Tag Archives: fat loss

Strength Training for Fight Training

Recently some of the Wild Geese Kickboxers have been coming to me asking for advice on getting stronger.

And I have to admit, I’m delighted.

Right from its inception, Wild Geese have been offering conditioning training for its fighters. But various coaches are a little set in their ways and the lads often think that what they do in class is enough.

The coaches I can understand. They’ve done what they’ve done for years and have gotten great results, why change?

Simply since the rise and rise of MMA and the UFC franchise, conditioning has become ever more apparent. The old adage in the martial arts that strength doesn’t matter has been thrown out the window. On the TV show “Ultimate Fighter” you see the contestants go through rigorous conditioning sessions as well as their actual Martial arts training.

And very often, the man who works harder at getting stronger off the mat is the victor on it.

This trend has been noted by other martial artists now and it’s creeping into the wider world.
I see this as a good thing.
For years I’ve been advocating strength training for martial arts. Those around are just starting to listen.

So what do I recommend?

Well that depend on the fighter and the fight.
But nearly always I see weaknesses in fighters backs and hips. Hours and hours of crunches, stretching and cardio often leave them with weaknesses here.
This leads to power leakages when they strike and a greater potential for injury. The answer is simple, Deadlifts for strength and Kettlebell Swings for power endurance.
The strength coach must be carefull to ensure that the conditioning training doesn’t take away from the fighters technical training. They must be fresh enough to work with complicated techniques and combinations, yet building the ability to do these techniques in a fatigued state.

Some method of periodisation then is necessary.
I’m about to put a fighter on a low rep strength program. He has little need for extra conditioning, I’ve seen him knock out around 300 pressups in sets of 50!
Obviously he has endurance.

His 6 pack maybe impressive but his back is weak, therefore his core, as a unit is weak. Which means that whatever power is being generated by his hips isn’t necessarily getting through to his shoulders for that knock out punch.

For this individual a low rep heavy training scheme could be the answer. Build that dense muscle, train the body to function as a unit and build the absolute strength that so often serves as a foundation for both power and endurance.

He is merely one example.
Other fighters, especially if their fight is still a few months out would benefit from building strength and endurance at the same.
Here’s a cracking circuit I perform some days, particularly when short of time:

Perform the following exercises back to back:

1 rep Deadlift
15 Rep Kettlebell Jerk (each arm)
20 Rep Sledgehammer slams into a tyre (alternate left and right)

Take a minute break, add weight to the deadlift and repeat. I usually work towards 5 rounds, with the 5th round being just shy of my 1 RM deadlift (fatigue prevents a true 1 RM)

This one circuit trains all aspects of the fighter, max strength and hip extension through the deadlift, transferring power from lower to upper body via the jerk and then some abdominal work on the tyre.

Play around with it, it’s only one example.
There are many other exercises you could choose.

The key is to work the whole body through a variety of rep ranges in a variety of angles.

Careful dieting and mobility work will keep the body within its ideal weight category and ready to fight at a moments notice.

If strength turns out not to be an issue, I also have a foolproof method of building non stop conditioning and will power, using only One Exercise.
But more on that another day.

When You go down to the….

Bushy Park on a Saturday morning, you’re sure for a big surprise!!

This weeks “Saturday Session” was in Bushy Park, a place where I’ve often been to do my own conditioning work, but never on a Saturday morning. Boy was I missing out!

The park was heaving.

There were:
A Running Club
A Bootcamp

A Football Team

and a huge amount of Dog Walkers.

And I have to say, with the exception of the dog walkers, everyone was, well, jogging.

What’s wrong with that?, you may ask…
And my answer would be, nothing at all. Unless, you’re training for fat loss or any sport other than distance running.

I could go into what each group was doing, or should have been doing, but that would be unfair. They were all out getting exercise and fresh air, and fair play to them.
The running group would most likely be the only group to achieve their goals (better running times), the rest, well, keep trying.

I was there for my Saturday Session. This is for me a deload, no pressures of teaching and instructing, no heavy weights to lift, or bags to hit, just me, my body, the fresh air and maybe a bit of your company.
Today I was joined by a long time client of mine, who also helps out with some of the boring paperwork jobs at Wild Geese, Nicola.

So after watching the “Bootcampers” scurry about like a herd of sheep, admired the work ethic of some of the runners and spoke to a few of the Dogs, we got to work.

We started at the bottom of the hill, looking up at the kids playground, a distance of maybe 25-30 meters, of wet grass and mud. Sweeet..

I set my countdown timer for 15 minutes, we then knocked out as many rounds as possible of the following workout:

1. Single Leg Deadlift (or Airborne Lunge) x 5 L/R

2. Sprint to the top of the hill

3. Press up, any variation x 10
(learn more about these exercises by clicking here)
Jog down and repeat until the buzzer goes.

Short, brutal and effective. We both had shaky legs and were gasping for air at the finish.

Too warm down we wandered into the wooded area and practiced a little Chi Gung. Nicola is a keen student of Tai Chi and I believe that Chi gung is one of the fastest ways to recover after a hard session. My legs were feeling fresh again and I felt energised and ready for anything.

If you wish to join the fun next Saturday, make sure to check in on my Twitter and Facebook pages for updates.

Till then, keep working hard


A Fast-er way to lose bodyfat?

See what I did there?

Ok, so it was a bad pun.


A few days a go I tweeted that I’d just been sent some info regarding the health benefits of Fasting by my old mate over at Simple Strength. It’s something he uses, and advocates, and if it’s good enough for Rannnoch, it’s worth a road test by myself.
So Tuesday just gone was the my first ever voluntary day of fasting, so how did it go?

I approached the concept with some trepidation but also excitement, I’ve grown up in the martial arts world and know of many systems and styles that actually encourage fasting on a regular basis. I’ve travelled in the Middle East and Asia where fasts are not uncommon. But it’s never been something I’d been willing to try out, or something that I thought would hold much in the way of health benefit.
Then in a conversation with Rannoch via Facebook, he let it slip that he fasts and since he started, he feels better than ever.
I got the book he recommended, Eat Stop Eat, and immediately read it cover to cover. It all sounded pretty convincing, here are a couple of bullet points from the book:

  • Decreased Insulin Levels & Increased Insulin Sensitivity
  • Increased Lipolysis and Fat Burning
  • Increased Glucagon Levels
  • Increased Epinephrine and Norepinephrine levels
  • Increased Growth Hormone Levels
  • Increased Weight Loss and Increased Fat Loss

Not a bad list, all good so far.
The concept is simple, take a 24 hour period and don’t eat anything. Drink plenty of fluids, but otherwise run a normal day.
So thats what I did, after rising on Tuesday morning I had a good breakfast and that was it till Wednesday morning.

The whole day was easier than expected, I had plenty of running around to do, so was kept busy. This helped in the times where the hunger set in.
What really got me was how quickly the hunger pangs would disappear again. I was expecting to be chewing the furniture by dinner time, but as the day went on it actually became easier.
in the afternoon/evening I get busy with personal training and classes. I usually train with the Tuesday evening class, but numbers on this day prevented me from doing so, but I still do the warm up with them, and joined in with the finisher.
I really expected a slump in energy levels after this, but again, once I made sure I stayed hydrated, I was fine. A little tired but all good, in fact my mood was very positive.

The night time came, and here I was worried, going to sleep on an empty stomach, would hunger wake me in the night?
Again no, all was good and i slept like a baby.
Up early the following morning for my first Personal Training client, then sort myself out with a proper Break-Fast. This was a simple smoothie made with frozen berries, porridge oats, milk and a scoop of protein. It went down a charm.

Throughout Wednesday I felt mildly hungry, but I ate as normal. A friend was coming over to train with me and we spent a good while playing with various kettlebell drills, my energy and strength levels were fine, so no hunger hang over.

All in all I’d say the Eat Stop Eat, fasting day wasn’t too bad, I’m going to continue to fast each Tuesday, to see how the long term effects work out.

Check back or contact me for further updates, or beter yet, give it a go yourself.


How to Create Your Own Workout

Getting in a structured workout routine can be tough if you’re life is as hectic as mine.

I’ve a wife, baby, martial arts studio, a contract to a premier fitness company, online and personal training commitments and am a partner in a fledgling security training & services company.

So when you tell me “I’ve no time, man” Guess what my response is?

No, go on, guess.

You got it in one.
Time is not an excuse. An irregular schedule is not an excuse.
You just need a little knowledge and a sprinkling of imagination.
The knowledge I can give you, the imagination, well that’s your own business.

Here’s the knowledge.

  • Balance pushing and pulling exercises, if anything, emphasise the pulling. For example press ups and bodyweight rows.
    If we pull more than we push we may just undue the postural imbalances caused by long days sat at a computer/in the car/on the sofa. Plus if you’re a fighter you’ll need a strong back, it allows for better grappling and stabilises the shoulder for more powerful punches. Yes, a stronger back will up your punching power.
  • Use full body core drills. Planks rule, as do bridges. But if you really want to get strong, incorporate core work into the upper body drills, try U-Push ups and spiderman crawls, add a knee lift to your pull ups
  • Work the legs. Plenty of squats, vary the style from workout to workout and don’t forget the single leg work. Every man that ever joined a gym joined to build big arms and forgot about their legs. Squat, lunge, jump and/or sprint. No chick will ever dig chicken legs. And girls, you have to go full range, forget these silly half squat things your aerobics instructor showed you.
  • Use full body conditioning drills.
  • If time is really short, circuit the drills. It allows for maximum impact in minimal time. eg:
    Pull ups x5, Push ups x 10, Squats x 20, Plank x 30sec, repeat as many times as possible in your given time frame.
  • Stick to the big guns. I see women doing the most useless isolation drills in the name of “toning” It doesn’t work, especially if you’re short on time. Now these drills do have their place, usually in a rehab program, certainly not as part of the main workout. So get up from the side lying leg lift and instead do a single leg deadlift, quit the fire hydrants and replace with burpees.
  • Try to train 3-5 times per week, but don’t worry if you miss a session. Vary the intensity, some days go balls out, other days chill a little emphasise strength on some days, conditioning others. Likewise vary the exercises, press ups one day, hindu push ups the next. This way you’ll keep making the progress without over using any particular movement pattern.
  • Avoid failure, unless you know you’ll not be training again for a while. There’s no point in burning out on squats if you plan on doing Pistols the next day.
  • Don’t be afraid to split your workouts into mini workouts. Eg in the morning work upper body for 10 minutes, later that day you may find half an hour to work the lower body. Maybe you can do 5 minutes of Hindu push ups before breakfast, 2 minutes of bridge at lunch and 10 minutes of squats after work.

Apart from that, do what you like, just as long as you do.

Hit the comments button and let me know your stories.

Dave Hedges
www.wildgeesema.com / wildgeesema.blogspot.com
+353 87 672 6090
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Time saving workouts

We’re all very busy. The days just don’t seem to be long enough and yet we know we should be getting in some exercise.

Just, with the commute to and from the job, the extra hours, getting home to spend time with the family. It’s just endless, where can you possible fit in a training session?

We’ll what if I told you it’s not that difficult, if you break from the “traditional” workout mindset. Do we really need to spend an hour a day working out?
In fact can we loose that term “work out” anyway. After all work is bad, we are forced to go to work every day, and it sucks!!

Lets instead think of something else to call it. I call it training, because it puts the idea of achieving something, constantly trying to improve myself, some times I say I’m going to refresh the blood. The missus calls it her daily tone up.

Ok so, changing a name might make it easier to motivate yourself, but still, what about the time factor?

Lets change the idea of having to go for an hour. Lets instead do abbreviated or mini sessions.
How abbreviated will depend on your schedule.

The more abbreviated it is, the more frequent you will need to do it, however more on that in a minute.

Here’s a couple of time efficient methods that really work:

Tabata – This was originally put together by Dr Tabata. He said short intervals with compressed rest periods were the best way to increase both Aerobic and Anaerobic capacity simultaneously. They’re also great for fat loss.
Set a timer for 20 second work and 10 second rest, perform 8 balls out sets for a total workout time of 4 minutes.
Now this is no good for Bicep curls, you need big moves. For Bodyweight only try burpees, or alternate between Press ups and Squats.
Get even more bang for your buck by “resting” in the Plank position.

TV ad breaks – Most of us spend more time than is necessary on the sofa watching TV. Here’s a way to make your unmissable TV program into an opportunity to get fitter and leaner.
Choose a handful of exercises and each time the ads come on get stuck in. As soon as the program returns, hit the sofa until the next break.
You can either perform 1 drill for the entire break, or do a several drills as a circuit.
I like to do the following:
1st Break – Hindu Squats
2nd Break – Hindu Press up
3rd Break – Wrestlers bridge
Or sometimes:
BW rows x 5, 1 Leg squats x 5 l/r, Walkouts x 5 as a continuous circuit. The next break pick right up where you left off.

Spread the Load – Before breakfast (while the porridge is in the microwave) an extended set of squats (eg 50+), Before lunch a set of Spiderman pushups (20 or so, maybe 3 or 4 sets of 5) and after work as the dinner cooks try planks or bridges.
Basically it’s one single workout with several hours between sets.

That’s 3 time saving options that even the busiest person can squeeze into their day. Save the big workouts for the days you have the time.

All the best

www.wildgeesema.com / noequipment.blogspot.com
+353 087 672 6090
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When there’s no excuses, there are no limits

It’s bank holiday Sunday, the sun is shining, I’ve no appointments to keep, what should I do?

Well chillin out is the first choice but the weathers too good to waste, so…….

Here’s today’s impromptu No Equipment workout:

· Out the front door and fast 20 min run to and along the beach. Great warm up, plus agility work as the beach has some seriously big rocks to jump over.
· Down to the seafront on the rocks. Find a couple that looked about right for 10 Hindu Pushups, immediately followed by 10 Divebombers.
· Jump across to a flat bit and 25 Hindu squats facing one way, followed by 25 facing the other (ground wasn’t completely flat so I turned around after the first 25 for the sake of evenness)
· Spotted two big rocks spaced just right to do a couple of 1arm/1leg pushups per side
· Jumped over to the flat section for a couple of pistol squats per side

Then I remembered the soccer pitch just up the hill so away I went and did 5 sets of:
· 50m sprint to the goal post
· 5 “maxercist” burpees (a Hindu push up followed by a jump to the crossbar for a pull up)

Then I jogged slowly home. Very slowly.

Door to door in 50 minutes.

I was tired going out, but feel refreshed and powerful now. Tiredness is not an excuse.


www.wildgeesema.com / noequipment.blogspot.cominfo@wildgeesema.com
+353 087 672 6090
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