier of All Movement

Whoa, getting deep there!
But what is human movement?
Well, the term “movement” is being used a lot these days, and most of it is pretty cool.
As a martial arts guys, fell runner/mountain biker/snowboarder in my past and now S&C coach, you could say movement is what I do.
But all my movement & strength training left me with poor human movement which lead to injury.
So what is the most fundamental human movement?
The Gait Cycle, ie Walking.
Everything we need to know about the function of a body can be seen through its gait. If it walks well, it will run well and has the potential to do all things well. If not, it doesn’t

3: Hang for a Vast Array of Reasons

Ido Portal issued a hanging challenge. The idea was to accumulate 7minutes of hanging each day for a month.
I did it, as did many of my clients, and wow, good stuff happened.
Everyone noticed increased shoulder mobility, better grip, improved breathing patterns (hanging restricts the ribs so the diaphragm has to do its bit) and more.
I even felt my hip flexors stretch out.
Hang people, just hang.

washing line

4: Breathe

Following on from this is simply the power of optimal breathing.
Several clients have reported in with shoulder issues, back pain, tight hips and the like and non of the standard work was helping them out.
When I got them to breathe deep into their diaphragm, to expand the abdomen out in all three dimensions as the inhaled and to fully exhale, and I mean fully.
When we did this, their issues started to fix themselves, shoulders dropped into place, hips loosened out and the abdominals kicked in properly.

Here’s one of the breathing drills we do:

Breathe people, in deep, out even deeper.


5: Bottoms Up Kettlebell Work is Magic

Grab a kettlebell, hold it by the handle with the ball above the hand, ie upside down.
Now, do things.

Press it, walk with it, squat it, do Turkish Get ups with it. Whatever.
But feel what a light bell held in this manner does to the whole body.
1/2 Get Ups with a bell in the bottoms up grip have become standard fare in WG

Bottoms Up Waiters Carry feature in many of my guys programs.
Don’t take my word, listen to Eric Cressey:

6: Direct Scapular Work is Essential

Maybe no essential, but highly recommended.
I’m talking about hanging scap ups, push up plus, overhead shrugs, inverted rows with an arm screw and of course Turkish Get ups and Windmills.

I’ve fallen out with traditional rotator cuff work in favour of these straight and bent arm movements and supports. They just work better.
Just about every physio type rotator cuff drill is covered in the TGU and Windmill (which is why the kettlebell Snatch/Get Up/Windmill complex is so effective), but we also need real strength to control the movement of the scapular and therefore shoulder, which is where real loaded straight arm work comes into play.
You’re only as strong as your weakest link and with physio clinics being chock full of people with shoulder issues, get the scaps strong and keep them strong.

There’s more I know, maybe I’ll write a follow up post, but these 6 points are the ones that stand out to me the most.

Dave Hedges



Beginner Friendly Kettlebell Exercises


The original kettlebell

The original kettlebell

You’ll probably be reading a good bit about the kettlebell on this blog over the next while as I’ve decided to dust of me ole wristbands and once again train for Kettlebell Sport.
This is something I had to give up a few years ago through injury, but the Anatomy in Motion course I took last year seemed to sort me out, and I am able to keep myself in alignment by applying the AiM system on myself.

It really is a case of, “Physician, Heal Thyself!”

But one thing about this blog has become apparent, is that I have been neglecting the beginner.

As I tend to blog about something that happened in the gym that day or something that came up in conversation and occasionally something that is just in my head at the time I open the laptop. But then I get this email:

“Hi David, I wanted to say thank you for all your videos and get information. I am from the States and I wish there was a facility (and instructor) like yours near me, I would certainly be going there! I started a KB “beta test” workout through Breaking Muscle and they had no instructional videos so when I googled KB Snatch your website came up. Your video and breakdown instructions were most helpful. That also lead me to other instructional videos such as the swing, clean and press, etc. I will continue looking through your website and blog because I love it! Thanks again.
Claire M*******
Tampa, FL”

And it got me thinking two thoughts:

Thought 1: I really ought to write more for the beginning kettlebell lifter
Thought 2: I should be in sunny and warm Florida instead of wet and windy Ireland.


Back to thought 1.

There’s a studio or gym offering kettlebell classes on every street corner.
More and more gyms are adding kettles to their weight rooms.
People are buying bells for home use.

90% of fitness instructors teaching kettlebells have been on a course run by some muppet who hasn’t a fucking clue! <— Tweet that cos it’s true!

I can say that with absolute confidence and authority. I have had to undo the shit that these “certifications” have done on several occasions. One lady who taught her own classes came to me on a recommendation, the following week she came back and reported that not only had her back stopped hurting, but so had her clients.
One of my girls studied a fitness instructor course herself and went on the kettlebell module. When she came back to me we talked about the module and explained why almost everything the “instructor” told her was actually bollocks!

But I’m going off on a tangent and getting onto a soapbox, so…….breeeeeeeathe….

Of the plethora of possible exercises you can perform with a kettlebell which ones should you do as a beginner and which should you leave out?

The key drills are fairly obvious:

The Swing
The Goblet Squat

Next on the list would be a Military Press, but this is something I’d asses first. Many newbies are better served with push ups than they would be with a press.

I’d maybe add to that the “Around the World” drill as it makes a great warm up, passing the bell from hand to hand around the body is a great core activation drill while also developing confidence in the lifters ability to move a bell around.

This is the first clip that came up on Youtube for the Around the world drill. It’s a minute and a half long, but really you only need 10 seconds to get the idea (and no, I’ve no idea why he’s wearing gloves either…)

And the Deadlift and Romanian Deadlift make for great introductory steps leading up to the Swing.

Beginners don’t need anything more.
Yes you can use standard gym moves like lunges and bent over rows, but the three lifts above can be combined to form a solid workout on their own.

Enter the infamous 5-10-15 workout that features on my Level 1 Kettlebell Workshop

Or we can mix kettlebell lifts with bodyweight drills such as push ups, pull  ups and various lunge drills.

Don’t make it any more complex than this.
Beginners don’t need variety, they need to master the basics. A smart trainer can use a small handful of exercises to create numerous workouts while still ensuring that the basics get dialled in and mastered.

Only once genuine competence is achieved should more complex drills like the Clean, Snatch, Get Up and Windmill need introduced.

For more details on the Level 1 workshop and the beginner friendly kettlebell lifts, click HERE


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