For the last two summers I’ve been swimming in Lake Washington at dawn. I get up at 5am, have a bulletproof coffee (https://www.bulletproofexec.com/how-to-make-your-coffee-bulletproof-and-your-morning-too/) then take myself down to the lake to swim a mile or two. Although this is an excellent workout, I have noticed a bit of a decrease in my muscular definition in the summer months when I stop some of my other training. (This is a very good reminder to keep up the kettlebells year-round!) There is really no substitute for weight-resistance training. Moving water out of your way is good work, but moving cast iron around is certainly a great complement to swimming.
Anyway, I’ve signed up for the “Escape from Alcatraz” swim, it’s fast approaching and I want to go in strong. (I need to bring my A-game to battle the chop and swift currents… and maybe a few sea lions). How? Shoulder strength:
After talking to a buddy of mine (a former CrossFit trainer and currently a kettlebell fanatic like me) he suggested Turkish Get-Ups for my shoulder strength. His suggestion was to do 10 getups in 10 minutes. I gave him a funny look. 10 in 10 minutes? That seems kinda slow. “If I can knock one rep out in 20 seconds, are you suggesting I wait around on the floor for another 40 seconds before starting my next rep?”
“Kate, it’s not about the speed!!” Take it slow, increase the weight, do a press at every position stop.
Hmmm… Alright. I tried it. This is hard for me… but I like it, and I could definitely feel it the next day.
I have also revisited some videos I love on shoulder safety:
Jason C. Brown practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, so he’s always conscious of how kettlebells can improve his game. In fact, in this video, Jason calls attention to how important it is (as a fighter) to protect your shoulders and your joints at all cots. This resonated with me, because as a swimmer, I feel the same way… No shoulder injuries before Alcatraz!
I’ve always liked these videos, they demonstrate two great variations on the Turkish Get Up:
By the way, as a side note… A friend of mine recently reached out to me, post-Achilles surgery. He’s working with a physical therapist to get back out there, but I’m thinking this is great for him too, because you can stop a TGU at any time, you don’t have to go all the way to standing. For example, start on your back, go up to elbow (do a press), go up to hand (do a press), switch your feet and gently roll onto one hip (as shown is video 2, but stop before you kneel.) (do a press), and then reverse those three steps back down again. When he’s feeling stronger, go up one more step, maybe kneeling, or even try a side-plank position. After a few months, perhaps up to standing. But the great thing about the TGU is that you can modify it for your needs.
My suggestion is to time yourself on a “typical” TGU, and then slow it down from that. I’ve been doing 20 reps in 10 minutes (10 left, 10 right) and that still feels a bit slow to me, but I’m adding the press, which is good work. Everyone’s got 10 minutes… that’s just one long song and your shoulder workout is done. (Guns n’ Roses November Rain just about makes it!)
Let me know what you think… I’m off to put in my 10 minutes and jump in the lake!