Recently I’ve had the privilege of adding a couple of local personal training clients to my schedule. Since moving here I haven’t had a chance to really start up a small group with a local gym yet, and will probably continue to hold off on that for a few more months. Still finishing up the book after all (my fault since I keep adding things to it…it’s becoming a tome).
Anyway, the other great privilege is that these new people are very aware of the importance of great form, and already have a good deal of mobility and proprioception. But in the past when given a task like a get-up in a group setting they were not given very much instruction. Basically get up and get back down with the weight. Hmm. We can do better than that. (Tired of my babbling? Scroll down for the drone and kettlebell video!)
Besides, each of the 7 get-up steps have a whole lot of potential benefits – mobility, spatial awareness, transfer of power, general strength, midsection or core strength, coordination, etc. All of which can be accomplished with or without weight with the proper form and intention. I practice them with nothing, or balancing a notebook on my hand, or using a light kettlebell (as in the video below, I am using a 12kg kettlebell since I didn’t want to lug something huge around the giant field… maybe next time though), or going REALLY heavy when you’re super solid on your form. I’d remarked a few weeks ago how an aha-moment in a martial arts class led me to some of the easiest 24kg kettlebell get-ups the next day. (For reference, I’m approx 60kg 132lb, so 24kg 53lbs is fairly significant for my size.)
Remember, it’s the GET-UP, not the SIT-UP. The first “up” movement is really more of a diagonal roll… if the straight leg flies up, chances are you’re doing more of a situp. It kinda looks silly too, and well frankly I want you to look cool. Keeping that foot on the ground also helps you stay balanced which is especially important when we get around to doing some serious weight. Looks cooler AND it’s safer? Bring it on. Sometimes people will say “well my foot flew up because I’m going for a PR or because I’m using a lot of weight” and I think that’s a dangerous excuse. Keep the foot down, stay safe, and set a better example. If you’re working out in a commercial gym and doing get-ups, rest assured people are looking at you… might as well look cool.
Before I started teaching the get-up to others I was fortunate to train with one of the most detail-oriented RKCs at the time, Tim Shuman in Orlando. While some might think that we took things to extremes, I find that when I teach, the lack of unnecessary adjustments and movements in the getups that I demonstrate help people learn faster. In other words, after I plant a foot or a hand, I don’t move it. This is from the simple fact that I’ve figured out “where I fit” in the get-up. If you’re an instructor, I’d like to challenge you to do the same if you aren’t already. (Once I was leading a group through a mobility warm up and they were following every movement so closely that when I went to reach for a sip of water, the whole class reached for a non-existent water bottle too! They will do what you do, and if you’re making a bunch of adjustments, they will think they will need to do the same–even if they don’t!)
Basically I set up with the foot of the bent leg close in to the body, with the knee angled out 45 degrees. The straight leg is also out from the body 45 degrees. I aim to match the straight arm with the leg–making it parallel to the leg. From there I drive from the heel of the flat foot and roll over/up at a 30 degree angle. It’s not a situp. See how my straight leg stays on the ground? 🙂 Hope this bird’s eye view of the get-up is helpful and/or interesting. I will be making more videos like this, but with improved camera settings etc. My main concern that day was proof of concept and testing the drone after a long period of storage.
Check out this great article on the kettlebell get-up from Master RKC Dan John: The Get-Up – RKC School of Strength Blog
Geek corner: It was so great to get my DJI Phantom 3 Advanced back in the air. They’d done a force app upgrade and my old iPhone5 was no longer supported. After getting a refurbished iPhone7 I was able to get the app working, but then the drone, the battery, and the controller were all in need of firmware updates. In fact they even required using a micro SD card to update the actual aircraft itself. This was a little nerve wracking since I had been hearing mixed reviews of the new firmware online and was not presented with any real choices. The good news is, everything worked out just fine, and apart from the fact that the algorithm has changed a little with the intelligent flight modes I was able to capture some fun footage of the kettlebell get-up from an angle and overhead view that not many may have seen. It also let me know that I’m still practicing what I preach in the alignment and no extraneous movements departments. If you’d like to see the complete (unedited) overview video of the whole “making of” including details about the drone, the takeoff etc. I have it as a very low cost patron-only feature over on Patreon. This is mainly because it’s not quite fit for prime-time, is unedited, and is more like a livestream recording. If you want to help support my geekery (and faster improvements in production quality) this is a good way! 🙂