From The Ground Up
I have been thinking about the concept “From the Ground Up” more and more of late. Not only because I am such a fan of the Turkish Get-Up (pictured above) but because I noticed its significance in many other movements as well. It seems to make sense considering it’s how babies develop their movement and the older population has increasing difficulty getting up and down as they age. I first began to understand this idea through the recent work of both Gray Cook and Professor Pavel Kolar whose work I can hopefully begin to grasp within the next decade.
Yes, you too were once able to do this! But can you now?
Over the past few years I have experimented with various progressions in teaching the Single-Leg Deadlift and Split Squat. What I’ve found recently is that those clients/athletes that struggle with these exercises have had greater success executing them from the ground up. That is after all the way a deadlift should be performed, but in order to do this, a light kettlebell is probably necessary and maybe even a box to lift it from depending on how well the person moves through his or her hips. Those who have balance and strength issues when it comes to the split squat are learning faster by doing just one rep at a time and starting from the ground each time instead of trying to cautiously reach for the floor each rep and hoping for the best.
In my own training I have been experimenting with the same type of progression in improving my pistol (1-leg squat) courtesy of Franz Snideman. It seems to be working well. I have often used this idea in teaching people to double leg squat by placing a box behind them and asking them to stand from a sitting position each rep.
Working from the top down can cause apprehension for some clients who have balance issues or are unfamiliar with certain exercises. I have also found that it can cause confusion as to what the purpose of the exercise is because the eccentric portion is so challenging. Working from the ground up in several different situations has helped clients not only progress quicker and build strength but also learn to move better.