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Large Group Training

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


Commanding Respect with Proper Coaching Cues and Tone

Every single coach I’ve ever worked with, there has been one common trait that is common in each new coach I’ve ever worked with.  Understanding why certain people command respect when they walk in the room, control every detail of what’s going on, and most importantly…doing all of this without anyone consciously thinking about it.  Some people just have it.  One person that I feel has this trait locked down is Dan John.

Watch Dan John and you’ll know what I mean.  The man is brilliant.  He walks in the room and BOOM…he owns it.  You never even recognize it.  You just know that you’re in good hands and you feel welcome.  His personality, confidence, body language, and every single trait a good coach should have is on display with Dan John.

Moving on, let’s talk about some of these traits.  The first thing I always have to tell each coach or intern in training is to SPEAK UP!!!  The tone of your voice says it all.  If you’re unable to hear what the coach is saying, that speaks volume.  Not only would I get frustrated as a client if I couldn’t hear my coach or trainer, I would subconsciously feel that the coach, my leader, is not confident in what they’re doing.  Something as simple as talking louder and saying things with confidence will make a world of difference in the atmosphere of your training session.  I’ve personally seen a lesser skilled and qualified trainer command respect with this trait alone.

Another trait necessary to be a good coach is being good with coaching cues and verbally instructing clients to perform what you’re asking for.  The best cues that will make differences are all external coaching cues, not internal.  A good coach will use external stimulus and environments rather than internal.  What does that mean exactly?

Internal cues are using terms in relation to their body.  Activate the glutes…Strike your foot behind your hip…Keep your hips extended…and hundreds of other cues you may have heard before that use body parts and specific muscles to elicit a change can be classified as internal cues.  External cues use external environments to get the client out of the specific muscle activation mindset.  These cues can let each person really “get it”.  Rather than saying “strike your foot behind your hip” (internal cue); say something like, “Punch the floor with your foot”.  The person will begin to start to make changes.  They’re not thinking about where their foot is landing.  They’re not thinking about where their hip is at.  They begin to do what you want.  They know what a punch is, so they begin to really start to aggressively drive their foot into the floor.  BOOM!  Now their quicker.   Just by using an external cue.

Think about what you’re saying.  Be cognizant of your tone of voice, your coaching cues, your body language while coaching.  In order to be a high level coach, these traits are necessary.  However, the only way to really develop these traits are with experience.  Get in the trenches and coach.  Coach a lot.  Get surveys from your clients.  Test new methods.  Always continue to educate yourself.  Over time, if you’re truly passionate about what you do, this naturally starts to develop.  Continue to learn, but be sure to study and identify every scenario and trait of a good coach.  If you’re only learning about anatomy, proper exercise selections, etc…you’re selling yourself short.

Jared Woolever – MS, CSCS, TPI, YFS