Category Archives: kettlebell

Your Chance to Train with A World Renowned Strength Coach

You have to have been living under a rock to not have heard about the value of kettlebell training for martial arts.

If you train at Wild Geese Martial Arts, you’ll be familiar with the extensive set of kettles behind the squat rack at the end of the room. You should also be aware of Coach Dave Hedges, WGMA’s resident Strength & Conditioning coach who is always willing to help out our competitive fighters by using these tools.

You may not know that Dave has a coach he learns from.

A man who is also an accomplished martial artist, who knows the body, is known for incredible feats of strength, power and mobility.

A man that BJJ legend Xande Ribiero has recently hired to prepare for his next BJJ cometition.

A man who will be in Wild Geese next month to run a short workshop on his training methods.

Who are we talking about?

Non other than Steve Cotter.


Here’s a video clip of his presenting some of his methods:

And here’s a clip of him and his business partner, Ken Blackburn teaching a workshop. Jumo to 3min 20s to see Steve really show off!

There’s a reason he’s one of the worlds most popular and sought after coaches.

Tickets are on sale now for May 21st in Wild Geese.

Get yours

Eventbrite - Steve Cotter Dublin Workshop

Wild Geese.

Strength Training & Injury Prevention Seminar

Mixed Martial Arts is the fastest growing sport in the world, it’s popularity has spawned hundreds of MMA clubs, each churning out potential fighters.

But are these fighters really ready?

Training for MMA is a new art, few coaches really have the answers. This is reflected in the rate of injury we see amongst the more experienced MMA athletes.
Knees, shoulders, backs, all damaged. Need this be the case?

Is this the future for all who take up this excellent sport?
Are all MMA fighters destined to be crippled with injury?

We believe this does not have to be the case. Fighters and coaches just need the right tools in their tool box to help prepare bodies to become resistant and resilient to the rigours of the sport. And on September 24th, we aim to provide these tools.

Wild Geese Martial Arts have lined up 4 great coaches, each with an excellent knowledge of the body and it’s workings to help provide some of this information.
We have:

  • Paul Cox
    Paul is the founder of Wild Geese, a martial artist and world champion in his own right. He currently defies the odds as he continues to train and make improvements despite a seriously arthritic hip. His doctors are befuddled at how he is able to walk, never mind Squat heavy barbells, kick heavy bags and practice takedowns in Judo.
    Paul says much of his success comes from the use of kettlebells. He will show how to keep the body strong and resilient, regardless of what happens to it.
  • Dave Hedges
    Co founder of Wild Geese, also a life long martial artist who has had his fair share of injuries. Dave has a huge knowledge of strength and conditioning techniques and hopes to show the difference between the Body Building style of training common in our gyms and an effective strength program for athletes.
    He’ll also teach some of the most effective bodyweight drills that can be used anywhere, without equipment, to forge a lean and powerful body.
  • Mark Sexton
    Mark is a Physiotherapist, Acupuncturist, Martial Artists and friend of Wild Geese. His insight into martial arts along with his insatiable thirst for knowledge has lead to Mark becoming one of the leading Physio’s in Ireland.
    He’s the first person we recommend when any of our members gets hurt.
    Mark will be talking about the body and how best to prevent and recuperate from injuries.
  • Anne Dempsey
    Strength and flexibility are two sides of the same coin, you can’t have one without the other and remain an athletic and an effective fighter.
    Anne is a yoga instructor with a unique teaching style. She blends Somatics, which are excellent for prehab and rehab, Pilates for core strength and Yoga for flexibility, all which she teaches and demonstrates without any of the wishy washy nonsense usually associated with the art.

All four instructors will be open for questions through the day.

What: Strength Training & Injury Prevention for MMA
Where: Wild Geese Martial Arts, Pearse St, Dublin2
When: Sat, September 24th. Time TBC
How Much: Prices to announced shortly
How to book: email, but do it soon, priority will be given to all who actively fight under the Wild Geese name, limited space is available for outside interest.

Wild Geese

Kettlebell workshops, Levels 3 and 4 – Sun 8th

Wild Geese conditioning coach and kettlebell instructor, Dave Hedges will be running his Kettlebell workshops, levels 3 & 4 on Sunday 8th April.

These workshops are not suitable for beginners, but are ideal for those with some experience of kettlebell lifting but want to take their training to the next level. The workshops are also proving to be popular with those who have realised that their weekend instructor certification has left them ill prepared to actually teach the kettlebell lifts.

In these workshops we will cover:

Level 3 – The Classical Lifts: Snatch & Jerk
These are the most technical and the most effective exercises possible. These two lifts form the kettlebell biathlon seen in the sport of kettlebell lifting.
Outside of the sport, these can and should be incorporated into anyone’s program. The snatch develops the entire posterior chain and develops serious hip power. The jerk teaches you to transfer power from the ground to over head, it is a must for any combat athlete as well as an incredible full body conditioner for everyone else.
Here’s what the Clean & Jerk looks like:

Level 4 – Double Kettlebell Lifting: Long cycle and more
Working with a single bell is great, but for real results we have to double up. this workshop is very much a review of the previous three. Each lift that was learned along the way is revisited but this time with a pair of kettles.
Extra attention is given to the third lift found in Kettlebell sports, and possibly the ultimate training drill, the Long Cycle or Double Kettlebell Clean & Jerk

Participants of the workshops will receive a follow up manual covering all the same information found in the workshops. These will be sent out via email afterwards.
The Levels 1 and 2 manuals are currently available on our shop page at a special offer price of €5.99 (normal price €12.99)
Click here to get yours.

Book early for the workshops to guarantee your place.


Wild Geese

NEW – Kettlebell manuals available

Did you know that Wild Geese is home to one of Ireland’s top kettlebell instructors?

Did you know that other instructors travel to Wild Geese to learn how to properly use and teach kettlebells.

Dave Hedges has carved a reputation for high quality hard training and top notch instruction in both his classes and workshops that he runs out of Wild Gees HQ.
Well now he has finally gotten round to writing his Kettlebell Manuals.

The manuals are a series of eBooks that cover the same information as taught in the Level 1 to 4 workshops.
Dave has just launched the Level 1 and Level 2 manuals, with 3 and 4 to follow soon.
The manuals are direct, to the point, detailed and completely free from BS and propaganda. This is about learning to lift and to train in the safest and most efficient manner possible.

In Level 1 you will learn:

  • Anatomy of a Kettlebell
  • Basic Joint Mobility
  • Deadlift & Romanian Deadlift
  • The Swing
  • Squatting with a Kettlebell
  • The Military Press
  • And More..
In Level 2 you will learn:
  • Refining the Swing
  • Breathing techniques
  • The Clean
  • The Push Press
  • The Turkish Get Up
  • and More..
If you’ve recently attended one of Dave’s workshops you will already have received a copy free of charge, but for those of you unable to attend the workshops, they are a fantastic alternative.
Here’s what Roseanne said:
“….The detailed manual handed out at the end was worth the price of the workshop (€30) by itself….”
For a limited time the eBooks will be available for €5.99 each, after that they will go up to the full price of €12.99.
For more info visit the shop page:
Wild Geese

The Best Kettlebell Lift for Fighters

Kettlebells, we just love them at Wild Geese.

Why do we love them? Because we are fighters, and that means we look for the most efficient technique for any given situation, we look for the most bang for the buck.

We know that a jumping cartwheel kick may look cool, but in a fight the good old fashioned rear cross is far more valuable to us.

We put that same philosophy into our training, and the most efficient tool we have come across to date is the Kettlebell, and the most efficient Kettlebell movement for our needs is the one arm clean & jerk.

The Clean & Jerk (or Long Cycle) involves swinging the bell from between the legs, up to the “Rack” position on the chest, then powering it overhead using the legs, back and finally the shoulder and arm.
It is a full body lift.

Done with a single bell will involve a whole heap of core stabilisation, far more effective at strengthening your midsection than any amount of sit ups. Driving one bell over head using the whole body is as close to a punching action as you’ll get while lifting weights.

Forget punching to the front with dumbbells, that trains the shoulders in the complete wrong manner, the jerk is actually better for developing a sharp snappy punch that just keeps on coming.

Taking the combat element away from our training, after all not everyone is a fighter, we are still left with one of the best full body conditioning drills. The One Arm Clean & Jerk uses every muscle in the body, and does so explosively. There are few other lifts that will ramp up your metabolism as high in a short space of time, so it is perfect for fat loss as well as strength and conditioning.

To learn this lift purely from a blog post is doable, but really you ought to find an instructor. You will also learn this lift on my Level 3 Kettlebell workshop. However, I have filmed the lift for you, even including a bit of slo-mo. Please remember, unless you have a foundation of swings and presses (as in the Level 1 workshop), there’s not much point in rushing ahead of your self and trying to perfect this lift.

3 Incredible Workshops

We have three great workshops lined up for you guys over the next few weeks.
Kettlebell Coach Dave Hedges will be running a Level 2 Kettlebell Lifting Workshop on Sunday 22nd August.
This will be from 12 noon to 2pm.
The workshop will centre on the Turkish Get Up, one of the all time great full body movements that develops great shoulder and core strength. We will also look at the 1 handed swing, the Clean and the Push Press.
This workshop is open to all, no experience is needed, although may be helpful.
Cost will be €20.

Trainee Yoga Instructor, Anne Dempsey, has agreed to come in and use us as guinea pigs.
Anne has studying yoga for some time and recently embarked on a very in depth Instructor training program. When offered the chance to practice her teaching skills on us, she jumped on the chance.
Martial Artists have used yoga and yoga like stretches and movement patterns to balance out their training for years. In the west, we’ve overlooked this softer side of training and as a result we suffer tight hips, knees and backs as well as an array of other injuries and problems.
Anne will help us add a little balance to our training, realigning the spine, opening the hips and resetting the body.
This will take place on the Saturday 21st August from 2- 4.30pm.
Anne will not be charging for this, but I’m sure everyone will show their appreciation with a donation.

And last but certainly not least:
Bill McGrath is finally on his way over.
Bill has 30+ years training in the martial arts specialising in Pekiti Tirsia Eskrima, he’s also had 20+ years as a law enforcement officer during which time some of those skills have been tested and applied in real world
Bill will be holidaying in Ireland for a few days and has kindly offered to drop into Wild Geese and teach some of his system.
This will take place on Tuesday 21st September from 6pm till 8pm.

As with the Yoga, Bill is not charging for this, he is training us for his own pleasure. Although again, I’m sure you’ll all donate on the day.
There will also be a debrief held in the local boozer afterwards.

If you wish to take part in any of the above events, drop us a line:
Phone: 087 672 6090

Training For & Competing in Kettlebell Sport

Over the last few weeks I’ve kept you posted on my journey to the 1st Irish Kettlebell Sports Championships.

Well they were held last weekend.
Before I go into the event, here are my last few training sessions on the lead up:

Jerks Day
Warm Up : 10 x 16, 20, 24, 28 and 5 x 32
Work Sets : 24 x 25 x 1, 24 x 28 x 1, 24 x 21 x 1
Supplement : Swing-Squats countdown, start with 35 swings with the 32 and 5 hindu squats. Drop 5 swings and add 5 squats every set untill you finish with 5 swings and 35 squats.

Snatch and variety.
24 kg x 10 min, swap hands at will.
Squats contrast training : 3 reps on Barbell immediately followed by 15 jump squats with 24kgs.
The squats went 60×3, 70×3, 80×3, 90×3

This the start of twice per day training.
AM : Jerks
1 min each of 16, 24, 32kg
1 min 32kg
2min 24kg
3min 16kg

PM : Snatch
Same protocol as AM but with snatch instead of jerk

AM : Jerk
1 min each o 16, 24, 32kg
1 min 32kg, 2 min 24kg, 3 min 16kg

PM : Circuit training
Plyometric push up, Bodyweight Row, Double Jerk (28kgs), Double cleans (24kgs)
round 1 – 45’s x 4 stations
round 2 – 30s x 6 stations
round 3 & 4 – 15s x 8 stations
Finished with a Time/Volume set of 36kg 1 arm jerks

AM : Snatch
1 min each of 16, 24, 32
1 min 32 l/r, 2 min 24 l/r, 3min 16 l/r

PM : Snatch
10 x 6 l/r 32kg Snatch

AM : Conditioning Drill
10 x Snatch, 10 x Jerk, 8 x Snatch, 8 x Jerk, 6 x Snatch, 6 x Jerk, 4 x Snatch, 4 x Jerk, 2 x Snatch, 2 x jerk
all done with double 28’s

PM : Jerks
24’s x 2,4,6,8,10,8,6,4,2
36kg x Time/Volume

AM : Jerks
32 x 10 x 5
28 x 10 x 5

PM : Snatch & Swing
24 kg Snatch x 2 minl/r
32kg Swing x 10 min, switch hand every 10 reps

AM : Long Cycle 24’s x 4 min x 2
Jerks 24’s x 2 min sprint
Hindu Squat x 100

PM : Circuit
Barbell Squat x 5 (40, 50, 70, 80kg)
32kg Snatch x 10 l/r
Sledgehammer slam x 15 L/R

The last few workouts I never took note of. Fatigue and boredom were setting in so the workouts became a little more random in the final few days before tapering down in the final week.

Then came competition day.

I dropped from my original goal of competing with the 28’s and went for 24’s instead. Next competition i will hit the CMS rank with the 28kg bells!
How did I go in this competition, well a picture speaks a thousand words so here are the video clips:



Total 78 reps, and the first time I’d ever gone 10 minutes with the 24’s.
Very happy with this result.



Extremely disappointed here. I’ve no idea how this happened but it felt like my hand just “switched off” I didn’t feel the familiar build up of fatigue, it just seemed to let go. I only scored 53 reps and dropped the bell after 3 min 35sec.
Better luck next time.



This was just a bit of fun at the end of the day. I put the 36kg bell up 24 times on the left and 23 on the right. If you watch carefully you’ll see a slight infringement of the rules, but the lads let me away with it….

It was a great day, over 45 lifters all shouting and cheering each other on. There were inexperienced, experienced, old and young all competing, all setting PR’s and getting stuck in.
I want to say a thank you to the lads from the Kilkenny Kettlebell Club for organising the event. If you’re looking to get into Kettlebell Lifting and are in their area, look them up.



Sometimes, even I get it wrong….

Dave Gordon was busy setting up a conditioning circuit for himself. He had a few pieces of equipment layed out but what caught my attention was the two 32kg bells set in front of the swiss ball.

I made a natural assumption that he was about to do a variation on an exercise that I’d never tried.
Not wanting him to be the first, I jumped in and made an attempt.

Turns out I was wrong. The video below shows what I thought, see if you can figure out what the Rasta was actually setting up for.



Training for Kettlebell Sport weeks 4 to 7

Wed 9 June

Warm Up
10 each of:
• Hindu Push Up
• Bootstrappers
• Reverse Lunge (l/r)
• Side Bends (l/r)
• Cossacks (l/r)
• Roll Ups
• T pose hypers
It looks like this:

Work sets

Long Cycle (Clean & Jerk)
12kg’s x a few, just to get the groove back.
20kg’s x 10 min at a relaxed pace

It’s been a while since I’ve worked the long cycle with 2 bells, so this was a nice easy reintroduction to it. Very enjoyable, wish I’d recorded it so I could count the reps, even though I wasn’t pushing the pace it’d be nice to know what I got.

I finished off with:
Pistol Squat / Pull Up, 2 ladders of (1,2,3)
Shield Casts x 10 l/r with the 12kg club

Thurs 10 June
A nice session with my class.
After the mobility warm up we went onto:

Snatch (24kg) x 5 mins, change hands at will.
Time / Volume training with the heavy dead snatch, 32kg x 3l/r x 10 mins

Ross Enamait inspired finisher:
12 x Burpee
24 x Push Up
36 x Squats
48 x 2H Swings (32kg)
For four rounds (Time taken 16mins 45seconds)

Week Five

Tues 15 June
Trained with my class, this is what we did:

Circuit: Chin Up, “U” Push Up (see No Equipment, No Excuses), Russian Lunge, Wheel Rollout, Double Snatch (24kg’s), Sledgehammer Slams

We did 10 stations x 30sec/station x 2 and 8 stations x 20sec/station x 1

Wed 16 June
Snatch Day

Warm up:
1 min L/R of 12, 16, 24, 32, no rest taken.

32 x 1 min l/r
24 x 2 min l/r
16 x 3 min l/r

This was tough, the grip left me at the end of the 16kg sets, it’s definitely my limiting factor.
I followed up by joining in with the judo class.

Thurs 17/6
Jerks Day

Warm up:
10 x 16, 24, 28
32 x 5 x 2

28 x 23 x 1
24 x 30 x 1

Then with my class:
1 arm long cycle, 24kg x 5min l/r
Double KB Complex:
Hang Snatch, Overhead Squat, Front Squat, Romanian Deadlift/Bent Over Row, Swing
5 rounds 5 reps of each without putting the bells down. We split into 2 groups and alternated, one group worked while the other rested.

Fri 18/6
Snatch Day

Warm Up:
10 x 16, 20, 24, 28, 32 L/R

Work Sets:
Snatch 32 x 30l/r
Swing 24 x 30l/r x 2, 24 x 20 l/r x 2, 24 x 20 l/r x 2 with no rest.

Week 6

Mon 21/6
Jerk Day

Warm Up:
10 x 16, 20, 24, 28

32 x 10 x 1
28 x 20 x1
24 x 30 x 1
20 x 40 x 1

Sissy Squat, 24’s x 70 x 1

Tues 22/6

Warm up:
1 min each hand of 12, 16, 24, 32

Work Sets:
32 x 1min l/r
24 x 2 min l/r
16 x 3 min l/r
Much better than last time!

Jump Squats, 4 x 15 with the 24kg.

Wed 23/6

Warm Up:
10 x 16, 20, 24, 28

Work Sets:
32 x 10 x 1
28 x 21 x 1
24 x 31 x 2

Sissy Squat x 70 x 1 with the 24’s
RDL x 70 x 1 with the 24’s

Thurs 24/6

Warm Up:
10 x 16, 24, 32

32 x 28 x 1 (left hand)
32 x 30 x 1 (right hand)
In 4 min 47 seconds

Then with the class:
2 min l/r 1 arm long cycle (40kg) switching hands every 5 reps
Followed by a T-Nation inspired farmers walk workout:
Bent Over row x 6-8, Farmers walk,
Cleans x 8-10, Rack Walk
Front Squat x 6- 8, Rack Walk
Press x 6-8, Overhead Walk.

We did 4 rounds of this with the 24’s, which sucked! The walk was approx 15 meters.

Week 7

Mon 28/6

Quick warm up on the 16kg.

24 x 50l/r x 1

This felt good.

Tues 29/6
Jerks Day

Warm up:
16 x 10 x 2
24 x 10 x 1
28 x 3 x 1
Felt a weird sharp pain in the wrist here so terminated the set early. Instead of continuing I changed to:

1 min l/r 32kg swing
1 min l/r Sledgehammer slams
times 2
1 min hth swing 32kg
1 min sledgehammer slam (switch every rep)

Wed 30/6

The wrist was still painful so I wrapped it tight and did Grease the groove style long cycle with the 32’s
Worked up to 7 sets of 7 reps over a two hour period.

Thurs 1/7
Only trained with the class today, but it was a good one. Again my arm was wrapped as a precaution.

1 arm Sots Press:
12 x3, 16 x3, 20 x3, 24 x2 x2
Double Sots Press:
12’s x 3, 16’s x 3, 20’s x 5

The “Sincere”
Perform Double Snatch immediately followed by Double Jerk. Do your set then rest while your partner does his, then jump back in.
Do 10 of each, then 8,6,4,2. I used the 28’s and regretted every minute of it!

1 Arm Overhead Squat:
1 min x 24, 2 min x 16 left
1 min x 24, 2 min x 16 left

The Bear Ghrylls of Fitness

The above quote was from Eoin a Wild Geese Boot Camp participant and Kickboxer. I don’t know what inspired the comment, but I like it and it got an important laugh on the first session of the Boot Camp when nerves were high and anticipation hung heavy.

We are now half way the first week of the Bootcamp and camaraderie is already building, the lads an lasses are working hard and shouting for each other to motivate them on. It’s great to see.
We often work harder when there is a like minded peer group around us, people who have similar goals, similar ideas, people who want to see you work hard because in doing so, they work hard.
It’s like a self perpetuating circle, I encourage you to work hard and seeing you work hard encourages me.

Often I tell people to give their training partners encouragement “For purely selfish reasons, if I can motivate you, just maybe when it’s my turn and I’m struggling, you’ll do the same for me!”

This team mentality is the only resemblance the Wild Geese Boot Camp has to a military style bootcamp. Hell, my guys are unshod unless their outside running, not a boot in sight!
But as in a real bootcamp a camaraderie is built, nurtured and encouraged. This group mentality helps each individual member push that little more, go a little further, dig a little deeper.
Eventually when the individual is out on their own, be facing another man in the ring or a brutal ascent in the mountains, that person will already have driven themselves to the edge of their abilities. They’ve gone to places in their minds where all doubt is eliminated, where only 100% pure focus on the task at hand exists, where your too fatigued to consider failure. Because to do so is to let yourself and the team down.

Of course it’s not just the boot camp where this happens. Every Tuesday at the Combat Conditioning session we raise the roof. Just last night the guys and girls were hitting max deadlifts left right and centre, the noise of them shouting each other on was phenomenal. Even the newest guy was hollering his lungs out as the others strained on the bar.
When the time came to put strip the weights, one of the guys turned to me and said, with a hungry look in his eye “What’s next?”

Then came the circuit:
3 stations, Pull Ups, Push ups and Burpees.
The workout was simplicity in it’s most brutal form.
in a team of three, one person on each station. You stay at that station, doing as much as possible, the only person counting is the guy doing burpees, when he hits 20, all change.

It’s rough, but it’s a hell of a buzz. The lads were really shouting for the guy doing burpees, the faster he went, the less pain they suffered at the other stations!

There was a time a while ago where I was considering giving up this life and rejoining the work force, getting a “proper” job.
No chance, to do so would be letting the team down, these guys and girls are working too hard, they’ve come too far, there’s no way I could quit on them.

And who would want to sit in an office when you could be running a gym filled with some of the most highly motivated and positive clients imaginable?

Whatever you’re going to do today, give it 100%. Start strong, but most importantly, finish strong.