Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Getting Up

Do you include Turkish Get-ups in your training? If you don't, you probably should - in some form or another. If you've been around the kettlebell world for any length of time, you probably know what I turkish get-up (TGU) is. If you don't know, it is simply a move where you trasistion from lying to standing while holding a kettlebell, or some other form of weight, over your head.

There are many ways to perform a TGU. There are "right" ways and "wrong" ways depending on who you talk to. I will not go into which way is right, wrong, better, or worse. I will simply say, you should practice getting up off the ground and learning how to stand while holding extra weight. Getting up from the ground is an invaluable life skill. You need to own this ability. The TGU is such a wonderful move, because it adds extra, awkward weight to your body forcing you to get off the ground with thought, strength, and patience. 

For some of you, and there is no shame meant in this whatsoever, just getting up from the ground is a challenge. That is okay. You have a place to start. BUT, you should start! Start getting up from the ground. Lie down on your back, or any other awkward position, and practice getting up. Try to learn from how you are moving, learn the best ways to maneuver youself from lying to standing. Can you do it fluidly and gracefully? If not, make that your aim.

If you are strong enough to do "traditional" get-ups, great. Include them in your training often. Play with different ways to get up, though. If you only ever practice one way to get up, you have one way to get up. If you practice several ways to get-up, however, you have several ways. Do you get my point? The more ways you can get up from the ground under somewhat awkward loads and positions, the better. Expand your "vocabulary." 

You can even play with the loads in which you use to get up. You don't always have to use a kettlebell. You can practice getting up with a sandbag draped across your shoulder, or a small child. Small children love this by the way. At least for the first time or two! Anyway, you can practice getting up from the ground with awkward objects and loads from even awkward positions. Play and explore. This will engage your brain, strengthen your body, and equip you for life.  

However you practice, try to get to the point where the way you choose to get up can be done with grace. When you are moving with grace, you are moving with strength. Moving with grace and strength is health; it's vitality.

If you are past your thirties, stay young and turn back the clock. Start getting down on the ground - on purpose, and start getting up. It is a great life skill that will keep you young and healthy for many, many years. If you are well past your thirties, It is never too late to start. Get started. Get up!


Nick Efthimiou said...

Hi Tim,

Whilst I appreciate the importance of being able to get up and down from the ground freely, I think that TGUs are OK, but not magical - as part of a warm up, perhaps, but loading them, to me, seems like an elevated risk for minimal increase in returns compared to unloaded.

Tim Anderson said...


If there is any magic to the TGUs, it is that they get people learning how to go from the ground to standing. I deal with people that really could use this skill. I don't think TGUs are the best way to get people from the ground to standing, there are obviously more efficient ways to do that. However, TGUs are a great way to get people excited about the process. As you can get a person to believe that one day, they will be able to get up while holding a weight that they believe to be heavy. I find it easy to convince a person to know that they are strong and capable when they get those small successes. It is all about motivation and self belief with me and my clients. I want them to know they are capable. TGUs can help do this. I do my best to minimize risk, but then, I've seen people get "tweaked" from getting up unloaded. TGUs can be done unloaded too. They still work.

Thank you so much for reading and starting a conversation. I appreciate you.


Nick Efthimiou said...

Yes, we are on the same page - I very much value ground based movements, and particularly getting up.

My only concern is loading TGUs - the benefits don't outweight the risks.

I would also like to thank you for your book, "Becoming Bulletproof" - I am an osteopath as well as a personal trainer, and I use the resets with clients and patients alike.

I also found the section on core stability and the vestibular system, and integrating brain and body very thought provoking - it was something I knew intuitively, but didn't know I knew until I read your work, so thank you.

Tim Anderson said...


Thank you so much for sharing with me your thoughts about Becoming Bulletproof. I am grateful. If I can help you with anything, please let me know.