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How to Perform Get-ups

In the following article, we will discuss how to perform get-ups for athletic performance. Get-ups are a very versatile exercise and will develop great quality movement for any lifter or athlete.

How to Perform Get-ups

When discussing get-ups, it is important to understand integrated training and control.

As far as warm-ups and integrated training, you’d be hard pressed to find a better multi-planar, multi-joint, ground-based movement than a simple (yet very sophisticated) get-up. Get-ups seem very ‘easy’ and not very hard, but I can tell you they are one of the most sophisticated movements and athlete should master. The goal adaptation is to get the athlete to understand tension, optimize how their body sequences intermuscular coordination, and it is the perfect way to teach them how to ‘merge’ isolated and integrated movements into a chain or sequence.

And I’m sure if you learned get-ups from the RKC, your technique is probably pretty precise and controlled. If you want to learn more from the kettlebell masters, check out Steve Maxwell, Dr. Mark Cheng, Uncle Mike Stehle, Pavel Tsatsouline, Mike Mahler, Steve Cotter, or Ken Blackburn.

The difference between the single-arm and double arm variations of the get-up is really in the first phase of the sequence before the split stance drive to a standing position. Here are the differences:

Single-Arm Get-ups
Here is the first phase sequence:
1. One-Arm punch to the ceiling from supine-to-elbow-to-hand transition
2. Hip through full body extension
3. Leg through switch
4. Lateral sit-up to half-kneeling position

Two-Arm Get-ups
Here is the first phase sequence:
1. Straight leg sit-up
2. Hip switch to shinbox
3. Step-up to half-kneeling position

You should definitely start putting some get-up variations into your warm-ups and into your weekly training schedule. Start slowly and work on becoming a technician. If you’re just learning, the old school way is to simply start with a shoe on your fist (and not dropping the shoe or holding a med ball at arms length.

Advanced Get-up Strategies

The get-up is truly a pillar of human movement.

For human movement, you’d be hard pressed to beat the complexity of a get-up. I love all variations of the get-up and you can get really creative with the loading and also how you perform each segmental phase of the movement.

I have often talked about how sophisticated the get-up can be especially as you discover the one-arm get-up, the two-arm get-up, and the split stance transition vs. the bilateral rotational squat transition.

This means that modifying the get-up is easy as long as you look to what the hands are doing and what the feet are doing. Changing any or both of these balance and support points will change the complexity AND multi-planar requirement at each joint system.

To restore and progress, the get-up must be constantly drilled and each transitional position should be secured. ‘Being secured’ means the position can be maintained securely for 10 seconds WITHOUT ANY UNWANTED MOVEMENT, the lifter can breathe naturally in the position, and the right muscle groups are working at the right intensity to maintain position and to create pre-tension before moving through the next transition.

In this very complex variation of the get-up – used during our warm-up – the lifter is perform a one-arm get-up to a rotational squat. This variation is absolutely brutal and very tough. It develops movement integrity and quality, as well as, reveals many things about the lifter’s potential for many different loading patterns.

By on January 2nd, 2020


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