Monday Musings

It’s Monday morning and you’ve probably not had enough coffee yet, so instead of a big in depth post (I’ve one of them in the pipeline, so don’t you worry…) here’s a collection of thoughts.

Motion Is Lotion

Movement is a hot topic at the moment. Think Ido Portal, MovNat, Primal Move, Dewey Neilsen, Gold medal Bodies even the Agatsu guys are adding it to their certs.

And rightly so.

moveMartial Artists, Dancers and gymnasts have always known that the ability to move well is a precursor to all other fitness qualities.
Luminaries such as Georges Herbert (Methode Naturalle), Joseph Pilates (erm….Pilates), Moshe Feldenkrais (c’mon…) and more recently Gary Ward (Anatomy in Motion) all understand this.
The old time strongmen understood this.

Modern fitness has forgotten this.

It’s a shame as the fitness standard these days is a person who can barely move, but has great abs. Sorry guys, but this is deluded, especially if you aim to perform well in sports or be a strong & vital pensioner.

For myself, the warm up and conditioning segments of my training have always been the opportune time to work on movement quality. But as old injuries have started to come back I find it more important to have dedicated movement practice times, even if it’s just a few minutes here and there over the day.

That 1 hour in the gym can’t undo the other 23 hours of the day. So take regular movement breaks, move frequently, even if it’s something subtle.
I’ll be following this up with more detailed how to’s in the near future.


The Worlds Sexiest Rash Guard is HERE!

When I released the Fighting Back eBook aimed at injury proofing the BJJ player, it was very well received. I got several requests that the cover art created by the excellent Simon Murphy was used on a Rash guard.

So I contacted Simon and he took up the challenge.
And as usual, he blew it out the water!

So here they are.

Included in the purchase of the Rashie is a PDF copy of the Fighting Back eBook. Once you’ve ordered, you’ll get a download link for the book.
So click on the image below to order one and you can look (almost) as sexy as Seb and myself (Seb’s the short one, I’m full size, eh Mark?)

Click the image for more details

Click the image for more details


Flexibity and Acro Balance Workshop

I have the pleasure of once again hosting Lisette Krol for a short workshop on Sept 13th from 1100 – 1300
If you haven’t met Lisette yet, she and her partner have won the world pole dance doubles championship multiple times, appeared on Britain Got Talent, owns and runs Tribe Dance and Fitness in Dublin and more.

Lets just  say that being flexible and strong is what she does. And she’s one of the best in the world at it.
If you as a BJJ player / Rugby Player / Kettlebell Sports Athlete or whatever you’re doing can’t see how her knowledge will benefit you, here’s a video of her in action and see if that convinces you:

Last time she was at WG-Fit we sold out and had to have a waiting list.
I expect the same this time round, so please get in touch asap and book your place, I can only guarantee places to people who pay the €25 fee in full.

Thats all for today


Dave Hedges




Exercise and the Black Dog

Depression sucks donkey balls!

It can, and does, kill.

nanuRobin Williams was the most famous of its recent victims.

Yet mental health is still deemed a taboo subject.

I’m a fitness coach, a martial arts instructor and basically a champion for all things physical.

But I also appreciate the mental side of our being.

To be honest, I can’t see a difference between mental and physical health. We all have health, sometimes its great, sometimes it’s poor, sometimes it’s in the middle.

But when our physical health is poor, we’re fairly well armed and able to do something about it. If we’re weak, we lift weights, if we’re sick we see a doc or go to the pharmacy. If we’re overweight, we moderate our food choices.
If we’re unsure you look at one of the 50 gazillion fitness blogs just like this one for some inspiration / knowledge.

But if our mental health is poor, it’s all a bit different.
No one wants to know.
Everyone you do know is full of the same shit advice.
No one wants to admit it’s a problem.

And that’s when trouble starts.

I’m no expert on mental health, over the last 4 years I’ve worked closely with the guys that attend the Hope & Peer Support (HOPS) centre for mental health and seen first hand what real problems look like.

The kind of problems that need severe medication and a massive amount of support to deal with.

In my small role as fitness coach and martial arts instructor I’ve observed how the act of training has a significant effect on the guys mental health.


Week in week out the crew come into me for what has become one of the best attended and longest running of all the activities HOPS offers. And they’ve blossomed for it.

Many is the time that one of the guys will need cajoled into training, but once they start moving they’re in it till the end.

Like I said earlier, mental and physical health go hand in hand, they are pretty much inseparable.
Once you start moving the body increases blood pressure, starts pumping around more oxygen, releasing feel good hormones. All of this goes to the brain, not just the muscles.

As we challenge the central nervous system to provide more power, more coordination, better movement, for longer, it gets better. That’s right the central nervous system (CNS) becomes more efficient, it gets stronger. It is this that controls the muscles, telling them to contract. But what is it?

The CNS is the spinal cord and the brain.

If we can stimulate those by moving, maybe, just maybe, and it’s only a maybe, the neural pathways will strengthen. Will this carry over into better mental health? No one knows at this juncture, but you know what? The chance that it might is good enough for me.

Even if it doesn’t make changes at the neural level, it makes changes in other ways.
Each week as the guys do more, they can see it, feel it. It’s tangible, it’s accountable and there’s no denying it.

If you got deeper in the squat this week than last, it’s a tangible, unquestionable truth.
If you did 9 push ups this week, but only 7 last week, it’s a tangible, unquestionable truth.

If you managed 45 seconds on the battling rope or you pulled of that new striking combination or remembered that footwork patter, these are all tangible and accountable.

These definable improvements are what makes physical training so important for mental health.
We can go on at length about endorphins and serotonin, nor-epinephrine and hGH, but these are meaningless to average Joe and unless you train in a hospital, they’re intangible.

But that extra rep cannot be doubted.

The weight on the bar cannot be doubted.

The extra 10 seconds cannot be doubted.

Each small improvement, especially if it’s recorded in a journal is an improvement. No one can doubt it, no one can take it away. And even in the dark moments, opening that journal and seeing the progress over the weeks can show a definite, unquestionable proof of worth and improvement.

Yes the hormone shift within the body is important. We all are familiar with how the body responds to the stresses of training with Opioids. Hormones that numb pain and give that natural high.
Too much of this can be an issue, as adrenaline junkies can often take it too far and become addicted to this high, pushing and pushing till they break.
But in a moderate and healthy exercise program this should never happen, just gentle exposure each time to these feel good, energising hormones.

After a good workout you can sit down with the blood full of these feel good hormones and reflect at how much better you are this week than last.

You can think about how that weight looked heavy, or that hill looked steep, but you did it anyway.


You did it.

No one did it for you.

No one made it easier, no one helped lift the weight, no one pulled you by the hand on the hill, you did it.

And this breeds self respect.

It’s not a cure for depression, but it’s something. It’s a drop in the ocean,

But if you choose a good coach, good training partners and an enjoyable, progressive training program, maybe, just maybe it’ll help stave of the Black Dog a little while longer.



Just my two pence worth.

Dave Hedges

Subject Management, or How To Deal With Aggression with Minimal Force

If you’ve read this blog with any regularity you’ll be aware of my background.
I first started training as a kid when I joined the local karate club and I’ve never really stopped.
I also spent the best part of ten years working as a nightclub Doorman, mostly full time doing 5-6 nights a week.

And while I’m delighted to have put the Door work behind me I still appreciate the more practical side of martial arts and self defence training.

Which is why when I choose a person to train under, I look for the best around.

I’m still looking.

But not very hard.

A few years ago I came across the work of Mick Coup and have had little need to look further. Mick is about the best I’ve come across yet.

He trains people in a simple, stripped down, proven method of self defence that he calls “Core Combatives” or “C2″

What sets Micks info apart from just about anyone else I’ve worked with is the absolute lack of filler. His syllabus initially seems very basic, but very soon it becomes apparent that what it seems to lack in breadth, it more than makes up in depth.
The information is, as the title suggests, Concept or principle based rather than a series of techniques.

And this is what makes it insanely practical.

At the end of September I’m bringing Mick back to WG where he will be running his Subject Management Workshops.

This is two days of what is often termed “Control & Restraint” training.
But unlike other C&R courses, Mick leaves nothing to chance. His military background shines through as he has detailed the innovative operational model of ‘Approach-Contain-Control-Restrain’ phases that concentrate upon probable tactics over possible techniques. This seminar takes into account the realities of actual situations involving hostile fully-resisting individuals, where there is a proven requirement for direct and immediate physical intervention.

The course is open to everyone, but is especially useful for anyone who works in a Law Enforcement, Security or use of force role.

For more details including how to book, follow THIS LINK or click on the poster below

Click the image for more info

Click the image for more info

If you are a martial arts instructor or a security professional, I’d appreciate it if you could share this post around with anyone who may be interested, and of course you may print the poster and hang it in your gym/Dojo.


Dave Hedges


Your Training Program, Done For You.

neesontakenMost days I remember to post a daily workout on my Wg-Fit Facebook page ( <- that’s a link to the page, click on it and like the page or I will find you and I will kill you…….)

These workouts are basically what happens in my place every lunchtime as guys from the local offices get released from their desk and run into me for short sharp workout before they have to return to their day.
So I program varied workouts, that are of a full body nature yet take less than 30 mins to complete.

Great for general fitness and probably fat loss.

But if you want more, if you want to develop a serious amount of strength/power, a little more is needed.

Simply adding some heavy lifting, either barbell or kettlebell or advanced bodyweight drills prior to the prescribed daily “WOD” is your key.

Here’s my choices:

Hip Dominant: Deadlift, power clean, heavy swing, double KB snatch, broad jump, suitcase jump.

Knee dominant (squat): Front Squat, Back Squat, Jump Squat, Single leg squat, Split Squat

Upper Body Push: One Arm Push Up, Dip, Floor Press (kettle or bar), Turkish Get Up (very, very heavy!)

Upper Body Pull: Pull Up, Bent Over Row, Pull up and erm, Pull ups.

Usually we’d superset the upper body push and pull.

So if you train three days per week, you’d maybe do:
Day 1 Hip
Day 2 Upper body push/pull
Day 3 Knee

I like people to start with a 5RM and do 3sets of 3 reps. Each week add volume until we hit 5 reps for up to 5 sets. At this point we add weight and return to 3×3.
Or we may use Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 method which is excellent.

So there you go, our daily lunchtime workouts taken up a notch for use when you have more time to commit but still taking less than an hour.
Don’t forget to like the page to get the daily workout.

Have fun.

Dave Hedges


Beginning Training

startBeginning training has been the most recent common conversation I’ve been having. So it seems a fitting subject for a blog post.

Now I know the majority of people that read my work and indeed train with me are beyond the beginner stages, many are coaches in their own right. So for you guys, this may not seem relevant.

Right up to the point where your Mum asks you for fitness advice.
Or your sister.
Or your mate.

And you say…..


Then you gather yourself and you go, “Ok, this is how you Squat………Oh dear!”
So you switch and try the Push Up and witness some sort of car crash.

It’s normal.

But how we deal with it has to be normalised.

If you are the rare person who reads my stuff who hasn’t started training yet, welcome and I sincerely hope that something in the following paragraphs serves to help you over the hump from “reading about training” to “doing some training”

By the way, if that sounds like you, you really ought to be visiting the Get1Active website and Facebook page.

So the most common thing I hear from people is that they’re not fit enough, or not strong enough.
In fact following THIS article I wrote for the Muay Eireann site on wrist strength the following comment was put in the comments:

“I’d love to strengthen my wrists but there isn’t a hope in all hell I could do a single push up to save my life. Well maybe one…if my life was severely threatened but then only for a second or two. lol!
I can push myself away from a wall standing almost vertically about five times in a row before collapsing. I’ll try them against a wall. Ahem.”

The commenter, in three sentences goes from sounding embarrassed about their current lack of strength to accepting that they can either find a way to build strength or they will remain as they are, or even, go backwards.

And there’s nothing wrong with this. We ALL start somewhere.

None of us start in the same place, we all have different strengths, weaknesses, imbalances, training histories, goals, mindsets, jobs etc….

But we all have to start.

So what if you can’t do a push up?

Start with a plank.
Do Push Ups on your knees, against a wall, hands on a bench or chair.



It doesn’t matter, all that matters is you’ve started and you’re on the road to progress.

Want to run but can’t?
So what, go out and walk.
Jog a few steps. The next week jog a few more, then a few more. Within a few weeks you’ll be jogging.

Here’s a simple gym free, fool proof method for making progress in just about anything that is skill based. And yes, movement is a skill and strength is also a skill.

The method?

Daily targets.

Set your self a realistic, no scratch that, an underwhelming target and achieve that much work in the course of a 24 hour period.

Example 1:
Monica trained with me for a number of years. One day Monica’s Pull Up performance just seemed to shoot up. Out of no where she was doing these picture perfect, text book pull ups, for reps.
When I asked her what she’d been doing different, her answer was,
“Well, I remembered what you said about daily targets, so I bought a pull up bar and fitted it in the kitchen door way. I make sure I get 20 done a day.”
A woman, in her 40’s by the way, who was struggling with maybe 5 reps of a pull up suddenly jumped to 7 perfect reps.

All by breaking it into manageable chunks.

Example 2:
I gave a lad the same advice when he started running. He’d be gassed by the end of his road and would walk home disillusioned and unmotivated.
So I gave him the task of simply covering a mile. How he covered it was irrelevant, so long as he did the mile.

Initially he went out hell for leather, got to the end of the road and had to rest there while his heart rate came down and then walked the rest of the mile. But he did the mile, which was a huge increase in what he’d previously achieved.

In time he learned to run slowly so made it past the end of the road before walking. He also managed to run in fits and starts during the mile. Eventually he ran the whole thing.
Since then he’s completed a half marathon.

Manageable chunks.

And that’s the key right there.

Perfection is for the gods, there’s no need to try and be perfect. In fact expecting perfection is the best excuse not to do something, it’s the ultimate excuse, “I’m crap so why bother”

It’s a bullshit excuse but so very common. And perfectionist, overbearing, over teaching fitness instructors often fuel this very excuse.

So what should we do?

Accept the start point, accept where the person is, or if it;s you, accept where you are.
Yes, it takes being honest and patient. Then from wherever you are try to get 1% better each day.

1% better every day isn’t much to ask is it?
But in 100 days, you could be 100% better!

I know it’s not quite that simple, but it’s the mindset that we’re looking at here

Check out the Get1Active page, here’s the links again WEBSITE, FACEBOOK, Linda does a great job in promoting exercises and sending out tips on starting as well as motivational hints to keep you going.
Dave Hedges

Minimalism, Dragons and a wee Rant

herebedragonsIt’s been a busy couple of weeks for me, hence the lack of blogs.
But that doesn’t mean my mind has been quiet, it’s a mess inside my head writing this blog actually serves to help me organise my thoughts somewhat, kind of like mental housekeeping.
I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those professional fitness bloggers, you know the ones that have posts queued up month in advance with everything automated.

Most of what I write about comes direct from an event or conversation that I had in person either that day, or within a few days of writing.

These last few days I’ve been so busy with real people that I’ve had little time to sit down and write about it. So today’s post isn’t going to follow the usual start-middle-end to make a single, distinct point.
Consider this more of a brain fart.

Point ONE

I’ve been busy.
Coaching people is what I do professionally, being a Dad is what I do the rest of the time. Any left overtime is spent sleeping, eating and getting some sofa time with the dog.

Over the weekend, in between the kids going to bed and the sofa time with Dog, I was writing online training programs.
I relaunched the online service a few months ago and have done several online consultations for people, turned down a few applications and accepted a few applications.
This weekend I sent out three individualised programs to three very different people with three very different goals.
It’s kinda fun sitting pouring over the photo’s and video they send in for assessment. Flicking from one picture to the next and back looking for imbalances, misalignments. Watching the video over, and over, pause it, frame advance, frame back. Until I glean as much info as I can from it to build their warm ups from.
Thats right, their WARM UPS.

Not even their workout.
Although in many cases, I use a quote from the great Dan John, “Make the warm up your work out”
ie, get all the important shit done in the warm up to ensure you are the best animal you can be for when you move to the heavy stuff.
Think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

But then I go over to facebook and have a wee mooch about at whats going on.
Naturally many of my facebook contacts (the word “friends” really is inappropriate when I’ve never met 90% of the people I am connected to) are also in the fitness industry as professionals.
I see an update from one dude, who is specialising in online training, so naturally I’m interested.

In his update he says how several thousand people have just signed on for his next period of training.

And I wondered.

I’ve just taken on and sent out training programs for three people. Three. 3.
It took approx an hour per person to do. So about three hours work.

How in the hell is online guru guy going to do several thousand. Never mind that, how about hundred?


He sends out a single generic PDF file to them all. The same file containing the same info to every person on the list.
Maybe he has a private facebook group where whoever buys the book can chat about it. But how in the hell is that a good online service?

I have PDF books you can buy, as does almost every other coach on the internet. In these books are workouts and programs you can follow. Generic, albeit good, but still generic workouts.

Yet we call them what they are. Ebooks.

It aint online training if there’s no personalisation.

This brings me to the next thing.

My Florida based buddy, Mr Tom Furman has just sent me a fantastic blog post he wrote.
It’s called “Synergy” and in it he takes two of these online eBook based training programs, one he wrote, which I have and recommend, and another I’ve yet to get round to.

Both eBooks have a common theme, minimalism.

He explains the good and bad of the minimalist style of training, and then shows how and why these two books combined are syngerists and give a more rounded training program then either does by itself. What he talks about in the post is bigger than “please buy these eBooks” it’s about how to view training, how to look at building a training program and developing balance.

A very well thought out blog post (unlike this one), take the time to read it.


Aaaaaand finally

Want to try on of the toughest core training drills going?

Here’s a wee demo by one of my girls. Would you believe this is only her second time attempting it, this is her second rep on her second ever attempt. Lets see how well you go on your first few goes!

It’s called the Dragon Flag

Jo is working the negative only, which is more than enough for most people. In time she’ll be able to lift herself back up, and even stop, pause and change direction at will throughout the rep.

Pretty cool eh?


Dave Hedges

Better Mobility for your Squat, Lower Body Mobility and BJJ

Movement has been the hot topic of 2014.

Since learning the Anatomy in Motion system for Movement Therapy at the start of the year, attending the Ido Portal workshop a few months ago and generally fielding more and more questions from my clients about fundamental movement as opposed to just strength and endurance.

And I’m having a ball with the rise in interest in this topic.

I especially like it as it’s the anti-thesis of so much of the current fitness world, which is run by strength coaches promoting, well, strength; Physique coaches and their obsession with symmetry; Fat loss coaches flogging insecurity for the low price of €49.99 (with over €200 worth of FREE bonuses!!!) and Crossfit turning everything into a competition.

Movement for the sake of movement is being lost.
Movement quality is declining, being lost in the search of extreme weights, extreme power, extreme physiques, extreme WOD times.

But in one area, the thinking is relatively pure.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu possibly has the most varied and complex movement potential of all the martial arts at the moment. Of course we have wrestling and Capoeira, but BJJ is where it’s at right now.


With it being such a young art with such a hotly contested competition circuit, many practitioners are looking outside of the BJJ box to learn about better movement so they can take it with them onto the mat.
Strength is useless if you can’t move, endurance can be worn down if your fighting against your own physical restrictions as well as your opponent.
So movement, mobility, the ability to move freely and with confidence is becoming more and more recognised.

This is reflected in the rise in popularity of systems like Ido Portal’s, the MovNat and Primal Move and guys like Dewey Nielson.

I only heard of Dewey this year as my thinking moved back towards movement (it used to be my prime focus back as a martial artist living in the mountains), and he has some great drills.

When Seb, the BJJ guy who trashed his motorcycle and had to have his knee almost completely reconstructed, came to me and mentioned that he’s still not comfortable in the bottom of the squat. Well, we moved away from the barbell and towards the movement prescription.

After one round of this drill, his squat significantly improved:

This is a task focused exercise that is challenging all his joints, but particularly the ankle, knee hip and spine. Because of his focus on the task, he’s not thinking too much about controlling the movement, which means the body is free to do whatever is needed.

His joints are being taken outside of his conscious comfort zone, the muscles that are there to support the joint and decelerate movement are kicking in like a charm and his entire system wakes up as a result.

In one session his mobility increased several fold. After 2 sessions, he’s bouncing around. Imaging how he’ll be in a few months time?
And since the deep squat position is fundamental to any grappling game (think of the position you are in as you turtle up, side control, hold guard….it pretty much all deep squat)

For more on Conditioning for you BJJ, click this image

For more on Conditioning for you BJJ, click this image

Strength and endurance are key components of fitness but they form an incomplete picture, it’s an unstable model.
Mobility, ie the ability to move freely with strength and control, is the third side.
And three sides make a triangle, the most structurally sound geometrical shape.


Dave Hedges