A Stronger Press with this One Simple Trick…

If you love pressing heavy weight overhead and want to press heavier, here’s one sneaky way to pressing nirvana with the added bonus of strengthening your midsection and keeping your shoulders healthy. All it requires is one simple tweak to a standard kettlebell move.  If you work with kettlebells and haven’t thought of it before prepare to face-palm…



Here’s the one simple trick: do your getups in reverse.
Yes… it’s that simple. Perform your getups in reverse a.k.a. “Get-Downs”.

But wait… there’s more! 
You’re probably thinking this is stupid, or it sounds too good to be true, but let me explain why it will work and how to implement it.


48kg Turkish Getup

Me pausing in the middle of a 48kg getup while I patiently wait for Victoria to learn how to operate my digitial camera. Circa 2008

What is a Getup?
If you’re not familiar with hardstyle kettlebell training then here’s a quick intro to the  Turkish Getup or “Getup” for short.  Lay down on the ground, put a weight overhead, stand up with the weight into a standing overhead lock-out, then reverse the movement and return to the supine position, the weight bearing arm must be kept straight throughout the entire movement.  Technically, there’s a whole lot more to it than that plus a ton of unexpected benefits from performing getups according to Standard… but you get the general idea. 

The getup is a one-stop-shop for full-body strength which involves rolling, wedging and lunging while taking the weight bearing shoulder through a wide range of motion. Because getups take approximately 30-seconds or more, they build up your tolerance for holding heavy things overhead which helps tremendously with pressing.  This movement also develops a good deal of shoulder flexibility, core-strength and has a reputation for rehabbing tricky shoulders (when performed properly) .


 Amp-Up Your Press by Getting-Down

The reverse getup is my favorite method of performing the getup. Not only does it allow me to seamlessly integrate the getup into complexes with other techniques, but when performed as a stand-alone technique it will lead to greater strength gains than standard getups for two reasons:

  1. When performing a Reverse Getup not only are you performing a getup, but you are also required to find a way to clean and press the bell overhead. This is typically accomplished with a  push-press to get the bell down and a slow negative before setting the bell back down. If you haven’t already tried it, push-presses with a bell heavier than you can press with improve your press. Trust me.AND…. this next part is huge…
  2. When performing multiple getups there is no need to set the bell down. You see, when performing multiple getups with a kettlebell in the standard fashion you must set the weight down when changing arms. However, when performing reverse getups you can switch hands in the standing position with hand-to-hand swing, then clean & push-press with the other arm & repeat.  This leads to, yet again … you guessed it, more time-under-tension.



How To Get-Down My Way

If you’re not familiar with the reverse-getup, it is exactly what it sounds like: start in the standing position with the kettlebell overhead, then go to the supine position and return to standing. At first glance it is no different than the standard method of starting on your back, however it is actually more difficult because it forces you to find a way to first get the weight into the overhead position before starting the getup as well as finding a way to set it down safely. In other words, every reverse getup requires not only a getup but also a clean and push-press to get it overhead to start. For this reason reverse getups with a bell heavier than you can press are an excellent and sneaky method to build students up to a heavier press.

4-Keys to A Stronger Press with the Reverse Getup

  1. Clean the bell
  2. Perform a slow push-press
  3. Perform a reverse getup for one or more continuous reps.
  4. Lower the bell to rack with a slow negative.
  5. Over time build up to switching hands without setting the bell down and repeat.

So… what now?

First, learn how to perform the getup with a kettlebell. Then, once you can perform getups with a given kettlebell, replace getups with reverse getups. That’s it.

Simple & Sinister
If you train yourself and looking for a way to implement this check out “Simple & Sinister” by Pavel Tsatsouline.  It’s a simple but awesome program featuring kettlebell getups and swings. When you can perform the getup portion of his program to standard simply progress to reverse getups for an added challenge.

The Rite of Passage
If you’re familiar with The Program Minimum or The Rite of Passage pressing program from Enter the Kettlebell – by Pavel Tsatsouline which progresses men and women to one arm pressing 1/2 bodyweight and 1/3rd bodyweight overhead with one arm respectively, once you can complete standard getups with a given bell, substitute getups with reverse getups.

If you’re a trainer and use getups with your students, have them progress from standard getups to reverse getups with a kettlebell that’s heavier than they can press and it won’t be long before they are setting PRs in the press.

Ready & Willing to Learn?
If you’re unsure of how to perform the getup safely and want to learn, I can help.
[Click here]

If you’re interested in having me teach  a StrongFirst(TM) One-Day Kettlebell User Course at your facility, [Click Here]



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