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Teaching Turkish Get Ups In Group Training

The Turkish Get Up is one of the most powerful exercises out there.  However, incorporating it into your group training classes can be a daunting task if unprepared.  So why go through all the hassle?  Why not just leave it out and choose something easier and less coaching intensive?

The answer is simple.  The Turkish Get Up works mobility, stability, kinesthtic awareness, coordination, strength, conditioning, and a nearly every positive effect you’re looking for out of an exercise.  We honestly can’t think of an exercise that gives you more bang for your buck than the Turkish Get Up.  In addition to all of the positive training effects listed above, the Get Up also can be used as a movement screen.

If you don’t believe us, try doing a GOOD Turkish Get Up with a big weight.  Go nice and slow.  Own each phase of this powerful movement.  Control the bell during each phase.  Take good solid breaths during each specific phase.  If you can do that and you still don’t think it’s worth implementing, then that’s probably a wise decision on your part.

We’re not going to go into much depth about how to do a complete TGU in this article.  There are plenty of good resources to learn how to do a proper Turkish Get Up.  Our best recommendation is forking over the cash and getting Kalos Stenos :  Kettlebells From The Ground Up.  You can find more information on this DVD at or  This is a quality  DVD that breaks down the Get Up into 7 distinct phases.  As stated earlier, the TGU can also be used as a movement screen.  Gray Cook and Brett Jones do an outstanding job of teaching you the in’s and out’s of the TGU and how certain faults within the movement correlate to faults on the FMS screen.

If we’ve convinced you to give the Turkish Get Up a shot, let’s talk about how this is possible.  First and foremost, you need to learn this exercise and how to break it down into certain phases.  Not only do you need to learn it…you need to perform it yourself…you need to own it.  The better you can do this exercise yourself; The better your coaching will be.

After you own the TGU yourself, begin to think about the phases you want to teach, and then how those phases can be incorporated into your program to get the desired results.  We’ve toyed around with a few methods of teaching this to groups, and honestly…it’s not all that hard.  We recommend breaking it down into 5-7 phases depending on how you want to teach it.

Here is a video of us teaching the Get Up to a group.  This is being performed as a warm up before one of our group kettlebell classes.  We’ve had great success with teaching the Get Up during warm ups.  This video is breaking the Get Up down into phases.  We’re performing each phase for a duration of 45 seconds.  We broke it down into 5 phases doing each phase for 45 seconds with a 15 second transition.  Perform one phase on the left, use the 15 second transition to properly move the bell to the right, and then perform that same phase on the right.  Going through each phase from right to left in this manner takes us about 10 minutes to perform.  Each phase is performed for 45 seconds, so the individual performing the Get Up will really get some time to start perfecting form through each phase.  After that…it’s a breeze to put it all together.


Training Ropes: Adding Fun and Ease to Group Fitness Training

If you are not using training ropes in your group workouts, you are missing out! Training ropes are one of the best tools you can have in your arsenal for fitness. They are versatile, low-impact, and many fitness levels and ages can enjoy the benefits of working with training ropes.

What are training ropes? 

Training Rope
Training Rope

Essentially it’s a long thick rope with handles. The length, diameter, and material will differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. From a training standpoint these variations are important to take into consideration before implementing them into your training program.  I’ll touch more on that later.

These long ropes with handles are usually wrapped around an anchor of some sort. You can buy anchors specifically for mounting the ropes to the walls of your facility or you can simply wrap it around anything that won’t move such as a rack, pole, or tree.

How are training ropes used?

There are many, many, exercises and progressions, but I’m just going to give you a starting point and an example of ways to adjust the intensity. The primary rope exercise we use is rope waves. Assume an athletic stance with one handle in each hand and make a drumming movement avoiding rounding of the shoulders and upper back .  Using that as an example: if I wanted to increase the difficulty I might add squats to this movement, if I wanted to decrease the difficulty I would simply have the client drop one handle and do waves with only one side of the rope. That’s pretty much the ease of coaching ropes. If you would like more examples of exercises that can be done with battling ropes, click the link at the bottom of the page.

What are the benefits of training ropes in group exercise?

Ropes are hands down the number one way to get an individual with a knee or foot injury some high intensity, low-impact conditioning. How many of you have clients with lower body injuries they have acquired at some time in their life?  How many times have you wanted to get that heart rate up a little more without, bending, twisting, jumping, running, over head, or lateral movement? J Sometimes it’s hard to come up with “that exercise” on the fly while coaching a group session.  Ropes make that really easy.

Children love them! Child and teenage athletes are full of energy and spunk! Any new addition to the gym is immediately noticed and inspected.  Hand them a training rope and say “grip it and rip it” and watch the smiles. From a trainer’s standpoint, training ropes are an excellent way to start to introduce maintaining good posture through vigorous movements.  We usually line the younger children up each with one handle, two kids to a rope. That also helps incorporate sharing.  J

The biggest, baddest, most ninja like athlete will get smoked. Training ropes are great for injured and young populations but that does not make them easy to do.  You, the coach, even with a shorter, lighter rope, control the intensity of the training.  There are many, many progressions that can be applied to any training rope exercise.  Again, click the link at the bottom of the page for 20 example rope exercises.

It is easy to coach.  Any client can rip some rope waves in a group session. With the world of training advancing and more and more trainers are becoming more form intensive, this is a tool that involves minimal cuing.

What do you need to know before using training ropes?

When you look into introducing training ropes into your toolbox, you want to take into consideration who your primary population is.  At our facility we train a very mixed population and went for ropes that would literally work for anyone.  We use the poly ropes because they are a little lighter than nylon. They are also water resistant which makes them great for using outside. As far as size, 1’ to 1 1/2’ diameters are usually best. 2’+ diameter rope can be hard to hang on to and is usually too heavy for most people to use in good form.  The length can affect this as well.  The longer the rope the heavier it is. Length is a little less important than diameter and material when it comes to training intensity.  How much space you have is a better dictator of how long of a rope you need.

Our friend Justin Yule put together a great video on rope exercises. Check out training ropes in action at

I hope this article might inspire you to take advantage of one of my must haves when coaching group sessions.  Increase your client retention by developing strength, power, and endurance with this fun, easy to learn how to use fitness tool.


Sarah Spaulding


Incorporating Rolling Patterns Into Your Group Training

Rolling patterns seem to be tricky, and many strength coaches and trainers neglect this important pattern due to the lack of knowledge with rolling.  I’m not going to go into the importance and benefits of rolling in this article; However, if you want to read a good article on rolling, check out a post made by Charlie Weingroff awhile back.  Great stuff here, and this article should give you enough reason to start using this primitive pattern in your group training.

Check it out here:

So how did we incorporate rolling patterns into our group training models?  It took some time, but the time and effort has been well worth it.  It’s really helping us take our programming to the next level, and hopefully we can help you get up to speed with rolling patterns being done in group format.

Here is a good step-by-step approach to incorporating rolling into your program:

1. Educate Yourself & Practice Rolling:

Learn everything you can about the movement and practice it yourself.  Get good at rolling yourself before asking your clients to do this.  A good portion of you are going to struggle with this yourself, so practice, practice, practice.

2. Clear Mobility:

Hopefully you’re already using the FMS or another method of assessing your clients when they come in for training.  Use your assessment to make sure all mobility issues are cleared before going here.  If mobility issues are present, rolling patterns are not where you should be. Following the FMS heirarchy will solve this for you and tell you what you should be working on.  Just follow the system 🙂

3. Give Handouts or Link to Demonstrations of Rolling Being Performed:

The FMS has done an awesome job with growing their exercise library, and the best part about it is….IT’S FREE!  You Can go to and go to their exercise library to have printouts and videos of all the rolling patterns.  Getting your clients information and live demonstrations will help improve your ability to incorporate into your program.

4. Provide a Specific Time for Clients to Perform “Corrective” Work…DAILY:

We incorporate corrective exercises in every session.  Doesn’t matter if we’re working in a one-on-one, semi-private, small group, or large group format.  Everyone gets their own specific time for performing correctives.  We usually incorporate our rolling patterns very early in the session.  Following the system provided in Smart Group Training will give you specific details on how we do this each and everyday.  There are a couple methods we have tested (both work well, just a preference thing), and Smart Group Training will show you both methods we’ve tested with great success.

5. Coach, Coach, Coach

This ties back in with step #1.  You will need to know some ways to give yourself and your clients some assistance while learning these patterns.  Performing these properly can sometimes be very difficult to do, so learning some methods of assisting the movement is vital to the success of incorporating this effectively into your program.  Using bands for some core pre-activation, kicking the heel of the long leg, propping the body up using half foam rolls, towels, etc…to limit ROM, and giving assistance with the roll itself are some of the methods we use, but knowing several methods of providing assistance IS A MUST.  Start taking away the assistance until the roll can be performed flawlessly with each rolling progression.

6. Step Away & Let Them Learn

The system works, but it’s going to take a little longer to get success with rolling in large group format vs. personal training (sometimes).  Find the method that works the best for each client and let them start to learn the movement.  This is all about feel.  Give them time to work with this and use your coaching skills to ensure your clients are successful.

There you have it…a 6 step approach to incorporating rolling into your large group training.  If you’re already familiar with rolling and the methods used to provide assistance, than this should be a breeze.  If you’re not familiar with rolling patterns, you need to take the time and begin to learn this pattern.  Improving rolling patterns will help improve your results as a coach and trainer.  Don’t let them scare you.  The power of rolling is well worth the effort.  Hopefully this will help make the process less scary.  Make sure to leave a comment below or ask any questions you may have about how to incorporate rolling into your programming.  Good Luck!