Optimizing The Getup – Part 10: Programming The Getup
Throughout the past 10 weeks I’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.
Well, all that’s left to do now is to train it!
Today I’ll talk purely about the fun stuff, right? The stuff every coach and weekend warrior wants to know…
I think it’s an odd coincidence that as I set here writing this post today, that this month marks the one-year mark of me training with kettlebells.
I started my SFG Level 1 prep program on March 1st 2016.
At that time the heaviest Getup I could do was with a 32kg. It was hard, ugly, and straight up WORK! Let me tell you.
The key? Simple. Sustainable. Programming.
When thinking of the different ways you can train the Getup, I thought it was only fitting to follow the path I inadvertently used to go from a 32kg Getup to a 56kg Getup.
So – following that path – today I’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 my 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
I actually started Simple and Sinister back in November of 2015 (I lasted about 4 weeks before hopping onto a powerlifting program – I guess I wasn’t ready for simple, sustainable results just yet…).
I read the book and was inspired by the stories Pavel shared, as well as the programs simplicity.
I started working with the 24kg, got antsy, and wanted to play around with the 28kg and 32kg bells.
Swinging the 32kg made me feel like a beast. Doing anything with the actual beast (48kg) was unfathomable at the time!
Yet here I am today…
This is as much #float as I've gotten on the #beast. When I first started swinging the 40kg I didn't know how it was going to be possible to swing the #48kg. It's been a long journey, and it's far from over. #strongfirst #simpleandsinister #evolution #kettlebells #kettlebellswing #enjoytheride #respecttheprocess
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, I typically trained anywhere from 3-5 days a week. I 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 I first started training with Simple and Sinister these numbers seemed like A LOT! However the truth is – 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 I 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.
I 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, I personally found a linear progression to get me quite far – in fact it got me past “simple” and up to the beast.
Optimizing The Getup: Linear Progressions
After my SFG Level 1 cert I 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 that year.
I 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 I often refer 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.
My brother in strength Grant Anderson and I choose to use the “traditional” loading scheme of 24, 32, 40, and 48 – skipping 2-bell sizes with each progression.
I have to admit; this was a bit boring for me, BUT IT WORKED!
Using this method of training I was able to comfortably go from the 32kg up to the 48kg – and then the game changed…
At least for myself, Grant’s got me by a few (20) pounds so making such drastic jumps at higher loads didn’t seem to bother him as much as we approached the beast. More on that in a minute.
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.
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.
Let me hop back to me hitting a wall that was “The Beast” – trying to continue using a linear training model.
While it’s only an 8kg difference, the difference between the 40kg and 48kg is huge. It’s a whole other animal – which I suppose is why it’s called “The Beast!”
I noticed a few things when I continued to train the beast in a linear fashion.
- I was wiped out after most sessions
- I found myself needing to mentally “pump myself up” for each set
- Technique was starting to fade fast towards middle of the sessions
In my previous experiences with S&S, this wasn’t the case.
It was here that I 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 I came up with the following program based off an article Pavel wrote on “From Simple to Sinister: Waving the Volume on S&S.”
This article made a TON more sense after having taken Plan Strong, which had already proven to work very well with my Deadlifts.
I figured if I really wanted to become more comfortable with The Beast, I’d likely have to make some changes; and thus “Plan Sinister” was born.
The results? Now I worked with 5 loads!
Viola! Again, sustainable training was achieved.
- Monday’s didn’t crush me – and actually left me wanting more
- I 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 our 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 me as the KEY ingredient to getting stronger.
So, on these Fun Friday’s we’d use manageable training loads, but instead of doing singles, we’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:
These Friday #simpleandsinister sessions are getting pretty #creative! The goal is increase the total time under #tension for each round of #getups. Here's what went down today: #Swing 10/10 40k Getup to #windmill to table top 40k R Swing 10/10 44k Getup to windmill to table top 40k L Swing 10/10 40k Getup to table top 44k R Swing 10/10 44k Getup to table top 44k L Repeat until you've reached 180 total swings and 10 total getup flows. I'm SO ready for the weekend, rain and all! 😃😎💪🏻 #strongfirst #evolution #kettlebells #strengthtraining #kettlebellswing #turkishgetup #flow #controlyourself @xmademe
- 40k Getup to Windmill
- 44k Double Getup
- 40k Triple Getup
- 44k Getup to Windmill
- 40K Getup to Windmill to Table Top
I’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 we called it – is something I will DEFINITELY come back to. In fact even now wonder why I’ve even stopped…
Optimizing The Getup: Punch the Clock
As a self-coached athlete I view my body as a test-tube of sorts. It’s nice to know Plan Sinister worked so well, but I 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 I’m 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 I could share is this:
Simplicity + Sustainability = Consistency
And consistency yields results!