Bodyweight Minimum Standards, How Do You Measure Up?

What a weekend!

Saturday just gone I was over in Galway teaching the Bodyweight Workshop.
Sunday I was with Wild Geese Martial Arts founder, Paul Cox where we presented at the Filipino Martial Arts Exchange, then when I got home, the wife and I took a rare night out together at the movies where we saw Mama.
The Missus spent most of the movie clinging onto me with one hand and shielding here eyes with the other hand. Big scaredy cat!


But anyhow, back to the workshops..

Galway was cool.
I’ve run the bodyweight workshop in a few gyms now and always been blown away but the response I got from the attendees. In each workshop, at least half the attendance are instructors and coaches in their own right, and still they leave blown away by the possibilities of training with zero equipment.

Duckwalks - feeling the buuuurn!

Duckwalks – feeling the buuuurn!

Now I’ll admit, we did digress once or twice and grabbed the odd bit of kit to illustrate a point or show how to progress a movement by adding external resistance, but the majority of the work requires nothing more than your body and few feet of floor space.
The best thing is that when I created the workshop I actually wasn’t that confident that the first half would stand up to scrutiny, after all, how long can we talk about a simple Push Up and a Bodyweight Squat?

Well? How long?

An entire hour on each movement is how long. And that’s not even going into mad variations. We take the movement and dissect it, we strip it back to its absolute foundations, look at regressions, common errors and then progressions. The progression we build to are the unilateral versions, the Pistol squat and One Arm Push Up.

What makes the day workshop special is that it seems this level of technical detail in these simple exercises is largely missing, or possibly more accurately, it’s forgotten.
Very few people give these movements their due.

And that is a problem.

Each time I run the course, I have some very experienced gym goers and athletes humbled by these exercises that are considered basic.
Watching a person doing a Push Up or doing a Squat can tell a story. It shows limitations, structural imbalances and body awareness. It gives an idea of how well a person can move athletically.

So here’s a few minimum standards for these bodyweight exercises, see if you can pass them. Remember, quality is key here, I won’t accept half reps, poor quality reps, so neither should you. Accept nothing less than perfection.

And before you go on, no, I’m not perfect, some of these I struggle to meet:

Elbow Plank – Minimum acceptable standard: 2 minutes

Push Up – 50 real reps (25 for women), chest will touch the floor between the hands and the arms will come straight on each and every rep. Keep the spine in neutral throughout, that means no sagging heads or backs. (I rarely do high rep push ups, so don’t know if I can still do this. I’ll check this week..)

Bodyweight Squats – 500 reps, full range ie hamstrings meet the calves on each rep. Keep the feet flat, although 500 Hindu squats is also good.

Wrestlers Bridge – Weight on the forehead, for 1 minute. (This one gets me!)

Single leg bridge – 50 reps per leg, from floor to full hip hyperextension.

Pull Ups – overhand grip for 15 (5 for women) full reps. I give slight rider on these, I don’t expect guys to relax into a dead hang at the bottom, as that messes with my shoulder so I don’t like it as a technique. Keep the shoulders retracted the whole time.

Once you have these, try then the following:

One Arm Push Ups x 10 each hand.
Pistol Squats x 20 each leg

20 of these per leg please.

20 of these per leg please.

Just to reiterate, quality must come before quantity.
Do your bodyweight numbers add up?

Next week I’m up in Crossfit Causeway teaching Kettlebell Technique. That’s going to be a blast!

See you there!



3 Important Dates for your Diary

February is here.

You’ve survived January, you’ve gotten through the post Xmas lull and are back into full scale awesome mode.

Well, that’s just as well because look at what we’ve got lined up for you in the next couple of months:

National Kettlebell Lifting Championships
February 9th & 10th, Tramore, Waterford.
Wild Geese Kettlebell Club will once again be on the platform, hopefully qualifying for the Irish National Squad.

Bodyweight Training Workshop
February 23rd, Galway Kettlebells

This workshop has proven very popular since I launched it last year.
The workshop will cover (but not limited to):


Speed, Power, Agility, Explosiveness and not a weight in sight…

-Push Up variations to work every aspect of the body
-Squat variations
-Unilateral training
-Martial Arts strength training secrets
-Integrated core training
-Total body conditioners
-Bodyweight for explosive power

And some feedback:
Really enjoyed the Seminar today :)
Its really nice to do the the basics like the squat and push up with time to break down and run through all the actual mechanics in good detail .. and also real cool to learn the more difficult variations all them!!!! personal il be taking home alot of the core training stuff , il play with that for a while .. i thought 6 hours would be alot but the time flew .. anyway was a good day out and worth dragging my arse out of bed of a sunday morning for..” – Don Wheelan“I would highly recommend the bodyweight workshop with Dave Hedges/ at Wildgeese. It really highlighted how much I still have to work on in terms of mobility and agility, and will focus my training on what I need to do, not what I like to do! Many people train to feel better with little focus on results and progression. This workshop really brought it home to me about how to focus more on these two areas, and doing the right things in the right way, rather than quickly or that make me look good when Im training!”  – name withheldPlaces are strictly limited.
Contact myself on or our host Sarah Smith on
Cost for the day is €50.
Address: Galway Kettlebells, Unit 31A, Sean Mulvoy Business Park, Sean Mulvoy Road, Galway, Ireland.

Kettlebell Technique Workshop
Crossfit Causeway, March 2nd

Robin Taggart, owner of Crossfit Causeway has invited me up to his gym to go over proper Kettlebell Technique.

The Kettlebell swing - fire optional

The Kettlebell swing – fire optional

The day will focus on the most appropriate kettlebell specific lifts for general conditioning, those being the Swing, Clean and Snatch.
Most exercises translate from one tool to another with minimal changes, but these lifts are specific to the kettle and therefore require specific technique to get the most out of them.
Assuming we have the time we will also look at several double kettlebell movements as well as take a Q&A on incorporating Kettlebell Lifts into a wider training program.
Address: Crossfit Causeway, Units F4 & F5, Sperrin Business Park, Ballycastle Road
Coleraine, County Londonderry, BT52 2DH
Cost: €50 / £40
Click Here to book
Or contact Robin Taggart (host) on:
Mobile: 07776181832

I am also in the process of confirming dates to return to Tramore to teach the Rapid Response workshop.
And i may set a date for a workshop closer to home….
So get in touch and book your places

Aaaaand, one last thing…..

And this is important! are running a competition asking you to vote for your favorite fitness blog.
Now it goes without saying that WG-Fit is the best blog on the blogosphere, in fact it’s probably the best thing in the world!
So vote and see if we can get listed in the Top 10, or better yet, win!


You know you want to…..