Home Gym Workouts! 10 Minute Circuit Training

home gym

Today’s home gym workout is all about simplicity. 

Keeping it simple, is keeping it effective. 

Turkish Get-Ups, crawling, traveling squats and lunges, push-ups, rolling are all included in the 10 minute mini-circuits of the session.  

Get ready to dirty your shirt.  

If you’re unfamiliar with any of the exercises mentioned above, please head over to my YouTube channel and perform a search using those terms.  

Always, always, always learn movement mechanics of new exercises while fresh and in an isolated fashion.  

Learning an exercise in isolation means you’re repping out that exercise with the basic work-then-rest approach.  Perform specific reps for a number of sets, rest, then attack the exercise again. 

Fatigue can be managed with this approach, allowing movement precision to become the prime focus. 

No one is above learning movements in isolation.  

The exercise’s degree of difficulty might change from person to person depending on fitness level (beginners versus elite movers), but the approach is the same.  

Learn new movements in isolation, code the movement into your system, do what you want from there. 

Workout Structure

The full workout consists of 3 x 10-minute sections, each with a different movement emphasis.

You can execute all 10-minute sections, or perform 1 or 2 depending on your space, equipment and time.  

Movement Emphasis

    • Workset #1: Turkish Get-Ups
    • Workset #2: Traveling Squats and Lizard Crawl
    • Workset #3: High Plank Step-Squat-Reach-Roll Flow

The goal is to perform the work non-stop 10 minutes with minimal rest.

Of course, movement quality is king, so if rest is needed take it to preserve the quality of each repetition.  

10 minutes is the target exertion time.  If you need to reduce the working time for each section, please do so.  Start with a duration you can tolerate, any amount of time is better than doing nothing.  👊 

After completing a 10-minute section, grab a drink, towel off the sweat and get ready for the next section.  Don’t waste time. 

Equipment List:

OMG!!! I need equipment?!?!

Not all workouts require equipment, but this one does, sorry… 

    •  * Kettlebell, dumbbell, sandbag, etc (weight for Turkish Get-Ups)
    •  Bodyweight
    •  12-15 feet of straight-away space

🤷‍♂️ If you don’t have any weights, find any object of reasonable shape and weight laying around the house that can add weight to the Turkish Get-Ups.  

Get creative, it can be anything.  A loaded backpack, children who are durable, a pet with a calm demeanor.  

At the end of this post, I’ve included equipment shopping options.

 

Set #1: Turkish Get-Ups

No secret sauce here.  

Turkish Get Ups are one of the best exercises on the planet. 

Stand up and lay back down for 10 minutes, alternating sides each rep. 

Turkish Get-Ups are a total body exercise and 10 minutes of continuous Turkish Get Ups is total body cardio conditioning.

Ideally, you’d have access to several different weights to switch it up.  Start by using a lighter weight, bumping up the load every 3 minutes or so.  End this 10-minute section with the heaviest load you have.

If you only have one weight, just use that.  You’ll get a good enough training effect.

I prefer to use kettlebells for Turkish Get-Ups, but I’ve used many other gym tools with success.  Dumbbells or sandbags can be used to add load to the Turkish Get Ups.

 

Set #2: Traveling Squats + Lizard Crawl

I love integrating isolated exercises into circuits.

Once you own a movement pattern, the options for using that movement pattern become limitless.

In the video, I’m traveling back and forth across a 15-foot distance.  

From right to left, I use a descending modified dragon squat, uncrossing the legs and standing up with a Cossack squat to shimmy across the room.  

After reaching the wall, I return to the start position with the king of locomotion patterns, the lizard crawl.  

Turn around, switch sides, repeat.

Dragon Squat.  The dragon squat is going to be a bit too aggressive of an exercise for a lot of people.  

Here are exercises to substitute:

👉  Walking Lunge (forward or backward)

👉  Lateral Lunge

Lizard Crawl.  If you’ve never tried a full lizard crawl, a work capacity circuit isn’t the time or place to dabble.  The lizard crawl is an aggressive pattern best learned fresh. 

I suggest regressing the crawling pattern to one of the following:

👉  Forward/Backward Crawl

👉  Lateral Crawl

👉  Bear Walk

 

Set #3: High Plank Step-Squat-Reach-Roll Flow

This simple ground-based flow includes a few common exercises (push-ups, sit-ups) along with uncommon ground-based flow movements (crab reach, rolling).

For some, this might be the first introduction into integrated movement conditioning.

Moving your body naturally through space.  

This isn’t your basic “jogging in place, knees to elbows, shadow boxing fitness” circuit.  

It’s bodyweight and movement, which will likely be humbling for a lot of people, including those who spend a lot of time resistance training in the gym.  

You’ll feel the difference between natural movement and linear exercise while training like this.  

During this work set, focus on smoothing out the transitions between each exercise.  Make the entire sequence look like it’s fused together into a single unit.  

I’ve got a semi-truck load of flow videos on YouTube.  

 

 🛒 Need Equipment?

5 years ago, I wouldn’t have referred anyone to Amazon for fitness equipment.

Today, Amazon is one of the best options to buy fitness equipment.  Prime Shipping is hard to beat for shipping heavy gym equipment directed to your home fast.  

👉 Kettlebells

👉 Kettle Gryp (converts a dumbbell to a kettlebell)

👉 Powerblock Adjustable Dumbbell (cost and space effective dumbbell)

Give each of these mini-workouts a try, leave a comment, ask questions, keep grinding folks!

How to Make Turkish Get Ups More Challenging

Kettlebell Training

The Turkish Get Up is not only one of the premier kettlebell exercises, but one of the best exercises on the planet.

In the past, I’ve done my best to avoid playing favorites with exercises, but if I could only choose one exercise, it would be Turkish Get Ups. 

Blending total body strength, joint range of motion, movement transitions, functionality and options to modify for a cardio training effect, the Turkish Get Up exercise checks a lot of boxes all in one shot.  

In this article, I’m going to share how to add exercises to an already complex exercise, to make it, well, more complex.  

Many Exercises Rolled Into One

Boiled down, a single repetition of Turkish Get Up is made up of a diagonal crunch, modified lateral plank, hip lift, kneeling windmill, lunge, and static overhead carry.

Every pattern listed is performed concentrically and eccentrically.   

Start in a lying position.  Roll up to the elbow, then the hand.  Lift the hips, bring the leg underneath, windmill up to kneeling.  Lunge to stand up.  Reverse the flow.  

The only major movement pattern Turkish Get Ups don’t really address is upper body pulling.  

Non-issue.  

I’ll show you how to include bent-over rows to get your pulling work in.  

There is an infinite number of ways to reorganize traditional Turkish Get Ups without losing the incredible benefits of the exercise.  

Since the main positions of Turkish Get Ups include lying, kneeling and standing, we can slip exercises into each of these positions to create a brand new movement challenge.  

Here are some examples of exercises that can be added to the traditional Turkish Get Up pattern to increase the movement complexity.

Turkish Get Ups w/ Cleans, Pressing, Squats and Z-Press

Once in a standing position, the exercise options are limitless.  

The kettlebell clean and press is a staple combination.  Descending down to the floor with an offset loaded kettlebell front squat gives the body a dose of asymmetric loading.  

Once seated, get tight and press the kettlebell overhead.  

Expect the Z-Press to be the limiting exercise with regard to weight selection.  

Pressing from this position is far more strict compared to other overhead press variations.   

 

Turkish Get Ups w/ Cossack Squats and 1-Arm Swings

I place a high value on being able to squat in different ways.  

People have beaten the mechanics of the basic bilateral squat to death.  

Cossack Squats require pretty aggressive hip mobility and strength in an uncommon pattern that a lot of people just don’t train.  The adductors will be singing.  

Once standing, the hand-to-hand 1 Arm Swings deliver a short burst dose of loaded conditioning and indirect core training.

Turkish Get Ups w/ Squats

Normally, Turkish Get Ups are performed with a lunge to stand and return to the lying position.  This variation removes the lunge completely, using squats instead.

Caution:  Must have sufficient shoulder/t-spine mobility and stability for this.  

 

Turkish Get Ups w/ Bent Rows

One knock against calling Turkish Get Ups a “total body exercise” is the lack of upper body pulling.  This variation provides a solution by including bent over rows.

 

Turkish Get Ups w/ Pistol Squats and Z-Press

Pistol squats, the slang description for unsupported single leg balance squats, are one of the best squat variations I know.

Improving single leg performance is great for sport and daily living.

At the halfway point, it’s time to return to the floor.  This variation leverages an overloaded eccentric pistol squat for the descent mechanism, which is pretty challenging and effective way to return the ass to the ground.

Once settled, press the kettlebell overhead with a strict Z-Press.

In my own training…

… I engage in exclusive Turkish Get Up workouts several days per week.  

To be clear, the “work” part of these workouts ONLY includes Turkish Get Ups, nothing else.  

Mobility exercises come first to prime my body.  

I pull out the kettlebells, set the timer, turn on the music and start moving.  

These sessions start with a lighter weight kettlebell, gradually bumping up in weight every 4-5 minutes.  

I like to finish the session with a heavy kettlebell, testing my will, focus and ability to stay organized physically while the fuel tank runs low.

Controlled movement while under fatigue is an underlying goal of most of my training.  Explore new movements while fresh, morph the basics for conditioning and mental tests. 

Yes, these sessions can be monotonous, but they are free of bullshit and any unnecessary exhaustive decision making in the gym.  

The work is non-stop.  I’ll take rest for a sip of water and to towel off the sweat, but always getting right back into the work.

Fatigue is going to set in as time passes.  This is understood and accepted.  

When the body becomes fatigued, movement quality degrades.  

Maintain awareness about how fatigue impacts movement, blurs the mind-body connection and also how to continue moving with quality.

If rest is needed, it is taken.   

Expanding movement capacity is best done while fresh.  But don’t forget how to program your body to move well when tired.  

The key is to know thyself, which means knowing your current fitness level and when you’re about to overstep your capacity to exercise safely.  

 

General Tips/Insight/Common Sense

The question of “how many reps should I do” varies greatly from person to person.

I prefer to set a timer (anywhere from 10-20 minutes) and begin working.  You might only be able to go for 5 minutes.  Who cares.  Celebrate the effort and build on it.  

Focus on QUALITY repetitions.  Take breaks as needed to execute quality reps.

Despite the soul-sucking marathon workouts found in at-home DVD’s, magazines and on social media, it’s unnecessary to beat yourself into a pulp every single workout.  

Deliver a potent dosage of movement, get on with your day.  Rest, recover, regenerate, grow stronger. 

Learn each add-on movement in an isolated fashion.  Do not Z-Press in the middle of a Turkish Get Up having never performed a Z-Press before.  Do not attempt swings, cleans, rows, etc… having not practiced each of these exercises in isolation.

Make sense? 

Always dabble with light weight first.  Playing with new movement combinations while flinging a heavy kettlebell increases the risk of disaster.  We can mitigate the risk of injury by using lighter, more manageable weight.   

Again… move with quality.  There’s a time and place for high intensity, balls to the wall, aggressive exercise with a little less emphasis on precise movement.  

Turkish Get Ups are not an exercise to rush through. Embrace the slow, meticulous grind.  Move with purpose, grace, soft hand/foot touches and strength in transitions.  

Breathe. 

Don’t forget to breathe. 

3 Fresh Turkish Get Up Variations

Motion

Turkish Get Ups reinforce total-body movement.  

TGU’s are Swiss army knife of sorts, serving as a movement assessment or an effective strength and cardio builder.  

I’ve dabbled with longer duration TGU workouts (5+ minutes continuous), which can provide an impactful form of low impact, externally loaded cardio.      

The general premise of a Turkish Get Up is to move from a lying position to a standing position.  Once at the top, repeat the process in reverse, return to the lying position.

That’s it.  Lay down, stand up, lay back down.

Is there some technique to it?  Absolutely.  But the goal is to stand up and lay back down efficiently.  

Turkish Get Ups, used alongside other exercises like deadlifts, kettlebell swings, heavy loaded carries, bodyweight strength training and Gymnastics-based drills can create a potent training program.   

Toss in some Kinstretch and now we’re talking.

Popularized by the kettlebell crowd in the early 2000’s, Turkish Get Ups still seem to fly under the radar with the mainstream.  It could be due to the learning curve, the unknown benefits or the fact they aren’t easy.   

Over the last 10+ years, Turkish Get Ups have been embedded in my weekly training. 

When workout time is short, 20-25 minutes of continuous Turkish Get Ups paired with Kettlebell Swings is a staple movement session.  Allocate 10-12 minutes for Turkish Get Ups (alternating each side) and the remaining time for Kettlebell Swings.   

Traditionally, a kettlebell is the tool used to add load to the Turkish Get Ups.  However, a variety of training tools can be used (should be used).  Dumbbells and sandbags work quite well as alternatives.  

If there was an “Original” variation, it would likely look something like this:

 

Steps to the Turkish Get Up

 

Ascending to standing position:

Step 1:  Punch and roll

Step 2:  Elbow support

Step 3:  Hand support

Step 4:  Hip lift

Step 5:  Straight leg slides underneath body

Step 6:  Stand up via lunge motion

 

Descending back to floor:

Step 1:  Reverse lunge 

Step 2:  Lower hand to find the floor

Step 3:  Bring leg through to the front (extended)

Step 4:  Raise hips and pause for moment

Step 5:  Drop butt to the floor, supporting weight on extended arm/hand

Step 6:  Lower to elbow, gently rolling to starting position.

  • The ascent to the standing position is essentially the “concentric” portion of the exercise, muscles activating to move from one step to the next.
  •  The descent back to the floor is made up of a series of “eccentric” steps, as the goal is to control each step, lowering back to the lying position softly.  

The traditional variation is loaded with benefits, but there are ample opportunities to tweak the Turkish Get Up and create a new training experience.  

I’m a big believer in discipline.  It should be the foundation of any fitness regimen.  That being said, if you’re bored out of your mind, it’s time to play around other variations.  

Adjusting the speed, adding or removing load, adding or removing steps to make it easier or more complex, using different training tools (or no training tools), volume, duration, etc.   

Here are 3 Turkish Get Up Variations that will inject a fresh challenge to your next workout…

 

#1 Turkish Get Up + Squat Ascent/Descent


“Build the deadlift, maintain the squat”.

Ever heard this?  Well, you can both maintain and build the squat pattern with this unique variation.  

The traditional Turkish Get Up generally uses a lunge variation to move from the tall kneeling position to standing, also from standing back to kneeling on the way back down.  

This variation uses a squat to stand up and get back down, with subtle tweaks in technique.  

Small changes can change a lot about an exercise.  Sorting out how to maneuver the feet underneath the body can take some practice, so again, start with no weight or lightweight.   

Dropping into the squat on the way back down is a little more forgiving.  Once you’re low enough to touch the hand to the floor, support yourself between the arm and the opposite side leg.  Slide the foot out in front, lower back to the floor.  

It took me a while to warm up to the squat as the stand up/sit down pattern.  With a little practice it’s improved my movement capacity quite a bit. Exposing the body to progressively new and challenging patterns is great for expanding movement capacity.

Beware:  User must have sufficient shoulder/thoracic mobility and squat pattern grooved for this.  Balance a shoe on top of the palm of the hand or fist, or use light weight to start.  Take a video of your attempts. 

 

#2 Turkish Get Up + Press at Every Step

Adding a press at each step of the Turkish Get Up makes the exercise very taxing for the upper body.  

Pressing in uncommon body positions is also quite humbling.  Many people will find pressing early on in the exercise, posted on the elbow and hand, to be a new and challenge experience.  Start with lighter weight.  Don’t go for broke right away.

Overhead pressing from the half kneeling and standing position will be far more familiar for most people.  

Assuming you press at every step as I did in the video, there will be a total of 11 presses.  

That’s a lot of upper body work. 

Considering the volume, lighter weight should be used, along with decreasing the reps. 

2 reps on each side equates to 44 presses.  Arms will be rubber if overdone. 

If I’m using this variation, I’ll do 2-3 reps on each side of the “Press at Every Step”, and move on to more loaded variations.  Keep the weight on the lighter side here.

Tip:  Use a weight that you’re able to press in the weakest position, as this will dictate the load you’re able to use.  

 

#3 Turkish Get Up + Clean – Squat – Press

Adding a clean, squat and a press can create a broad training effect. 

Perform the usual steps getting up to the standard position.  Once standing, lower the weight down to the front rack position, execute a single rep of a clean, squat and press.  Descend back to the bottom.  

Simple, right? 

Tip:  Make sure you’ve got experience practicing cleans before trying this variation.

 

Reps, Sets and Time for Turkish Get Ups

Suggestions for reps, sets and time will vary greatly from person to person. 

Why?  

Mostly due to fitness level and experience with the Turkish Get Up.  

I used to read articles and think, “Just tell me what to do!”

But the reality is we’re all a little different, so it’s important to do what you can do, not necessarily what I can do or anyone else.  

In general, start with lower volume (reps and sets) and progress from there. 

Keep the focus on QUALITY.

I’ve been practicing Turkish Get Ups for 10 years.  My body is acclimated to the stress, working long duration sets and heavier weights.  

Reps

Start with 1 quality rep on each side, alternating sides.  Using 1 repetition (instead of doing 2-3 reps in a row) gives you the best chance to move with quality, before the fatigue creeps in and starts breaking down your body position, etc.

Eventually, if you’re looking to support the weight for longer durations on the same arm, you can execute 2 reps on each side before changing sides. 

Doing this will challenge shoulder endurance.  It’s a nice strategy to improve shoulder endurance, just not where a person should start if new to the Turkish Get Up.

Turkish Get Ups using progressively heavier weights should always be practiced for 1 rep per side.  I’m rigid about this.  Treat it the same way as any other strength based exercise (deadlifts, squats, etc).  

In general, as the weights go up, the reps go down.  And vice versa.  

Sets

The combination of reps and sets gives you volume.  Don’t over do it.  Fitness is a long-term game, not a one and done WOD of the day.  Play the long game.  

That being said, start with anywhere from 3-8 sets in a workout.  If performing 1 rep per side for 6 sets, that’s a grand total of 12 Turkish Get Ups.  

Doesn’t sound like much, but consider that a Turkish Get Up is a very long, drawn out exercise.  It’s not a 1 second time under tension type deal.  It’s 10-15 seconds, maybe even longer if you’re working a slow tempo.  

Time

Time is my preferred method for practicing Turkish Get Ups.

Set the timer and work until the timer goes off.  Keeping a steady work tempo, I don’t have to count repetitions.  Instead, the focus is on the movement, body position, breathing, tension, tempo, etc.  

The important stuff.

How long can you go?

In the past, I’ve set a timer for as long as 25 minutes and started the work.  Yes, 25 minutes.  It’s not a world record, but it’s a long time to be grinding out Turkish Get Ups continuously with minimal rest. 

During this time period, I will generally warm up with a light kettlebell (24kg/28kg) and bounce around with using a 32kg kettlebell and 40kg kettlebell.  I take brief rest periods to wipe away the sweat, drink some water and change the music track.  

For most people, I’d suggest beginning with 5-8 minutes using the timer method.  Don’t overdo it.  

Quality over quantity.

Tomorrow is another day to train, play the long game with fitness.

 

Closing It Out…

The Turkish Get Up is one of my top picks for building total body performance.   

Joint stability and mobility, core strength, lower body strength, breath work, tension and relaxation techniques are all benefits associated with Turkish Get Ups. There’s a potent cardio training effect when worked for extended periods.

The number of Turkish Get Up variations are virtually limitless.  I shared three.  I could have listed fifty more.  

Slip a press in here and there, clean the kettlebell at the top, squat, swing, row, etc. Adding exercises, tweaking movement tempo, weight used are just a few of the small adjustments that can be made. 

Variations are only limited by creativity.  To be safe, consideration should be given to  fitness level, knowledge and experience. 

Finding time to train can be difficult.  Life, career, kids, social activities all require time.  It’s tough to balance it all.  Having a 4 month old daughter (as I write this) I know first hand how quickly the time to play around in the gym get’s whittled down.

When you find yourself short on workout time, leverage a quality session of Turkish Get Ups.  10-12 minutes of continuous Turkish Get Ups is a highly effective, total body workout.  

Mix it up, alternate how you get up, tempo, speed, add exercises to the reps, etc.  

*** Remember, start with lighter weight, lower reps to groove technique and build strength and work capacity.  

Give each of these variations a try and let me know what you think.

*** M(EAUX)TION is active the following social media platforms…

  YouTube (longer exercise demos)

  Instagram (daily training, flow, exercises, workouts, life etc)

  Facebook (fitness news, research, science, brain training, nutrition, etc)

 

 

Cheers to you,

Kyle 

A Giant List of Effective Core Exercises| Part 1

Core Training

Direct core training is an essential part of any workout program. 

The fitness industry gets into highschool level fights over whether direct core training necessary, but since I believe in training the entire body…

…. core training is a must.  

Boom. 

In a way, if your core sucks, you suck.

A strong core protects the spine and serves as a conduit for force transmission between the upper and lower body.  

Ground reaction forces travel from the feet, up through the mid-section and out through body tips of the fingers.

Highly controversial fitness trainer Uncle David Weck taught me that.  

If the muscles that wrap around the torso are weak or under-performing, energy leaks and both performance and function can suffer.  

A strong bodies has a strong core.

A balanced, comprehensive approach to core focused training will calbrate the body to properly absorb force and produce force in all planes of movement.

This is a giant list, so let’s not waste any more time.  

Here are 15 different core based exercises worth slipping into your next workout…  

1.  Anti-Extension Roll Outs (Ab Wheel Roll Outs) 

For $15 on Amazon, you can purchase an Ab Wheel Roller.  Ab Wheel Roll Outs are anti-extension core exercise, great for building not only core strength but core endurance.  

In a tall kneeling position, slowly roll out way from the knees. 

During this rollout motion, cue your hips to fall outward at the same pace as the upper body. 

Roll as far out as you can control.  If the lower back caves, you’ve gone to far.  

Pull yourself back in using your mid-section, lats and pec muscles (gripping the handles hard). 

During the most difficult portion of the roll-out,  “hollow” out the mid-section. 

The hollow body position tucks the ribs down while the navel curls toward the ribs.  The result is a curved body shape or the “hollow” body.  

 

2.  Turkish Get-Ups 

As far as productivity and global training effect, Turkish Get Ups (TGUs) are hard to beat. 

Turkish Get Ups are a total body exercise. 

The goal of the Turkish Get Up is to transition from a lying position (supine) to a standing position, reverse the order and return back to the original lying position.

Controlling the weight during the up-down sequence is fatiguing not only for the core but for the loaded shoulder as well. 

Turkish Get Ups are best performed with kettlebells or dumbbells, though nearly any object of weight can be substituted.  I’ve used sandbags, liquid filled milk cartons, barbells, weight vests, shoes, and weight plates to name a few.  

Turkish Get Ups are best learned by isolating and practicing each segment.  

Stabilizing the weight overhead is can be draining for the stabilizing muscles of the shoulder.  However, the time spent in this over-chest/over-head position is fantastic for building shoulder stability, which can help with injury mitigation and performance.  

Standing up and laying back down equals one rep.

Sidenote:  I’ve used Turkish Get Ups as my “workout of the day” for years.  I set a timer (10, 15, 20 minutes) and alternate sides until the timer sounds. 

I use a variety of weights during this time, work several repetitions in a row without putting the weight down or mix up the way I stand up and lay back down for variation (squat, lunge, etc).  I’ve added a simple press at each of the 7 steps, performed kettlebell swings cleans and snatches at the halfway point (standing position).

3.  Dragon Flags

Iconic martial artist and movie star Bruce Lee made Dragon Flags famous.

 

Dragon Flags (and variations) are one of my favorite core exercises. 

Why?  Because they’re hard as hell!  

Dragon Flags require a tremendous amount of effort and total body tension.  

Ly on your back, grab onto a bench, squat rack, heavy sandbag or any other immovable object with the hands positioned above the head. 

Raise the feet up to the ceiling.  Making the body as straight as possible from ankles to shoulders, begin lowering to the floor.

SLOW IT DOWN, resist gravity’s pull.

Working the descent of the dragon flag is known as the “eccentric”.  For beginners, only focusing on quality eccentrics is just fine.  

If you’re feeling strong, Advanced Trainees can reverse the eccentric and ascend back to the top. 

Do not lose the straight line from head to toe.

After listening to Gymnastics Bodies founder Coach Christopher Sommer’s podcasts with Tim Ferriss, I dropped Dragon Flags into my workouts as a mainstay core conditioning exercise.  

You can find smart dragon flag exercise regressions and progressions from Global Bodyweight Training.  

4.  Dynamic Plank Variations 

Planks are a fundamental static core drill and a position worth exploring. 

The video demonstrates rotational side planks.  

I use these (and many other plank variations) frequently. 

Reps, sets and time to hold each plank exercise is a highly debated topic. 

If you can comfortably hold a plank for 90-120 seconds without strain, you’re likely wasting your time and the return on effort has diminished. 

Move on to more challenging core work. 

4. Crawling

Crawling is a critical component for early childhood physical development, but also effective for building strength and conditioning in the gym.   

The more “adult” we become, the more we move away from activities we engaged in as kids.  

This is de-evolution.  It’s not good.  

You either use it, or you lose it.  

And as adults, we tend to move less and less with age, and if we do move, it’s generally isolated to linear walking or machine-based cardio.   

Adults need to revisit moving like they did when they were kids.  

Get on the floor and crawl.  

5.  Lizard Crawl 

The Lizard Crawl is an advanced crawling pattern and probably the king of all ground-based crawling variations.  

Ground-based conditioning is bodyweight training with no equipment needed.  

6.  Offset/Asymmetric Pressing and Holds 

Grab a dowel, barbell or a stronger broomstick. 

Dangle an object (with a handle) like a kettlebell or wrap a resistance band on one end. 

Now, press or hold that dowel without changing body position or allow the object to slip off.  Confused?  Me too.  Watch the video above and it will all make more sense.

Objects we encounter in life are rarely perfectly balanced. 

Weight is often distributed unevenly, which means we have to adapt to awkward loads, recalibrate on the fly and push on.  

7.  One Arm Push Ups 

A lesson in indirect core training, one arm push-ups will challenge the muscles of the midsection better than 95% of core based exercises. 

One-arm push-ups train single arm pressing strength like few other exercises.  

Global Bodyweight Training does a great job laying out exercise progressions leading to the one arm push up.

8.  L-Sits (all variations)

L-Sits are a beginner exercise in the gymnastics training realm. 

Very humbling to think about it with that perspective, since L-Sits are a tough ass exercise.  

Creating an “L” between your upper body and lower body (at the hips) extremely taxing for the hip flexors and lower abdominal muscles.  

Starting out, you’ll have to dial back the duration of your L-Sit efforts to 5-10 seconds of work, with plenty of rest between each effort.   

In time, the duration of the hold will increase as your body adapts to the demands.

Of all of the basic gymnastics postures, I have found L-Sits to be an absolute game-changer for building core strength. 

Including L-Sits in my workouts, 2-3 times per week has increased my hold duration time from a few mediocre sets of 10-15 seconds to 30+ seconds with legs moving above parallel.  

9.  Arch Body Holds 

Lay on the floor face down, arms and legs stretched out straight above/below. 

Lift the upper body and lower body at the same time, arching your back toward your butt.

Hold this Superman-like position for 5-10 seconds and release back to the floor. 

Repeat for repetitions.  

Progress Arch Body Holds by increasing the time of the hold.  

10.  Hollow Body Variations (rocking and static holds) 

Hollow body holds (progressing into rocking) conditioning the entire front side of the body, from fingertips to toe tips.

The quads, diaphragm, abdominals, hip flexors all get some love during hollow body training.

11.  Toes to Bar

Toes to Bar improves core strength, midline endurance while improving grip, shoulder health and back performance. 

Prolonged hanging from a bar, branch or anything overhead is therapeutic for the upper body.  

There are few different variations of the Toes to Bar exercise, kipping (ballistic) or strict.  

12.  Bridging 

Bridging is can help offset the modern-day desk warrior posture.  

Following the lead-up bridge positions and working shoulder and mid-back mobility, hip flexor flexibility and glute strength can inch you closer to a full bridge.

I’d also suggest training active mobility.  

MyDailyMobility is a follow-along mobility program with updated workouts every week.  Taking the time to train mobility will bulletproof joints against injury and increase performance. 

Once you’re able to hold a static high bridge for 45-60 seconds, start exploring adding the rotational piece into the bridge movement.  

13.  Dynamic High Plank Exercises (pull-throughs, push-pull) 

14.  Landmine Grapplers

The landmine trainer provides the opportunity to train many angled exercises and rotational exercises not possible without the pivoting sleeve.  

If you’ve got access to a barbell and a few weight plates, you can start training landmine exercises right away.  

Wrapping an old towel around one end of the barbell can protect your walls from damage.  Or, several fitness companies have manufactured inexpensive landmine trainers well worth the money in my opinion.

👇 How to perform a landmine grappler 👇

Arc (ascend) the barbell up and through the midline of the body.  

Once the barbell passes through the midline, it will begin to arc (descend) down to the same start position on the opposite side of the body.  

The challenge at this point in the movement is decelerating the barbell quickly.  

Landmine grapplers are fantastic for training rotational force production and absorption.  

During a work set, you quickly toggling the switch between creating force and absorbing it.  

Landmine grapplers have great carryover to athletics and daily living.  

Plus most workout programs are deficient when it comes to rotational training.

Landmine grapplers check ✔️  the box. 

Use moderate weight to start.

The weight of the barbell may be enough to elicit a training effect to start.  Add weight slowly as you gain efficiency and strength.

Sets and reps will vary, but 3-5 sets of 6-10 reps per side is a good start.  

It really depends on the weight you’re using.  

Lighter weight = explosive movement and more reps.

Heavier weight = grinding movement and fewer reps.

15.  Slosh Pipe Exercises

The water inside of the pipe is unpredictable and free moving. 

Tilt the slosh pipe an inch below level, the water begins to run, the balance of the pipe changes and your body must react to this change. 

There’s very little relaxation time during a set of slosh pipe exercises since the water is never completely balanced inside the pipe. 

The big issue with slosh pipe training is the size of the slosh pipe.  It needs to be quite long, which isn’t always feasible while training indoors.  

For the home gym, a water-filled slosh training bag is a great alternative.

Whewwwww!

Want to see more core exercises?  

Check out Part II and Part III of this series:

Turkish Get-Ups: “Press at Every Step” Variation

Kettlebell Training

Turkish Get-Ups (TGU’s) are one of the great kettlebell exercises.   Nevermind kettlebell exercises, they are one of the great movement training drills we’ve got.

When I am asked, “What are the best exercises I should be doing?”

Turkish Get-Ups are always a part of my answer.

This is a heavy question to ask and even heavier to answer.  Responses will differ depending who you’re asking but generally speaking, there is too much movement value, low risk and high reward with Turkish Get-Ups to leave it out.

Few other exercises provide the total body training effect of Turkish Get-Ups.  

Like any exercise, TGU’s have an infinite amount of variations, add-ons, and programming option (sets, reps, time, weight, etc).  Practicing variations is a nice way to introduce a movement challenge and avoid the onset of boredom.

Make no mistake, keeping training fresh is important across the long-term.

One of those variations is the “press at every step”.

This TGU variation involves performing five presses in the following positions:

  1.  Lying position.
  2.  Elbow support.
  3.  Hand support.
  4.  Half-keeling.
  5.  Standing.

Press #1:  Lying Position

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This is the only true horizontal press of the five listed.  “Horizontal”, meaning you’re pressing from the back of the body to the front of the body (anterior to posterior then back to anterior again), similar to the mechanics of a traditional bench press.  Lower the weight down until the elbow makes light contact with the ground, pause, press back up.

Press #2: Elbow Support

FullSizeRenderPressing from the elbow support position will be a new experience for a lot of people.  Expect this to feel unnatural and use cautionary judgment with weight here.  The trajectory of the kettlebell is slightly different than any traditional pressing exercise. 

Press #3:  Hand Support

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This body position will likely be the most awkward press of them all.  Remain rigid from waist to shoulder.  Naturally, your body is going to want to crease or your ribs are going to flail.  Avoid letting either happen.  Stay rigid and press! 

Press #4:  Half-kneeling

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Training in the half-kneeling narrow stance position is a natural core blaster and can reveal side-to-side differences in symmetry.  You might be steady with the left knee up, but hardly maintain the position with the right knee up.

Turkish Get-Ups aside, half-kneeling pressing is a natural overhead pressing progression into the standing press.

Press #5:  Standing

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Finally, standing at last.  In the world of “functional training”, this is as functional as it gets.  Pressing objects overhead is a common task in life.  Unfortunately, most of the objects pressed overhead in life aren’t evenly weighted with nice handles.

Here is a video of a full “Press at Every Step” Turkish Get-Up…

 

Whether you’re craving a movement challenge or simply a new variation of a timeless exercise, give this one a shot.  Be prepared for sore shoulders and core in the days that follow.  Five presses inside of each TGU repetition accumulates a lot of work for the upper extremities.  

For more great kettlebell exercise variations, I recommend two resources.  The first is a landmark book from the modern day Godfather of kettlebell training, Pavel Psatsouline.  There isn’t a kettlebell professional who hasn’t read Pavel’s ongoing work with kettlebell training.  

The second resource is a full training system from Chris Lopez designed to improve body composition using kettlebells, more specifically fat loss.  Kettlebells are unique in their ability to burn fat when used systematically.  Chris has published a number of kettlebell training programs focused on how to  “lean out” using kettlebells for quite some time.   

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Most importantly, let me know how you made out with this TGU variation…

 

Cheers, 

Kyle

Infusing Kettlebell Presses into Turkish Get Ups = Amazing Added Challenge

Kettlebell Training, Quick Tips

The Turkish Get Up is a little known weapon to those who are insanely strong, balanced and mobile.

Since implementing into my own training schedules, I have noticed incredible increases in shoulder stability and strength, core stability and strength through multiple planes of movement, along with a nice boost in joint mobility at the hip, shoulder and thoracic spine regions.

To be honest, it’s extremely hard for an exercise to crack my workout line-up. In other words, I am very selective about adding new training methods since I have seen such tremendous results with my mainstay movements.

However, in the same breath, I have to say that the turkish get up has been one of the greatest additions to my training habits to date. The amount of insight that I gained about my own movement quality was unprecedented, and humbling at times.

I ‘bulletproofed’ my body the day that I dedicated myself to learning the turkish get up, and by learning, I am talking about reading articles and watching YouTube videos until I was blue in the face.

You can learn any exercise correctly if you know where to look on the internet. If you’re a visual learner, check out the videos on YouTube, some are extremely high quality and in depth.

I cannot say enough about the drastic impact turkish get ups had on my performance and quite frankly, my physique. Spending that amount of time under tension does wonders for firming up a person’s body. I can’t deny that I haven’t enjoyed seeing the tweaks in transformation.

The traditional turkish get up is a phenomenal exercise, and probably needs no further adjustments or additions, but for the curious mind (which I have) and those who enjoy exploring (which I do), adding in slight tweaks to the turkish get up can make what some feel is a “bland” exercise extremely interesting, not to mention fun.

Of course, everyone should hone in on the basics of executing a regular turkish get up before moving any further in the progression, it just makes senses to progress with common sense.

The idea of pressing during the turkish get up was simple…

I perform a press at certain check points that allow for it.

Press #1: Horizontal chest press in the starting prone position.

Press #2: Overhead vertical press at the tall kneeling position.

Press #3: Overhead vertical press at the standing position.

Press #4: Explosive push press at the standing position.

Done.

If you stop and think about it, you’re pressing the kettlebell (or dumbbell) four different times for each individual rep of the turkish get up.

That’s a lot of work.

*** Keep in mind that the chest press performed in the lying position might will not feel like a normal bench press because: 1) You’re pressing an odd object (kettlebell), 2) Your range of motion is limited (elbow contacts ground surface) 3) Your body position is altered from a more traditional bench press.

All of these things are ok, so relax about it. “Real world training” says that you won’t always be pressing a shiny dumbbell on a padded bench. Though he was referring to sandbags, I believe I heard Alwyn Cosgrove call repetitions like these “alive reps”. Nice terminology, I can roll with that.

If you perform 5 reps of get ups on each side of the body, you’re looking at 20 reps per side (40 total) right and left. If you go higher reps, which I typically like doing since my turkish get up practice usually involves nothing more than get ups and some kettlebell swings afterward for conditioning purposes, you might be looking at a pressing volume of 40+ reps on each side of the body.

Consider that the pressing is uni-lateral (pressing with one arm while the other remains unloaded) and you can bet that your mid-section is getting as much of a workout as your upper and lower extremities are.

Poke your tummy the next time you press a decently heavier weight on one side only, it will be activated.

“Six-pack training” anyone?

I considered pressing at the same check points on the way back down to the start position, but felt like this would be slight overkill. Who knows, maybe down the road. That would have increased my pressing volume to 40 reps per side for every 5 reps of turkish get ups, and 80 per side had I completely 10 turkish get ups.

This is where I use my logic. For my goals, that amount of pressing will take away from my main goal, which is to work the turkish get up, not improve my pressing strength and abilities. So, I avoided this volume to keep the workout more TGU-centered.

Make sense?

Post-workout, the first observation I had was the fatigue component experienced from all of the added pressing.

The shoulder burn wasn’t nearly as bad as it was from the “5 minute no rest turkish get ups” that I adopted from Jon Hinds (owner of Monkey Bar Gym), but it was right up there. I am humbled what a simple activity like holding a weight (and a relatively light one at that) overhead can do to fry your shoulder musculature.

For me personally, it was a completely manageable fatigue (which is perfect) that provided an added challenge to the main movement.

A rarely discussed topic with turkish get ups is the amount of cognitive support needed to execute such a segmented exercise. There is a lot happening on the way up to the standing position, and then on the reversal moving back down to the starting position.

Holding the weight overhead is one thing. Holding the weight overhead while twisting and turning underneath that weight in an effort to rise up to the standing position from a dead stop laying position is another. Don’t

The first few times I gave a good effort to turkish get ups- treating them like practice versus a workout- my brain was fried. My eyes felt tired.

The brain has to be engaged in order to make turkish get ups work, and this is another HUGE benefit of the drill. Turkish get ups are a technique driven drill sequence. I respect those who preach this, because I feel that focusing on technique and the subtle details is how you extract the most physical and mental benefit from the movement.

The mind-body connection during get ups is of tremendous benefit for the exercisee.

I feel smarter after get ups, no lie. More detailed, more creative, stronger 3-dimensionally.

If you’re looking for a challenge, try adding some presses into your turkish get up practice. But keep it exactly that, practice. Be mindful of your abilities, yet don’t be afraid to walk to the fringe to challenge your mind and body.

And as I mentioned earlier in the post, if you have never practiced turkish get ups, your main job is to learn the steps first before adding pressing. You have to crawl before you walk.

Cheers to adding pressing to your turkish get ups,

KG

(pictures to come…)

Kettlebell Training For Beginners

Kettlebell Training

In my 4 year training hiatus away from traditional gyms, I have learned a lot about strength and conditioning.

I’ve learned that fancy equipment is NOT a necessity, and that a small investment in large ROI (return on investment) tools like the kettlebell are well worth the money spent.

I was introduced to kettlebells through the internet.  Honestly, the first time that I ever witnessed a person swinging a kettlebell was on YouTube while in Detroit, MI.  I have to admit that I was stubborn in my training philosophy then, so I hated them.

“Another exercise fad! That’s insane and dangerous!”

I believe that to be my initial reaction that after watching the video clip.

Kettlebells weren’t a thought in my mind until a year after watching that clip.  What a mistake.

Perform Better and Gray Cook…

While attending a Perform Better conference in Chicago, I decided to listen in on Gray Cook’s seminar as he raved about the kettlebell’s versatility when it came to rehab, strength and power development.  Gray isn’t known for being a fat loss guru, but he made a point to touch on the effectiveness of kettlebell training for burning fat.

One point that Gray made was an experience that he had working with the Indianapolis Colts, having 260-320lb NFL athletes try and walk 50 yards with a 53lb (24kg) kettlebell held in full extension over their head.

Not one guy could do it.

Pound for pound, we are talking about some of the strongest athletes in the world.  Many of these guys can probably press 100+ pounds vertically, yet not one could overhead carry load half of that (53lb) for 50 yards?!?!

No shoulder stability.  Many of these guys were ticking time bombs for injury.  Very interesting.

After Gray’s seminar, I ventured over to the product display table where they had a 20kg kettlebell out for trainers to play around with.  As soon as I picked it up, I felt like I hadn’t trained in years.  The feel of it was so unique.

One short, awkward, off-balance kettlebell workout later that night in the hotel room and I  knew that there was something incredibly valuable about the kettlebell.  The rest is history.

Here are some reasons to love KB’s…

Kettlebell Design…

The weight of a kettlebell is off-center that of the handle, unlike a dumbbell where the weight is evenly distributed on either side of your hand grip.  First impressions after picking up the 20kg bell at the convention told me that I needed to give it a shot.  I purchased a 20kg kettlebell and my introduction to alternative training methods began.

Most of the kettlebells that I recommend purchasing as made of a cast iron mold.  Lifeline and Dragon Door are the two major players, with companies like Perform Better and Art of Strength having a market presence also.

You are going to find two different styles of kettlebell on the market today.

1)  The first is the competition kettlebell and looks like this:

2)  The second (and more common) kettlebell that you will often see is what is known as the “hardstyle” kettlebell.  This kettlebell design was used by the Russian’s to condition their military for years.  Pavel Psatsouline pioneered the kettlebell craze in the Western world in the early 2000’s, and his methods have since grown like wild-fire in popularity.

Here is what the “hardstyle” kettlebell looks like:

Flow…

The flow of kettelbell training is what makes it so addicting.  Virtually every movement in a kettlebell workout is completed in standing position, so transitioning from a 2-handed swing to a 1-handed swing to a 1-arm clean into a vertical press… is actually quite simple.  It’s all about grace and flow while maintaining enough muscular tension to move the bell through space.

Ground based training with constant transitions from movement to movement is total body in nature, and extremely fatiguing.  The indirect core training that occurs as a result of a vertically standing posture is one of the many perks of ground based training.  Muscles are called upon to contribute as they would in a real world situation.

This is functional training.  No gimmicks, just amazing real world carryover from the workout to life.

Relaxed-Tension…

Kettlebell training is a skill and an art.  Creating tension where it is needed yet remaining relaxed is something the is so non-traditional compared to traditional strength training methods.  Sure, you can perform the grunt lifts, but the balance of “relaxed-tension” is something to be marveled at with a kettlebell workout.  Martial artists have known the value of relaxed-tension for hundreds of years.

Relaxed-tension demonstrated in the Bottom’s Up Turkish Get Up

Basic movements, huge training effect…

Simplicity will trump everything with kettlebell training.  A steady diet of kettlebell swings, cleans, snatches, vertical presses, bent rows, reverse lunges, turkish get ups and carrying variations will keep you progressing for months both aesthetically and athletically.

Forget about fancy moves from the get go.  Train the foundational movement patterns listed above and you’ll develop strength while consistently decreasing your waist circumference.

A lot of people struggle with sticking to a training regimen because they get paralysis by analysis.  Men’s Health and their trivial information sends people in 10 different directions, which often times causes the tiring spinning effect in a training

Stick to the basics.

 

Stay tuned as I load this blog up with more videos and demonstrations.

Time to move more and sit less people.

Here is a two movement basic kettlebell workout that I still use to this day…