Optimizing The Getup - Part 7: Standing

Optimizing The Getup

Optimizing The Getup

Last week we closed out the ground-based movements with the transition from three-point stance to half-kneeling.

In the post we talked about the two different ways you can perform your transition:

  • The Pivot

  • The Wiper

Each works well in placing you in an optimal position to complete your Getup.

One saves your knees a bit, while the other is more direct.

Today we complete the Getup by standing up from half-kneeling.

Sounds simple, right?

How difficult can it be to simply stand up from a half-kneeling stance?

To be fair, it’s not necessarily that complicated. However as StrongFirst reminds us, strength is a skill that can be taught.

The goal with today’s post is to show you the skills you can use to optimize your transition from half-kneeling to standing.

In the process you’ll be able to enjoy the true meaning of life – putting heavy weight over your head!

Optimizing The Getup: Standing Mistakes

If there were only one cue we could give you regarding the Getup, it would be this:

Slow. Down.

Far too often people rush the steps of the Getup, which is understandable.

  • The Getup is a complicated move

  • Many people don’t have the proper control in their hips and shoulders when first performing the Getup

  • So they rush through steps – they “gloss” over areas where they don’t have much stability and control.

The transition from half-kneeling to standing is one of those positions we see people rush far too often.

It’s almost as if we can hear them say, “YES! Now I just need to stand up!” As they wobble back and forth, their knee tracks forward, and they hike their back hip for support.

Did you stand up? Sure. But how sustainable is that rickety posture of yours?

So again, our simple cue is this: Slow. Down.

Optimizing The Getup: Stand With a Purpose

We like to compare this phase of the Getup to the Deadlift.

In the deadlift the task is simple; lift the weight from point A (the floor) to point B (off the floor).

While you might be able to stroll up to a couple hundred pounds and lift it off the floor easily, you need far better technique and tension skills in order to move 400-500 pounds off the floor.

For example:

  • You’ll need to put your feet in the most optimal position to create the most tension

  • You’ll need to make sure your grip is perfect and in a position that allows you to fire the triceps maximally

  • You’ll need to lock in the lats and take ALL the slack out of the bar

  • You’ll need to create substantial intra-abdominal pressure

  • And drive your feet through the floor like your life depends on it

Just to name a few...

Treat your transition from half-kneeling to standing in a similar fashion.

Dial in your foot position

First and foremost you need to make sure both your front and back foot are in an optimal position to stand up.

You can play around with this position with just your bodyweight.

Optimizing The Getup

Optimizing The Getup

Take a half-kneeling stance with one arm overhead (as if you had a weight in your hand). Once you’re in position ask yourself, “If someone tried to push me over right now, could I maintain my balance?”

If you have a partner or coach, you can have them lightly push you to test how stable you really are.

We find that often times my members think they’re stable, till we give them a light tap.

  • Their feet move instantly

  • They’ll widen their stance between their feet and knee

  • And adjust their foot/ankle so their knee tracks over top their ankle

Now you’re in a position to create some tension.

You can also try this:

Press your front foot into the floor and drive your back toe into the floor – the position you can create the most tension in, is likely the position you want to take when standing in the Getup.

Lock your rib cage down

Once you’ve got your foot and knee position in place, you’ll want to make sure your rib cage is locked down.

This is another common mistake I see lifters make.

If you lack the proper shoulder mobility to maintain a straight arm overhead, your first compensation will be to throw your rib cage forward.

Viola! Just like that your arm is now overhead – at the expense of your low back and “open canister” you’ve just created with your core.

To make sure your rib cage is locked down, exhale all the air from your lungs.

You can do this in a “hissing” manner so that you also create intra-abdominal pressure at the same time.

Once your ribs are locked, sniff and get read to stand up.

Shift towards standing leg

Another tip is slightly shifting your body over towards your front/loaded leg.

This is similar to a pressing secret of shifting your weight to the side your pressing with.

Essentially you’re shifting your center of gravity over your support leg, which only puts you in a better position to not only create tension, but also easily stand up from your half-kneeling stance.

Just a slight shift is necessary.

You’ll feel your front leg take the load of your body. At that point you’ll recognize your weight shift, making it easier for you to stand.

Optimizing The Getup

Optimizing The Getup

Crush the handle

The law of irradiation is a BIG factor when it comes to grinds.

As we’ve mentioned throughout this series, tension in the loaded arm is critical to your success in the Getup.

You can think of crushing the handle of the bell as your way of linking tension from your upper body to the tension you’re creating with your lower body.

Sip for pressure

This was covered back with the rib cage tip.

While it might seem at this point like you’ve been holding your half-kneeling position for a while, in reality it’s likely only a second or two.

If you need to, take another sip/sniff just before you initiate your standing movement to create more intra-abdominal pressure and overall tension.

Increased intra-abdominal pressure = increased tension = more strength.

Hold while moving

Resist the urge to let go of your tension as you stand up.

A lot of times when a lift hits a sticking point, our tendency is to fall out of position and instead compensate in other areas for the difficulty of the lift.

Don’t let this happen!


  • Crush the handle harder

  • Push your feet through the floor more

  • And brace your rib cage down even harder

If it helps, you can again “hiss” through your teeth on the way up. This will again help generate even more tension throughout your body and help fight your urge to lean back, lose the lockout in your loaded arm, and/or wobble from your front/back legs.

Optimizing The Getup: Playing Around

Play around with these cues.

You can train the transition from half-kneeling to standing with a weight overhead, in a goblet position, or a single/double front-loaded rack position.

Each position stresses your stability a little differently but will allow you to dial in the skills addressed in this article.

At this point, you’re up!

You’ve now done a complete Getup – well, ½ of a complete Getup.

Over the course of the next couple articles we’ll address the finer details to the Get-Down of your Getup.

We’ll finish the series with a post dedicated purely on programming for the Getup.

Hopefully you’re as stoked as we are to play around with these tools!

If you’re catching this towards the end of the series, we’d recommend taking a look at the previous 6 parts and spend time there.

Next week we’ll breakdown Part 8 of Optimizing The Getup: Get Down to Three-Point Stance

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Until then,