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In our last installment of the Kettlebell Series we addressed The Half Get-Up. We discussed how to set up, the initial steps, and some coaching fixes to correct common errors in the initial phases. In this piece, we will thoroughly cover how to make it all the way to standing and the steps to come back down.

Before we get into the next steps there are a few more points we need to make about the benefits of performing the Turkish Get-Up:

Shoulder resiliency
If you’re interested in training to improve shoulder stability in multiple planes the Get-Up should be a go to exercise. Assuming you maintains packed shoulders (see the tips we gave here), you will improve shoulder stability in three key positions (anterior, lateral, and overhead). While many other exercises provide an opportunity to do so in one of these positions, none does in all 3.
Improved body control and awareness
Not sure why? Start doing Get-Ups and you’ll experience it for yourself
Linkage is becoming a common term used in the fitness industry by trainers and coaches. Linkage refers to the ability to link segments of the body so as to improve movement efficiency on a “global” level. While this is an “unscientific” term it’s logical that movements/exercises that improve linkage also improve performance. In “Becoming A Supple Leopard” Kelly Starrett discusses linkage and reducing leakage. Leakage being “energy leaks” caused by a lack of linkage resulting in a loss of power production. A simple example would be failing to “pack” the shoulders and stabilize the spine when bench pressing. If your shoulder joints and spine are not in an optimal position you lose leverage and as a result power due to energy leakage.
Now to the Get-Up:

Let’s start with all the steps to get to from the floor to the standing position:

Drive to the elbow
Post up onto hand
High bridge
Leg sweep
Half kneeling
Lunge up to standing

High Bridge and Leg Sweep

If you remember, the Half Get-Up takes us to the high bridge position. It stops us short of arguably the most challenging step in the Get-Up, the leg sweep. Easily the most dynamic part of the exercise, the leg sweep changes our body position from prone, to kneeling, and gets our shoulder one step closer to the full overhead position. What makes the leg sweep tricky for most is that you are reducing your points of contact with the ground from three (hand and both feet) to two (one hand and one foot) while simultaneously moving your center of mass.

It is our belief that a quality high bridge makes this step a bit easier. Getting the hips higher in the bridge creates more space for the outstretched leg (kickstand leg) to get pulled under. We also want to avoid dragging that leg on the ground. If your leg gets caught up dragging on the ground there is a good chance the knee will not be positioned correctly on the floor which will negatively effect in the Half-Kneeling position. This can make the steps to finish the move more tricky. To initiate the leg sweep, the knee must bend and the lower leg must rotate so that your pinky toe is close to the ground and your big toe is on top. This will make the lower leg parallel to the ground on the sweep and give all the space needed to make the knee your principle connection to the ground.

Please note: Where the knee gets placed may depend slightly on limb lengths, but generally you want to place that knee directly under the Kettlebell that is being held overhead.

Here’s how to perform from the ground to standing:

Great job! You are now standing up with a weight over your head. Looks like its time to get you back down.

Here’s how:

As you can see from the video and picture, getting back to the ground is as simple as retracing the steps you took to get to the top. Once again, it is the transition between half kneeling and high bridge that creates the greatest challenge. We love the cue “use your thigh as a guide” when having the student reach out laterally from the half kneeling position. As we did on the way up during this transition we once again want to form a straight line of the hand, knee and foot.

One of the things that is great about the Get-Up is that every position is dependent upon the one preceding it. You must be precise on every step to be successful. Like most things that are worthwhile doing, it can be as draining mentally as it is physically, especially when learning the exercise.

For the sake of being crystal clear… here are the steps to go from standing to the ground

Lunge to half kneeling
Hand reach/windshield wiper of base leg
High Bridge
Lower to butt
Lower to elbow
Lower to back
Lower the kettlebell and grasp with two hands

Align Fitness is a personal training and semi-private training company. Our personal training studios are located in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania and Downingtown, Pennsylvania. We offer a wide array of services including returning to exercise after injury (Post-Rehab), weight loss, golf fitness, sports performance, lessening the physical impact of neuromuscular disease, and pain reduction. We utilize a variety of equipment with our clients including kettlebells, TRX, steel mace, dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls, and often incorporate bodyweight exercises into our programs. For more information or to schedule a free consultation please reach out! We also work along side Action Potential Physical Therapy in Glen Mills and physical therapist Dr. Arianne Missimer in Downingtown.

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