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Kettlebell Does the TGU take care of "core strength" in its entirety?

Adachi

Level 6 Valued Member
TGUs is one of the best "overall lift" (strength, mobility, etc...)
I do credit TGUs with something that following hardstyle abs for 6 weeks did not grant me.

when regularly practicing Turkish get-ups, I receive an unmatched benefit to my lower back. I may never know exactly why, but like many others, I have a long-running problem with a particular spot in the lower-left portion of my back.

unweighted getups seem to help, but less than a loaded practice.

again, I may never know why. but, as I observe the differences in my day-to-day life, this is one of the things that even snatching doesn't address as well as my S&S practice did.

I do casually do unweighted getups from time to time. or sandbag style getups holding one of the kids now ranging from 30-80 lbs., but for an undefined reason - the overhead kettlebell makes me do something that relieves that lower back. (now to teach the kiddos to hang on for a human getup.)
 

Coach Louie

Level 1 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
For the past few years, the only midsection exercise I have done is the get up. I worked up to being able to get up with the beast. My stabilization is night and day. We went snorkeling earlier this year and on the bumpy boat ride my back was not affected. We also road off road for a big hike in the jungle through a Mayan city and that didn't bother me either. HLR sounds like an interesting adventure and so do dragon flags. HLR seems to make my quads cramp really bad. I have practiced hard style planks off and on. I read in Andy Bolton's book that was with Pavel that he recommends performing a Hard Style plank, wait a minute then lift heavy. This really gets the midsection firing for lifting. I recommend trying it next time you lift and you will be amazed how much better the lift will feel.
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

I can not disagree with @Adachi Indeed, a lot of folks report both an increase in overal strength and mobility. It really seems that TGU has some "healing properties" other moves do not have.

Because I do not have mobility issue, and because I tend to deconstruct this move, it is hard say TGUs make me better at something. However, I find this move extremely meditative. Mental health is also part of overall wel being !

As far as core and lifting are concerned, my best results came from both RoP and Red Zone, in equal proportions.

Even if it may not be optimal, I daily train my core, at the end of the routine.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
Exactly. Slow, strict HLR, one arm pushup & easy, full ROM pistol were only possible for me when I was owning Simple. Not before or since & Ive never focused on training any of them. Pullups became effortless though Ive always worked them.

I know this was not directed at me, but I also had this happen to me. I could not do half a HLR the first time I tried when I was starting out S&S, but after I reached Timed Simple I started doing PTTP and Hardstyle Abs and my first try at HLR I was able to knock off a couple reps. I don't know if it was the S&S or the weight loss (I believe during that time I lost about 30 lbs), but I definitely improved without doing any ab exercises and after doing Hardstyle Abs for a couple weeks and working on technique I was able to hit 5 good reps.

For the past few years, the only midsection exercise I have done is the get up. I worked up to being able to get up with the beast.

Thinking more about this, I realized that while the Simple / Sinister have different standards for men & women, the HLR does not.

My legs are probably just as heavy as yours, if not heavier. Obvious, I know. ROFL

So while I have done get-ups with the 32kg, and even at times done 5 reps each side in a session, I was not up to a men's simple standard of regularly doing 5 get-ups per side with 32kg in 10 minutes.

So, perhaps if I had progressed to that level with get-ups, I would have seen more effects applicable to HLR.
 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
Some thoughts:
This does not mean that focused training is "better" than TGUs. It just means that getting a strong core may require a dedicated training. TGUs is one of the best "overall lift" (strength, mobility, etc...) if one wants to get some sort of blend. A great combo could be bent press + TGU. Nonetheless, if one wants - for some reason - an even stronger core, then there are better choices
It is my thinking that there are core strength exercise, and there are core coordination (read: "stabilization") exercises. As pointed out below:
For the past few years, the only midsection exercise I have done is the get up. I worked up to being able to get up with the beast. My stabilization is night and day.
TGU doesn't do much for my core, but I also haven't done them heavier than 24kg yet. Things like HLR, planks, L-sits, etc fire my core up way more.

HLR seems to make my quads cramp really bad.
This last one is a super common complaint, and according to what I have read by physios who work with acrobats and circus athletes, it is a symptom of basically doing your HLR with less than adequate posterior pelvic tilt. If the pelvis is tilted anteriorly before your flex at the hip, it dumps all the load on your hip flexors/quads. If you first get to PPT, your abdominals will stabilized the pelvis and the hip flexors baiscally have less load to contend with. That's my understanding anyway.
 

Period

Level 7 Valued Member
Thinking more about this, I realized that while the Simple / Sinister have different standards for men & women, the HLR does not.

My legs are probably just as heavy as yours, if not heavier. Obvious, I know. ROFL

So while I have done get-ups with the 32kg, and even at times done 5 reps each side in a session, I was not up to a men's simple standard of regularly doing 5 get-ups per side with 32kg in 10 minutes.

So, perhaps if I had progressed to that level with get-ups, I would have seen more effects applicable to HLR.
While I do appreciate a good WTH-effect if I happen to catch it, I think it's a different matter to expect it or seek it out - there are just so many factors why person A may experience a certain effect from a certain exercise, while another person may not. I think it mostly has to do with what is currently holding someone back from achieving something, so if another exercise they do happens to "fix" that, you get the WTH. On the other hand, it is entirely possible (though again, not necessarily to be expected) that if you fix the weakness you perceive in one exercise by any means, it may have a carry-over to other things as well. I got to straight hanging leg raises early on in my training career unexpectedly by doing bent-leg raises for high reps (like 90 seconds to two minutes, as part of a circuit) - but not the standard "thighs to parallel" ones, I tried to pull the legs as high as I could, until I managed to touch my armpits/torso on each rep. After that, I managed straight leg raises to touching the bar no problem, and I wondered why everybody was fuzzing so much about how difficult they were.
 

Coach Louie

Level 1 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Some thoughts:

It is my thinking that there are core strength exercise, and there are core coordination (read: "stabilization") exercises. As pointed out below:

TGU doesn't do much for my core, but I also haven't done them heavier than 24kg yet. Things like HLR, planks, L-sits, etc fire my core up way more.


This last one is a super common complaint, and according to what I have read by physios who work with acrobats and circus athletes, it is a symptom of basically doing your HLR with less than adequate posterior pelvic tilt. If the pelvis is tilted anteriorly before your flex at the hip, it dumps all the load on your hip flexors/quads. If you first get to PPT, your abdominals will stabilized the pelvis and the hip flexors baiscally have less load to contend with. That's my understanding anyway.
Yeah I figured the cramping was a coaching point, I just haven't taken the time to put much focus into the HLR. Currently, finishing a 8 week cycle of Plan Strong performing DL, Zercher, Rows, and BB Military Presses. I haven't performed any exercises for the midsection. At four weeks I performed a 48kg get up with relative ease without doing any get ups for over a month except a couple warm ups with the 24kg. I did perform 48kg 2h sw, Saturdays I perform 40kg jerks, and on one day per week I keep a COC gripper in my pocket at work and just grease the groove with them. Not sure how much I weigh right now but I started at 210 pounds after my SFG 1 Cert in September.
 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
I had to run earlier but wanted to expand my thoughts on this a little:

For those who like to bring semantics into the discussion: when I say "core" I mean the entire area connecting the ribs to the pelvis.

I think that while movements like TGUs and things like dead bugs are great for core coordination (what I think of as stabilization), I think that exercises that isolate the core likely do a better job of directly strenghtening it. I do NOT think one is "better" than the other. While I would wager that depending on one's goals (the magic "d" word here) they could get by without much direct core work, but to really maximize results some targeted strengthening would go a long ways.

For instance, I have not trained HLRs directly in a long time, but when I test them, I can typically still do 8-10 reps toes-to-bar, straight legged, because I have trained the requisite components in the past ...and still do enough to challenge my core on a regular basis that it is strong enough to do the move.

As far as a "core challenge" goes, here's one that I have been directly experiencing lately:

-Do a "heavy" Z-press without using or feeling your hip flexors fire. Don't let your ribs flare or back arch to get the weight up. I bet that either you will find your core or the weight won't go up.

ok end tangent!
 

Cobra

Level 4 Valued Member
Bret Contreras did an interesting case study with a lot of exercises way back in 2010. Of course, it might differ due to technique and weight used - but the TGU stood out as a great allrounder (even with 50lb).

Not sure if I'm reading the values correctly, but I'm surprised that Suitcase carries and Farmer's walks seem to elicit lower activation across the board. I've heard these exercises touted as being great overall "core" exercises by Dan John and also my PT teacher. Maybe I'm not understanding the context here; thoughts?
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

My guess is Core ≠ Abs?
"Abs" generally refer to rectus abdominis (basically the "six pack", or "show muscle).

However, to create a proper "core routine", one has to consider it as a whole system, which covers pretty much everything from the hips and lower back to chest. They are a "layer" of muscles. Then we have:
- Front (rectus) -> Curling motion
- Side (obliques and lats) -> Bending sideways and twisting
- Back (lumbars) -> erectors
- Transverse (inside, not visible) -> lower back and stomach support (flat belly)

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

acutaiar12

Level 6 Valued Member
I’ve always thought of your core being from your shoulders down to your knees, whereas your abs are just your abdominal muscles.

I think TGUs are a great core exercise that has a lot of carryover to other movements.

But so do deadlifts and squats without a belt; so do one arm kettlebell swings; so does running up a hill; so does a huge number of bodyweight movements (which have my utmost respect)

I think it just depends on what you prefer doing, what you have available to you, and what you have time for.

Just keep training! The best workout is the one you do.
 

Wyanokie

Level 3 Valued Member
Just my $0.02, and again I remind the reader(s) that I'm not an SFG or equivalent, but my short answer is that the TGU is a great movement that combines mobility and stability, and yes there are lots of core benefits, but I don't know if I'd say it is complete.

If you'll forgive my laymen's definition of 'core', I personally would regard it as the group of trunk muscles that stabilizes the body in an upright or straight position (at any angle). Therefore, I don't know if the TGU hits the anterior portion of the core the same way it would hit the obliques because of where the center of gravity of the load is vs. the CG of the body. It's never pulling the body forward when the person is in an upright position.

My opinion is that unilateral and goblet carries are a great complement to the TGU. I especially love racked/suitcase and goblet carries (or another similar front-loaded carry that hits the anterior chain, such as a sandbag carry). If I were planning to build a foundation towards heavier and heavier squats and deadlifts, I would certainly include lots of these in my programming to support the lumbar spine when it is under stress. Again just my opinion, YMMV.
 
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