Breaking Down the Get Up

Along with the swing and goblet squat, the Get Up is on the short list of best exercises for strength, health and power.

The get up is a special movement because it has so many benefits rolled up into one exercise. 

Some of those benefits include,

  • Building a set of bulletproof abs,
  • Improving hip, shoulder and spinal mobility,
  • Creating stability through your core, hips and shoulders,
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    And forging a stronger, more resilient body.

The get up is your one stop shop for strength, mobility and stability.

Like anything though, the value of the get up lies in the details.

Let's break down exactly how to perform the get up so you can get all the benefits of this amazing exercise.

Safety First

There's a lot of moving parts to the get up, so it's important to follow a few rules to keep you safe while training the get up.

  • 1
    Always use 2 hands to pick up and park the kettlebell.
  • 2
    The arm holding the kettlebell should remain locked out and perfectly vertical with a neutral, straight wrist.
  • 3
    Keep your shoulders pulled back and down, away from your ears, and your chest "tall" throughout the entire get up.
  • 4
    Keep your eyes on the kettlebell the whole time, until the lunge to standing.
  • 5
    If you're ever out of position, fix it before moving to the next step.

The Set Up

It's important to set up for the get up correctly from a technique standpoint, but also from a safety standpoint.

Getting the bell in and out of position is where injuries can happen if you don't pay attention.

For a right handed get up, lay flat on the floor with the bell next to your right arm.

Roll over and grip the handle with your right hand, then place your left hand on top and pull the bell in close to your chest.

Use your body to roll over on to your back and press the kettlebell straight up with both hands.

Make sure your elbow is locked out and your wrist is neutral on the arm holding the kettlebell.

Bend your right knee and place your foot flat on the floor.

Lay your left arm and leg flat on the ground at about a 45 degree angle to your body.

This is the set up position.

Reverse those steps when returning the kettlebell to the floor. 

Grab the bell with both hands, lower it down to your chest, roll over to your side and place the bell on the ground.

The Get Up to The Elbow

  • 1
    From the set up position, drive your left elbow and right heel into the floor to roll up on to your right elbow.
  • 2
    Press the floor away with your elbow, push your chest out and get tall.
  • 3
    Your shoulders should be down, away from your ears and your right arm should be perfectly vertical.

The Get Up to The Hand

  • 1
    From the elbow position, straighten your right arm to come up to the hand.
  • 2
    As you straighten your arm, your hand can rotate and move backwards slightly but keep it in contact with the floor.
  • 3
    Make sure your shoulders are pulled back and down, your chest is tall, your arm is vertical and your right knee hasn't caved in.

The Get Up to The Knee

  • 1
    From the hand, bridge your hips up enough to sweep your left leg underneath you.
  • 2
    Place your knee down so that it's in line with both your right foot and and hand, forming a T. It should be directly beneath your hip.
  • 3
    Keep your eyes on the kettlebell during this move, it's easy to lose control of the bell here if you look away.

The Get Up

  • 1
    From the knee, sit back in your hips and come up to the open half kneeling position.
  • 2
    Swing your front foot around so that it's in line with your back leg, in a lunge position.
  • 3
    Tuck your back toes, look straight ahead and drive through the front foot to lunge up to standing.
  • 4
    This is the half way point, simply reverse the steps to get back down to the floor.
  • 5
    Repeat on the other side.

I know there's a lot of steps, and it seems overwhelming, but taking the time to learn the get up correctly will be one of the best investment you've ever made in your body.

Start by practicing the get up to the elbow.

Do a few sets of 5 each side everyday, using no weight at first.

After several days you'll feel comfortable enough to move to the hand, again, practicing a few sets of 5 each side.

Do the same to the knee and before long you'll be doing the entire get up.

Don't be in a rush and don't skip steps, the devil is in the details.

In Strength and Health,