Turkish get ups are great. They teach you how to move your body while you have a weight overhead. It is a great exercise for shoulder stabilization. This is an exercise that was used by Turkish Janissary Soldiers, and wrestlers, which gave the name to this exercise. If you have not seen my previous articles on Turkish get ups, please check out my links below:
A great way to fine tune and challenge your Turkish get up exercise is to do this with a water bottle. I think this can help with generating punching power since it will help you work from your toes all the way up to your knuckles. It is also a great exercise for training your nervous system. There is a closed loop sensory feedback interaction that occurs with your body and mind. Your brain will have to continuously receive, process, and send signals to your muscles in order to adjust and make sure you do not drop the bottle. Exercises like this can fine tune motor skills and enhance the body/mind connection. This neuromuscular process is always in effect when we are moving; and, this process gets amplified during balancing exercises such as yoga posture holds or walking on slacklines. This Turkish get up with balancing a water bottle will bring a whole different stimulus to the picture since you have to not just balance our body, but also balance an object. Shaolin Monks held tough positions while they placed tea cups filled with water on their fists or various parts of their bodies. They held these positions for long durations and this is just a different example of this type of neuromuscular feed back training.
I eventually recommend doing this exercise with cups/bottles that are filled with sand to increase the weight to make it more challenging. This exercise is fun, challenging and a good tool to get your athletes interacting with each other during practices. Even though it is a single person exercise it can be a good team building exercise since observing athletes can/will provide verbal feedback to the person who is executing this exercise. Athletes performing this exercise can use verbal feedback additional to the "closed loop" neuromuscular process at early stages of performing this exercise.
This exercise will rewire your nervous system. Athletes such as BJ Pen explains this type of training as tools to not improve the power of the car but to enhance the driving skills of the driver. Basically you're not really enhancing the power of the car (maybe a little since you are using some weight with some exercises) but you are mainly working on enhancing the skills of the driver. At the end of the day the most successful athletes are not the strongest, most explosive, well conditioned, or even most technical athletes but they are the ones that have the ability to move well and react perfectly. Some coaches call this being a "natural." Being able to move well is something to do with having a well trained or naturally advanced nervous system. This is a huge piece of the puzzle when it comes to success of athletes. Being able to move well will contribute to having a better technique, as well as timing. This will make athletes more efficient which will lead to using less energy. Basically, the meaning of this is that this quality is very well connected to the athlete's conditioning, strength and technique.
I think if we tested athletes like Royce Gracie, Rhonda Rousey, John Jones, and Connor McGregor for strength, endurance, and technique and their opponents for these qualities, there is a chance that they might not be better than their opponents that they beat during MMA fights in all of these area, (They still might be). In my opinion, a large factor of their success is due to the edge they have with their nervous system which ultimately is the way they move and react. I look at all these qualities and various points that add up, and in the end it is about which competitor has more points. Well, this is the simple basic way of looking at it. Some equations can get more complex.
Please don't get me wrong, I highly believe strength, conditioning, technique, and mental toughness are super important. I just want to point out how all of these things are well connected to each other and how important the nervous system is since it is the determining factor of how an athlete moves and reacts. I think this is something most coaches don't realize or pay attention to and might think this is a mysterious thing. I think it is somewhat mysterious since it is partly genetic thing and some athletes are just "gifted." I also believe this is something that can be trained over time. In my opinion the coaches that are successful are the ones that are aware of this concept and use it for their advantage very well. It is no coincidence Gracie family grapplers focus on yoga and balancing exercises.
I hope I did not confuse people with this since it can be a hard thing to grasp. There are other things connected to this puzzle such as breathing, strategy, etc. Some might get confused and think how a good technique is connected to strength and conditioning or mental toughness. A simple example of this is, if you are strong you can put more muscle behind your technique. If you have good technique you will be more efficient you won't need/use as much strength. Does this make sense? If the technique is the same level for two opponents, strength and conditioning can be a factor that makes the difference or the other way around. If you have bad strength and conditioning and good technique, during bouts you can get sloppy due to fatigue and execute poor technique. All of these concepts are very well connected.
Having mental toughness can help performance and make sure athletes don't choke or ensure that their bodies do not negatively respond to stress hormones like cortisol. It is proven that snipers that have more confidence or even someone to confirm their target, will have higher success rates with the ability to hit their target. If you have a strong mind and focus, you have much more chances of executing your game plan and your technique successfully. Judo legends like Saigo, who had such good mental toughness, was able to transfer his focus and strong mental strength in his technique during bouts. Another good example is figure skating. Figure skating is a mentally challenging sport and the difference of being able to perform is very much linked to being focused and having a mindset that is not scattered or easily effected by external things. The samurai called this "mushin" a state of "no mind". Figure skaters are known to use visualization techniques to train their mind to improve their ability to execute a perfect technique.
In this article my goal is to show how important the nervous system is and how important it is to train the nervous system. I also wanted to point out that there are various things that are all connected which determine the athlete's success. I also wanted to point out I mostly focused on how the nervous system is associated with the ability to move and react. The nervous system is also associated with recruitment of motor units which assists with generating strength. This is a different topic I will get in to in future articles.
Please check video below for water bottle turkish get ups.