Category Archives: Fitness

Conditioning Made Easy part 2 – Circuits

Welcome to the second part of the “Conditioning Made Easy” series.

If you missed part 1, it’s here:

This week, as promised, I’m talking about circuit training.
I’ve been a huge fan of circuit training since I began training.

My early years of weight room training started back when I was a 16yr old spotty little shit.
I hung around at school with the lads on the rowing team, they were ranked around number 12 in the UK at the time.
My Karate instructor, the late Jack Parker had told me I needed to be stronger, so I asked the Rowers if I could join their weight sessions
They asked the Coach, he said yes, and the rest is history.

But Coach had a wicked training style.

He gave us a few minutes to warm ourselves up while he laid out a circuit.
Then he’d walk us through each station once.
Then he hit the start button and for the next 20 minutes we went flat out.

After that, we set up the heavy stuff.

This influence can still be seen on the methods I employ today.

But enough of my history. Are circuits a good choice for developing high levels of conditioning?

Yes, is the short answer.

In my “WMD” eBook I have a chapter devoted to the circuit training method with a couple of dozen examples of actual circuits we’ve used in Wg-Fit as part of our Kickboxer conditioning program (article continues below the image)

[product id=25733]

They key to good circuit training it to have an plan.
Decide before you lay it out what you training effect the circuit should elicit.

Are you wanting cardio?
Faster recovery times?
Local muscular endurance?
Mental Fortitude?
Are you developing the aerobic or alactic energy systems?

Knowing what aspects of fitness you want to emphasise will tell you what time, duration, work to rest, exercises and loads to use.

For a simple example, if you’re developing aerobic capacity, you keep the loads light, so single kettlebell lifts, bodyweight drills etc, but the durations long and the rest periods short.

For alactic, you increase the intensity of the exercises, so more power oriented moves and higher loads, and keep the overall duration short.

An aerobic circuit may last 20 minute to an hour, looking to keep the heart rate in and around the 130-150 BPM (it’ll vary up and down, we’re talking averages here) for the duration.
Alactic, the circuit will last 2-6 minutes, but you will perform 2-4 rounds of the circuit with 3-5 minutes rest between each round, each round should be red lined.

Notice how these are two very different animals looking for two very different outcomes.

One isn’t better than the other, they’re merely different. It’s up to you (or your coach) to select which is most appropriate to your wants and needs.

After you’ve considered this, the actual exercise choices are secondary.
Staples of almost any circuit will include:
Upper Body Push (press/push ups…..)
Upper Body Pull (pull ups/various rows…)
Hinge (RDLs, Kettlebell Swings….)
Knee Dominant (Variations on Squats, lunges/step ups)

Other stuff includes things like:
Battle Ropes, Slam Balls, Direct core/ab work, Bag work, Skipping, Carries, Throws, Footwork Ladders etc

The actual choices are pretty much unlimited.
Just so long as it all adds up to benefiting the training plan and moving you towards your chosen goals.
As an exercise choice guide I’d strongly suggest you include elements you need to bring up, for most that’s glutes, hamstrings and upper back (did I mention swings and inverted rows earlier?)

Now, lay out a circuit and get to work.
If you’re short of ideas, check out the WMD manual:
[add_to_cart id=”25733″]

Dave Hedges

Never had as Much in the Tank

Our kickboxing coach ran a grading over the weekend.
These are brutal, especially as you climb the ranks towards the coveted black belt.
Gradings involve endless sets of push ups, sometimes totalling in the region of 400, multiple rounds of bag work, skipping, pads and of course all wrapped up with several rounds of sparring.

It aint easy.

One of the attendees cam up to me with an outstretched hand just yesterday and had this to say:
“I’ve never had as much in the tank as I did over the weekend, everything you said about strength, power endurance and stamina were was bang on the button, it’s exactly how I felt. Even after 400 push ups and rounds on the bag, when we did the sparring I was still strong and able to move.
Thanks, the Bootcamp was the best thing I’ve ever done, it’s made an enormouse difference”

I was blown away so I replied, “Thankkyou, not me, It was yourself that turned up 3 mornings a week for a month, it was you who ran the laps and lifted the Kettles, you did the work”
Which is true, I only run the thing, it’s the gys and girls that do the work.

And work they do!

A “Martial Artist” may not need to be strong and fit, but a fighter does. Condidtioning is so often the deciding factor in any arena, you may take a beating for the first round, but if the guys exhausted and you’re still fresh, the tables have suddenly turned in your favour, if you tire first, the beating will continue.
Fighters are without a doubt, the most well rounded athletes, physically and mentally prepared to push through any situation. So often I hear that matial artists just need to run and do push ups, this is wrong, building strength and endurance can level the playing field, or tilt it in your favour.

If you’re interested in taking your strength and conditioning to the next level and burning a bucket load of calories, then drop us a line on
The September Camp has already started but we are taking bookings for Boot Camps starting October 11th and November 15th


Do you have a gym?

A prospective new member was being shown around Wild Geese the other day, he was interested in joining one or more of our martial arts classes.

He certainly seemed impressed with our facility, but on the way out he asked “Do you have a gym?”
I started to explain that he’d seen the weight training area with the array of kettlebells, barbells etc but he wasn’t satisfied.

“I mean any gym equipment” he continued, seeing I was a little perplexed he continued to explain, “I like to run.”

It became clear.

“What equipment do you need to run?” I asked him, looking him right in the eye. His girlfriend giggled and he visibly shrank.

“Oh, yeah, I suppose. I’ve just…..” At this point I changed the subject to spare his embarrassment.

Now my wife is going to read this and tell me I shouldn’t be so harsh and to start being nicer to people. But, regardless, we at Wild Geese have a core philosophy. You can choose to adhere to it or not, it is your choice. If you choose not to, or if you disagree with it, that’s up to you, but you may be happier down at the local Zumba class, Wild Geese might not be the place for you.
So what is this philosophy?
It is to work as hard as possible at bettering oneself. It is about becoming a more effective and efficient human being. It is about not bothering with competition from other people and instead competing against the only opponent you will never beat, yourself.

We don’t rely on any one piece of equipment. Yes we love our Kettlebells, but we also have barbells, sandbags, sledgehammers, but above all else we have our body which is really all we need to train.
We love our Eskrima, it has the same philosophy, one weapon is all weapons, the same principles apply regardless of the weapon at hand, even if it is your hand.

This means we are never caught out, we never have to make excuses, we need nothing and want for nothing.
If we want to run, we step out our front door and we are running. If half way around the run we feel like doing some upper body strength, we can droop and do push ups, or jump up and do pull ups from a bus shelter, goal post or tree branch. If we get mugged along the way, we don’t panic that we left our sticks/swords/knives/gloves/belts/gum shields back at the club, no we defend ourselves with whatever is at hand, and run on ( a little faster now..)

In the real world you can’t rely on anything other than what you are wearing. There is no crutch for you to lean on. If you specialise in one area, that’s fantastic, if you only ever train for one thing, that’s great, until the day you area outside your specialist area.
As my old mate, a former marine, likes to say “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome”. Failure to do so can lead to unthinkable consequences.

So do we have any gym equipment?

The answer is yes, you are your gym, now train with it.

Wild Geese Martial Arts & Fitness

6 Wild Geese Updates

6 updates for the Wild Geese friends and Family:

  1. 1- Wild Geese Hoodies will soon be available, we have a trial order coming in shortly. They are black with White embroidery, great quality. Price will be in the region of €35.
    <----Design will be something like the picture.

2- Wild Geese Martial Arts and Fitness will soon be open FULL TIME.
At the moment we only open during the day for private & semi private training. But by the end of this year we aim to have morning, lunchtime and “off peak” training available to the public. Of course, you can still book private sessions with any of our instructors.

3- Several fighters from the Wild Geese Kickboxing club will be putting their bodies on the line in a couple of weeks time. Check with Ronan for more details. I’ll post them here as I have them.
We expect a strong show of support from all our members.

4- There are still a couple of spots left for the upcoming Certified Kettlebell Trainer weekend with Steve Cotter, drop me a line on or click here for more details.

5- Due to the massive demand, Dave is going to restructure the Kettlebell classes to allow for the recent influx of new lifters. Don’t worry if you’re an existing member, you will still receive the best quality coaching, standards WILL NEVER be allowed to slip.
Dave has also been requested to run another bodyweight training workshop, register your interest by emailing, we’ll have dates set for you shortly.

6- Are you on facebook? Silly question, I know. Lets try Who isn’t on facebook?
Did you know Wild Geese Martial Arts & Fitness has their own fan page? Click here and spend time with us instead of doing boring work, just don’t blame us if you get fired….At least you’ll be able to train more when we go full time, so it’s not all bad!

That’s about all the news for the moment.
If you have anything to add, hit the comments button and give us your tuppence worth.


Wild Geese
+353 87 672 6090

A Reductionist Approach to Fitness?

This is a guest post from fellow scotsman, martial artist and trainer Alwyn Cosgrove. Alwyn may have crossed over to the darkside by moving to the politically correct US, but he still doesn’t mind his P’s and Q’s when it comes to talking about the state of the fitness industry.

Read on…

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Reductionist Approach to Fitness?

In 1993 the ultimate fighting championship was created.

The initial concept was to determine which martial art – under a no holds barred scenario was superior.

It was karate vs judo vs wrestling vs boxing etc.

Fast forward 15 years…..

We no longer talk about martial art styles — we talk about MIXED martial arts. It’s a mainstream term.

We no longer use the term ‘style’ to describe a fighter — we say “he has good stand-up” or a “good ground game”.

Because martial arts have evolved and have embraced a totality.

Styles were a reductionist approach.

A strong guy went to wrestling. A good striker went to kickboxing etc….

But a holistic or total approach to fighting was always superior. And it’s a mixed system.

Bruce Lee advocated this (he died in 1973)……

“Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless”.
“Accept no way as the way, accept no limitation as limitation”

Here we are, 35 years later and the martial arts world has embraced that ideology completely.

But the fitness world is still arguing about which method is better – powerlifting vs olympic lifting, aerobics vs bodybuilding…

We need to evolve from this reductionist approach…


Wild Geese
any cause but our own