The Get-Up: It Hinges on the Hinge

You could have a blog solely dedicated to the Turkish Get-up.  Granted, not many people would read it - besides myself, obviously - but there are so many intricacies and variations that it's hard to learn them all.  If you've been around kettlebells and heavy get-ups for any significant period of time, you know what I'm talking about.

(Unless, of course, your idea of a get-up is to stand up "any way possible."  Because that's a terrible idea.)

While StrongFirst has plenty of content on the difficult steps of the get-up, I'd like to highlight one of the more underutilized steps: the hinge. And if you a) are shaking your head vigorously in agreement, or b) had no idea there's a hinge in the get-up, you're going to want to read below.

But before that, let's take a look at the hinge in the get-up.  And rather than sweating in this video, I like to think I'm "glistening, masculinely."

I may have been overemphasizing the hinge, but you get the point.  You don't suddenly spring into the half kneeling position once you've swept your leg through.  But why is the hinge so important?

First, it sets the stage for the last few steps of the get-up. Too often, people ignore or rush through it because they want to put the weight down. When someone fails to hinge, and doesn't properly shift their weight before the subsequent steps, they often lose their balance as the bell's center of gravity becomes misaligned with their own. 

By using the hinge - and taking your time - you're aligning your upper and lower halves underneath the bell.  This makes the half kneeling stance and the step up much easier.

Second, the hinge allows you to sit into your hips and stretch out the back of your pelvis. Why is this important?  Because many of us have lost the ability to sit into our hips - from being shifted forward - and we need to help our femurs find the back of our hips.  People that have tight glutes, tight quads, and tight calves (i.e. almost everyone) will benefit from this move.

On that note, the hinge provides a great counter-movement to the action of kettlebell swings. As you're constantly squeezing your glutes and closing down the back of your hips in a swing, you need the opposite action to help avoid imbalances and tightness in the hips. This is very similar to what Brett Jones described in an article on the kettlebell windmill - which is exactly what the hinge in the get-up is, but in a half kneeling stance.

Lastly, the hinge assists with a smooth completion of the get-up.  I always point out that 75% of all mountain climbing accidents occur on the way down. The same occurs with get-ups. The combination of fatigue and a lack of concentration can quickly rear its ugly head. But if you're concentrating and using the hinge on the way down, it will make for a safer, more fluid motion.