Monday Mobility – Side to Side Bridge

It’s been a few weeks since I gave you a “Monday Mobility” post, for that I apologise.

So here is a great drill I like to use, especially with my lunchtime fitness crew. It’s a drill taken from JiuJitsu and restructured slightly to change its emphasis.
In BJJ the movement is used to throw a person off that’s sitting on top of you, as a mobility drill we are looking to increase thoracic extension and rotation with increased hip extension and glute activation.

Why do I like this with the lunchtime crew? Well, they’ve all just left their desks, come into me and have a very tight window of opportunity to get as much good work done as possible. So a drill like this one that directly contradicts that desk posture while activating important muscles and moving the body around a bit makes for a great warm up choice.

For you BJJ and wrestling guys, take a look at the variations I espouse here. You will see:

  • I push through the heels rather than the toes.
    Evidence has been published to show that pressing through the heel has a greater effect on activating the posterior chain (Glutes/Hammies), whereas pushing through the ball of the foot is more anterior dominant (quads). So I go with the evidence and try to get as much glute activation as possible by pushing the ground away with my heels.
  • I don’t start to rotate until I am maximally extended.
    In a fight a quick bump with an equally quick turn is needed to throw the guy off before he has time to respond and adjust, fair enough. But here I am warming up and aiming to increase my ROM. Very often I see BJJ guys who have terrible hip extension, maybe it’s a combination of office/desk bound work with a flexion emphasis sport. Net result is a bridge that comes from overarching the low back rather than hyperextending the hip.
    Emphasis the hip extension here while maintaining a slight amount of tension in the abdominals to ensure the low back stays neutral and instead the extension happens in the upper back and the hip.
  • Reach the hand as far as possible, aiming to reach a fraction further on each rep.
    Reach out to the corners of the room, kind of aiming along the North West & North East lines assuming your spine is aligned along the North-South line. You should feel like you are about to fall over onto your face if you do this right.
  • Count it in a 4 count.
    1 – Lift the hip
    2 – Reach the arm
    3 – Retract the Arm
    4 – Lower the hip.
    This will ensure that quality is maintained.

Enough chatter, here’s a video:


Dave Hedges

Upcoming Workshops:

Kettlebell Lifting Levels 1 & 2 workshop
September 8th, 1000 – 1600
At Wild Geese Fitness, Dublin 2
Details HERE.

 and if you are a coach,  this is for you:
Kettlebell Instructor Training Certification:
October 5th & 6th, 0900 – 1700 both days.
Details HERE

Kettlebell & Bodyweight Training
Tramore Tactical Fitness, Waterford
Sat 9th November
Details Here


Monday Mobility – Walkout to Scap Up

It’s Monday again, so it’s time for a dose of Monday Mobility.

In case you missed it, last week we looked at opening the hips, you can read that HERE.

Today’s mobility drill is a corker. It is a combination exercise that ticks a lot of boxes, check this out:

  • Hamstring Length
  • Core Stability
  • Scapula Function

It’s big drill, perfect for warming up with.

Here’s how it goes:

Have fun with it.


Dave Hedges

Don’t forget to hit the share buttons if you find this post useful!

A Fast and Effective Warm Up

Predator__1Right, I’m going to keep this short as the original Predator movie is on TV.
And you can’t beat a bit of Arnie!

Anyhow, I do want to talk about the subject of Warming Up.

A good few of my guys play on amateur sports. Their warm ups usually consist of a few laps of the field followed by a few static stretches, they then move onto skills.
Well, judging by the injury rate amongst these guys, at least prior to coming to me for training, it is simply not good enough.

A good warm up isn’t just about breaking a sweat, although that is part of it. It is also about getting the nervous system firing, lubricating the joints, ensuring we have full range of motion and activating any problematic muscles especially the rotator cuff and glutes.

Sounds like a lot.

But it needn’t take long if you have a plan in place. And this is exactly where most fail, there’s no plan and no routine.

Personally I encourage my competitive athletes to develop a standardised warm up, this then becomes a tool for switching into performance mode, I think the NLP guys call it a “Trigger”
In the video below I demonstrate one such routine, it’s the current warm up for my Lunchtime Athletes, the guys who only have a tight window of opportunity to get their training done before having to get back to their jobs. The sequence has been carefully put together for maximum efficiency in minimal time, it takes under 9minutes and will raise a sweat and get you firing ready to work.

Here’s the clip:

This can be adopted for your gym sessions or as many of my guys have done and now use prior to Martial Arts, Rugby or GAA training.



Warming Up the Upper Body with Indian Clubs

The shoulders can be a touchy bit of our anatomy.
Very few go through an athletic career, or even just regular gym training, without some shoulder issues. I’ve certainly struggled from time to time.

Many of the issues can be prevented by ensuring we follow a balanced training program. Actually, scratch that, we should follow a deliberately UNbalanced training program in that we use our shoulders for more pulling actions than we do pushing actions.

But a few years ago I started hearing about theses magical things called Indian Clubs and how they can regrow missing limbs….

Actually, that’s a lie, I never read that. But much like the kettlebell, the sales and marketing people will have you believing that they are pure magic.
They’re not magic, but they are damn good.

The clubs are swung in circular motions. The centrifugal force gives a nice bit of traction through the shoulder joint stimulating the connective tissues and teasing out tightness. The circular action takes the shoulder through its natural ranges of motion and stimulates the rotator cuff in a relatively natural manner.

All in, since implementing the clubs in my upper body warm ups, my shoulders have never felt as good.

The following clip shows how I like to use them and the sequence I encourage my guys (especially the Kettlebell Sports Guys) to use them. It’s a demonstration, not a tutorial, so treat it as such and go out and find someone to show you the finer points.

The clubs I use are 2kg each, believe it or not, this is actually relatively heavy for clubs with many espousing the use of 2lb clubs. I also use the 7lb sledgehammer for a more strength emphasis.

Here’s the video:

Like I said, these are great for the old shoulder joints, but only if used correctly and with caution.

Enjoy your weekend and I’ll catch you all back here on Monday




100 Rep Warm Up Set – October 2012

Warm Ups are important, yet misunderstood.

I use several here at WG, but some of the most efficient are the ones used by my Lunch Time crew.
The Lunch Time guys are on a tight schedule, they have a limited window in which to get in, get work done and get back to the office. Efficiency is tantamount to these guys, yet why not take a lesson from them?
Too much time is spent fluting around in most gyms, too much time wasted on inefficient exercises or even time simply wasted with mindless chit-chat. The gym is the place where you go to get stuff done, it’s not the local coffee shop where you can sit around for a chat. Get in, get out.

To this end I have the crew do a full body calisthenic warm up. Some of these I’ve posted before, but this is the latest one currently in use by the guys:



The sequence is as follows:

  • 3-5 minutes skipping
  • 1 1/2 Squats (Overhead optional) x 10
  • Bridge x 10 L/R
  • Reverse Lunge (twist optional) x 10 L/R
  • Skipping x 100
  • T-Pose x 10seconds
  • Pump x 10
  • “Quick Yoga” x 5 L/R
  • Hindu Push Up x 10
  • Skipping x 100
  • Criss Cross x 10 L/R
  • Superman x 5 L/R (2-3 sec pause on each rep)

The whole sequence ought to take around 8 minutes and will leave you ready to hit your specific warm up and get rocking.

Feel 10 Years Younger

On Tuesday the guys and girls were arriving for the regular Kettlebell beginners session. In came Roseanne, our oldest regular member, as she signed in she looked up and said:

“I just need to tell you, the mobility and stretching you have us doing is brilliant, I haven’t felt this good in around 10 years. At 52, I never thought my bones and joints would feel as good.”

She credits the progress to the warm up and cool down segments of the class. We warm up with joint mobility drills and cool down with a “Yoga-ish” stretch out, both of which she has taken and is using at home.
Of course the strength she is building also helps, but joint mobility really is the fountain of youth.

I’ve videoed the standard warm up we use in every beginners class. Watch it and steal it.

The Yoga sequence will be ready for the next post.



Warm Ups

Warming up.

Not something I’ve ever been really good at.

So what right have I to write a post about it?

Simple. Just because I hate doing the warm ups, I force myself to. I wasn’t always this way and I’ve had the injuries to prove it.
My philosophy was always to start doing whatever I was going to do but at a nice easy pace and slowly ramp it up.

What this meant was I’d jump onto my mountain bike and be in top gear standing on the pedals within 100 meters. I’d tie my shoes on for a run and as soon as I was out the front gate I’d be at full tilt.

I wasn’t much different when it came to lifting.

As I got a little older, I started to wonder why the knees, hamstrings and back were always at me. And then one day BANG!

There goes the back. One misaligned Sacroilliac joint and one herniated disk. 6 months of having to warm up to merely get my sock on.

Now, I warm up for everything.

But how do you warm up? there are so many conflicting stories and evidence that it’s difficult to make heads nor tails of exactly what to do.

Over the years I’ve reached the conclusion that a warm up should be quick and simple. It should tell you how your body is performing today, does it need special attention in any particular areas and is it rested enough to go hard in the days training.
In other words a warm up is not merely a thing you have to do before the meat of the program, it is more like a systems check.

Are the shoulders tweaking? Warm them up more, or maybe leave out pressing today.
Is the hip stiff? Spend longer mobilising, perhaps even stretch.

Learning to listen to the body is a vital skill.

So how do we warm up?
Simple, take a 10-15 minute time slot and break it down. Start by elevating the body tepmerature, skiping or jogging is good here. Then mobilise each and every joint, start with the major joints, the hips and shoulders. Move to smaller and smaller.
Then get active. The following video is one of my most effective warm up routines.
It’s5 minutes of kettlebell work.

I’d already spent a few minutes skipping. This was followed by:

Hand to Hand Swings – warm the hips and hamstrings, elevate temperature
Kettlebell juggling – Wake up the nervous system and boost hand eye coordination
Over head Squat/Windmill – Open the chest and shoulders, stretch the hips
Circular Cleans – Great for the shoulders, gets them nice and warm, also loosend the waist.
Halo’s – For shoulder mobility and core activation

That just about hits all the bases, but the proof is in the pudding. The day I filmed this I hit 2 new PR’s in my strength program. Now thats a good warm up!

Here’s the vid:

Let me know how you get on


And Don’t forget, on the 7th Feb I’m running a Kettlebell Basics Workshop in aid of the Breaking for Lia fundraiser. You’ll get a full joint mobility session at the beginning as your warm up!