Fixing, Fighting and Feeding

Got some busy weekends coming up!




This weekend I’ll be back out with the Anatomy In Motion guys, Messrs Ward & Sritharan for the Finding Centre Level 1 course.
I already took the course about a year ago but I feel a refresher is well and truly in order.

Knowledge and understanding of the Human Animal of the type possessed by these guys is a rare find indeed and I feel myself getting smarter just by being in the same room as them.

And then they start talking, and all of a sudden I’m back to being some caveman who shouts at people of a living!

But when I’m not shouting at folk to move faster, lift more, maintain solid form, then the AiM work we’ve introduced to WG-Fit over the last 12 months has been a game changer for so many of my crew and also the dozens of people who’ve come in specifically for an AiM session.
The words most commonly used to describe the process is “witchcraft” and I’m tempted to agree with them.

Mr Anatomy in Motion himself

Mr Anatomy in Motion himself

But all the AiM does is take the body back to its natural state, nothing more, nothing less. It’s deceptively simple and infuriatingly complex at the same time. But if we can centre the skeleton we can return the muscles to their resting length and we can hopefully optimise their function.
At least that’s the plan.

But to see people come in with years worth of old injury and degrees of pain, yet to have them leave feeling and moving freer than they have in years is astounding.

So needless to say I am looking forward to this weekend, 3 x 8 hour days of information overload, but what good information!


The following weekend I’m back to caveman mode as I teach my Self Defence workshop.

I usually schedule one for this time of the year as each December scores of people hit the pubs and bars for Xmas celebrations and partying, many of whom are what the bar and security trade refer to as “Holly & Ivy drinkers” ie not used to the hustle and bustle of the city at night.
And as it’s party time, everyone is out in force and that includes the nasties. The pick pockets, the addicts, the scumbags.
All hunting for easy pickings.

It’s a busy time for professionals, the Police, the Ambulance and Hospitals and the Door Security teams.
It really shouldn’t be this way.

So I run this course to help you avoid becoming part of this years statistics.

This year though I’m doing it differently.
I’ve been asked several times over these last few moths about non violent conflict management, which is a fancy term for talking your way out of trouble.
A few of my clients work in the social care sector and have found themselves in situations where they were less than comfortable, so I’ve added this to the course.
On Day 1 well start with the non violent means before introducing the more violent means.
Day 2 will be dedicated to the physical.

Why the mix?

Well, to be fair, there’s no guarantee either way. Someday’s you’ll talk your way out of a problem, but there are times where this simply is not possible and you must have the tools and the mindset in place to drop the chat and fight your way out.
It’s not a nice reality, but it is reality.

killeveryonein the room

The well known phrase “be polite, but have a plan to kill everyone in the room” sums up the core of this course.

Here’s more details:

Day 1: Sat 6th Dec, 1000-1600

- The Self Defence Continuum
– Non Violent Conflict Management
– Situational Awareness
– The “Fence” Concept
– Body Mechanics for Power Generation
– Three Basic Hand Strikes

Day 2: Sun 7th Dec, 1000-1600

- Day 1 Review
– Two Basic Defences
– Introduction to “Anti-Grappling”
– Determination & Aggression Drills
– Q&A

The workshop is open to all.
Previous workshop attendees will receive a deeper level of coaching.

Places will be limited so booking is a must.

Date : Sat 6th & Sun 7th December, 1000-1700 both days
Location: Wild Geese Martial Arts
Cost: Day 1 only: €65
Both Days: €100
CLICK HERE to book


Aaaaaand the weekend after that?

I’m having a pre Xmas dinner with the inlaws.
Can you say “over indulgence”????

Chat later

Dave Hedges


1 Rep Max Tests, Are They Necessary?

Over the last few years there’s been a marked rise in the number of independent gyms, largely growing on the back of the phenomenon that is Crossfit

It’s pretty cool as more people are squatting, deadlifting, pressing, swinging kettles and performing calisthenics.
It’s a long awaited return to physical culture as it was before the bodybuilders and aerobicicsts took over.

water aerobics

But on the back of this there’s an issue.

As with all things, when pendulum has been over to one side for too long, when it swings back, it goes too far the other way.
It takes a long time, if indeed it ever settles back to centre.


While the pendulum was over at hypertrophy and low intensity cardio, it’s whipped across to strength and high intensity interval training.

But for the majority, this is just as unhelpful.

After all, does a 40yr old mother who’s trying to shift some body fat really need to do a 1rm Deadlift and 4 dozen burpees?

Is the risk:reward ratio of a max effort lift congruent with her needs?
Is her connective tissue adequately prepared for lifting at this intensity?

One of my own lads was training at another gym on a day he couldn’t get into me. He’d explained that he was training for his first ever kettlebell sport competition yet the coach at that gym still insisted that he work up to a max effort barbell military press.
In his max attempt he suffered an injury to his elbow that nearly put him out of the competition.


His body was unprepared for the lift, he’d no experience of lifting to that intensity.
He usually works with kettles which are easier on the joints and is unfamiliar familiar with the barbell lifts.
Yet he was pushed into max effort attempt on a lift that has a notoriously high injury risk.

Extremes are inherently unhealthy, and any max effort lift is extreme.

They time to prepare for and time to recover from.
The technique must be dialled in.
The body must be balanced, no major imbalances, adequate mobility and sufficiently well developed connective tissues.

These attributes may be a given in an athlete with a lifetime of training under their belt, but for Average Joe, forget about it.

If we must test, if the clients needs genuinely require we test, a better option would be a 3 or even a 5rm.
This is safer as the lifter should have no problem with the first rep or two and can stop the test if form deteriorates. All is not resting on that single grinding effort.

A decent coach can estimate a person’s 1rm from a 3rm even a 5rm if they are using a percentage based training program.


Dave Hedges

5 tips for Getting Back Training from Illness

This time of year is rough, especially if you have kids!

Mine are just over some bug that they passed onto my wife and then myself.
Many of my clients have young kids and they too have been struggling with illnesses.
Even the young free and single among my client list have been dropping like flies.

And fair enough, getting sick is inevitable, and you could look at it as natures way of telling us to back off and take a breather.
You certainly don’t want to be taking a communicable illness into the gym with you and infecting all your training partners!

But we do need to get ourselves up and back in the fight as quickly as possible.
So how should we manage this?

1: Don’t Stress!
You won’t lose all those Gainzz in just a few days.
Any weight you do lose is mostly going to be fluids, it’s not lean tissue, so don’t fret.

2: Sleep
Yup, get as much shut eye as possible. A solid 8 hours of sack time plus as many naps as you can manage. Even if you don’t sleep, just getting comfy, closing the eyes and getting some undisturbed deep breathing will do wonders for you.

3: Fluids
We said in point 1 that the weight you lost is mostly water weight. So top it up as much as you can. Sip away at water, herbal teas and treat yourself to a lucozade sport or if you’re old fashioned, flat 7Up (granny will tell you to boil it, try it, it works)

4: Come Back Slowly
Do NOT just rush back to training when you think you feel better, ease back into it.
Jumping in balls deep very often results in a relapse.
When you’re sick your immune system is low, as you recover it is still depressed, exhausted by fighting off the illness. When you train your immune system takes a temporary dip, although long term training often improves immunity.
This dip in an already low system can lead to a relapse and more lost training time.

5: Fruit and Veg
Get em into you.
Can’t stress this enough, eat your greens, get your citrus fruits, drink veggie juices, just get em in.
Those vitamins, minerals and fibre will do you nothing but good and will get you back in the fight quick sharp.

Obviously these are very general points, you have to listen to your own body and of course seek professional medical advice.
But I guess the main point here is not to stress.
Training is a life long commitment, a few days off here and there isn’t going to matter. A few days back on the training floor and you’ll be right back where you left off.


Dave Hedges

Why the Perfect Sitting Posture and the Perfect Foot Strike Are Bollocks.

Of late there’s been several debates / lectures / arguments on the wonderful world of the interweb regarding “The Perfect………”

The two most current are:

“…….Sitting Posture”
“…….Foot Strike while Running”

And it’s these two I want to talk briefly about.

1: The “Perfect” Sitting Posture

This is a preposterous idea from start to finish.
More money has been thrown down the toilet researching this subject than is reasonably imaginable.
A few years ago I was doing a bit of work in the Price Waterhouse Cooper building just across the river from Wild Geese. I was given a bit of a tour as we wandered to the top floor fitness centre and listened as I was told at how much was spent on the ergonomics of the place.
The employees were sitting in thousand dollar seats.

Yes, that’s what I was told.
The chairs were so ergonomic, supportive, signing, dancing and whatever else, that cost about a grand a piece.

I was mightily impressed, right up to the point I had a group of 12 employees all in the fitness studio, got them all down into a plank and saw that every one of them had the exact same hip tilt, the same angle in the same direction.
Every last one of them.
I ran the class with three different groups, all the same hip issue.
And they sat in the best chairs the corporate world could buy.


Now it’s all the rage to rebel against sitting at work all together and instead we have standing desks.
This must be better.

Or not…..

Can we say, “knee jerk”??

Standing isn’t much better than sitting, I spent enough time doing it as I worked full time as a nightclub doorman for the best part of ten years. There’s nothing magical about standing for hours at a time. It’s as bad as sitting.

So what is the answer?

Here it is.

Are you ready?

The best posture is…..

I have to give credit here, I stole this sentence from Eric Cressey…

The best posture is…….

The best posture is one that is always moving.


No one sitting posture is any better than any other.
No one standing posture is any better than any other (unless you learn Wu-Chi from the Chinese Martial Arts that is, but still, 40hrs per week stood here?)

Silk Pj's while standing in Wu-Chi in the snow. This dude has it nailed! You on the other hand, don't.

Silk Pj’s while standing in Wu-Chi in the snow.
This dude has it nailed!
You on the other hand, don’t.

So sit tall, slouch, lean to the left, lean to the right, stand, stand shifted over the left leg, stand shifted over the right leg, kneel, squat.
Set a timer to buzz to remind you to get up and move about a bit.
Use the stairs instead of the lift, get up and talk to someone rather than using the internal email or phone, find an excuse, any excuse to move.
Now, yes, now we’re looking at perfect posture, because now we’re in motion.

The Perfect Foot Strike

Ever since “Born to Run” came out (great book by the way) there’s been a flood of info on barefoot running and on the back of that, this mythical, perfect midfoot strike.

Chi Running advocates the same thing, albeit in more detail that Born to Run and without the whole barefoot theme.

But is it right?

In short, of course it bloody isn’t!


When we walk we land heel first, roll over the foot, onto the ball of the foot and off the big toe.
When we sprint, we pretty much only use the ball of the foot and the big toe.

Anyone who runs will tell you with confidence that running at 400m pace is different to 10k pace which is different to marathon pace.
And guess what, each will have its own foot strike.

Think of foot fall as a continuum, where walking is at one end and sprinting the other. Slowest to fastest.
Now forget about it.
Instead try to run in absolute silence.

Your feet make no noise as they land, none at all.

What does your body have to do?
Lean forwards slightly? Probably, but don’t pike at the hips though.
Do you glide rather than bob up and down? Most likely
Do you lose control of your speed? I’d say so, but only at first as you learn to relax and control this.
Does your foot figure out how to land all by itself? You betcha!

Now your approaching perfection.

But here’s the real key.

Run Off Road.

Get on uneven, undulating terrain.
I’m talking, tree roots, rocks, shale, mud, streams, fallen trees, hills, ditches, the works. Or as close as you can get to it.

The more uneven the terrain the better, because now we will achieve the perfect foot strike.

If each time our foot comes down the ground is different, then each foot fall will send a different stimulus through the body.
No pounding in a poor movement pattern now, no, we have to learn to flow.
We still want to be light on our feet, running silently without impact, but now we’re flowing over terrain.

Perfection is not one thing.

Perfection is in the ability to adapt, that is what the human animal specialises in. We are one of the most adaptable creatures ever to live on the planet, our niche is in not having a niche, so don’t try to fit yourself into one.


Move more.


Dave Hedges

The Art of Fighting Without Fighting

It’s no secret that my love for fitness training and passion for human efficiency grew out of my martial arts training.
It’s also no secret that I spent several years working as a full time Pub & Nightclub doorman.

Every now and again I run a self defence workshop, I almost always run one at the end of the year as this is when the streets go wild and the number of assaults rise as the silly season kicks in.

This year though will be a little bit different.

In my gym I have several people who work in the Social and Health services, who from time to time stay back after training to ask me questions about dealing with aggression and aggressive behaviour.

This means I have to lecture them on what we call “Non-Violent Conflict Management”


Lets be realistic for a moment.
I’m 6′ 2″, 90kg, strong determined and trained.

Do the maths.

Do you think you could stop me without taking damage?

What if I was armed?

This is where the non-violent methods really stand.
It’s the art of preventing the assault happening in the first place. It means that the 5’5″, 65 kg female doesn’t have to deal with me throwing her around like a rag doll.

Non-Violent Conflict Management is non sexy but it very often works and not just in a professional environment.
It may be the key to preventing a situation from escalating into physical violence.

If you’ve taken one of my courses you’ll have heard me talk about the Self Defence Continuum, which is a fancy term that simply rounds up the basis of my teaching.
The continuum is:

Avoid – Evade – Confront

The first two points, Avoid & Evade are where the Non Violent  training sit, the third option, Confront is for when force becomes the only option.


So this is going to make up a good section of this years course. Most of the first day to be fair.
This means on day one we’ll look into:

  • The Self-Defence continuum of Avoid-Evade-Confront
  • Non Violent Conflict Management
  • Situational Awareness
  • Body Language
  • The “Fence” concept
  • Introduction to the hard skills

Then on Day 2:

  • Quick review of day 1
  • Developing the hard skills
  • Determination drills
  • Intro to “anti-grappling”

It’ll be a busy 2 days, but valuable.
With luck I’ll have with me on day 1 an expert in the field of social services who’s worked with young offenders and the mentally ill. Her presentation alone is worth the rest of the course.

For details on booking, follow THIS LINK


Dave Hedges &



The New Fitness Trend that is 200 Years Old

Movement is back.

People are now looking to not just look good standing still, a la bodybuilding, but to look good in motion.

ido quote

This, is a very good thing.

After all, what good are we as human animals if we can’t move?

Better movement was the reason I first started lifting back in the day. I knew my Karate would only get better as I got stronger.

Me getting hurt in the pursuit of knowledge

Me getting hurt in the pursuit of knowledge

20 years later, my opinion hasn’t changed, I still train to be strong and enduring so that I can move well and perform martial arts and whatever else life throws at me.

But in recent years, there has been this growing movement of, well movement.

We’ve got the gymnasts, the animal flow guys, the Ido Portals and all these folk that are exploring more than just the standard linear training methods most people are aware of.

Playfulness and the exploration of our physicality and our environments is becoming more and more normal.

But did it ever go away?

In 1909 French physical culturist Georges Herbert wrote his first book, The Practical Guide to Physical Education which if you read it you’ll discover how he espouses running, climbing, jumping, lifting, throwing and even martial arts as essential factors in the development of fitness, and he expected it from Men, Women and youths.

A Herbertism style Gym

A Herbertism style Gym

He wasn’t really ahead of the curve either, as the “Golden Age” of Physical Culture was at its peak in the 19th century, before Herbert was even born.

But what they had in common was the broad spectrum of fitness.
It wasn’t about just being strong, or just being enduring or just looking a certain way. Fitness was about all of those things and more. It was about being able to run, jump, climb and crawl.
It was about being able to defend oneself from harm, to  assist a neighbour in some heavy lifting, basically being a useful animal.

When bodybuilding took over, we lost this as everyone wanted to look a certain way.
Oh, and the whole aerobics thing…..


But now as the movement scene is slowly coming back in, borrowing from all disciplines, including strength training, martial arts and gymnastics. Inspired by parkour & free running (which Herbert is credited with starting), and with an eye on once again being adaptable.

To move well, a person must be strong and flexible, in all ranges of motion.
They must have responsive, reactive strength where they can generate and absorb force in all planes.
They must have proprioceptive awareness, balance, coordination.
Strength must be developed in tandem with flexibility and endurance, the entire system must work in unison.
Small joints and muscles must be conditioned, the stabilising muscles must be responsive and accurate.

It is possibly the ultimate expression of the human animal outside of the martial arts.
I say martial arts because I’m biased, but any multi-planar sport is good enough.

Over the years I’ve worked on many people who developed exceptional strength and work capacity in the gym but weren’t adaptable outside of the gym, they had gaps in their mobility and were prone to injury.
These were the people who did athletic or even dare I say it, “functional training” in the gym, but never tested that function or athleticism in a chaotic environment.

This is what the movement culture is offering.
It’s a way to explore the limits of the body in a way that fighters, rugby players, gymnasts, climbers and the like do all the time. But it does so with less risk.

I have to say, I’m a fan of the movement culture, which is why I opened up the Saturday morning “Motion is Lotion” class, which is being very well received.
But we’ve also linked in with several other movers and have arranged to run monthly Movement classes in various gyms around Ireland.
The first of these will be this Sunday in my place. Next month is December, so we’ve yet to decide on where that will be, but Andy Myers of AMFitness in Terenure has offered to host very soon.

If you want to know more, here’s a link to the facebook event page

Learn to move, to explore and to play. Don’t become one dimensional in your training.


Dave Hedges


Ducks, Squats and Stuff to Spend Your Wages On

Well, there’s been a lot of stuff going down in Wg-Fit these last few weeks, which meant my attention has been elsewhere and as a result I’ve not been blogging.

My life this last month........and I love it!

My life this last month……..and I love it!

So today I’ve a conglomeration of mini blogs and tidbits that you may, or may not find interesting.

First off is an “Ask Dave” that came from a question over on facebook.
The question was whether the front or back squat was a better choice or if they were much of a muchness.

After I gave my answer, I went to google just to see what others were saying on the topic and WOW!
There’s a lot of chit chat and opinion on this topic, much of it is the usual emotional “Well my coach is better than your coach” type of nonsense where people argue to defend their opinion rather than look at the reality of the question.

So is the Back Squat or the Front Squat superior?

The answer is……………<drum rolllllllllll>………..

It Depends!

Yes, that old chestnut again. The answer that is simultaneously not an answer.

Which is the better option? Well that’s totally dependant upon your body, your wants and of course, your needs.
Lets take a case study or two….

Mike is tough dude with high mileage. He needs basic strength work but has several postural issues that need addressed, one of which is a pronounced kyphosis of the spine. After working with Mike I was sure the kyphosis is probably something we can’t totally correct, but we can improve over time.
If I were to put a load on the front of Mike, we would be protracting his scapular and playing into his existing postural issues, therefore we ruled out the front squat straight away.
The back squat was problem because he couldn’t fully retract and depress the scaps meaning that getting into position put his shoulders into a compromised position and left him unstable.
So we strengthened his upper back, opened the chest, did a shit load of face the wall squats, overhead squats with a band and scapular strength work.
All the while we integrated this into the back squat with relatively light load, allowing him learn to pull the scaps into place and get the chest high all the while bending the bar around himself.
Over time it worked and he now squats a respectable weight.

Maria is an even tougher dudette. She also needs lower body strength and power in spades, but she has an issue in which her scapular are constantly in an anterior tilt.
When we put a bar on her back she cannot get the scaps to posteriorly tilt and end up with her elbows stuck out behind her and lats and upper traps take over both dominating and destroying all upper body stability.
However, if we take the time to stretch her lats and then stick into a front squat using the Clean grip, we see her scaps posteriorly tilt, the lats engage just enough and the upper traps are inhibited.
Result: She now squats well and is building up the weight nicely.

Two people, two different sets of issues, both use the best squat for their individual needs.

And as much as I prefer people to front squat, especially people new to squatting, I can’t let my preference override what the body in front of me is telling me to do.

Hence some front squat in my gym while other back squat.

This then creates the last question, if I can do both equally well but can lift more on the back squat, why would I bother with the front squat?

Well, that’s a biggie. From the waist down, the muscle activation on a 5RM front squat is identical that in a 5RM back squat but with less load.
This is a good thing, it means my two clients mentioned above are both getting equal training.
The difference then is in that the front squat allows most people to go deeper with a more vertical torso.
This means less shear stress in the spine and greater loading on the abdominals.


Not bad eh?

If you want to read more about the science then I highly recommend you have a look at the excellent post on the subject that the Precision Nutrition guys put together on the topic.

The PN crew are very science oriented and results focussed, so actual opinion doesn’t come into the equation when they analyse a topic.

Next I have some great ways to spend your wages.

First off is a ridiculous package of 72 ebooks & videos from a host of Coaches.
My Fighting Back eBook is in there, as is Ross Enamaits Jump Rope product and many many more.
But mine and Ross’s are all you need to know right….?

Anyhow, it’s only available this week, it’s stupidly cheap and you can get more details by clicking on the image:

Click Here for More Info

Click Here for More Info


Mind Over Metal Hoodies & T-Shirts

Tomo hits depth for the first time, the only that changed? The T-Shirt....

Tomo hits depth for the first time, the only that changed? The T-Shirt….

These are sold to help raise funds for the HOPS centre for Mental Health.
The last batch of these raised €300 which i recently handed over to the centre. This will be used to take the guys out for a Christmas Dinner celebration in a few weeks time, so a big shout out to all who bought a garment, you’ve done a great thing.

And you look damn sexy in your new gear!

For more info, please CLICK HERE


And while we’re on the subject of Ducks, turn the volume up and jam to this:

Now that I’ve just made your day, I’ll sign off.


Dave Hedges.