I was introduced to kettlebells by my trainer about 6 years ago. It was love at first swing.
As a 40 something Mother, working person, life has a tendency of getting out of control. However, swinging that dense chunk of metal makes me feel powerful! I’m in control of the trajectory of something massive, it requires me to focus on the task at hand, forcing out the lists and worries of the day (bonus item: it does not talk back or wear diapers)!
Six years ago there was not a lot of information about Kettlebell’s here is the States, luckily my library had a copy of Pavel Tsatsouline’s book, “Enter The Kettlebell! Strength Secret of The Soviet Supermen” and I came across Scott Iardella’s podcast.
I was off to the races. I invested in my own kettlebells and attended seminars in order to learn and develop my new workout passion. As my knowledge of kettlebells and the kettlebell community grew, I began to change (for the better if you ask me). Gaining strength began to replace the elusive goal of moving that darn number on a scale. Winning the monthly challenges at my gym fueled my work and I worried less about that weekly “did the scale number go down .5lbs … what if I poop?” goal.
Enter StrongFirst (SFG). The SFG community lead by Pavel Tsatsouline really encapsulated my transition from aesthetic goals to achievement goals. The individuals of StrongFirst regularly display feats of strength and rarely show off the six pack that I assume resides under the sleek black shirt. I idolized these people but never imagined I could be one of them. Or could I?
Flash forward to present day, after a year and a half of rigorous training with my StrongFirst trainer. I was able to pass my certification test to earn the title of SFG I trainer.
With this blog, I hope to share my passion for kettlebells and give all of you a solid starting point for your own journey.
First up is Turkish Get-Up (TGU) which is a fantastic exercise to do with or without the bell. This full body exercise increases stability and overall strength.
Caution must be taken to ramp the weight up slowly, starting with no weight in order to get the movements down.
Usually, I warm up with a naked TGU (without a kettlebell, get your mind out of the gutter). Next, the pink 18lb kettlebell is added. I hate the pink bell not because it’s pink but because it’s the lightest kettlebell in the gym. That being said, I have come to understand and appreciate the need for warming up, giving
your body the signal things are going to get real.
Next, I progress to the 26lb, 30lb and finally the 35lb bell. I have occasionally gotten the 45lb bell up for my Turkish Get Up, but it’s rare and never without a spotter. For most, I seek to perform the lift with both talent and elegance through rigor and precision.
Below are the TGU steps highlighted with the cues Todd gives at each point.
- Initial: A strong Turkish Get Up begins with a deep hand position on the bell, straight wrist, and a packed shoulder.
- To elbow: When you sit up consider pulling your elbow (freehand side) into the ground rather than punching or pushing up with the bell. Keep your eyes on the kettlebell.
- To hand: Keep your shoulder down and packed as much as possible. Avoid the shoulder creeping up towards your ear during the transition.
- Low sweep: Brace hard off the hand that is on the ground. Think about externally rotating it against the ground (even though your hand won’t actually move). The cue will help tighten up the Lats and keep the shoulder packed. This is the scary part for me. I am working to trust my strength as I hold a heavy weight over my head and balance on one hand.
- To kneeling position (before you windshield): Be in a good position to use hips to make it look smooth. If you are too far away and your upper body is parallel to the ground you will lose strength and the move will appear abrupt.
- Windshield to lunge up (finish): Complete the windshield and make sure the shoulder remains packed, rib cage down and abs tight to complete a smooth lunge up. Remember to look straight ahead.
- Down: Reverse the process.
- Overall: Maintain a tightly packed shoulder at all times (bell side) and with the opposing side when making ground contact. Tension should be felt throughout, be fully engaged. No mindless get-ups!
StrongFirst Turkish Get Up Basics Video
Scott Iardella, SFG II