Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Why does he program so many TGUs?

Last week I got a great question about our programming: "Why do you program so many TGUs?"  You may have noticed that TGUs show up in the accessory/skill portion of the workout a lot. Why do I do that?

I don't want you to die early.

It turns out that the inability to get down on the ground and get back up to standing is one of the best correlates with early death [pop science version] [original article]. (blah blah blah correlation is not causation, I know.)  But there are some good reasons why the ability to get down and get back up is so important.

It shows full body strength. Even without any weight, just sit down on the floor and get back up 5-10 times. I'll wait... I bet you're out of breath. It's a non-trivial task to get down and get up all the time (ask a mom of tiny children who are always running away). Strength is also highly correlated with long life, so when people lose the ability to get down and get up, it's a good sign that other things are going wrong too. So I figure we should train the TGU often so that you'll develop and keep that strength. Lack of grip strength is another strong correlate with early death. The explanation is generally that when your brain can't talk to your hands well it's a sign that bad things are happening. Since you need to death-grip the bell in a TGU, we're also working on keeping your brain talking to your muscles.

It increases coordination among the big muscles. A common cause of death or at least severe mobility issues in older folks is falling. It's all too common to hear about an older person falling and breaking a hip and then not making it out of the hospital. The reason older people fall down is that 1) they're not coordinated anymore and a small trip becomes catastrophic and 2) when they do try to catch themselves from falling they're not strong enough to not fall down. In addition to the TGU making you stronger, it also forces your entire kinetic chain to work together, helping your coordination.

It's useful. I mean, who ever said, I wish it were harder to get up and down. It's something that we do all the time, so having it be easier will make your life better.

What if I hate TGUs? Is there anything else I can do? Yes! You can go full Katy Bowman and rid your house of furniture. I want to do that, but Amy's not sold yet. Sitting in chairs and letting your muscles atrophy is not doing you any good.


row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips


front squat 5-3-3-3x3


2 TGUs between strength sets

Group Workout

4 rounds
row 3:00
rest 3:00 - complete 5 heavy squats during the rest

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