Since becoming an exercise professional, I have had a fascination with kettlebells. During my time in the Navy, I got used to space being tight on board ships. This means that I find it very hard not to fall in love with something that can bring so many physical attributes and yet take up such little space.
However, I used to think they were hard-core, and that only those with training experience should use them. My, my – how wrong I was.
After working with the Strong First Community last year and gaining my certification, I realised that the kettlebell can solve more problems than I thought. For me, the Turkish getup is a clear example of teaching someone how to get off the floor and maintain good posture whilst doing so.
I have recently started to break it down into its various stages and have incorporated it into the regimes of a few of my over-50s clients as a tool to increase their confidence when getting up off the floor after playing with their grandchildren. Here are the reasons why the Turkish getup is my weapon against weakness:
1). ‘The rolling pattern.’
Now, unless you are working with a professional, you will often find the Turkish getup being butchered. The initial movement to get off the floor is often done by crunching up rather than rolling onto the elbow. The correct method is something I teach and is a golden coach point in the Strong First community. Rolling rather than crunching is essential for low back pain prevention.
Make sure you plant the foot firmly and drive through the heel whilst pulling from the elbow.
2). ‘Shoulders that can pack a punch.’
The stability this movement requires around the shoulder joints is extraordinary and must not be underestimated. As Gray Cook (a highly respected physiotherapist) says, ‘this is load yoga’. As much as we need the core to be strong when getting up off the floor, we also need to have the strength in the shoulders and arms to help.
Make sure you keep the shoulders away from the ears – like an anti-shrug.
3). ‘Mobility of the hips.’
Poor hip mobility is now becoming one of the main culprits in low back pain and also creates a limitation in functional daily living. The Turkish getup explores the hips and allows the client to develop better range of motion in this area.
Spend sometime moving in and out of the position in the picture. Sit the heel towards the back side, then come out of this position. Repeat 3-5 times and feel those hips open up.
4). ‘Full body strength.’
More than anything else, what I have found with all of the clients I work with is that they become seriously strong in all other exercises. This can be the adaptation of the central nervous system, although there is nothing to support this theory (that I know of) apart from experience. All I know is that my 50+ clients are becoming stronger week by week and are likely to stay out of the care home for a long time due to this.
Stay classy, fitness fanatics.