We had an interesting case a couple of weeks ago. All the way from Australia Tom was having some bother with a shoulder injury which was giving him some everyday pain and discomfort, and more importantly had prevented him from playing golf for the last three months!
After a couple of visits to chiropractor Benjamin to look at the specifics of the injury, we introduced Tom to the gym environment where we planned to assess his general movement and link it to any limitations that could have been effecting his shoulder during the golf swing, or perhaps his everyday movements.
It was fascinating to watch Tom in action because while many of his movements were quite slow and tentative, we couldn’t help noticing Tom’s almost childlike ability to get up and down off the floor!
This was great to see, and he mentioned happily that it came in handy during his visit to Hong Kong, when he was getting down on the floor and playing with the grandkids.
Our sessions with Tom also inspired us to spend some time during last weeks typhoon and a rather quiet Tuesday morning, to brainstorm and have a play around with this often overlooked day to day task.
Standing up from the floor is a skill we progressively learn as babies, but it can deteriorate too soon if we overlook it as we progress through life.
At 76, Tom’s ability to do move from ground to feet is better than most, and we know that watching people’s strategy for getting up from the floor and back down again is a great way of assessing for strength and movement deficits, regardless of age or fitness level.
In the medical profession a version of this is widely used as an indication of overall health, since it’s known to be an ability that often deteriorates with age or health in the general populace.
In real life there are no rules or regulations for how we stand up- we want to have a number of options at our disposal and be able to do it intuitively, or improvise when necessary. Our individual strategies will differ depending on our strength, flexibility, old injuries or niggles or whatever else we are doing during the process.
Get ups for training
Whilst we would consider getting up and down to be a natural and somewhat random day to day task, adding weight provides an opportunity to further strengthen this type of movement pattern, and the body as a whole.
In a training context, getting up with a load invites a slightly more controlled environment, as it requires us to create stability in a variety of positions. Some well known versions use a weight in one hand, and the other hand for support on the ground. Our bodies then move around this fixed point as we move into a position to stand.
Maintaining our integrity and optimal space in our joints during these movements can be very challenging, calling upon our shoulder and core muscles at different angles, and generally requires good range of motion from head to toe.
It’s also easy to manipulate variables such as load, speed, introduce a pause at random intervals during the motion, and really focus on owning the entire movement.
Here is one of our favourites:
Going back to Toms case, during our assessments we had identified a deficit in the left hip that was restricting the shoulder from moving freely into the follow through. One of the exercises we were able to give him was a version of the get up that helped maintain his agility, add to his general movement vocabulary, whilst also encouraging certain motions at the hips.
In a day and age that can lead us to lose touch with the ground, we encourage everyone to experience it more, and add to the versatility of their movement with some get up type activities!