How-to: Turkish Get Up

I consistently get asked how to do the turkish get up, so for those who have asked, today is your lucky day!

The turkish get up has got to be in the top 5 most awesome kettlebell exercises, but I will caution you, this move is sneakily hard and will show you where your weaknesses are. It is excellent for improving your shoulder stabilization, balance, coordination, whole body stability, posture, and pretty much works all of the major muscle groups as well. The reason I most love the get up is because it works the body in two vital skills: working the upper and lower body together as one unit and getting up off the ground.

turkish get up

It requires a high level of skill, so I almost always put them at the beginning of the workout while the body is still fresh. Plus it’ll get the entire body warm and ready for the rest of the workout.

Before I get into the video, here are a few reminders:

*The get up is not something you can just rush through mindlessly, so take your time and ease yourself into it. (Especially when you are first learning!)

*There are 4 positions in the get up: laying down, sitting, kneeling, and standing. At first it can seem like a lot, so the trick is to take it one at a time and just focus on getting to the next position.

*Since you are going to be holding a weight directly over your head and face the whole time, start with no weight until you feel comfortable with the movement patterns! Try to make the movement as smooth as possible.

*Keep your eyes on the weight, your elbow locked, and your arm pointed at the ceiling at all times. If you can’t keep your elbow locked the whole time, move to lighter bell.

 

Helpful Tips for getting to each position:

Sitting

This is not a sit up! Use your foot to push yourself over onto your side while at the same time, driving your elbow into the ground and punching your raised hand up toward the ceiling.

Kneeling

The bridge is to create enough space to pull your free leg back through into a kneeling position. One thing that can help is adjusting where your hand is. It helps for it to be a little bit outside and behind your bum. (see video)

**Keep your eyes on the bell during this!**

Standing

Make sure you’re using a weight where you can lunge up without bending your arm. From kneeling, curl the toes of your back foot under and, pushing through both feet, lunge up into standing position.

Now go get it…or shall I say, GET UP! 😀

If you guys enjoyed this tutorial and want more, let me know over on my Facebook page!

 

5 Exercises That (Don’t Seem Like Much But) Will Rock Your Core

I can’t remember the last time I had a client come in who didn’t mention wanting to tone up their midsection and having some low back issues. So I’m going to give you some great new exercises that will work the abs, obliques, AND low back. I even included a client favorite and some good plank variations. How’s that for some core awesomeness?!

Now I don’t actually have myself or my clients do a ton of ab work because they get a lot of it just from using free weights, especially kettlebells, and full body movements. So don’t overdo it. The planks can be done for time, while the others can be done for time or reps. I used a kettlebell, but a dumbbell will work just as well.

However, before I get into it I want to be clear. These exercises will strengthen and tone up the muscles of your core. They will help give you definition, but they will not burn off the fat that sits on top of them. That my friends comes from the way you eat.  🙂 I’m not trying to discourage you, but I want you to know what you can honestly expect from this stuff instead of leaving you frustrated and wondering what’s wrong with you.

But I won’t leave you hanging! You can expect more blogs about nutrition and mindset and all those goodies that will help you get where you want to be…but for now, it’s exercise time! Since these exercises are much easier to demonstrate than explain I put together a quick video for you. Below the video I give more details on the how-to’s and what to focus on!

So without further ado, 5 exercises that will strengthen and tone your core muscles and help with low back pain as well….it took everything in me not to include a dance break. 😉

Song: Pennybags by Tyler Ward (feat. Derek Ward)

Pullover Crunch

The crunch is really quite overrated and not all that great for you, so this is one of the only crunch variations I do. It just so happens to also be a client favorite, so I figured I had to include it! Lay on back with knees bent and a weight above your head. Simultaneously pull the weight over your head and bring your knees to your elbows. Lower slowly.

*Tuck your pelvis and keep the low back pushed against ground for the duration of the exercise. Training this will do wonders for your low back and pelvic floor!

Progression: Straighten your legs on the way down and don’t let them rest on the ground. (You should only do this if you can keep your low back on the ground the entire time!!)

The Body Saw

In a plank position: Keeping your body as straight as possible, rock back and forth on the balls of your feet.

*Focus on not dropping your hips!

Progression: Do this with your feet on sliders. Yowza.

Side to Side Plank

In pushup position, bring right hand over and touch left hand, return to pushup position. Then bring left hand to right hand and return. Alternate back and forth.

*Resist twisting your body as you move from side to side. Try to hold a firm plank position.

Progression: Instead of just side to side, create a half circle by keeping your feet in place and walking your hands to the left 4 or 5 times. Return, then continue walking your hands to the right 4 or 5 times. Return.

Farmer Walks

If you don’t have loaded carries in your workout you should add them right now because they’re a great core exercise! It’s pretty straightforward really. Pick up a heavy weight in one or both hands and walk. If you can’t figure that out, theeeeen I can’t help you. 😉

*Keep a nice long spine. (Think tall. he he.)

Progression: Waiter Walk – Walk with weight overhead. Your elbow should be locked out.

1/2 Turkish Get Up

-Lay on your back with left arm straight out, a weight overhead in your right hand, and right knee bent so that your right foot is planted out to the side.

-First you want to roll to your side and up onto your elbow by simultaneously punching the weight up towards the ceiling, driving your left elbow into the ground, and using your foot to drive your  hips onto the left side . IT IS NOT A SIT UP. This should bring you up to your side and onto your elbow. From there, press your hand into the ground and crunch up to a sitting position.

-With your left hand and right foot firmly planted, squeeze your butt and push hips up toward the ceiling as far as you can. Hold for a second.

-Return to sitting position, then use abs to lower down slowly, back to lying position.

*Start with a really light weight or no weight at all, just to get the movement down. Keep your eyes on the weight the whole time! (If you’re still not quite sure you’re getting it, grab a weight and follow along with the video.)

Now go give these puppies a try! Enjoy!

*Interested in fitness classes in Colorado Springs? Check out my in-home training studio, Springs Kettlebells!*

Ain’t No Swing

I talked in my last post about why I love kettlebells and all the reasons they are beneficial for you. This naturally leads me into the topic of the most famous kettlebell exercise: the swing. Reason being is it also happens to be one of the most misunderstood and incorrectly done exercises, which leads many people to believe the swing is dangerous. OK, sure. When done incorrectly it can be harmful. That is fitness. Any exercise can be that.

When you put a weight over your head and there is always the possibility of dropping it on your face. When you do any exercise with poor form or too much weight OR play a sport, there is always the possibility of injury.

That is why a good trainer will harp on your form until its perfect! And then continue to make sure it stays that way.

OK, back to the swing. There is good reason that it is so commonly done incorrectly. It is not like most exercises. In fact, it goes against most of the fundamental rules of weight lifting. That is: lower the weight slowly, keep your chest up, and slow down. Because of that, the swing is also pretty counter-intuitive. In fact, if you don’t feel pretty darn awkward when you’re first learning you’re probably doing it wrong.

So to get started, I would like you to watch this quick, uuh, educational video. And no I’m not joking. I got this brilliant idea from the lovely Jen Sinkler and there really is a point to it… 😉

SO, the 2 main factors in the kettlebell swing:

1.First you’re going to bend….but not at the knees, at the hips. It is not a squat. Just like Elle so beautifully demonstrated :), you’re going to bend forward, sticking your butt out and dropping your chest toward the floor; much more akin to a deadlift than a squat. As the bell falls, don’t resist it. Let the bell pull your upper body down. This is not one of those times when you should be “lowering it slowly”.

2.Then SNAP!… also called a hip thrust or “popping” your hips; it’s all the same idea. You’re going to snap your hips by squeezing your butt and driving your hips forward quickly and powerfully. You’re literally going to drive the kettlebell up and out with your hips. So don’t hold back!! This is what gets the bell to pop up. Remember what I said above. If you don’t feel awkward, you ain’t doing it right!

*Here are a few helpful tips to remember:

  1. Relax your arms. This is not a shoulder exercise. But if I relax my arms, how do I get the bell to swing up?!?!?!? That’s what the hip snap is for! The only part of the arm that should be working is your forearms from gripping the bell. That’s it.
  2. The handle of the bell should never drop below your knees! Most people want to drop it really low because they think they should be squatting, but the swing is a glute and hamstring exercise so you should mainly be feeling it in your butt and the back of your thighs.
  3. Keep your back straight fool!! Even all the ladies in the video had nice straight backs! So stick that chest out, keep it out, and your back will look the same. Ain’t nobody got time for that! 😉 (But seriously, I love you guys and don’t want you to get hurt. So keep that back nice and straight and let your glutes and hams do the heavy lifting.)

These things are all much easier to see and understand in person. Since that’s not possible, I did the next best thing…

I really do hope this clears some things up for you guys and helps you go from ain’t no swing to ain’t no thing! Good luck!

**As a little bonus, if you still aren’t sure you’re doing it right or it hurts your back, take a video of yourself swinging. Send me the video at info@fuelsocofitness.com or on my facebook and I will personally watch it and give you the tips you need to fix it!

***Interested in Colorado Springs kettlebell classes? Check out my in-home training studio, Springs Kettlebells!*