The one cup in Batcave that Robin is banned from using


[Update 2020 – I still stand behind most of the stuff I wrote here back in 2017. But, I might have to re-do the exercise demos. They look somewhat average today.]

This is a new, semi-frequent segment that I am starting where I do a rundown of some of my favorite exercises and movements. The question I ask myself before qualifying a certain movement or exercise for these segments is: would Batman perform this exercise to improve his movement, strength, longevity and stamina? If the answer is a resounding “yes” from Bruce Wayne, it’s worth writing about.

Most of the movements included in the future segments are as old as Moses. But every now and then something new, at least for me, pops up that is worth writing about. How often I am planning on writing these posts? Who knows. Maybe I do one next week, or maybe I don’t do one until January.

There is no such thing as “the best” exercise and I dislike any sort of lists of “the greatest exercises of all time”, with a passion. What might be great for some might be disastrous for the next. One man’s tea is another man’s coffee, sort of thing.

However, it is possible to have favorite exercises as that equals one’s opinion. And we all know everyone’s got their opinions. Some of us, ehem, might even have strong opinions on certain things.

You know those days when you step into the gym, 10 minutes later than you were supposed to, with your brain cells full of work problems that you need to solve by tomorrow morning. On those days it’s hard to put your mind into the training program, let alone trying to figure out what you were meant to do during today’s session.

But there’s one exercise that beats the others when it comes to finding focus and getting you into the groove of training. Even when the business of life is roundhouse kicking you in the pancreas.


The Get Up

Some call it the Turkish Get Up (what is it with us attaching countries to exercises anyways? Is this how the Turks get out of bed in the morning?), some just call it the get up.

The get up has many forms, you don’t necessarily have to do the full movement from supine to standing. I’ve listed some variations below and each one of these will get you focused and require your undivided attention. You will be too busy to think of that dickhead of a coworker Chad, your neighbor’s sick cat Elmer, or the pure madness of the current state of world politics.

It’s also a brilliant exercise because you can’t rush through it. To look somewhat elegant requires you to do the movement with control. If there is an exercise that requires gracefulness, it’s this.

You can do these heavy or light, although for warm-ups I like to keep it to bodyweight first and then progress, especially if you’re a beginner.

Move slowly under the load with a great control and gradually build yourself to a bigger weight, if a heavier get up is your goal. It doesn’t have to be though.

Depending on the school of thought, some people like to do the get up without the hip bridge. I like the bridge.

You can perform these with a dumbbell as well, but I usually opt for a kettlebell because of how the weight sits in the middle, instead of shifting to the sides. It just makes sense.


Some of the benefits of the get up

  • Improved shoulder stability AND mobility
  • Improved hip stability AND mobility
  • Thoracic spine (upper back) stability AND mobility
  • Core strength and stability
  • Glute strength and butt sexification, aka #kardashian
  • Improved coordination
  • Improved conditioning – not the goal but it’ll happen regardless
  • Being able to train the whole body with one exercise.


Few points for a safe get up

  • You’ll need to a full shoulder flexion. Stand back against the wall, heels a foot-length off the wall, lower back touching. Bring your arms overhead. Can you touch the wall with your thumbs without arching your back.

     I am actually bending my elbows a bit too much in here. Do as I say, not as I do.
  • Don’t just focus on the arm holding the kettlebell. The hand on the ground is as important for creating stability.
  • Eyes on the weight until you get to the half kneeling position. Trust me on this one.
  • This is going to be obvious, but don’t drop the kettlebell on your head. Progress slowly to keep it safe.


My favorite get up variations (starting from the easiest)

    • Half a get up – roll to your elbow, come up to your hand, stay tight, hold for 2 seconds and head back down. Start with bodyweight.

    • Bodyweight – full get up with bodyweight only.
    • Balancing a shoe on the fist – I use this as a prerequisite to a loaded version. You’ve gotta earn the right to add weight. The shoe forces you to control and slow down the movement.
    • Full with a weight – slow and steady is where the money’s at. Feel like a bad mofo? Add a 5 second pause at each position.

    • Hands-free – do the bodyweight version with your arms crossed over the chest. For the bad mofos, have hands behind your head. Think you are getting off the bed in a jail. Just avoid pulling your head forward.
    • Half get up to press – something about this movement just makes my shoulders feel like a million bucks.

In the video I start from a half kneeling position, but it works just the same from supine.

    • Bottom up get up – Hold the kettlebell so that the heavy bell part is pointing to the ceiling. If you thought the shoe balancing required a lot of stability, this is whole nother bell-game. Also requires a decent amount of grip strength. All the bad mofos do this without chalk.
    • Gladiator get up – Because, Russell Crowe would’ve made a great Batman in his heydays.

  • Get up to overhead carry – This is just a combination of the two movements. I recommend a get up with a 30 meter walk, reverse the get up and repeat on the other side. When done, congratulate yourself with a double fist pump up in the air. This is amazing with a heavy weight.

This is just scratching the surface. There are as many get up variations as there are shapes of donuts. But the basic full Get Up stand above the rest as the emperor of all things overhead. If you’ve got any questions on the technique, just ask.