You will probably have noticed the recent reemergence of the coaches’ favourite exercise - The Turkish Get Up (TGU). Some people love it, but the majority hate it. I though it would be a good time to put my case forward as to why everybody should be doing them more often than not.
The aim of our training sessions is to make people feel better when they leave. To do this, we need to give our members the most bang for their buck every time they walk into the gym.
We want to make people stronger, fitter and more mobile. To do this, we need to train the entire body using movements that force everything to work. Current examples would include kettle bell carries and overhead walking lunges. You have locomotion, load (for strength) and muscle activation. Couple that together with some goblet squats, push ups, inverted rows and deadlifts and you are sorted.
Why is this important you ask?
Well here is the problem...
For the dedicated, 4 or 5 hours a week of physical exercise is still not really enough to cause long lasting change. For the less dedicated, 2 or 3 certainly is not. On top of this there needs to be self ownership taken from all the lessons learnt during your session and contained in our blogs.
Regular cardiovascular exercise should be done away from sessions, by all means come and sit on a bike for an hour, but at this time of year there will be the (very) occasional day when its hot and sunny so make it a priority to get outside and go for a walk, run or a swim. Too many people expect to have the body of their dreams by turning up to the gym 3 times per week.
Self ownership also requires you to perform 10 to 15 minutes a day of ‘self maintenance’ on your aching body. This can be done through foam rolling, mobility and stretching muscles that are routinely tight such as your hip flexors from sitting all day. Every time you come into the gym, we take you through a warm up, recreating this on your own at home every day for 10 minutes would seriously improve your flexibility. 10 minutes per day is an hour per week, or 4 hours per month or 40 hours per year (give or take the odd missed session due to a hangover). 40 hours per year is a serious amount of extra work.
So where does the Turkish Get Up come in? Now that I’ve laid the foundation for what I am about to say, hopefully my argument will make sense. The TGU ensures we are working on our mobility through each of the major joints involved with movement. The ankle, hip, thoracic spine and the shoulder. Most people are restricted in one or more of those areas, regular TGUs will help to solve this. On a very basic level, the TGU is quite challenging.
There are new movement patterns to learn and follow, which takes time for our brains to adjust. The more you do them, the easier it all becomes and before too long you no longer have to think about it. This will also carry over into other exercises too, you should start to notice improvements in Squats, Overhead Presses and Deadlifts. Daily movements should also become easier as your mobility increases.
When I see someone perform a TGU I can instantly get a feel for how athletic they are. Mobility aside, it is a real test of strength and concentration. Watching people with a third of their bodyweight overhead is very impressive and as a coach I can be safe in the knowledge that they can Overhead Press, Squat and Lunge, three of the most important primal movements that every human being should be able to do. It is a one stop shop for any coach to analyse clients movement patterns.
The Pareto Principle states that for many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes, the TGU is a perfect example of this. Lets say the goal is general wellbeing and health, which is (or it should be) most of the world populations priority. The Turkish Get Up would be a suitable choice for most people. Mobility through the major joints is taken care of, overhead strength too and if you get the right load, volume and tempo, you can have a serious aerobic session in a short amount of time.
In a society where time is a precious commodity, the TGU should be the go to exercise for most people due to the huge effect it will have on your body. Plus the feeling of satisfaction you get from competing a heavy rep is worth all the messing around with technique in the early stages.
“Mastery of the basic human movements for lean body mass quality and joint mobility.” A quote from Dan John that acts as a reminder of keeping things simple for training. You will come unstuck if you are not mastering these movements either through injury or mobility problems at some point in your life.
So the next time you see TGUs on the program get excited, you'll get a big return on your investment.