Category Archives: Personal Training Dublin

Challenge Workout

Wild Geese clients are some of the most dedicated and determined around.

We like it like this, we actually weed out the ones that can’t hack it, there’s a curves gym down the road and I know a good Zumba teacher for them.

The ones that we keep though are incredible, and often they set the pace in the classes.
Last week one of my guys piped up “I fancy doing that 300 challenge, haven’t done that in a while!”

Now this isn’t one of the fighters, or serious athletes that trains here, it was Eoin, an average bloke with above average determination and focus, he came to us just over a year ago as an out of shape former student, still living the student lifestyle.
He came to us for that “kick up the arse” and he got it. He liked it, and is now one of most regular guys.

When he asked to do the “300 Challenge” how could we say no?

I wish I could remember which site I stole this from, but it was a little while after the whole 300 movie hype was still floating around. I spotted this workout and immediately added it to the challenge list I keep. If the author of the workout is reading, drop us a comment or an email and I’ll credit you, until then, sorry.

Here’s what it looks like:

* 25x V Ups

* 25x Snatch left

* 25x Snatch right

* 25x Push Ups

* 50x Swings

* 50x Burpees

* 25x Clean & Press left

* 25x Clean & Press right

* 50x Mountain Climbers

This is a timed event, the idea is to get it done as fast as possible. Here are the results from last nights group, and one brave lunchtime warrior who took a crack at it today:

1. Ray – 14m 33, using a 16kg bell
Although he later admitted he did the clean & press swapping hands every 5 reps, whereas EVERYONE ELSE did them properly!

2. Linda – 15m 08, using an 8kg bell

3. Padraig – 16m 27, using a 16kg
Since taking part in the first of our boot camps, Padraig has been unstoppable!

4. Eoin – 16m 40, using a 16kg
It was Eoin’s idea, but he really didn’t look well at the end.

5. Dave G aka the Rasta – 16m 40, using 24kg
Our resident Muay Thai coach kicked arse!

6. Me – 17m 26, using a 24kg

7. Imre – 18m 26 using a 20kg
Imre is a beast of a man, the least experienced athete in the room, but his spirit in incredible!

8. Mathewe – 20m 16, using a 16kg
Mattie, came in today for his lunchtime training and saw the workout still up on the wall, “I’ll have a go of that” he says, he even took the photo as proof.

See if you can beat the times.

Go on, set yourself a challenge.
Or you can always take up Zumba instead……….


Dave Hedges

Strength, Conditioning & Martial Arts

Ever since my Karate instructor turned to me and said “Dave, you’ve got to get strong” I’ve known that to be an effective martial artist or, in fact, athlete of any sort, we need to do some form of strength and conditioning.
This was around 20 years ago.
Yet, to this day so many instructors still tell their students not to strength train, instead telling them that endless sets of push ups, sit ups and running are enough.

This is not, never has been, and never will be the case.

You need to add in a structured training program if you want to be competitive, or even if you simply want to reach your potential.

Our own kickboxer, Chris, has just come to this realisation. After taking to strength training for the first time he recently had the best fight of his career, an easy win.
He told me that he never felt as fresh, as explosive and focused. He was able to recover faster throughout the round, and so able to keep his punches sharp and accurate.

Chris had been training 3 mornings a week for 40 minutes to an hour, lifting heavy weights, performing hard circuits and high-octane cardio.
He put on a small amount of weight but looked leaner and harder.
When he attended his regular training you could hear when he was on a bag, his strikes echoed through the building.

After 6 weeks of strength and conditioning he became the fighter he always wanted to be. He had the skill, he had the speed, he even had power. But no matter how much running and skipping he did, he coud never go the distance, until now.

The entire training program he followed is detailed over on the Wild Geese Facebook page, in the notes section (here: but over the next week I’m going to spend time at the keyboard and I’m going to write out a PDF document for download detailing the workouts that we used and also how you can personalise and vary them to suit your individual fighters needs.
Hopefully this will allow you as a coach help better prepare your fighters and competitors. If you’re an athlete looking for that edge, this will be just that.

We called this training program “The fighters boot camp“, but really it is for anyone willing to work hard and push themselves to the next level. Here’s some of what goes on:

The next Boot Camp starts October 11th.
The eBook will be ready before then.
Drop a comment if you have any questions.



Can you survive the Lunges Of Death?

Wild Geese Fitness members enjoy a good bit of variety in their training, Kettlebells, bodyweight, barbells, sandbags, strength focus, endurance focus. Just plain old variety.
But in order to ensure that progress is being made we have a few benchmark tests or challenges that we throw out every now and again.
Usually these are either a max effort lift, max repetition set or a timed challenge.
It’s the time challenges that really get everyone going, they seem to create the most competition and camaraderie then the other challenges.

One such challenge was on todays menu, feel free to try it out for yourself, see how you get on.
I’ll be honest, it was set by a different crew, but we put our own spin on it. The video below is the original post from Smitty over at the Diesel Crew, he uses a 50lb Bulgarian bag and lunges the length of a football field.
Here at Wild Geese Fitness we have the metric system, no Bulgarian bags and no football pitch. So we use 90 meters (98.4 yards) which just so happens to be 6 lengths of the training floor, I put a medicine ball at the turn around points to ensure nobody cheats. In place of the Bulgarian bag we hold a Kettlebell in each hand, most opting for a suitcase carry which really does a number on your grip!

50lb = 22.7kg, so most of our guys and girls hold a pair of 12kg kettles (24kg = 53lb!), although most have since stepped up to 16’s (70lb), 20’s (88) and one or two (myself included) have even used 24kg bells (53lb).
Last time I did it with a pair of 24’s it took 5 minutes dead and left me limping for about 5 days!

So if you’re up to taking the diesel challenge, even if you’re doing it Wild Geese style, watch this video, or talk to any of our regular members, then grab a stopwatch and a weight and away you go.




Man, I feel Electric!

How many of you can say that at 8.30am when about to head into work?

Not many eh?

These words were spoken to me by one of my Boot Camp participants, today was Cardio day of week one.
We started with the fitness test which will be repeated on the last day, then went into a slightly easier than normal cardio session. Intensity will build over the coming weeks, but today is week one and also test day so the actual workout wasn’t the meanest.

It was afterwards though that Eoin comes out from the changing rooms with his bag over the shoulder, the last one to leave, with a happy grin and a light behind his eyes, “Man I feel electric, that was brilliant!” And off he went, bimbling along to the office.

I nipped out, had to get some bleach and a few bits, also stop by Lunch!, a local coffee shop that does the best Double Espresso Machiato. As I’m out I’m looking at the hordes of grey people walking by.
Dark suits, grey hue to the skin, eyes fixed on a point in the distance as they all walk in a huddle, aiming towards the Irish Financial Services Centre just over the river.
It’s reminiscent of a George A Romero movie, only it’s daylight!

I will ask you a question, would you rather sleep untill the last minute, rush around getting ready and go straight to the office, to have your senses dulled and brain melted. Or would you rather get up earlier, spend an hour in the company of hard charging, motivated, positive people, then have a long hot shower and leave feeling, as Eoin said, Electric?
Who do you think will perform better in work? Mr Electric or Mr OMG?

An early morning workout can and will set you up for the day, it fires the nervous system, refreshes the blood and gets those “happy hormones” flowing through the brain. It clears away the fog and even if it is cold and wet outside, you won’t care because you will feel alive, you will feel like a real human animal, sharp, focused and alert.

But hey, you could have an extra hour in bed instead….

I wonder, do some people ever really wake up?

Take control of your life, one step at a time.

If you want to feel electric, you know what to do.



Bodyweight for Upper Body Strength

Just finished my early morning clients, which included a lad named Mike. 

Mike is looking to get stronger, he’s a runner and soccer player and asked for some upper body strength.
Currently he’s on an Escalating Density Training (EDT) program to shift a bit of fat while building some muscle. EDT is a great method that I’ve used on myself and with clients, it never fails to get results, but more on that later.

Right now, I’m more interested in talking about the two drills we used:

  • Bodyweight Row
  • Push Up

Mike had been given his program  couple of weeks ago and I hadn’t seen him since. When I saw his log sheets from the workouts performed in my absence, I was impressed by his totals, so much so that I asked him to demonstrate his form in the two drills.

Aahhhhh! It all became clear.
Done right, these two drills can form a great upper body workout, far better than their equivalent machine based drills. In my opinion, by adding weight to the body, they are more valuable than even free weight exercises for most people.

A bodyweight exercise forces you to activate the core, it ensures the whole body works as a unit. And any time you perform an exercise that moves your body through space, you activate more muscle fibres than if the body was stationary and the weight moved.

So how should they be performed?

The set up is almost identical in both exercises:

  • Spine in neutral, this includes the head, don’t let it hang or twist it into an unnatural position.
  • Shoulders back and down
  • Chest lifted
  • Core tight

The legs may be bent or straight depending on your strength levels. You may also change the angle of the body, starting parallel to the floor may be too challenging in either drill, you may change the height at the hands or feet accordingly.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words, so here’s a couple of moving pictures that show the official version of these two great drills:
The Body Weight Row
The Push Up

If you train at home or outdoors, these two drills must be in your routine somewhere.
For more great bodyweight training drills and ideas please check this out.

And for more on EDT, get over to Charles Staley’s site



Sandbags, Boot Camps and the Warrior Mindset

This morning saw the end of week three on the Wild Geese Boot Camp.

Week three is my favourite, the group have bonded, they know what’s expected of them and they buckle down hard and get stuck in.

There’s no wasting time teaching exercises, that’s all been done in the previous two weeks. Everyone is fired up and ready to get stuck in.

Last week I introduced my Booties to a friend of mine. A friend who has helped me create some brutal workouts, a friend who takes no prisoners, ever.

This friend is a humble sandbag.

It kicked everyone’s arse.

So this week I brought it back out, and listening to the gang before we started the warm up I could hear the murmuring. They were saying things like:

“I’m gonna lift that f**king sandbag today”
“No way is that sandbag is going to f**king beat me today”

“Nice, the sandbag is out again, that’s a tough drill”

And when we ripped into the circuit the guys ripped into the sand bag with an aggression level rarely seen. It was awesome.
One lad, Colm, especially impressed. Last week the bag thoroughly humbled Colm, today he was out for revenge. As he stood towering over the bag he had a look in his eye, when I called start he bent down, slammed his hands powerfully into the sides, grabbed a big handful of canvas in each mit, dropped his hips and launched the bag skywards. He cleaned it like it weighed nothing, but he wasn’t done, you could see the abs tighten, the legs firm up as he braced, looked up and pressed hard and aggressively.

He was the first one on the bag, when I told the gang to get a to a station ready to begin the circuit, he walked straight over to his old nemesis, and set an example for everyone else to follow.

Today Colm didn’t just lift the bag, he owned it.

This is the Wild Geese spirit, this is the warrior mindset.

As tough and brutal as a Sandbag Clean and Press may be, a warrior is even tougher and even more brutal.
A warrior knows that physical hardship is only half the battle.

He knows that a battle must first be won in the head before it can be won on the field or in the ring.

“Iron” Mike Tyson used to stare at his opponent from the moment he laid eyes on him right up to the fight started. He would stare aggressively, challenging his opponent to match him. As soon as the opponent looked away, he knew he’d already won. The fight had already taken place without a single punch being thrown.

Developing a mindset like this is hard work, it may be the hardest thing you every do, but in doing so you will become greater than you ever thought possible.

You will accept and relish any challenge thrown at you.
You will push on with tenacity and courage.

You will not stop.

Yes you may fail, but that will just serve to make you stronger and more determined.

Chris, one of our kick boxers and the man who organised the first Boot Camp is a prime example. Taking to kickboxing in his late twenties and early thirties he wanted only to prove to himself that he can do it. In the ring his nerves constantly got the better of him and he took a loss after loss. Eventually things changed, his focus sharpened, his body hardened, his determination never waivered and now he doesn’t just step into a ring, he stalks into the ring.
No longer is he a mild mannered executive trying to prove himself. When the glove go on, his face changes, his body language changes, he becomes a warrior.

A sandbag is cheap and cheerful to build and keep at home. But it will kick your arse like few other training tools. If you are interested in developing not just the physical strength, but also the mental strength to take on whatever life throws at you, keep an eye out here as I’ll be giving you step by step instructions on how to build your own and some of the very best exercises and routines to use.

For now, here’s an example of the Clean and Push Press exercise done with my old bag:



What is Functional Training?

Functional training. There has been a bit of a debate over in facebook land over this controversial topic.

Back when I worked in a commercial gym, I remember shaking my head in disbelief at what some of the other fitness instructors would tell people to do in the name of functional training.
And recently I had one of my own clients, who is himself a fitness instructor, talking some meaningless bollocks that he thought was functional training.

If instructors are this confused, what chance do their clients have? So lets start by looking at the words in the title:
“Functional” – Something that serves a purpose, has function.
“Training” – Practicing to get better at something.

These, by the way, are not dictionary definitions, they are my own words. So functional training then is “training in a manner that will improve your performance in a chosen function.”
If you don’t know what that function is, you cannot train functionally.
That sounds confusing. Lets clarify a little.

In 2004 I took it upon myself to run the Dublin marathon. Therefore my training program had to revolve around the need to be able to run for hours at a time. I had my function, to run for extended time, it was easy then to decide on how best to train. It worked too, I ran my first and only full marathon in 3hrs 41.
Then, after the marathon, I wanted to regain the weight I’d lost during the marathon training, and also add some extra muscle weight to my frame. So the function of my next training phase was to build muscle mass.
The fastest way to achieve this goal is by training as a bodybuilder. For my goal, the most functional training method was a 5 day bodypart split. It worked too, I went from 12 ½ stone pre marathon down to 11 stone on the marathon day.
After the bodybuilding training I was up to 13 ½ stone and stronger than ever.

The reason I’ve picked out these two phases in my training life is because neither of them fit the current “functional training” methods that are espoused by Johnny fitness instructor. They will tell you that hours and hours of cardio is non functional. They will tell you that bodypart splits and bodybuilding are non functional. They will tell you that standing on a bosu ball while lifting a paperweight is functional.

But they’ll never explain why. At least not in words that you can understand.

I love to train with kettlebells and bodyweight. For me they are enjoyable and effective tools for my goals. They also suit most of my clients goals, they utilise multi joint movements and lend themselves very well to circuit style training, both very efficient methods of raising the metabolism and burning fat.
Plus kettlebell movements also counter office posture very efficiently, reducing back pain, building core strength and shaping a tidy derrière, what’s not to like? It’s no wonder that they are almost universally accepted by “functional trainers”

I do though have a client who is on a bodybuilding split, and one that is banned from lifting any weights whatsoever. Why is one banned from weights?
Because of her particular injuries, weight training would not only be non functional, but counter productive.

So you see, next time some idiot instructor is harping on about the wondrous benefits of functional training, ask them what function they are actually training. See if they can actually explain themselves in simple layman’s terms, or if they go off on some psychobabble quackery tangent in an effort to baffle you with bullshit rather than help you understand.

In an attempt to bring this to a conclusion, here are my top functional movements that I believe should be trained:
• Hip Extension
• Squatting
• Over head pressing
• Overhead pulling
• Horizontal pressing
• Horizontal pulling
• Counter rotation of the spine
• Counter flexion of the spine
• Counter extension of the spine
• Single leg stability

Notice how I haven’t listed tools or exercises?
“Why not?” you ask, “ I thought you were the Kettlebell guy?”
Well, while I am a Kettlebell guy, I’m also a barbell, bodyweight and sandbag guy. In fact, more accurately I’m a training guy. The only thing I really don’t like are weight training machines and aerobics.

However if you have a specific goal in mind, be it a marathon, a double bodyweight deadlift or getting back into those old jeans, they way in which you use the above movements will change. Once you know why your training, how you train will start to become obvious. If it doesn’t, give me a shout and I’ll be happy to help.

All the best


Putting The Boot In

I WISH the military looked like this

I have been known, on many occasions to stand and take the piss out of these “military” bootcamp classes that are all the rage right now.
I find the marketing and hype far outstrips the actual quality of training, and as for any resemblance to actual military training…. Lets not even go there!
So I find it slightly embarrassing to announce that I will be running a Bootcamp of my own.

I’m not embarrassed by the training on offer, or the fact it will be an early morning group program. I’m embarrassed to call it a bootcamp, but as that is what the market wants, it’s what the market gets.

Why a Bootcamp?
One of the Wild Geese kick boxers has been asking me to give him extra conditioning training for some time now, but he could never get to any of my classes and was too busy to make a private slot. So he chatted to a few people, including other kick boxers and came up with the Bootcamp idea.
And here we are.

What to expect
Because a fighter asked for this, it is built around the fighters needs. But what does that mean for a non combat athlete?
It means, that if you are willing to work hard and push yourself, you will be trained as fighter is trained. The advantage of this is simple, you will never find a more well rounded and complete athlete, someone who is strong, powerful, explosive, enduring and agile. Someone with a body that can not only deliver devastating power, but also absorb it. A body that remains powerful even when pushed to extreme fatigue.
And because form follows function, it will look lean and powerful. It will move smoothly, cat like, ready to explode into action at a moments notice.

The 4 week program start on the 28th June, all payments must be in by the 25th (1 week from today). The camp will run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 7am. You will be done by 8am, sometimes earlier.
The camp intensity will build to a crescendo in week 3 and then taper down in week 4 as a few of the participants have a fight booked on the 24th July.

If you wish to experience the training needed to step into a ring, or if you are looking for a serious kick up the arse with your training, then here’s what you must do:
Email me (, phone me (087 672 6090) or message me on facebook ( to register your interest.

You will then need to pay, all payments will be taken in advance, the only refund opportunity will be if you are injured, in which case you will get 100% back. If you quit or get kicked out, you get nothing.
The cost for the 4 week (12 sessions) is €147. This works out at €7 per session.
Existing, regular, Wild Geese members receive a 33% discount.
Wild Geese Fighters with a date coming up train for free.
If you are not a Wild Geese Fighter, but have an event (doesn’t have to be a fight) on the horizon and wish to add this camp to your preparation, come in and talk to me.

This is NOT a military style bootcamp.
This is a training program for highly motivated individuals.

Wild Geese is an Attitude, if you have it, you will survive, if you don’t, don’t bother showing up at all.



Postural Awareness Workshop – 29th May

Highly respectes Rolfing practitioner, Tony Walsh, is giving up an afternoon to talk, demonstrate and teach various techniques that will improve postural alignment.

Rolfing is the brain child of Ida Rolf, one of the originators of Physical Therapy.
Almost every branch of hands on therapy owes it’s roots to the work of Ida Rolf.

This workshop is aimed at athletes and fighters, it will not only help the fighters posture but also help them move the body as a unit to become more mobile and more powerful.

Contact to book a place.

Date: Saturday, 29 May 2010
Time: 14:00 – 16:00
Location: Wild Geese Martial Arts
Street: 14 magennis Place, Pearse St
Town/City: Dublin, Ireland

Training For Kettlebell Sport

Since myself and a few of my lads are entering the 1st ever Irish Kettlebell Sports competition down in Kilkenny I thought I’d keep you posted on my training over the next 10 weeks.

At the end of week ten, we will be competing.

If all goes to plan I’ll get good numbers on the day and this program has worked, if not, it won’t.

Over the years I’ve trained for a variety of things from Karate tournaments, Black Belt tests, Marathons, Half Marathons and simple goals such as adding a stone of muscle to my frame (that was a hard 7 months!!). Every time I’ve done well at the chosen event.

Kettlebell Sport is different, I’ve never faced something as brutally daunting as stepping up and trying to Jerk a pair of bells for as many reps as possible within a 10 minute timeframe, then have to step up again and snatch a bell as many times as possible, with only one hand switch.

Keep your eyes on this blog then and I’ll take you through my journey.

The goal, by the way, is to achieve a CMS by the World Kettlebell Club rankings. It’s a high bar, but hell, if you don’t shoot high, you might as well not shoot!

Training Day 1 – 17/5/10 – Jerks

Warm Up:
10 reps on: 12’s, 16’s, 24’s, 28’s, 28’s

Jerks (2 mins between sets)
24’s x 20 x 2
16’s x 30 x 1

1 arm Long Cycle 36kg
1 x 5 l/r

Sissy Squat (bells in rack position) 24’s x 70 x 1

Romanian Deadlift (RDL) 24’s x 70 x 1

Done – Felt good!

Training Day 2 – 18/5/10 – Snatch

Warm Up:
16kg Swings: 2h x 20, 1H x 20 l/r, HtH x 20

16kg x 15 minutes, change hands at will, fast pace.

Tuesdays are also the Combat Conditioning class, so later that day I joined in with them for 5 rounds of:
1 rep Deadlift (add weight each round)
5 Pull ups
10 Long cycle (24’s)
5 Walkouts

Slept that night!

Training Day 3 – 19/5/10 – Jerks

Warm Up:
10 reps of 16’s, 24’s,28’s
5 reps of 32’s

28’s x 10 x 2
24’s x 20 x 1

16’s x 40 x 1

Jump Squat (24kg held on back) 4 x 15.

All done with 2 min rest periods.

The squats got tough, but everything else went really well.

If I can find the USB cable for the camera (think my 18 month old son has nicked it!!) I’ll video some of the workouts for you.

Chat Later