GET UP AND GO
Strengthen More than Just Your Core
With today’s economy, everyone is looking to get more bang for their buck. Your approach to the gym should be no different, especially when it comes to building a strong and functional core.
Everyday, I see men and women wasting valuable time and energy striving for that Holy Grail of 6-pack abs by performing countless numbers of floor crunches from every possible angle, sometimes with weight, or with legs raised on a bench, or while lying on their side trying to hit their oblique’s. Do these mainstream moves work to build up your six little friends? Sure they do, but, not only are they an awful lot of unnecessary work, they also put you at greater risk of injury to your back, which means you could find yourself stuck at home with a heating pad, while the gym cashes in on your monthly membership fees.
Enter the Turkish Get Up – or, just Get Up, if you prefer – one of my personal favourite exercises, and one that each and every one of my clients performs, whether they are a beginner or an experienced lifter. The Get Up has so much more to offer than your standard crunch because it doesn’t just isolate, it works the entire core musculature used to stabilize your body.
How does this exercise work? Exactly how it sounds. You begin by lying in a supine position on the floor and then you get up and perform a series of steps that will bring you up into full standing position before you return to your original stance on the floor. Easy enough, right?
When you break it down into 6 simple steps (see video below), you can see that the Get Up really has it all. Not only does it require abdominal strength to raise your torso off of the floor, but the side plank position forces you to stabilize your entire core. For your lower body, getting up off the ground and bringing yourself upright will work out your internal & external hip flexors, while increasing your leg strength. Reversing the movement and bringing your self back down to the floor offers unparalleled benefits in honing your overall coordination skills. Can a crunch claim the same? I didn’t think so.
Better still, you can easily make this a total body workout by adding a kettlebell or dumbbell to the mix. The added weight will improve your shoulder strength and, more importantly, stability by building up the surrounding connective tissues and the muscles of the rotator cuff to protect you from having to go see a surgeon.
Performing five reps of Get Ups on each side of your body will leave you gasping for air with your core thoroughly worked, and in a fraction of the time it will take you to attack your abs from every angle with basic, boring crunches.
The Get Up is a must for athletes because a strong and functional core generates power and explosiveness. In fact, this move was used by old-time strongmen and weight lifters in the late 19th Century who needed a measuring stick to determine if they were ready to graduate to more advanced exercises. Instructors would not allow their students to move on to other lifts until they could get up from the ground with a 100lb weight raised above their head.
If you’re not an athlete and just want year-round, head-turning abs, then skip the backbreaking crunches from your program and go for the Get Up. Combine it with a consistent cardio program and a solid nutrition plan and you’re on your way to a chiseled midsection that supports the rest of your hard earned physique.
- Lie on your back with a KB/DB held directly over your shoulder and wrist locked with knuckles pointed towards the ceiling. This arm should remain vertical throughout the entire movement. Maintain eye contact with KB/DB until step #6. Bend the knee on the side that has the KB and extend your free arm 45 degrees out to the side. It is also important to compress the shoulder that is supporting the KB/DB down and back, as close to your spine as possible.
- Roll on to your side towards the free hand.
- Rise up onto your hand.
- Raise your hips and brace your body in a side plank and hold for a 2 count.
- Next, bring your straight leg back under your body and onto your knee. You will be in a semi lunge position. Gather yourself into a proper lunge position, and
- Stand up.
*Return to the starting position by reversing the 6 steps
Nathane Jackson is a veteran health and wellness authority, specializing in holistic living. He has a decade worth of knowledge as a personal trainer and strength & conditioning coach and is dedicated to improving all aspects of health starting at the cellular level by combining holistic nutrition, functional exercise, and restorative practices to help his clients strengthen their mind, body and spirit.