Optimizing The Getup - Part 10: Programming The Getup

Optimizing The Getup

Optimizing The Getup

Throughout the past 10 weeks we've written specifically about one exercise, the Getup.  

Each post to this point has focused on a specific aspect of the Getup and has shared tips on how you can optimize your Getup.

As Coach Karen mentioned back in Part 1, “the Getup is the ultimate longevity lift.”

Well, all that's left to do now is to train it!

Today we’ll talk purely about the fun stuff, right? The stuff every coach and weekend warrior wants to know...


There’s ONE key to results when it comes to programming…

Keep things simple. Keep things sustainable.

When thinking of the different ways you can train the Getup, we thought it was only fitting to follow the path Coach Chris inadvertently used to go from a 32kg Getup to a 56kg Getup.

So – following that path – today we’ll touch on volume and frequency via 3 aspects of programming:

  • Sustainability – Simple and Sinister

  • Linear Progressions – Traditional West approach

  • Waving the load – Plan Strong

In our opinion each method works very well. Some work better than others, while others working better for some (depending on where you are in your training career).

With that being said, let’s start off in a place that’s likely familiar to most of you: Simple and Sinister!

Optimizing The Getup: Simple and Sinister

Coach Chris actually started Simple and Sinister back in November of 2015 (He lasted about 4 weeks before hopping onto a powerlifting program – our guess is he wasn’t ready for simple, sustainable results just yet...).

He read the book and was inspired by the stories Pavel shared, as well as the programs simplicity.

He started working with the 24kg, got antsy, and wanted to play around with the 28kg and 32kg bells.

Swinging the 32kg made him feel like a beast.

Doing anything with the actual beast (48kg) was unfathomable at the time…

Yet here he is 1-Hand Swinging it...

Simple and Sinister is – well – simple!

It’s sustainable and incredibly effective.

In his book, Pavel mentions being able train 5-7 days a week using his program.

For what it's worth, we typically train anywhere from 3-5 days a week and bring this up to talk briefly about volume and frequency.

Each session of S&S calls for 100 1-handed swings (done as 10/10 x 5) and 10 Getup’s (done as 1/1 x 5).

With some “3rd grade math” as Pavel likes to points out, it’s not hard to determine your weekly training volume.

3 days = 30 Getup’s 300 swings

5 day = 50 Getup’s 500 swings....

When Coach Chris first started training with Simple and Sinister these numbers seemed like A LOT! However the truth is as coaches we’ve all come to understand that those kinds of numbers aren’t that much at all, not even a little bit.

Sure, if you’re starting from scratch there will be a learning curve – an adjustment period. But once you’ve been on S&S for a while you can handle much more volume.

However if you want to simply “punch the clock” with your workouts and see amazing results, you can stay the course of 10 Getup's, 5-7 days a week, and get life-changing results.

This is one of the reasons we feel the program lends itself to not only simplicity, but sustainability as well.

Because you can handle more, you’re OK to train more frequently.

We bring this up to share one simple point regarding programing:

You can train 1/1 Getup’s for 3-5 rounds, 7 days a week very comfortably.

In other words... you can fit them into a program by itself or tack them on to another program you’re working on – such as a Powerlifting or TSC program.

As far as the finer details of load distribution go, Coach Chris personally found a linear progression to get him quite far – in fact it got him past “simple” and up to the beast.

Optimizing The Getup: Linear Progressions

Planning your next training program

Planning your next training program

After his SFG Level 1 cert Coach Chris took a couple weeks off and decided to hop on a LONG Simple and Sinister program – essentially from May of 2016 through the end of the year.

He chose to layout the load distribution in a linear fashion:

  • Week 1 - - + - -

  • Week 2 - - + - -

  • Week 3 - + + - -

  • Week 4 - + + - -

  • Week 5 - + + + -

  • Week 6 - + + + -

  • Week 7 - + + + +

  • Week 8 - + + + +

  • Week 9 + + + + +

  • Week 10 + + + + +

The “-“ symbol equals your current training weight, a weight he often referred to as, “a weight that you own.”

This means that on any given day you can bust out an easy 100 swings and 10 Getup’s with said weight.

The “+” signifies a bell 1-2 sizes up from the bell you own.

Our brother in strength Grant Anderson and and Coach Chris choose to use the “traditional” loading scheme of 24, 32, 40, and 48 – skipping 2-bell sizes with each progression.

Coach Chris admits, “this was a bit boring, BUT IT WORKED!”

Using this method of training he was able to comfortably go from the 32kg up to the 48kg – and then the game changed...

Optimizing The Getup: Waving the Load

Plan Strong is a programming system that is perhaps the exact opposite of linear.

If you look at a Plan Strong program you might think that someone randomly assigned sets and reps to random weights – seriously.

Optimizing The Getup

Optimizing The Getup

However within each Plan Strong program is a system that accounts for variability within a training month, week, session, and variability from load-to-load.

It’s amazing.

While it’s only an 8kg difference, the difference between the 40kg and 48kg is huge. It’s a whole other animal – which we suppose is why it’s called “The Beast!”

Coach Chris noticed a few things when he continued to train the beast in a linear fashion.

  • He was wiped out after most sessions

  • He found himself needing to mentally “pump himself up” for each set

  • Technique was starting to fade fast towards middle of the sessions

In his previous experiences with S&S, this wasn’t the case.

It was here that he wondered about implementing Plan Strong to S&S.

Again to recap, with Plan Strong you train with multiple loads on each day and wave the loads on each given day. An example could be:

  • Monday = light

  • Tuesday = light-ish

  • Wednesday = Heavy

  • Thursday = Heavy-ish

  • Friday = Volume (medium)

Grant and Coach Chris came up with the following program based off an article Pavel wrote on “From Simple to Sinister: Waving the Volume on S&S."

Optimizing The Getup

Optimizing The Getup

Optimizing The Getup

Optimizing The Getup

This article made a TON more sense after having taken Plan Strong, which had already proven to work very well with his Deadlifts.

He figured if I really wanted to become more comfortable with The Beast, he’d likely have to make some changes; and thus “Plan Sinister” was born.

The results? Now he worked with 5 loads!

Viola! Again, sustainable training was achieved.

  • Monday’s didn’t crush him – and actually left him wanting more

  • He actually couldn’t wait for the heavy day’s (instead of fearing them before)

  • The volume for the week was often times much higher than ever before – sometimes 700 Swings and 70 Getups

In case you’re wondering, “High TUT” stands for “high time-under-tension.” It was perhaps their favorite day of the week!

One of the main principles with StrongFirst is that “Strength is a skill” and therefore can be taught.

Tension, and the creation of tension, is a skill the carries over into all aspects of training – whether you’re using a barbell, kettlebell, or your bodyweight.

Tension – and specifically time under tension – has proven itself to US as the KEY ingredient to getting stronger.

So, on these Fun Friday’s Grant and Coach Chris used manageable training loads, but instead of doing singles, they’d throw in doubles, triples, and flows to increase the TUT.

A bell you own + increased TUT = strength gained

Thus you get stronger without having to use heavier bells. A sample Friday session might look like this:

  • 40k Getup to Windmill

  • 44k Double Getup

  • 40k Triple Getup

  • 44k Getup to Windmill

  • 40K Getup to Windmill to Table Top

They’ve thrown in Bent Presses and Military Presses into the flow as well. But again the key on these volume days is increase the TUT.

“Plan Sinister” – as they called it – is something we come back to often.

Optimizing The Getup: Punch the Clock

As a self-coached athlete Coach Chris viewed his body as a test-tube of sorts. It’s nice to know Plan Sinister worked so well, but Coach Chris also love deadlifting, and snatching, and pull-ups, and so many other lifts!

As much as you might think you can do everything, you really can’t.

However regardless of what program we’re on, Getup’s are a constant, whether it’s:

  • Grease The Groove/Easy Strength style (3-5 rounds of 1/1)

  • Volume on-slot of Plan Sinister

  • Or a linear progression

Perhaps the best programming tip we could share is this:

Simplicity + Sustainability = Consistency

And consistency yields results!

So there you have it!

If you’ve trained the Getup before hopefully these tips and strategies we’ve shared will help make your Getup training even more effective.

If you’ve never done a Getup before in your life hopefully by now you can!

Thank you for following along with us in our 10-Part Getup Journey.

Make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook so you stay up to date with future tips and strategies.