Tag Archives: cardio

The Art of Running Efficiently, Effectively and Injury Free


If you believe the internet then running is:

  • Going to make you fat and weak, cos “cardio”
  • Not natural for human beings
  • Will ruin your knees
  • Will hurt your back
  • Will cause plantar fasciitis

And a whole lot of other misconstrued, conformation bias lead claims.

Claims that are mere correlation, not causation.

If you follow my work, you will know that I approve of running.
It IS completely natural for the human being to run, to run well, to be able to run at a variety of speeds of a variety of distances.

And while it is very true that a great many runners fall victim to injury, mostly in the lower body, I believe that this has nothing to with the act of running itself and everything to do with the body being ill prepared for running.

It’s my opinion that poor biomechanics are more to blame than poor choice of shoes.
Many runners take on ambitious weekly mileages with little to no thought on how they run.

And the myths that are spouted by the running media is, well, pure mythology. Very little talk of bio mechanics, of introspectively developing a smooth, efficient style that optimises your individual attributes.
And those that do talk about running methodology, usually try to get everyone to fit into a one size fits all approach.

And I’m sure I don’t have to convince you that one size does NOT fit all.

But then through my Anatomy in Motion studies, I met a fellow practitioner named Helen Hall.
Helen, it turns out, is a running coach, a bike fitter, an accomplished Ironman Triathlete who runs the Perpetual Forward Motion School of Efficient Running (PFM)

When she launched her book “Even With Your Shoes On” I was on the waiting list and received a very early copy.
Which I devoured voraciously.

The approach laid out is anathema to the majority of other running coaches.

The PFM style is way of encouraging self learning. To offer exercises and drills that offer experiential learning with a set of progressions based on where you actually are.

A way of finding how you and your body can run without developing the issues that are “expected” in fact, because your develop “your” running, the potential is there to clear up the causes of those problems as your joints move better, in greater synchronicity, loading the correct tissues in the correct manner, ie the manner in which they have evolved to be loaded, a way that is actually built into our DNA.

That is possibly the longest sentence ever written……

Enough waffle, lets get to the point.

Helen will be in Dublin to teach this method in person for one day only.

On April 6th, 15 lucky people will spend the day with Helen, and myself of course, on a one day workshop where she will bring the information in her book to life.

The day is strictly limited to 15 places, first come, first served.
If you don’t book, I can’t promise you a place, I expect this to sell out as there’s already been interest as I’ve been setting this up.

This will tell you all about the topics we’ll be covering, the times and location and most importantly, how to secure your spot:

[product id=30985]

You don’t have to be runner to benefit from this.

Running is superb supplementary training to develop the aerobic system for any sport. Especially for Combat Athletes and Kettlebell Sport competitors.

To please the marketing gods, here’s another booking link:

[add_to_cart id=”30985″]

I hope to see you there


Dave Hedges

Conditioning Made Easy part 3 – Cardiac Output or Building an Aerobic Base

Aerobic training doesn’t necessarily mean dancing around in a leotard with big hair

It’s not the 80’s any more…..

But it does need to be done.

Your cardio vascular system underpins everything else, the other cooler energy systems rely on the aerobic system for replenishment, to take over when they’re done and keep you moving forward.

In the last round of the fight, in the last quarter of that game, this is where you are going  to wish your aerobic system was better developed.

Traditionally you’ve had two choices:

Cheesy aerobics classes or long slow boring cardio (ie running/roadwork)

Roadwork has been a staple of boxing training since day dot, and for good reason.

Is that really all we have?

Hell no!

Aerobic training simply means training that emphasises the aerobic system, this is best done by keeping the heart rate in the 70-80% of max for an extended period of time, at least 20 minutes up to a few hours.

How you do that is completely up to you.

The most fundamental of all aerobic practice is known as Cardiac Output training.
This is what we think if as endurance work like running or cycling.
In reality the method is unimportant, it is the response in the body that we are looking for.

Cardiac output is just that, the volume of blood the heart can pump out in a single beat.

Training at around 120 to 150 bpm for at least 30 minutes (up to 90+ minutes) helps develop this ability to pump more blood per beat.

Suggested exercises for this:
Skipping, Jogging, Cycling, Kettlebell Swings, Indian Club Swinging, Mace Swinging, Shadow Boxing, technique work specific to your sport, light weights moved though large ranges (curl and press, squats, lunges etc).

Even walking at a fast pace is great for this.

You can change exercise as often as you wish, maybe every 45 seconds, maybe every 5 minutes or anything in between.
You may do a single activity, you may lay out several.

Pick exercises that are as relevant as possible, so runners, run. Swimmers swim. Fighters punch and kick or do animal flow type drills. If it’s the end of the week and you’re knackered, just walk or string together a series of mobility exercises.

Here’s the kicker, push too far above 150bpm and it’s currently thought that the heart chambers don’t have enough time to fill up to capacity and receive the stretch we’re looking for.

It’s a good idea to wear a heart rate monitor to prevent you driving too hard, but in time you’ll get a feel for the required intensity.

A sure fire way to keep the intensity down is to keep the mouth shut and breathe solely through the nose.

Very often I personally cycle, run or skip while holding a tea spoon of liquid in my mouth (usually olive oil, sometimes salt water). This ensures I keep the mouth closed.
The added bonus of this it helps keep our sinuses hydrated and reduces mucus production, you may find you are snotting everywhere at the start, but after a few session, you’ll be breathing easier than ever before.


Nasal breathing carries the added bonus of having a more direct stimulation of of the diaphragm so you use more of the lung.
You will also benefit from the stimulation of Nitric Oxide (NO) in the sinuses, this is a vaso dilator which means it opens the blood vessels and further aids in the development of cardiovascular efficiency or aerobic fitness.

If you can make you’re own NO, then there’s NO need to wasting your money and shit like this:

Get in anything from 1-3 cardiac output session per week and see how much better you feel.
You should find you recover faster from more intense training, you tire less quickly and generally feel like you can go all day.

I’ll talk more on Aerobic development in the next installment of this series, there are other factors to consider, such as stimulating mitochondrial development or cardiac threshold work.


Dave Hedges

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.



Sweep the leg. Do you have a problem with that?

It’s on TV now, I’m sat here mucking around online while the missus is sat flicking through TV channels, guess what she found, hang on it’s the final……..

……………Go on Danny Laruso!! That’s right, The Karate Kid!

Anyway back to the point, 21 years ago I was sat on the sofa, aged 10 watching this same film. Within the month I was training. I had joined the local karate school (St Martins Jnr Karate Club, under Sensei Jack Parker) and finally started something.

This had a major effect me. Karate was one of the few things I really stuck at as a kid. As I grew up, all the other lads grew out, I was a beanpole. While I cycled everywhere, I wasn’t strong. Around the time I was 16/17, Jack turned to me and said that if I wanted to continue improving to black belt standard and to stand a chance in the tournaments.

As a result I asked my mates on the school rowing squad if I could join their gym sessions, they asked their coach and a new era started.

We had two gym sessions per week, the lads obviously had other sessions out on the water, I ran and practiced karate. Plus we’d meet once or twice a week for a session on the ergo’s (what we called the concept 2 rowers, still my machine of choice)
One session was “light day” consisting of Pyramids, the other session was “Heavy day” using 3×10. The exercises were always:
Leg Press, Bench Pull, Power Cleans and bench press. I think that was all, there were certainly no isolation’s!

It’s the warm ups i really liked though. A 20 minute circuit that would make Steve Maxwell blanch, then onto the weights.

Now, I realise it wasn’t the most scientific training we could have done, but we got results!
I put on a little weight, but got much much stronger with conditioning to match, got my black belt and fought for my country. The rowing squad were in the top 15 in the country.

When I need to train up for something these days, I always look back to those days, my first gym experience. Although I know much more now, it was the heart and soul we put into the training, it was the basic exercise selection, it was the high intensity circuits.

I look around the Gym I work in and see the girlie boys spending over an hour trying to get from a b cup to a c cup while I’m in and out in less than an hour, full body done, heavy weights moved and heart in the mouth intense cardio ( I like to finish with a 4 minute tabata after a strength workout). I could never get my head around bodybuilding.

I got into training to improve my martial arts, I continue training to improve not only my martial arts but everything else I do. If strength isn’t functional can it truly be called strength?

Fuck it, the sun’s shining, the Karate Kid won his fight and I’m in the mood to get out into the garden and do some training of my own. Bodyweight only, cos I took my Kettlebells to the gym.

Lets go


Wild Geese
any cause but our own