Getup and Go!
Have you ever watched or heard of the show Mountain Men? I honestly don’t even know if it’s on anymore but it’s a show on the Discovery Channel that my wife and I got into last summer. It was thoroughly entertaining!
In short, it’s a reality T.V. show that follows various men who live in the mountains (go figure.) From North Carolina to Montana and Alaska these mountain men lived off the land and did what they needed to survive day in and day out. Most of the men had some crazy aspect to them, some more entertaining than others, but overall I really liked the show! I think I scared my wife when I told her straight-faced, I could definitely do “that” and by that I mean live in the middle of the woods, in a shack, and live off the land. Hey, I had the beard to fit the bill!
Point being I’m a simple man, so this workout program shouldn’t surprise anyone that it’s one of my favorites. Bang for your buck is always tops in my book and I’m quite positive I’ve been exposed to the best ones out there. Today I’ll showcase two exercises to you and tell you why they’re great and how you can master each.
The get-up is the ultimate “grind” movement. A prominent figure in the fitness world, Gray Cook considers the getup “loaded yoga.” And also says it’s, “the perfect example of training primitive movement patterns – from rolling over, to kneeling, to standing and reaching. If I were limited to choosing only one exercise, it would be the Turkish get-up.”
Let’s latch onto the term “loaded yoga.” Most people think of yoga as stretching or flexibility. While I might not disagree I’d add that it requires mobility – control of ones body through specific ranges of motion.
That’s the get-up.
I don’t like the word “flexibility” because it implies you have no control, rather the ability to pass through a range of motion; you don’t own it. In all the clients that I’ve ever worked with, few have ever had a true flexibility problem. However most all of them have/had a mobility problem – they lacked control of their bodies through various ranges of motion.
Take a look at what the get-up should look like below and tell me what you think?
It’s a balance of strength and control, some might argue they’re one in the same. If you’ve never done a Turkish get-up before and want to learn how, here are some steps to help. If you think you’re a pro, here are some steps to consider making you better.
Practice with shoe/slider first
The get-up is challenging and even if you’re a super athlete it’s smart to learn the movements of the get-up while balancing a shoe or slider. If the object falls, you know you have an energy leak somewhere. Performing the movement with the shoe will be the same as with a weight. Pattern this movement well before adding additional weight. If you want an additional challenge try using a water bottle.
Once you’ve got the pattern down now you can begin to work on the finer details with a kettlebell. You’ll notice the movements will feel much more challenging with a weight, however if you practiced with the shoe enough you should be able to conquer these movements easily.
Grease the groove
Think of this as flossing each individual movement just as you’d floss your teeth. Spend a few reps at each step making sure you have complete control at all times. This is a great way to improve not only your technique but also your hip and shoulder health as well.
Why it works
The get-up works so well for a number of reasons. I’ve listed a few below.
Dynamic Neuromuscular Stability
Have you ever paid close attention to a baby as it develops? Kind of a creepy question unless you have kids. But if you did you’d notice how baby learns how to roll first, then support its limbs by rocking, crawling, then using a tri-pod stance to help it stand up, and finally baby walks. The get-up takes the athlete through every one of those movements during a single rep it not only helps to generate strength and control throughout the entire body but also works on patterning a higher quality of movement efficiency… ie// awesomeness.
Control of Attachment Sites
All movement comes from our attachment sites – our legs at our hips and our arms at our shoulders/upper-middle back. When done properly the get-up stresses the need for control in every aspect of our attachment sites. This inevitably leads to stronger hips and shoulders which translates to…
- A better squat, deadlift, overhead press, bench press, and pulling abilities
- More power for running, jumping, and sprinting
- And Greater durability/lower risk of injury
All of this essentially means bulletproof hips and shoulders and more ability for you to beast out in your sport or other activities you enjoy.
Time Under Tension
The reason why the get-up gives you everything I’ve mentioned above is because of the time under tension during the movement. We’ve already talked about the “loaded yoga” aspect of the get-up and how it stresses control in your rolling, kneeling, standing, and hinging movements. The strength and power you get from the get-up is due to the amount of time you’re holding and control the weight overhead.
A common example men can relate to is the bench press. Picture yourself on the bench press, not hard to do I’d imagine. You’re about to do 8 reps, down for a count of 3, pause a the bottom for a second, then press up for 1-2 seconds. Reps 1-4 might not be so hard, but 4-8 you’re likely going to start huffing and puffing, why? The time under tension.
One rep of the get-up from bottom to top and back again should take you roughly 45-60 seconds. When you do both sides you’re looking at close to 2 minutes of work to perform just 1 rep on each side. This time under tension does wonders for your metabolism and also develops rock-solid shoulders – which will transfer over into just about anything you do in life.
How to use the Get-up
The get-up has so many purposes. Use it as a warm-up, a light cool down, throw it in the mix with a complex or finisher, or perhaps my favorite, just try to own it as best you can and hammer pure strength!
I’ve used the get-up with my clients in every one of the situations listed above and it’s been perfect for each and all. However if starting from scratch here’s what I’d have you do…
- Practice with your shoe first until you have mastered the ability to do full get-ups on each side of your body slowly and controlled.
- Purchase a kettlebell
- Practice partials and various grease the groove patterns
- Once mastered, use it as you wish
You can also follow Simple & Sinister. To follow this program you’ll also need to learn how to perform the kettlebell swing, which I’ll talk about next week. In short you’ll perform 100 swings and 10 get-ups 5-7 days a week (I do 5). As it relates to get-ups, your goal is to perform 10 get-ups total in 10 minutes with said kettlebell.
The simple goal
- Men 32kg bell
- Women 16kg bell
The sinister goal
- Men 48kg bell
- Women 24kg bell
Call it what you want, but there’s no denying the get-up is quite possibly your best bang-for-your-buck movement. In short just Getup and Go!