Daily Strength Training for Grappling Awesomeness.

Can you train every day and make progress?

Damn straight you can.

my-daily-routineIf you’re smart.

I’m an old martial artist and many of the guys I train are martial artists and regardless of whether we train Muay Thai, BJJ, Judo, Karate, Eskrima or anything else you can think of, ALL martial arts guys live by the “more is better” attitude.

A solid martial arts session will last for 2 hours or more, leave you in a pool of sweat, exhausted from chasing technical improvements and left on the floor from testing those techniques in a hard spar.

The problem arises when you take this attitude into the weight room.

Many, my younger self included, look to feel the same at the end of every gym session. The more wiped out we are, the better we will be.

But that’s not true. Not in the gym.

We can only train as hard as we can recover from. And the iron is unforgiving in this.
In our martial arts training we can roll easy, we can look to be technical instead of physical, our training partners will understand and accommodate.

But a barbell is just a barbell and doesn’t give a shit that you hurt your knee yesterday or didn’t sleep too well last night.

This is where a sensible approach to volume and intensity is needed.

As volume increases, intensity must go down.


So if I am to succeed in daily strength training, I must consider my ability to recover.
Recovery is a combination of calorie intake, sleep and taking care of the body.

What do I mean by taking care of the body?

I mean mobility work, foam rolling, extra attention to the hips and shoulders and keeping mobile.
This should make up your warm up.
10 minutes of targeted work on anything you suck at is enough. But get it done.

Next is the lifting.

A big lift first. Be it a Squat, a Deadlift or a Power Clean.
Follow this with an upper body pull and an upper body pull.

Deadlifting  car for reps. Must be the socks.....

Deadlifting car for reps.
Must be the socks…..

Legendary strength coach Dan John tells us that you can only really get 10 good reps done of any lift.
Listen to Dan.

Pavel Tsatsouline has a book called Power to the People where he advocates Deadlifting 5 days per week for 2 sets of 5 reps. That’s 10 reps. Coincidence?

In Matt Perryman’s excellent Kindle book “Squat Every Day” he talks about setting a daily minimum and being sure to hit that each day, if you feel good go heavier.

Available on Amazon

Available on Amazon

Put it all together and you’ve got a great recipe for hitting hard and heavy strength work each and every day without burning out.
Here’s how it looks:

1: Squat or Dead / Clean, work up to a daily minimum weight and hit 10 reps of that weight or more.
2A: Big press, same formula as above
2B: Chin Up, just do these. You can handle volume on chins. For BJJ guys I like inverted rows here too.

Just three lifts, thats it.
If you need to do conditioning work on top of this, I’d cut these to maybe three sessions tops per week.
Bear in mind, you’re already training your sport multiple times per week, and more is not always better. Sometimes it’s just more.

The key here isn’t killing yourself in every workout. It’s about accumulating a good volume of high quality work over the course of the week or the month.
The actual day that’s in it is almost irrelevant. The average over the longer term is what counts.

So today you lift 10 singles and hit a new PR on three of them. Tomorrow you’ll be a bit wiped so you may just do your 2 sets of 5 at the minimum. On average, you’re still up.

Now here’s a rider.

Don’t jump into this unless you’re already an experienced gym rat.
If you’re new, work from Power to the People. 2 sets of 5, that’s it, no variance. Stick with the same weight the entire week, no variance. The following week add 5-10% to that weight and keep it all week.
Do this for a couple of months to acclimatise to the increased frequency.

After that, start playing with the daily minimum.


Dave Hedges

Now the sales pitch!

Fighting Back salesFighting Back – my eBook on supplementary strength training for BJJ that focusses on the low back and removing low back pain has been very well received since I released it.
I got several requests that we take the rope design from the cover and turn it into a Rash Guard.

Well, it’s here……..

Check this out:

Click for more info

Click for more info

Now the good bit.
If you buy the eBook, I’ll send you a discount code for the Rashie. Those who already have it, already have an email from me with the code.
If you buy the Rashie, I’ll email you the eBook.

Everything You Need to Know About the Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell swing is the only exercise you need a kettlebell for.

Yes, there are a multitude of other exercises we do with the kettlebell, but really the swing is the foundation, it’s the core, baseline movement that all the other kettlebell lifts (as opposed to exercises using a kettlebell) grow out of.

So this post is the top posts all collected into a single place.

Bookmark it, share it, enjoy it and feel free to leave your feedback.


The Tutorials:

Kettlebell Swing Tutorial part I – the Basics

Start here. This is method that I’ve used and refined since the inception of WG-Fit and has successfully taken hundreds people from zero to successful swinging, some even further onto kettlebell sport or RKC.
Click HERE for more


Kettlebell Swing Tutorial part II – Common Errors

Building on the first instalment of the series, here we take a look at the most common errors seen when people learn the swing and how to correct them.
Click HERE for more


Kettlebell Swing Tutorial part III – the 1 Handed Swing

Now that we’ve mastered the 2 handed swing we can up our game with the 1 hand swing.
Click HERE for more


Kettlebell Swing Tutorial part IV – Personalising the Swing

By now you should have the basics of the swing down. In this instalment you get to look at how we can adjust the swing to make it better fit our individual strengths, weaknesses and goals. Does that mean we don’t have to adhere to any one style or dogma?
Click HERE for more


Kettlebell Swing Tutorial part V – Double Kettlebell Swings

So you swing like a champion but that’s still not enough for you. Well, lets double the intensity by swinging a pair of kettlebells
Click HERE for more

and finally a couple of posts regarding specific aspects of kettlebell swing practice, this first post is one of the most read and shared to date:

So How High Should you Swing Your Kettlebell?

Ever since the inception of Crossfit and the “American Swing” there’s been a debate on how high a swing ought to travel. This is post will provide the answer to that debate.
Click HERE for more

Ask Dave: Should I Prevent My Body Rotating During Swings?

This is a damn good question, especially as we hear so much about spinal stability and preventing movement at the core. So what’s the case with the kettlebell?
Click HERE for more

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