Recently I was able to spend some time with a couple of women who are in their 90’s. I enjoy spending time with them and hearing stories of their youth, but the trainer in me also takes special note of their physical abilities and limitations. Both of these women are doing remarkably well. They use walkers only occasionally, and are able to stand from a sitting position with minimal assistance (usually by pushing off the walker or the arms of the chair). It isn’t just about leg strength – they are able to use their arms, engage their shoulders, and support their weight on their wrists. That’s a big deal at their age!
Now obviously there are a lot of factors that play into someone’s health at that age. I don’t know all of that. But here’s what I do know.
Both women worked hard in their younger years. They engaged in daily manual labor (think farming!). This was a way of life back then. It isn’t as much of a way of life for our generation. As a society, we sit quite a bit more. We don’t engage in the same kind of manual labor because many of those tasks are done by machines. Luckily, we are able to gain the same kind of strength in the gym using functional exercises.
It doesn’t get much more functional than a Turkish Get-Up (TGU). If you are using a kettlebell, you are already challenging your shoulder stability with an unevenly distributed weight. Kind of like a bucket filled with water, right? You are also working those shoulders as you push up off the floor. That shoulder stability might help you push up on the arms of your chair when you are 90. You are engaging and strengthening your core. That core strength might help you sit up to get out of bed when you are 90. And you are absolutely working your legs, which might help you stand up without assistance when you are 90.
Okay, that’s all great… but what about NOW? Let’s review…
- Shoulder strength and stability
- Core strength and stability
- Leg and glute strength
…all in one move!
There is no question that a Turkish Get-Up is an absolute powerhouse. There’s also no question that they are difficult! It’s a lot of work to get up off the floor while holding a weight over your head and it is most certainly awkward at first (and second… and third). But I promise, practice makes better, and they are so WORTH IT. So take your time, learn each step and enjoy the benefits now AND later!