A Holistic Approach to Kettlebell Sport

On Saturday I ran the first of what I hope to be a regular series of events.

An in house workshop for members and friends of WG-Fit covering a single topic to a detail greater than we can cover in our regular trainings.

This first event was an Introduction to Kettlebell Sport

Now, a half day to cover Kettlebell Sport is a highly ambitious undertaking, so we aimed to keep the info fairly broad and superficial.
More a case of showing people how much they don’t know and seeing if it sparks curiosity to delve deeper in the time after the workshop.

And I think we may have succeeded.

The ideas that stood out were the holistic nature kettlebell sport must take if you are to succeed.
Especially if you aim to train the lifts for general fitness and/or compete in the sport for many years to come.

What do we mean by “holistic”

By it’s nature, kettlebell sport is a “strength-endurance” event, it require you to lift a moderate weight for many repetitions.

The greater your maximal strength, the lighter the bells feel, so more reps become possible.
The greater your cardiovascular efficiency, the more times you can contract those muscles to lift the bells.

For best performance you want to lift as efficiently as possible.
The means the best technique possible.
And that requires mindfulness and focus in training.

In order to have optimal technique, you must be able to achieve certain positions, this will require a degree of flexibility and mobility.
In short training for kettlebell sport requires you to:
Become Strong
Become Enduring
Become Mobile

What do I harp on about endlessly as the holy trinity of fitness?

Strength – Mobility – Endurance

So what would a training session look like?

We would start with a warm up of course.
This is where joint mobility will be explored and any tight areas worked on.

Then we begin lifting, several light sets building up to a level above our training weight for this session.
This allows us time to wok on technical nuances, dial in the mindset and ensure we are in good shape to do the work sets.
The work sets.
These vary in duration and intensity. Some days may be strength focused, some working on lactate tolerance, some more aerobic in nature.
Sessions could be very technical in nature or focussed on the grind.
But technique must NEVER take a back sea no matter what the aim if the training session might be.

And we finish with assistance work specific to the athlete.
This is commonly leg and core strength, as well as specific flexibility work.

All kettlebell sport athletes are also encouraged to get out on their own time to run or perform a cardio session of choice.
All at a light pace, a conversation pace, somewhere between 130 – 150BPM if we are measuring heart rate.

It’s a tough and demanding sport, but if you take a long term view and train with a holistic focus to develop strength, mobility and endurance in equal measure.

I think you’ll find it rewarding.

Currently I have one beginners Kettlebell Sport program available for purchase, you can see that here

While it may be called “beginner” it is a great program that will keep you developing for a long time to come. Perhaps “fundamental” would have been a better title than “beginner”

Or if you’re in Dublin and you want coaching, you know where to come.


Dave Hedges


Random Friday Thoughts, Subjective vs Objective

Here’s a few random thoughts from the week:


While a 24kg Kettlebell is a 24 kg kettlebell and there’s no debate about it, your response to that bell is your own. It is entirely subjective.
So while one person uses it to warm up with, an other may max out with it.
One person toys with it, another struggles.

This subjectivity is what makes coaching an art and a symbiotic process.
Knowing a clients strength and weaknesses can help predict their subjective responses, but they have to let you know in first place.


Staying on subjectivity, pain and injury.

Through our Anatomy in Motion and NKT tests, we have a bit of a reputation for helping people with pain and injury and are often referred to by physiotherapists to provide a rehab program transitioning into regular training.
Through this, and the fact that most of our athletic population in Wg-Fit tend to be from a full contact sport, we see that pain means very different things to different people.

While pain science is a developing field, it is fascinating seeing how, it is, from my perspective at least, pointing back to some very old thinking.
That thinking that experience, perception and attitude have more to do with how a person experiences pain than anything else.
For example, knocking your shin off a table hurts.
Knocking your shin off your opponents skull doesn’t.
Despite the fact that you kick a head way harder than you bang into a table, your expectations, your perceptions are different because of the context.



A 24kg kettlebell is 24kg’s.
It doesn’t give a shit how you feel today, it is 24 kgs.

100 reps is 100 reps. Wether you like it or not.

5 minutes is 5 minutes, you can’t argue with Father Time.

These are objective markers that you can do nothing about.
So if you manage to snatch that 24kg bell for 100 reps in 5 minutes, or you don’t. Then you did or you did not.

This is an objective test.
And that is highly valuable.
It cuts through the bullshit, the opinions, the feelings, the stories you tell yourself.
You either got it or you didn’t.

Here’s where it gets interesting.
Subjectively it may have felt hard, or you may not have felt like doing it at all.
But if you did it, what does that tell you about your subjective thoughts?
Does it mean that you can alter them?
Does that mean you should question them?

Damn right it does.
But never outright ignore them, just question them.
Objective tests and acts are a great way to find out if your subjective feelings are valid or not.

And that’s a very random Friday post, I guess the coffee shop was serving good coffee today!


Dave Hedges

Can You Perform In All 10 Fundamental Fitness Categories?

There are a great many reasons to get into this fitness game.

They’re almost all valid.

A huge amount of my regular members are keen amateur / recreational sports people, some very serious athletes.
Most of the rest are just in it for general fitness.

Which brings the question, what does “general fitness” mean.

Because it’s got nothing to do with your numbers in the gym and everything to do with your capabilities outside of the gym.

Every so often I like to quite the French physical culturist Georges Hébert
Georges categorised fitness into distinct training categories:
Walk, run, jump, move on all fours, to climb, to keep balance, to throw, lift, defend yourself and to swim.

To be fair most of us have experience in most of these.
We walk, we run or have run, we lift and I’d say it’d be a fair guess that we have some swimming and throwing capability.

But what about climbing?

What about defending yourself?

Self Defence is a topic I receive many questions on, I get asked to teach courses on it, I find ways to get the “soft skills” of awareness and avoidance into the heads of my clients regardless of the context we are working.

But what about when the soft skills fail you, can you throw a punch, can you repel a physical assault, can you get somebody off you?
Can you give a good account of yourself in a physical altercation?

A mugger is likely to very unimpressed by your six pack abs or how much you bench.
But if you carry yourself with that confidence, the confidence that you can and will put up a fight, then that will cause him some consternation.

So what do you do?

Attend some Judo or Muay Thai classes?
Great idea.
But if that’s not your thing, not your main training goal, maybe some basic fundamental skills and drills will be enough.

Just like you can get through your gym career with just a handful of exercises (Squat, Swing, Press, Pull) you can get cover the self defence basics with a similar number of highly retainable skills.

Skills that I have put together on video for you in the form of an online Self Defence course that has just gone live on the Virtual Training Centre.

I’ve linked to them on my shop page, but here’s a direct link:


The information in these three modules, if you take the time to train them not only gives you worthwhile skills, but is a clear focal point for that fitness training.

It’s my focal point.

It was the reason I started training in the first place, then as a doorman, now as a husband and father, my ability to fight with power and tenacity is of high concern to me.

Like all of Herbert’s categories, self defence is a life skill.
Do you have it?


Dave Hedges

Simple Strategies to Combat Elbow Pain

Ever had sore elbows?

It’s a very common occurrence, especially in the, erm, more “Mature” lifter.

As in most of the people that I talk to with sore elbows are well over 30 with a lot of miles on the clock.
It is almost always on the medial side, or if your arms hang by the body, the side of the elbow closest to the body.
And it kicks off with a lot of pulling movements, especially Pull Ups.

Why does it happen?

There can be a great many reasons, the elbow is a small and very busy joint.

anatomy-of-the-elbow courtesy of LIBCAT.ORG

There are many muscles, tendons, ligaments, arteries, veins and nerves all passing through a tight space that is responsible for a great many of our day to day actions.
How many?
Try not using just one elbow for the next hour, lock your arm straight or keep it at 90° and see how much it affects you.

Pretty sucky eh?

Anyhow, back to the gym and why pulling hurts.

Let’s explore the common reasons:

Imbalance of the forearm flexors and extensors.

The muscles that close out hand are way stronger than those that open out hand, this is by design. I was chatting to Son no 1 about this recently and he said “Oh, you mean like a crocodiles mouth?”
Yes, that is exactly what it’s like!

You can’t mention crocodiles without mentioning Steve Irwin!

However, consider how much training we do that involves closing the hand and how much we do that involves opening it again, you can see how the constant gripping can tip the scale too far in favour of the flexors.
And pain may occur.

This is a simple fix, work the extensors.
Practice opening your hand, you may use an elastic band or you can buy a speciality piece of kit online.
These are just two items available from a very quick search on Amazon (they are affiliate links), there are many other options available if you do a wider search:

Finger Extensor straps:

The Powerball, this is non specific but will fry all the forearm muscles:

Poor Lat Function

The lats, the widest muscle of the body, those glorious wings, can really let us down sometimes.

If the lats become overly tight, which is more common than you may realise, they may not provide the pull you think they should.
As part of their job is to internally rotate the arm, this action can be picked up by smaller muscles that are involved in the same job.
One of whom is the Pronator Teres who lives on the inside of our elbow.

The poor pronator teres isn’t supposed to work alone, so when overloaded he can cry for help, aka, pain.

Try a bit of SMR on the pronator, either roll it out with a ball, maybe on the spinning collar of a racked barbel, maybe give it stretch by spreading the fingers, cocking the wrist and screwing the arm forwards (as if you want to place the palm of your hand on a the wall in front with your fingers pointing to the floor).

Actively screw the arm forwards, spread the fingers and lock the elbow, move in and out of the stretch

Then immediately do some straight arm pull downs, controlled reps with a light weight (try a band hung from a pull up bar) until you feel the lats kick in.
You may need a few rounds of these, go by feel.

While performing any exercise that does involve a pull, ensure you feel the lats.
Bodybuilders talk of the “mind muscle connection”, where they actively try to feel the muscle contract.
While most in the strength and conditioning world, myself included focus more on ovements than muscles, we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water and forget that muscles ar still a big deal.
And who knows muscles best?

Body Builders.

Look to feel them as you pull, if doing one arm work, place your other hand (if you can reach) on them, this tactile feedback helps with that “mind-muscle connection”

A big issue for many is straight arm work, especially deadlifts, if we can’t involve the lats and keep them engaged through the lift, we are definitely going to have issue with our bent arm work like rows and pull ups.

On these straight arm lifts it is vital that we create tension in the lats prior to lifting.
Part of this is striving to keep the bar as close to the body as possible, the other part is to try to snap the bar, bending it around yourself.
Of course you don’t want the bar dragging up your shins, although from time to time this will happen and is the reason many deadlifters wear long socks, but the mental image is essential.

The last tip is one I received from GMB trainer Nathan Featherstone of Freeman Fitness.
Nathan recommends very high rep curls, tricep extensions and various pulls with a light band.
How many reps is very high?
We’re talking triple figures, so it’s definitely a finisher or a workout all by itself.
Nathan also pointed out that this is a strategy employed by Westside Barbell, not just the gymnastics community.

So, to summarise:

– If you have elbow pain, first things first, get it looked at!

– Then try massaging the pain site, and then working the forearm extensors and/or the lats.
Keep it light, controlled and go by feel, if you don’t feel the target muscles “activating” you are wasting your time.

– Focus on the “mind-muscle connection” look to feel the lats in all  – pulling movements, be they straight or bent arm.

– Maybe finish your upper body sessions with very high rep band work, particularly curls, tricep extensions, straight arm pull downs, face pulls, pull aparts etc.

Hope that helps

Drop me a comment below and let me know your own thoughts on the subject. Have you had elbow pain and what helped you fix it?

Dave Hedges

Kettlebell Swing Technique – Don’t drive from the knee

There are many ways to swing a kettlebell.

This simple fact is the root of a great many online arguments.

The Hard Stylers vs the Kettlebell Sporters vs the Crossfitters

This post is not about any of that.

It’s a simple fault that takes the juice out of your swing no matter the school or style you prefer.

It is using the knees to swing with.

This sprang to mind watching a relatively new member to WG-Fit, a lad that is well trained and has come from a gym I have no hesitation in recommending.

This lad has a hip hinge, so he looks like he swings correctly, but he is missing full hip extension, instead he pops the knees backwards.
He’s a keen cyclist who has an office job, so hip extension isn’t something he experiences very often, which is why the swing is a valuable drill for him.
If done well.

It’s easier to show than explain, here’s a video, filmed in the changing rooms as the gym was banging and you’d never have heard me:

Like all things, as time passes certain teaching cues can and do get either miscommunicated or confused.
Sometimes they are said so often they simply loose their effect.

So lets go over the fitness training style swing point by point.

1: Follow the bell back – feel the load go into the hamstrings, weight on the heels

2: Keep the chest high – the back needs to be straight, never flexed or over arched

3: Arms are on the body, upper arm is connected to the rib cage

4: Once the bell reaches the terminal point of the back swing, try to stand UP

5: The arms stay on the body as long as possible, only coming off the body as the bell brings them off

6: Tighten the Glutes and Abs simultaneously to fully extend the hip and prevent lumbar extension

7: Release the tightness as quickly as you engaged it, but stay tall until the arms reconnect to the rib cage

8: back to point 1

It’s simpler than it sounds.
But always remember the motion is forwards and backwards, not up and down.

And don’t snap the knees back, instead stand tall and tighten the abs.

Happy swinging


Dave Hedges

Patiently powerful

We live in a now society

Everything is expected to be instant.
To happen now

Unrealistic deadlines at work
Instant messaging
Email and a million other notifications popping up on the phone every few seconds.

TV is even on demand now, no more scanning the TV guide magazine that you just bought from the newsagent to see what time of which day your favourite TV show is on.
And if you miss it.
You’ve missed it!
No “catch up” options back in the day!

Now before you all start shouting “whatever Grandad!!” at me, I love my Netflix!

But I still pace out the shows I watch.

But, back to the point of this post…


Fitness takes time.

It requires the constant and consistent application of effort over a period of months and years.

You simply cannot rush it

Yes, short term improvements can be made in short span of time.
But these won’t last.
Once gains are made, they need to bed in to become instantly accessible at a semi-permanent level.

What does instantly accessible mean?

I’m talking about in action outside the gym.
In whatever athletic arena you perform, the ring, the octagon, the mat, the mountain, the platform.

I’m talking about in day to day use, where daily tasks become effortless.
Stairs? Didn’t notice them.
Carrying boxes? 2 at a time
Run for the bus? Nah, race it to the next stop!

You get the idea.

Progress takes patience
Patience is a skill modern society desperately needs to relearn.

Use the gym to develop patience and you will see progress in all aspects of life improve.

So warm up slowly.
Take time setting up for that deadlift
Learn good technique and never let it slide.

You can still train quickly
Fast, but not rushed.

Dave Hedges

Ask Dave: What’s your opinion on pausing at the bottom of front squats?

Today’s “Ask Dave” is taken directly from email.
Thomas is an online client asking for clarification on Squatting.
I’m always delighted when clients ask good questions, there’s nothing worse than a client who will not interact, be that with feedback or with questions.

Over to Thomas:

Hey Dave,

What’s your opinion on pausing at the bottom of front squats? I was squatting for the first time in three weeks last night (don’t judge I’ve been on holidays for most of that time) and I found myself inserting a pause at the bottom, which I don’t usually do.

I obviously find this harder but feel like I’m in much more control and maintain better form coming up. Should stick to this or am I better off doing them the usual way? Or should I consider mixing set to set? I do five sets so I could start with a pauses and then remove the pause for the final two sets?

Interested to hear you thoughts?


Hi mate,

This could be a long answer, so I’ll keep it as brief as possible.

Let’s use the terms “paused” and “control pause “

A paused squat has a deliberate stop and hold in the bottom position. You say tight and hold for long enough that the stretch reflex dissipates, on average 4 seconds.
This means you lose that “pop” or bounce from stored up elastic energy and you get stronger ” out of the hole ”

The pause is usually cycled in and out to work on a particular attribute, in this case coming out of the hole.
You may spend a few weeks with the pause then either return to normal or cycle to a different variant focusing on a different variant.
You wouldn’t do it long term.

A control pause is simply a defined moment of control in the bottom position, a clear stop.
This is how most should squat most of the time as a default.

You don’t lose the stretch reflex, but you certainly don’t bounce of the joints/ ligaments.

It shows you have controlled the descent well and are in full ownership of that weight, tight and loaded to push back out.

So both are good

Thomas responded again saying it was the “control pause” he was using. Which is perfect.
Especially as he is a tall lifter, standing well over 6 feet. Tall lifters have much less room for error than their shorter, stockier brethren. So having the controlled pause is a great way to stay honest in the squat and develop strength slowly over a long term.
Not rushing to work heavy untidy squats that may give strength gains but while flirting with danger the whole time.

If you are interested training online with me, or you simply have a question, use this form to get in touch:


Dave Hedges

Don’t Rest, Prepare for the Next Task

“Don’t think of it as rest, think of it as prep.” – Mick Coup

What do you do in between sets?
In between rounds?
In between training sessions?

Do you rest or do you recover?

Is there a difference?

I believe there is, and I’m not just talking semantics.

Over the weekend I hosted Mick Coup of Core Combatives to teach his Knife Management course.
Mick is regarded as one of the foremost instructors in the field of self defence and related fields.
With his background as a specialist military operator, he places a high premium on physical fitness.

We’re all too “well ‘ard” to smile……

The opening line of this post was a line he repeated during the very high intensity force on force drills we practiced.

By “force on force” we are talking, full contact, no rules. Wearing a helmet, neck brace and groin protection and having a short window of indeterminate length in which to fight.

It doesn’t get much more intense while remaining controllable and safe.

And participants were expected to repeat these bouts, taking it in turns to be the knife wielder or to add / take away and element.

It was tough going.

In between the bouts Mick would remind the guys, “Don’t think of this as rest, think of this as prep!”
In other words, don’t switch off, take control of your recovery so you are ready to go in the shortest time possible.

Mick is former military and has had a very active career. He now teaches self defence from a “worst case first” perspective.
Imagine, in a worst case scenario, you gassed and your normal response to this fatigue is to lie on the floor panting.
To reach for the water bottle, or a stimulant, or your BCAA’s

If that is your ingrained and only response, are you really actively recovering?
Are you ingraining the mindset of always being ready?

I watch kids play, and that’s the mindset we are born with. Yes, they recover in a heartbeat, but look at how they do it. They don’t stop moving, they blow out hard, maybe bend over, but they are looking to get back into whatever game is on asap.

What if it’s not a game though.

What if you’re an athlete? Wouldn’t it be nice to be more recovered than your opponent after each break in play?
What if it is a self defence scenario, would you not like to know that no matter how fatigued you think you are, you can still focus the mind and keep moving, recover as you go, and muster the strength to escape or fight on?

This philosophy has been with me since I began training, it’s not unusual for anyone in the traditional, particularly the Japanese Martial Arts to think this way. They call it “Spirit” but you could also say tenacity.

Kyokushin Karate black belt & WG-Fit member Shane, under a waterfall, in January. He has spirit!

In this current era of “extreme” fitness and “sport of fitness” you’d think this is the era of spirit.
But that’s not what I’m seeing.
I’m not seeing the emphasis on recovery, only on work.
And when the work is finished people are posting photos of their “sweat angels” ie the the damp patch they left on the floor as they flopped out at the end of the session.

I do not allow this in my gym.

This is the only acceptable sweat angel, only because of how clear my logo came out!
Sent to me by Anders who lives in Denmark

Yes, some lay down, but they’re very soon instructed to get up and move around.
One or two take a knee, which is acceptable, but they still get urged to get up and move.


Two reasons.

1: Spirit.
Are you willing, mentally willing to do it all again right now?
Have you the mental strength, drive, discipline to dig into that dark space and carry on?
Can you train your brain to stay sharp and maintain focus despite the fatigue?
If I asked you your name, could you answer?
If I asked you to write down your name could you?
If you were attacked right now, right while you’re gasping, could you fight back?

2: Moving is more efficient for recovering than staying still anyway!
If you shake arms and legs, emphasise your exhale (deliberately blow out), maybe even gently bounce your heels off the floor, you will feel the heart rate and breathing come down faster, you will feel the muscles relax and circulation improve. You will be readier, faster.

And if your sport relies on intermittent bouts of hard go with unknown amounts of rest in between, such as a hard rugby game, a combat sports tournament, an MTB Enduro round, or operating in a hostile environment, then the ability to recover on the fly is at least as important as being able to do work.

So breathe OUT hard.
Allow the in breath to happen purely by reflex, just try to breathe out, hard, aim to empty the lungs quickly. Then do again, and again.
The inbreath will be almost imperceptible, but it’s there.
You are essentially hyperventilating, blowing off the carbon dioxide, flooding the system with oxygen.
Doing this while rested can be dodgy, you can get light headed, potentially pass out.
Doing while in an oxygen debt gets it paid back in double quick time.

It also trains you to fully exhale, strengthening the diaphragm. Something we could all do with.

The shaking and bouncing the heels is secondary to the breathing, but still very useful.
This should help loosen out tightness in the muscles which will allow better circulation through them. Maybe not ideal for hypertrophy and getting huge, but for endurance, essential.

At the end of the day, your recovery is Food, Hydration and most importantly, Sleep.
If you don’t sleep, recovery is nigh on impossible.
If you’re dehydrated, recovery is nigh in impossible.
And if you eat crap, recovery is severely compromised.

Other activities such as foam rolling, stretching, sauna’s, ice baths and Chi Gung / Meditation are also great assists to recovery.

Treat recovery as a task in itself.

Be deliberate in your recovery.

Treat it as preparation for the next action, whatever action that may be.
Not merely a rest.


Dave Hedges

Human Movement and Shoulder Packing

“Don’t confuse Squat Rack movement with Human Movement”

This is a sentence I said to a young personal trainer recently when I met him at the Anatomy in Motion course.

He was struggling with one of the exercises they were exploring on the course, and his training partner, also a gym guy, was struggling to help him.
So I offered a hand.


I could see his Scapula wasn’t playing when he lifted his arm overhead.
This lead to his shoulder extension being created with an excessive lordosis which he felt as a “it hurts down in my low back, like its compressed or something”
The pain being on the side of the overhead arm.

I guided his Scapula into upward rotation, the discomfort disappeared.
Allowed the Scap slide back, discomfort reappeared.

So I cued him to reach.
To allow the shoulder blade move.

Lovely image of reaching courtesy of www.sensational-yoga-poses.comshoulder-stretches.html_.jpg

To which he asked the question:

“But shouldn’t we be packing the shoulder down?”

If you read anything from the Hard Style Kettlebell communities (RKC / Strongfirst and their imitators) then that is exactly what they teach.
Read powerlifting texts, and this what they teach.

In the context of lifting heavy things, it is absolutely correct and exactly how I teach the press.

The first thing we do in a press is lift the chest and drop the shoulder back and down, this engages the lats, which combined with he engaged abs, glutes and quads, means our body becomes “a bench” to press from.
Solid and strong, keeping the humerus in its socket and giving optimal leverage to press from.
The kettlebell jerk isn’t so different, just more dynamic.

Denis Kanygin demoes the Jerk

But this is lifting.
It is squat rack movement.

If this becomes your default for lifting the a, to say reach the top shelf of your cupboard, or, I dunno, ask a question at a seminar.

You will struggle.

When you raise your arm in human movement, your scapula must go with you.


As soon as your ar is parallel to the floor, your scapula should start moving with the humerus.
If it doesn’t, you are looking at potential for injury somewhere.

Now, back to the press.
It’s a bit of a misconception that the scap should not stay put. It should not be anchored and immobile for the press / jerk.
This may be the case for a bench press, but that is all.

The depression (pulling down) of the scap is only the initiation of the press. Once the elbow leaves the ribcage, that scap better kick in, if it doesn’t, our mid & lower traps and Rhomboids don’t kick in, leaving the lats and upper trap the job of keeping the hureus in it’s socket.

Not ideal.

But if you are one of these people that struggles to engage the scapula, and I’ve seen many both in and out of the training community, what can you do?

Short answer is:


It really is a nice pic

Simple as that, stretch your arm up, down, forwards, out to the side. Stretch it far enough that the shoulder “comes of the body”
Maybe use a light stretch band to provide some traction.
This is why hanging from a pull up bar can be such a tonic to many, unless you have tight lats/neck that it, it sucks then.

Or you grab some Indian Clubs and get some tuition on using them.

Oh, shameless plug time….

I’ll be teaching Indian Clubs in Terenure next month…..
Here’s the Facebook event page:

Ok, plug over, although you really should come (if there’s still space) or book me to teach at your place…

Here’s Martin swinging his club.
He’s one of these “no scap” guys, and while he has very complicated injury history we are working on, the Indian Club has been nothing short of miraculous for him.

Not only is he moving the shoulder in all directions, but that traction is gently stimulating the entire back.
If you watch carefully, you might spot how he doesn’t quite extend his arm and shoulder out fully, but that’s part of his process. If we had a video of him from a few months ago doing this, the difference would be startling.

The centrifugal force of the a club give traction to the arm and shoulder, if the weight and the forces it generates is non threatening, it should encourage the shoulder to bring the scapular along for the ride stimulating all the muscles that attach to it.
Go too heavy too soon, and you will “suck” that shoulder in worse than Martin is doing.

Is club swinging human movement?

It’s close, but it certainly helps set up human movement.

If your gym, your sport or simply your lifestyle and jacked up the shoulder mechanics, particularly the scapula, I highly recommend clubs.

But also, and probably more importantly, take a review of how you use your arms and shoulder through the day.
Do artificially pack the shoulder, military style?
Do they live up around your ears, turtle style?
Or do they get the opportunity to swing free?

Which is it?

What other gym movements have taken over your human movement defaults?
Can you posteriorly tilt your pelvis (tuck your bum under)?
Can you flex your thoracic spine (sink your ribs)?
Or are you “stuck” in the squat rack position of anterior tilt, arched back and ribs high?

Try getting a few photo’s of yourself in your shorts, front back and side.
All while standing relaxed, this isn’t about aesthetics, it’s just about where you happen to hold yourself.

Try it, drop a comment below, I’d love to hear from you and even help you if I can.


Dave Hedges

Get Better In the Gym So You Can Be Awesome Outside The Gym

I remember thinking way back when I started on this fitness journey, that the whole point of going to the gym was so we could be better outside of it.

I seem to be in a minority in this regard, especially in the current era of “The Sport of Fitness”

My journey started as a 16 year old skinny Karate kid.
I wasn’t doing too well at Karate, not for the lack of trying, so my instructor, the late Mr Jack Parker said the immortal words

“Dave, you need to get strong”

And that was it, I spoke to my buddies in school who were on the rowing team, I knew they had strength sessions with their coach, and I asked to join.

The first lift I ever learned was the Power Clean.

And I was hooked.

I already ran and cycled as well as trained karate.

But within a few weeks, I noticed the change.

I ran faster, cycled harder and my karate went through the roof.

Or in other words, shit got real!

After I left school and started working in a Hotel as barman, I used the Hotel gym, either before or after my shift.
This was when I was introduced to the concept of going to the gym to look better.
I didn’t get it.
I still don’t.

You go to the gym to develop strength, mobility and endurance.
You eat well to look good.

The two are not mutually exclusive.
I bet most track athletes, most gymnasts and most wrestlers would do pretty well in bodybuilding/physique competition despite their training revolving solely around performance.

Jess Ennis leading the 800meters during the Heptathlon events.
Non of these girls are pro weightlifters/bodybuilders or physique competitors

Personally the only time I cared about looking big and strong was during my time as a nightclub doorman.
I might have done some direct arm work and a few delt raises back in those days, but looking like you can do business in that job is almost as important as being able to do business.

A snap of me at the recent AiM course in Dublin, no I’m not working security…..

So where am I going with this rather drawn out story?

One of my members, a strong dude who has been around gyms and training for years, a guy who would be hard to impress came back to our Bootcamp recently.
He’s been training in a standard gym for a while, a place where aesthetics are more important than performance.
But at the end of his second 4 week bootcamp cycle he stops me and told me that he has never had so many fitness ducks in a row as he has after the Bootcamp training

By ducks, I mean strength, mobility and endurance. All built concurrently.

I asked if he’s offer feedback, and this is what he wrote in:

Hey Dave

I have been back training in WG doing the boot camp for the last few months and just wanted to say I am loving being back in WG and the Bootcamp. The mix of things along with an atmosphere which encourages hard training is great and I feel all-round the strongest and fittest I think I have ever been. If you’re not inspired to train hard when you look around WG at the mix of people training for KB sport, fights and whatever else they may be preparing for then you probably should give up training.

I have at certain times improved some things at the expense of others if I have done specific training for a race or kettlebell competition etc. but I don’t think I have ever really had everything(strength, work capacity and cardio) at as high a level all at the same time. I am hitting PB’s regularly in the deadlift and other lifts, I can walk out the door and comfortably run 5-10 km and pretty much do any activity I want without issue or getting tired. All this is also while old injuries have improved and I can move better than I have in a few years.

I couldn’t recommend the boot camp enough for anyone like me who wants to be fit and strong enough for whatever they want to do and for whatever life throws their way no matter what their age.

Keep up the great work

Mick Duggan

This is music to my ears.
Hearing that my clients appreciate that their WG-Fit training allows them to do more in any walk of life means more to me than anything.

Who gives a shit about about looking like an action hero when you can actually be an action hero

We’re open for enquires.

All you have to do is get in touch or book yourself in.
And yes, those bold, italic green words are links, click them.


Dave Hedges

…………Improving Human Efficiency