"Lead with the Hips" for Better Get-Ups

"Simple. Not easy."

Aside from being my favorite life mantra, this phrase expresses the struggle of the first step of the Turkish get-up. Also called the roll-up, this seemingly simple first step integrates rolling patterns, glute and lat activation, and shoulder stability, all during an open-chain movement.

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Sometimes when we get "stuck" on that first step, it's due to needing more practice at one of these requirements. For example, we don't often roll around on the floor in everyday life, unless of course, you're within earshot of my sense of humor.

Other times, the open-chain nature of holding a kettlebell in the air can make it hard to tell when you're in the right position, versus the sorta-right-position.

But a majority of the time the problem is mental.

Instead of using a roll, most people struggle by attempting to perform a sit-up on the first move. Then, if you're not getting anywhere, it's tempting to try and use momentum, by swinging the bell forward to assist in the step. Both situations set someone up for what I like to call "the human ball of fail," which is best described by someone lifting both legs off the floor and flailing, but failing, to complete the first step.

But as I was coaching someone last week, I came up with the phrase "lead with the hips." I've found this cue to be pretty successful because it encourages someone to fully integrate their lower half. Because you can tell someone to push through the floor until you're blue in the face (and I have!), but this cue seems to help people "get it."

In the video, I perform two reps at each angle - the first at normal speed, and the second at a slower speed to emphasize the action of the hips.

Perfecting this step of the get-up will lead you to perform better, heavier get-ups. It sets the tone for the rest of the movement by A) ensuring your body is in the correct position, and B) making you feel confident to complete the movement.

On that note, ever since I returned from my StrongFirst Level 2 certification, I've been on a "heavy get-up" kick. And while "heavy" is all relative, I hadn't performed get-ups with more than 48 kg (106 lbs) because I didn't have access to heavier bells and didn't trust myself while holding two. But here's a video of my heaviest get-up to date with 60 kg (132 pounds). As you'll note, I lead with my hips on that first step.... :)