How Heavy Should I Go in a Turkish Get-up?

Here’s the thing. We teach get-ups very light. That’s because students are moving around for the very first time with a weight overhead. And so of course, there is a danger of dropping a very heavy weight onto your very vulnerable face.

But once a student owns the movement and learns to use his body as one unit — the way it is meant to work — a much heavier bell can (and should) be used. The get-up is not just a light warm-up mobility exercise (although there are definite benefits there). It should also be a serious strength exercise once the student owns the movement with confidence.

StrongFirst Certification Get-UpWhere Did We Get Confused About the Get-up?

“Naked” get-ups, shoe get-ups, and very light get-ups are all great teaching tools as well as good practice and mobility work. I think when the awesome book and DVD set Kalos Thenos came out people lost interest in heavy get-ups almost completely, replacing them with the light get-ups with neck/shoulder rotations and the high hip bridge — much like when people gave up heavy snatching altogether when Viking Warrior Conditioning came out.

I am not saying the Kalos Thenos get-up is bad — on the contrary, I think it is a great drill for both newbies and advanced lifters, as well as an instructor tool to screen movement problems, asymmetries, spot tight hip flexors, and the list goes on. But when a whole type of get-up is abandoned, then a crucial part of the picture is missing.

StrongFirst Get-Up DemonstrationStrongFirst’s Expectation About the Get-up

Kalos Thenos get-up yang is the heavy get-up. StrongFirst is first and foremost a “School of Strength” and we should get moving with some heavy weights overhead. As Master SFG Brett Jones said one weekend as we were getting ready for the SFG Level II Certification, you should have the ability to own different kinds of get-ups. You should be able to high hip bridge and low sweep — as well as many other kinds of get-ups. It’s all about body control and strength.

Note on Differences

The heavy get-up will look a little different. You will probably have to sit more into your hip to get under the weight for more leverage when coming up into the kneeling position. Your breathing will be more of a power breathing style. The high hip bridge is probably out of the question if you are maxing out. A max-weight get-up looks very different from the Kalos Thenos get-up — and that’s okay.

Teaching Get-UpGet-up to Heavy

So how do you work on getting up with a heavier weight? You do some drills to make sure you know how to use your body as a single unit.

Kneeling and half-kneeling press drills take out some “cheating” and force you to lock into place. You may feel your abs working extra hard on the opposite side (the body is set up like an “X” but that is a whole different story that I will let Tim Andersen tell here.)

After you do these drills, try something heavy. In the four classes I observed today at my gym, we set eleven personal records after doing various half kneeling press drills. Some of those records were set by newbies (who are expected to move up relatively quickly), but others of those were from students who had been with us for years. One student who has been coming for three years did her first get-up with a 16kg — and made it look easy!

Heavy Get-UpThe Bottom Line

The Kalos Thenos get-up is a fantastic way to perform the exercise, but it’s not the only way to train get-ups. Just like you can use Master SFG Dan John’s Easy Strength program to pattern movements with lighter weights in order to train for a personal record, you can increase your mobility and stability with the Kalos Thenos get-up in order to get-up with some substantial weight above head, and it will help increase your other lifts as well.

Your Get-Up Homework

If you are trying to press a certain weight, get-up with that weight or even one bell heavier. Getting used to moving around with that weight overhead and using your whole body to connect to support it will get you your gains faster.

Throwback Thursday to 2010!

Throwback Thursday to a follow-along training session where you learn why you shouldn’t practice Turkish get-ups while watching a screen. You’ll also learn to use a squat, press combination to help bridge the gap to a heavier military press and includes a bracing exercise called the “Hot potato” that is often left out in kettlebell training.

Training #9 from Delaine Ross on Vimeo.

Two Drills for Packing the Down Shoulder in the Get-Up

Hey guys – this is a clip from the Comprehensive Kettlebell Course I launched last Fall. It includes two drills for packing the shoulders in the kettlebell swing.

Not packing the shoulder is one of the most common mistakes – especially for people who sit all down and/or have little body awareness.

Saying “Pack your shoulder” is Greek to most people in the fitness industry and they need to be shown how it feels not just told in words they don’t understand.

This is one of many teaching and coaching drills in the Comprehensive Kettlebell Catalog meant to make people better kettlebell users and lifters.

If you would take a look at a (silent) scrolling video of content you can check it out here.

Also, until Friday, as a thank you to the blog readers and subscribers I’m offering the introductory pricing again. Just use coupon code “BLOG” at the checkout page.

Train Hard, but Train Smart!



Follow Along Training Session

The organization Whole Life Challenge (check them out – they are doing some cool stuff!) asked me to submit some videos for their site. I sent them a “beginner’s” training session. The reason “beginner’s” is in quotation marks is that this is the training session I use at the end of an introductory class. It’s not “beginner’s” because it’s easy but it’s beginner’s because it puts together all the basics. This is VERY appropriate for advanced lifters as well (just go heavier!) Enjoy!

Utilizing Partial Get-Ups When You Can’t Do Full Get-Up

Partial TGU

Back in May, I got a little daring (maybe a little cocky) and attempted an aerial (a no hands cartwheel) for the first time in about… oh… 18 years. The result was a bone bruise, avulsion fracture and double sprained ankle. Not the smartest decision I have ever made to say the least. I got back into the gym as soon as I was in a boot and was back to swinging, deadlifting, and pressing. The problem was, I couldn’t push off of my left foot or stabilize with it to perform a full get-up on either side. Instead of sticking with half get-ups, I stopped doing get-ups altogether. At the time of my injury, a 24kg get-up was a regular training weight and the 28kg not terribly difficult. At the next StrongFirst Kettlebell User Course I taught a couple of months later, I expected demonstrating with the 16kg to be a piece of cake. Surprisingly, it wasn’t. I should have kept training to the level I was capable of. I should have been doing half kneeling get-ups the whole time. It took me until this morning to regain the strength, mobility and stability to get the 24kg get-up back. Even if your student can only roll to the elbow, rolling to the elbow under load will help with mobility and shoulder stability. If your student has to stay weightless for weeks or months, that’s ok. A partial get-up is by far better than no get-up at all and you’ll be surprised at the gains that will come from working what can be worked.

Train Hard, but Train Smart!
PS – If this was valuable, leave a comment on the blog and share on FB!

The Swing and the Deadlift Have the Same Movement Pattern

Swing is a Deadlift

The kettlebell swing is fundamentally a dynamic deadlift. They are both exercises that employ the hinge pattern. Contrary to what you may see in many gyms, the swing is not a squat. The angle at the hip is much more acute than the angle at the knee, whereas in the squat the angle of the knee and the angle of the hip are relatively the same. In the back of a swing and a deadlift, you’re sitting back as if someone pulled a chair out from under you and you can’t quite reach it. One way to dial in a kettlebell swing with yourself or a student is to start with a deadlift – hinge and slowly “squeeze” the bell off of the ground. Then immediately do some powerful swings mimicking that same pattern only this time quickly and explosively. (Hint: make sure in your deadlift, you start with the handles lined up with your ankles underneath you and in the swing start the bell a little bit in front of you with the handle tilted back towards you.)

What are your favorite swing tips for beginners? Leave a comment below and please share on FB if you think your friends and colleagues could benefit!

Comprehensive Kettlebell Catalog is HERE!

When I opened my studio in 2007, I had only been certified for

one year and hadn’t trained many people.

A swing was a swing and I hadn’t developed the eye to tell the difference

between a good one, a bad one, or a down right unsafe one.

Over the last almost 10 years of kettlebell teaching and training, I

assisted at many certifications until I was promoted and allowed to

teach at them. I also took dozens of workshops from master trainers

from all over the world.

I wish I had this course (available next Friday) when I was just starting out training.

The Comprehensive Kettlebell Catalog is the culmination of what I have learned at these events and from

training more than a thousand students at my kettlebell gym over the next 8 years.

Are you ready to cut your learning curve by 10 years?

Are you ready to be a better instructor AND lifter?

Are you ready to help you and your students maximize the kettlebell experience?

The Comprehensive Kettlebell Catalog outlines how to break down the 6

fundamental exercises to teach general population and how to correct

the most common mistakes.

Even if you are certified, you will pick up on something learned from experience or

through workshops taught by my colleagues.

This video breaks down how to teach the swing as well as how to fix a squatty swing.

(Click the image below!)


Stayed tuned for the next email on Monday that covers how to teach the

snatch and keep from banging your wrists.

And to let you know, the course is a 3 part series that is laid out like this:

Section 1:

How to Teach the Swing

How to Fix the Most Common Swing Mistakes

How to Teach the Turkish Get­up

How to Fix the Most Common Turkish Get­Up Mistakes

Section 2:

How to Teach the Clean

How to Fix the Most Common Clean Mistakes

How to Teach the Military Press Mistakes

How to Fix the Most Common Military Press Mistakes and Press Heavier

How to Teach the Squat

How to Fix the Most Common Squat Mistakes and Squat Deeper

How to Teach the Snatch

How to Fix the Most Common Snatch Mistakes

Section 3:

How to Design General Population Programs

3 Single Bell Follow Along Workouts

3 Double Bell Follow Along Workouts

And here is the table of contents for Section 1, so you can check out the amount of content offered.


If you have any questions, please respond to this email or come over to the Facebook page.

I look forward to helping you become the best trainer and lifter you can be!

Train Hard, but Train Smart,


Get yours here:

How to Fix Rounding the Shoulders in the Kettlebell Swing

Some people who sit all day don’t even know what it feels like to keep the shoulders packed and chest open. This is a drill for people who don’t have the body awareness to feel the difference. If you have them put a medium sized bell behind their back and hinge into the bell, it will pull the shoulders back and cause them to feel what it’s like to have an open chest and shoulders that are packed and not rounded.

Check out the video and if you like it, please share and leave a comment on how you fix this common issue!