Category Archives: kettlebell

Level 1 Kettlebell Workshop – Lifting for Lia

On the 2nd Feb a group of fighters and fitness enthusiasts all gathered together at Wild Geese HQ for a Kettlebell Basics workshop.

It’s something I had been promising for a while, but as I’m so busy, often forget to arrange until too close to the date.

This time though it was different.

Our resident Kickboxing coach, Ronan McSweeny, had actually requested that I run a workshop as he’d seen me using them, had a go and thought, this could help.

So he put word out amongst his crew and then said “Dave, need to run a workshop”

Who am I to argue with the Irish, 4 Nations and World Full Contact belt title holder?

We set a date and I got to work.

The result was a cracking afternoon with attendance from a wide range of people, Kickboxers, Brazillian JuJitsu players, Mixed Martial Arts fighters, fitness enthusiasts and our intrepid Judo Coach.

There were one or two cancelled late on but have since paid up and one or two who handed over cash even though they knew they wouldn’t be in attendance.

Why would they do such a thing?

Because all the money raised on the day was to be donated to the Lia Stem Cell Fund (, I’ve written about this poor girl before, but please click the link, you’ll find a whole heap of info on fundraising events and even instructions on how to donate directly into the fund.

We raised a little over €200 on the day. Future workshops will raise even more.

But back to the day….
After a joint mobility warm up participants were taken in detail through the three foundation movements in kettlebell lifting, the Squat, the Swing and the Press.
Over a 2 hour period the gathered crowd learned, listened, asked questions and practiced these drills until each and every one of them had a thorough understanding of the hows and why’s of the methods taught.

This all culminated in a short workout using the same 3 moves.

I’ve since decided to call the workshop my Level 1. I will be expanding on this with further workshops until the participant has enough knowledge and experience under his or her belt to become a certified instructor.

Unlike any other certification I’ve seen, the completion of the workshop does not guarantee a pass. I will expect you to teach a seminar or class of beginners (including myself) before the title of Coach is bestowed upon you.

It is a title that can and will be rescinded if misrepresented.

At Wild Geese we take our reputation very seriously.

That said, I will be running another Level 1 workshop on the 7th March, between 12 and 2pm.

Cost will be €20 per head, all going into

To book your place either email me on or drop me a line on 087 672 6090.

You can also book me to run a workshop at your own club/gym/venue. I’ll still donate the cash.



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!

Kettlebell Basics Workshop – 7th Feb

IKFF & IUKL-IKSA Kettlebell Coach Dave Hedges will be teaching the basics of Kettlebell lifting.

This compressed 2hour workshop will cover:

  • The Kettlebell Swing
  • The Press and variations
  • The Front Squat

No experience is necessarry to participate in this workshop.

Numbers will be limited to ensure quality of instruction. The cost of the workshop will be €20 (discounts for WGMA members) which we will donate to the Breaking For Lia fund in accordance to this post :

  • Location: Wild Geese Martial Arts (see for map to location)
  • Date: Sun 7th Feb Time: 1600 – 1800hrs
  • Cost: €20, discounts for WGMA members.
  • All procedes will go to the Breaking for Lia fund (

See you there

Busy Mums Workout

It’s christmas and most of us are taking a break, many of us are considering joining a gym or starting exercise in the new year (I’ve just spent the last 30 minutes answering emails for our January class schedule at Wild Geese Martial Arts!)

For most of the women their plans will be  the usual mix of aerobics classes and going for a walk. Lads will probably venture into the weights area, but that as far as they go.
By March, you’ll most likely quit.

For those of you considering the pro’s and cons of gym work, I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine. She, like myself, is an IKFF trained Kettlebell instructor, and also uses a lot of bodyweight and HEAVY weight lifting in her own training and that of her clients.

This is a video she sent me, she wanted my opinion on it, so here it is:

Ladies – Watch this and quit making excuses that heavy training makes you big and masculine looking

Lads – Watch this and stop making excuses – period!

This lady is based in the south of England, contact details are in the clip. Look at what she’s doing, look at the weights she’s lifting.
Is she masculine?
Is she bulked up?
Are here 5 kids taking all her time up so she can’t train?
Lads – can you or more importantly, do you do any of the stuff shown here?



Last class of 2009


This week was the last week of training I’ll be doing in 2009, also we took everyone out with a bg!
particularly the groups. The Tuesday MMA conditioning group and the Thurs Kettlebell group pushed themselves through some very tough work, no questions, no quitting, just pure grit and determination. They really do make me proud.
So what did we do with them?
Well I’ll tell you now.

Tuesday is the day my MMA group are in, they train most days and this is the only day I get them all to my self so we try to make it count with a good conditioning session, last Tuesday was no different.
We set up a circuit of 8 drills, performed each drill for 20 seconds and took 10 seconds to switch. Basically using the Tabata protocol.

Here are the drills:
1- Ring Push ups
2 – Explosive Medicine ball push ups
3 – Ab wheel Roll outs
4 – Double kettlebell burpees to the rack position
4 – Towel Pull Ups with knee raise
5 – Heavy swings
6 – Shoulder and squat with the heavy bag
8 – Sledgehammer slams

3 rounds of this had everyone breathing hard, a good mix of strength based and explosive based movements.
To finish we performed 90 sec of hindu push ups, 3 min hindu squats and 45 sec neck bridge.
A job well done!

Then on Thursday my Kettlebell group were in, which included some of the Tuesday guys, always nice to see.
I’ve just been reading through some articles I have by Boxing and conditioning coach extraordinaire Ross Enamait ( so we adjusted one of his workouts as our year-end special.
To start we worked the Turkish Get up to a 1 rep max, looks like I’ll be getting in some heavier bells next year, they flew up!
This was followed by the Ross inspired circuit:

12 Burpees
24 Push Ups
36 Squats
48 Swings (here Ross would have you run a 400 meter, but as I’m slap in the centre of Dublin, it’s little impractical, the swings did just nicely though)

This was repeated 4 times round with the finish times recorded.
A race against the clock.
It’s with some relief that I finished first, but the others were snapping at my heels, I’d better do some work over the holidays to stay ahead!!

Speaking of the Holidays, this is where I believe the Eat Stop Eat program I’m currently trying out will come into its own.
I have to say, Tuesday was a very tough day for my Fast, I hadn’t eaten a great deal on the monday before even though I worked on some heavy deadlifts and snatch, so even though the fast didn’t start till after my breakfast, I was struggling against the hunger pangs all day. I still felt very sharp and focused, but the tummy was growling…
Then, joining in with the MMA circuit may have been a mistake, I was strong right to the end and had a cracking workout, but very soon afterwords the shakes came in, I felt hypoglycemic and had to reach for the fruit bowl and a recovery shake fro fear of loosing the run of myself.
This just about sorted me out along with a stack of water, but by bed time, I was hanging. I felt rough so I had to cave in and eat something. I kept it to fruits and nuts, but still it wasn’t a full fast, I managed 17 hours (yes, Tuesday was a looong day…)
After a good nights sleep, I was back to normal and good to go, I’d expected to wake up starving but this wasn’t the case, I was fresh as a daisy and ready for the day ahead.

The moral here I think is to avoid any seriously intense training on the fast day, otherwise, this second week has been great.
With the excesses of the Christmas period coming, I can see having a fast day as being a bit of a life saver. I’ll be staying at my parents so there will be lots of food around, plenty of cake and tons of drink. Taking a day off will actually come as a relief I think. I might not come back with a spare tyre……

To wrap up, I want to wish all the gang a Merry Xmas and Happy New year and I look forward to training with them again in the new year. In the meantime try either of the two workouts listed above, they are short and sweet, and will raise your matabolism to seriously counter the inevitable christmas pudding.

See you in 2010


Tis the Season…….

It’s the countdown to Christmas, many of you will have already started the celebrations with work parties and social gatherings.

This is traditionally the time of year where people pile on a few pounds, with all the rich food, sweets and alcohol, promising themselves that they’ll shift it when January comes.

We’ll get back on track in the new year, you know, make a resolution, and this time, THIS TIME, we WILL stick to it!!

This time it’ll be different.

Oh yeah!

This time…….

Well, that’s grand, your on the right lines at least. As a fitness coach, I may be a little unusual, I love to know that my clients are enjoying life, there is more to living than training and being a size 0 (I don’t even know what size 0 looks like, but it’s in all the papers, so must be the new benchmark?!?). I firmly believe that once a week you should have a blow out, go nuts. You’ve worked hard during the week, eaten well, trained and done everything right, now on the seventh day, go nuts.

Your body and your mind will thank you for it. Rewards are motivating, if you’ve something to look forward to later, you’ll be more disciplined now. December is a bit like that cheat day, only it’s a month.

A lot can happen in that month (think of all the people you know with birthdays in September, my own Son included, funny how it’s the ninth month……..) you can and most likely will put on a few pounds, but seriously, don’t sweat it.

It’ll go on quick, but with a concerted effort, it’ll come off just as quick. If, and only if, you put in the work.

Make your health and fitness a priority. You always say you’ll join a gym, some of you actually do, most of you have stopped training 3 or four weeks later.


Simple. It’s hard work. Even harder is motivating yourself to do the hard work.

And gyms are incredibly boring soulless places (unless your lucky enough to join one of the independent gyms that are dotted around, if a little hard to find..), the classes are mind numbing and impersonal (how can it be personal when there’s 25 of you?) and the results just don’t come fast enough.

So whats the alternative?

Have you heard of Wild Geese? They have a few options……. (Can you tell I’m no marketing guru?)

Here’s a reminder of what you can get from us in the new year. Now remember, we aint a commercial gym, we’re only mildly interested in you cash, unlike the “Fitness clubs” that are actually trying to rob you blind. We are however a small, independent training facility that DOES give a damn about you getting results.

And to get you there we have:

Personal Training
Semi Private Training
Group Training
Online Training

AND some of the best martial arts classes available….

(is that a bit obvious as a sales pitch?)

You are NEVER left to train alone (unless you are an online client…duh!), we are ALWAYS on hand, you are TOLD to ask us questions.

Get in touch with us now to talk about your plans for the new year.


Dave Hedges

author: No Equipment, No Excuses – Bodyweight Training for the Home, the Office & on the Road


+353 87 672 6090

This left me speechless!

A few days a week I’m working with a fitness company, it’s a bit of fun as a departure from the type of training that I usually do. What it does do though, is attract a very different clientel to what I’m used to.

Most of my athletes are males in the their 20’s and early 30’s, they’re mostly fighters, or want to become fighters. I have several women, but again they’re in the same age category and are usually up for just about anything.

In the fitness “boutique” it a much more civilised environment attracting older and “nicer” people, the type with a few quid and would usually be found walking the treadmill or taking a step class.
That was untill I turned up.

Now these same people take the piss out of the cardio junkies, they love the fact that in 30 mins, 3 times per week, they’ve squeezed into the old jeans that were about to be sent to the charity shops.
They have all come to realise that simple, basic strength training exercises, done with high enough intensity has a far more profound effect on their health, well-being and appearance than any other training method.

Continue reading This left me speechless!

Dan John, RKC team leader in Dublin

Very Quick update:

I’ve just been told that friends of mine, over at are bringing Dan John to Ireland for a seminar!!
I’ve already promised to take the wife away that week, but otherwise I’d definitely attend, Dan is one of the great strength coaches.

 He’s a regular contributor to T-Nation and is an RKC Team Leader, more on him here:

Details of his Irish visit here:

Don’t miss this!



Steve Maxwell in Ireland 2010

Steve MaxwellIt gives me great pleasure to be able to announce that Mr Steve Maxwell, the “Maxercist” has been in touch.

He is in Europe next year and asked if I’d like to set up a seminar with him.
Of course I agreed, Steve has been a huge influence on my own training ever since I came across his work several years ago.

So, just who is Steve?
He’s a man with around 40 years in the Strength& Conditioning industry
He’s one of the 1st to gain a black belt from the Gracie juJitsu school
He was one of the first Americans to win the Brazilian juJitsu world championships
He was one of the first kettlebell coaches in the US
He’s the Go-To guy for UFC fighter, Diego Sanchez
He’s in his 50’s yet shows no signs of slowing down, he can still out perform most lads less than half his age.

He knowledge of Bodyweight training, Kettlebell Training, Joint Mobility and general fitness is unparalleled.

And he will be at Wild Geese HQ, Pearse St, Dublin for the weekend of July 3rd and 4th 2010.
This is a video teaser from one of his other seminars, but you’ll get the idea:
Here’s another video showing Steve training UFC fighter Diego Sanchez:

Please register your interest by emailing with Steve Maxwell in the subject line.


Dave Hedges

The Heaviest Weight in the Gym

Whats the heaviest weight in your gym?

Is it the 20kg plates, the 50kg dumbells, that fat bloke on the crosstrainer?
At Wild Geese, it’s this:

The heaviest weight in the gym

It’s only 1.25kg?!?! How can that be the heaviest?!?! We’ve seen you deadlifting a big bar and doing silly things with large kettlebells?!?!

Ok, so maybe it’s no literally the heaviest. But just like the proverbial straw that broke the Camels back, this is the beast that stops the bar from moving..

5 days ago I wrote about the deadlift workout and how proud I was to finally be getting back to strength. Well today I repeated the workout but on the bar I added one of these mo&h$rf?cker’s to each end.
On the last lift of the last set, it refused to lockout. I just couldn’t hold it long enough and the hip wouldn’t extend fully.
The heaviest weight in the gym had done it’s  job. In another 5 days time, I’ll get the little bugger, you’ll see.

Continue reading The Heaviest Weight in the Gym