Lie down. Get up. Every day.
We do a lot of getting up and down here at Fivex3 Training. It’s just routine by now. We lie down. We stand up. We squat. (We squat a lot.) We get into half kneeling positions practically Every.Single.Class. I don’t think we ever sit…unless maybe we are stretching at the end of class. As I stand here, typing this post (while keeping my ribs down, my glutes tight, abs “turned on” as K-Starr would say), I realize just how much rolling and kneeling and getting down to their backs and then then back on to their feet my clients actually do during our classes. Even in the All Strength Class, we somehow always find ourselves on the floor, then off the floor, then back to the floor for something.
It pains me to think of all those poor people at all those big box gyms who SIT on practically all machines to exercise. They sit on the recumbent bike. They sit on the leg extension machine, the leg curl machine. They sit to press, curl, crunch.
Most people will spend 50% of their time sitting on their asses and 50% of the time talking on their phones, texting or tweeting or flexing in the mirror.
I am surprised their asses don’t hurt from all of that sitting. Actually, I would be surprised if they even had any asses.
But I digress.
Back to getting up and down off the floor. We don’t really think about this too often but being able to get up and down is a very, very important thing to be able to do, especially if you want to live. No, I am serious.
In December of 2012, a new Brazilian study was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. The study was performed in Brazil by Dr. Claudio Gil Araujo and colleagues at the Clinimex Exercise Medicine Clinic in Rio de Janerio. According to their study, “a simple screening test of musculo-skeletal fitness has proved remarkably predictive of all-cause mortality in a study of more than 2000 middle-aged and older men and women. The test was a simple assessment of the subjects’ ability to sit and then rise unaided from the floor. The assessment was performed in 2002 adults of both sexes and with ages ranging from 51 to 80 years. The subjects were followed-up from the date of the baseline test until the date of death or 31 October 2011, a median follow-up of 6.3 years.”
As Dr. Araujo states at the end of the study, “If a middle-aged or older man or woman can sit and rise from the floor using just one hand – or even better without the help of a hand – they are not only in the higher quartile of musculo-skeletal fitness but their survival prognosis is probably better than that of those unable to do so.” Whoa.
Basically, the more body parts you need to use to get up and down off the floor, the more likely you are putting yourself at risk of shorter survival period. Whoa….again. Check out the video here about the test.
After I watched the video, I proceeded to sit down on the floor (with no help from my hands) and get up off the floor (with no help from my hands.) Whew. I will now live until I am 100. Well, hopefully 90.
Now, I know there are PLENTY of people out there who will need to put their two cents in about this study. Go ahead. But I think having the ability to get up and down off the floor by yourself, with as little help as possible from your other body parts is a pretty damn good thing to strive for, and I know how frustrating it is for some of my new clients who can’t do this….just yet. MY job is to help people move better. MY job is to make people stronger. So I sat up and took notice when this study came out. I watch people move every single day. I watch them get down onto the floor in a half kneeling position for face pulls and Pallof presses. I watch them get into positions for planks, floor presses, glute bridges. I watch people struggle with these movements and exercises in the beginning (mostly my de-conditioned clients) and then slowly and steadily, begin to move with more ease into these positions. Suddenly, their posture improves. They can climb the stairs with more ease. One of my clients told me just the other day that she feels she is standing taller now. (She is). “I have noticed a change in my posture,” she said. They are getting stronger and are taking less and less time to set up for an exercise. They need less and less assistance with certain exercises. All from just a few basic exercises – squat, pushing, pulling, step ups, split squats, deadlifts. They may not realize it but they are prolonging their lives by strength training.
In my Conditioning Basics class, one of my staple exercises is “Lie Down and Get Up.” People who are new to the class often laugh when they read this on the board. How do you do it, they ask? I proceed to show them by lying down on the floor on my back and then standing back up and putting my arms over my head, then repeating the move.
Looks simple, right, I ask them? Then they try it and they aren’t smiling or laughing anymore. They are struggling, trying to figure out how to get up without having to use too many body parts. They try to figure out how to get down to the floor faster, within the time frame they are given. After class, they huff and puff and tell me what a horrendous exercise that was….while also telling me in the same breath how great it was. “That has to be the hardest exercise in the whole circuit,” someone always says after class and the others nod in agreement. I agree too. It is a great exercise. And not easy for many people to do, which isn’t cool because it should be. Many of you may recognize the words “Get up” in the exercise but this is not the Get Up you are thinking about. The “Turkish Get Up” or “Get Up” is a whole different beast altogether. I have taught this to some of my clients and honestly, it needs a class all to itself as it is a very, very difficult exercise for many individuals to do and do well. Very difficult.
If you struggle to get off the floor in any position, learning how to coordinate your body to do the get up is going to be even more of a struggle. If people can do a straight leg sit up, they may be able to begin to learn how to do a TGU. And this is a goal of mine…to teach the “Get Up” to more of my clients. My “Lie Down and Get Up” replaces the “Get up.” For now. 😉
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Thank you for this terrific article!!! I just took the test and have a question….I got a 10 on the test but am feeling really sore, does this mean I have to deduct more points? 40 years old, former pro athlete, but 3 car accidents later and 2 neck surgeries and one knee surgery later, –well let’s just say I am hurting with chronic pain daily. Where do ou suppose I fall in this test?