The Get Up…Insights from Belfast

As I was reviewing my GREAT trip to Belfast…and thank you to all for your hospitality…I noticed that some people are going to start questioning some of the pics. Basically, what the HELL are these guys doing?

Grop standing on fot

There is a WHOLE room of people standing on other people’s feet.


Mariusz takes this to a new level…he is pulping this foot WHILE spotting!

Sean sanding on foot

Sean is really giving Jay the business!

Well, during the SFG II cert, I wanted to spend some extra time working on things that are easy miss: seriously, it is the basic fundamentals. After any workshop, it is easy to fall in love with the new and fancy. Not too many years ago, people would come back from Kettlebell certs with the ability to rip decks of cards in half (which is fine), juggle KBs, and train one move for an hour, but might not remember how to do a Swing or Turkish Get Up. All the extras are good and fine, but the fundamentals are just so boring. But, they also provide the base for everything else.

I didn’t spend much time on any of this, but we got a lot of work done very quickly. The fundamentals are:
1. The Swing. I always work back to the basic Hinge and then move forward, but we have some people who are so strong that they can do 100 reps with a 24 K bell in the snatch under five minutes, but I barely see the hips move. It’s impressive, but it is wrong. Especially in sports, one can always be amazing in some upper body feat, but it doesn’t carry over to the game.
2. Lock out. I think with the Press requirements for the SFG II, some people come in with really big engines, but perhaps compromise mobility to do it. Which is fine. We all make short term deals with our body to get our goals. However, with the Double Push Press and Double Push Jerk work, we are going to need to keep that mobility.
3. Turkish Get Up work. Here, let me say it: It is NOT the Turkish Sit Up. It involves rolling, it involves T-spine mobility, it involves a bit of lovely movement. The hands and feet are allowed to move, but some of us make it look like we are trying to do this on a hot plate grilling bacon. (Bacon? I like bacon.)

So, let me share with you the basics of how we reviewed some of point two and most of point three. Oddly, this doesn’t take long as the SFG II group is usually very well prepared and I am a believer in the “Learn by Doing” method. We were deep into hands on after our first round of group testing finished.

For the Lock Out issue, I jumped into the three standards walks that I have been using for a long time:
Waiter Walks
Bottoms Up Rack Walks
Bottoms Up Waiter Walks

If you don’t know these, this thing called the “Internet” has something called “The Google.” Especially with stronger men, the effort of walking loaded makes the shoulder, elbow and wrist to finally decide to sit down at the table and agree to work things out. “This is my job” says the shoulder and it packs itself down, “I will extend that for you” says the brave elbow and the wrist, with deep resignation, offers to pretend “to not even be here.”

In six quick walking loops (right and left, three different movements) we have addressed most of the issue. Next though, I always add what I learned from Dick Notmeyer: Press Outs. As an O lifter, Dick had me finish every Jerk or Clean and Jerk with these short two or three inch mini-lockouts that he called “Press Outs.” Soon, I could feel my body come under the bar into a fixed and firm position. It was called “Joint on Joint” lockout back in the day and it seems to get lost when some of us try too much and too hard.DSCN1620DSCN1621

My friend and SFG I candidate, Sarah Chapman is demonstrating this simple movement. Yes, that is “It.” For here, we would progress to double Press Outs as a foundation for either the ballistic overhead KB movements or just continue into working the Get Up.

I like to get people rolling around in the gym right away. Our “Sixth Movement” is basically groundwork, but I have always begun my work with what we call “Rolling 45s.” Basically, one begins on the ground in the standard TGU position and then rolls back and forth, unloaded, for a number of reps…usually ten per side. Please don’t ask: you can NOT do these under load. Thank you.DSCN1624DSCN1623

Sarah’s right arm is NOT at 45 degrees, but we had a drill coming up that will address this issue. Now, I could try explain it to her with words, but sometimes literally stepping on a hand makes more sense. We will get to that.

The next move is a stretch and a great way to “feel” the roll across the floor. Who needs foam rollers when God provided a perfectly good earth to roll around on? DSCN1622DSCN1624DSCN1625

After a few big, rolls, people naturally pick up that the left leg is trying to touch the big outstretched right arm. On this, we then use that leg (the left in this pic) as the engine in pulling the person back up into the “Up to the Elbow” position. Give it a few reps of fun gliding movement before you try too hard to make it complicated.

From here, I always teach Brett and Gray’s KS Style of Get Up. Simply, either lightly loaded or unloaded, we do all the steps of the Get Up but we add leg raises. So, if you have the right arm loaded, you will have the right knee bent and left arm and left leg out at 45s. Raise that left leg in a leg raise for maybe 5-10 reps. Then, pick up that right foot off the ground for some reps. Up to the elbow and repeat, and, finally, up to the T and repeat. The drill can be done beyond this, but I dropped that years ago and I don’t really remember why.

The next exercise, The Get Up Swing, might have to be simply done, not explained. It is a fine drill, but let me save it until I can get a video. You literally try to think that one of your butt cheeks is like a playground swing and you try to pump that movement we call the “Low Sweep” but we just keep going back and forth, back and forth.


I always stop everyone I teach and emphasize this little stretch. Sarah is pulling her leg, then she will sweep that right arm up to Zenith. “Zenith” means straight up and this is a great little stretch or mobilization drill. I was amazed how well this movement followed by Pressouts under load in the Zenith position simplified the teaching of the Bent Press. The Windmill and the Bent Press can be trained very well with the basic Get Up progression.

Actually doing Press Outs throughout the Get Up has value for many of our stiffer friends. Like the Bottoms Up Press, it works and I don’t know why.

Now, why do I like stepping on the feet so much? I walk people through a simple drill where I show them how to make the trunk or core work like a trunk or core and not using the neck and low back as this unit. What I began to see is that it held for this little drill and was lost for the next. So, by standing on the down foot (if the right arm is loaded, it is the right foot) throughout the bulk of the Get Up and the Get Back Down, there is this glimmer of insight like “Ah, I get it.” Once is usually enough, but keep doing it as it gives you something to do if bored. And, the pressure is like a few pounds…don’t wear Javelin Boots and RiverDance on the person’s feet. Seriously.

It doesn’t have to be much. Mike Brown, who might be the smartest man in the field of fitness and I am serious (this morning with NO PREP he rattled off the bulk of Pavel’s work from the manual. Then, I accidently spilled toothpicks on the ground and he counted all of them in an instant!), is doing the work here. By the way, training for the spotter on this drill takes less time than a good sneeze.

From there, we add stepping on the hand. Some experience is needed as you need to know when to release as they hinge into half kneeling, but this is simple, too.DSCN1630

Going “up” has almost no value, it is the descent. For those who always crush and pack their neck on the transition down from the T to the elbow to the ground, a few reps of this will provide that “AHA!!!!” moment for them.

Finally, to teach that ability to keep all of the TGU into a cylinder, try two partners and the stepping on trick. Suddenly, the flow “through” the body will make more sense to you. DSCN1631DSCN1632

That’s Matt Carlin assisting here and he has literally never done this before and look at the level of mastery here! By they way, if you just do what Sarah is doing in these two photos you will be doing the “Get Up Swing.” I’m a huge fan of this movement and you can get a lot of reps in less than a minute.

Total teaching time for this? Honestly, I’m sure it was half an hour, but it is nonstop, constant movement here. Everything you see here leads to more advanced work…sure, of course, but many of you will see excellent regressions for all kinds of issues from injuries to “I just don’t get it.”

Of course, there is more. Literally, YOU provide the rest. If you read my Phenomenology link blog, you will see how trying these ideas, acting upon them, improving them and sharing them can take all of us to a higher level.

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