By Miguel J. Ortiz
There are many exercises that people have used to challenge the body in various ways. Some are simple, fun and used in everyday exercise. Some others push the body to its highest limits.
By challenging the body, we can observe and feel how we move through space and, by doing so, we start to understand our physical limits and the threshold of our own will. It’s sad to say, but we tend to feel old because of inactivity. One’s inactivity decreases one’s exposure to different experiences within the spectrum of movement. People tend to steer away because of a lack of confidence in their physical body. Let’s change that by implementing a movement that will have a drastic effect on one’s mobility, body strength and coordination. This is a movement that everyone can attempt without pushing their body over the limit. I give you the Turkish Get Up.
The goal of the movement is to efficiently move weight in an overhead position from a prone position to a standing position. This total body movement is complex in its neuromuscular efficiency, but simple when broken down appropriately. First, we want to start with a light weight as this exercise requires proper shoulder stability throughout different phases of the movement. Your core will be challenged the entire time so maintaining proper breathing is necessary – especially when doing more reps or heavier weight. The first step is to complete a full sit up, to stabilize the weight appropriately rely on your opposite arm to transition from elbow to hand.
Once in the seated position, we move to the second step. The single leg glute bridge. Keep in mind that you are pressing a weight to the ceiling the entire time. This requires a quality base to ensure that your core is stable enough to continue forward. Once stabilized, some mobility is required to sweep the back leg underneath the body, returning to three points of contact on the ground – foot, knee and hand. It’s important to note that for a good neutral spine we want to be looking at the weight we are carrying the entire time as this will help stabilize the shoulder.
Our third step may seem simple, but it’s an important transition for the shoulder carrying the weight. Your hips as we need to come off your hand and come to a kneeling position. This also can be known as a kneeling windmill. You want your knee and foot stable as you use your core to lift yourself up into the full kneeling position.
For the fourth and final step, we have the lunge or kneeling to standing position. Make sure your core is braced and that you feel comfortable being in a completely kneeling position – especially while carrying weight overhead. Once you get to the standing position reverse the movements and make your way back to laying down to complete a rep. To do so, literally complete everything in reverse. Reverse lunge, smooth transition to place hand down on ground for three-point stance, transition back leg to front of body coming to bridge, and seated position to lay down and reverse crunch.
Whether you want to challenge your strength to see how much you can lift or just do some good reps with a moderate or light weight to push your strength and endurance, have fun with this movement. Continue to push yourself and discover what your body can do.
Miguel J. Ortiz is a personal trainer in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a Master Trainer for Pain-Free Performance and a Certified Nutritional Consultant with more than a decade of professional experience. He can be found on Instagram at @migueljortiz. You can find his YouTube channel at tinyurl.com/ORTfitness.