Cressey Performance In-Service: Get-Up/Swing Tutorial

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Around two weeks ago I wrote a post titled There’s a Time and Place For Everything. Kettlebells Included, where I essentially explained that everything in the realm of strength and conditioning is a tool, and should be viewed as such.

I don’t care if we’re referring to kettlebells, TRX, sandbags, strongman, chains, bands, or whatever the hell THIS contraption is supposed to be….you could make an argument that there’s a time and place for everything, and that they’re a tool in the toolbox, and need to be used at the right time, with the right person, for the right job.

When I wrote the piece, I wasn’t entirely sure how people were going to react to it. On one hand, I felt I was making a compelling argument and that a statue would be erected in my honor for making so much sense. Conversely, I knew I was “kinda, sorta” throwing one group of individuals to the lions and was fully prepared for the avalanche of hate mail and push back I was going to receive.

Worse case I figured some kettlebell bully was going to show up at the facility, tell me I was some big stupid head, and give me a massive atomic wedgie.

It never happened.  Thank god.

I seems I was able to relay my message successfully and with no major incidents.  Yay me!

Nevertheless, in light of what I wrote I felt compelled to expound on a few things in a recent staff in-service we filmed  to demonstrate to the world that we actually do incorportate kettlebells in our every day programming.  TRUTH!!!!!

A few things to note before we begin:

1.  There are only a handful of things I consider myself to be an expert in:

– Omelete making.

– Watching Star Wars.

– Being awesome.

While I feel I’m fairly competent, get-ups and swings aren’t what I would consider my strong suits.

Speaking frankly, I hate doing get-ups. I do them, obviously. I just hate them with a passion.  There’s no tip toeing around it: they rank pretty high on the Things That Generally Suck Or Really Irritate Me List , juuuuuust above passing a kidney stone and juuuuuust below Justin Beiber.

Having said that, there’s no denying their efficacy towards building total body strength and bringing to the forefront any mobility and/or stability “leaks” in the kinetic chain.

It’s like what I always say:  the exercises that we hate the most are generally the ones that elicit the greatest benefit.

Anyways, admittedly I’m NOT an HKC or an RKC (I do hope to attain an HKC soon) and I’m fully aware that there might be some nitpicky things that I’m doing wrong in the video, as well as a handful of things I missed noting.

I’m all for an open discussion on how I can improve my coaching, and if there’s any glaring mishaps or discrepancies, I’d encourage any experts to chime in.  Please!

If, however, you’re going to bust my chops because I didn’t dorsiflex my left pinky toe enough, then all I have to say is: “come on……..really?”

All in all, I feel this is a pretty decent representation of how to go about coaching both the get-up and swing effectively (and safely) – especially with beginner and intermediate trainees.  Keep it simple.

2.  This was a very, very impromptu presentation.  I was literally sitting in my office when Chris Howard walks in and says, “Tony, you’re up.  Staff in-service in five minutes.”

Crickets chirping……….

I had no idea I was supposed to do the staff in-service, so I put my shirt on, pounded a protein shake, and I was off.

My apologies if it seems little “disorganized.”

3.  I’m REALLY sorry about the length. I realize no one wants to sit there and watch a 30 minute video on anything (unless it’s about Katy Perry’s boobs), and I had every intention of dividing this into two separate tutorials, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out iMovie.

I sat in front of my computer for at least 45 minutes last night trying to figure out how to import a file, and I just couldn’t do it.  You might as well have asked me to figure out how to solve global warming.

Anyways, just to give you a heads up:  I begin everything with how to coach someone through a “naked” half get up to a “naked” full get-up.  Then, at around the 17:00 minute mark I switch gears and discuss the swing.

Okay, enough with the formalities.  Here you go.  Let me know what you think!

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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  • Nishanth

    Her eyes are really distracting! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/sammysings Sammy

    Horse Riding Fitness Ace Power – I smell a Christmas gift for some loved ones!

  • Lars Krogstad

    Like this comment if you want “Cressey Performance In-Service” to be a recurring theme!

    • TonyGentilcore

      hahahahaha. We’ll see about that.

  • j.b.

    Great video Tony. If you watch the first part with the naked get-up when you do the bad punch and crunch. When you sit up, Your elbow tends to be too close to the torso, it completely blows up the joint centration in that shoulder. It’s a good way to tell someone is doing it poorly (even if they’re trying to hide). Also, when I’m having my guys learn get-ups, I put them on the mats and have them use an open water bottle, if they get wet their arm isn’t vertical.

    • TonyGentilcore

      JB –

      Your insight is always invaluable, thank you. I definitely see what you’re saying about the elbow positioning – will have to work on that.

      Water bottles????? Whoa. Might have to try that one.

      • j.b.

         You do it pretty well when you’re doing the “good” punch and crunch, but when people get sloppy and sit-up instead of driving over the elbow that’s the easiest way to tell.

        You have to make sure you’re not on a slippery surface, but it’s a great way if you’re teaching a group of people.. keeps the mood light too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cliffharski Clifton Harski

    When cueing to control the backswing, “attacking the groin” as you said, often it is easiest (i’ve found) to not focus on the bell, but rather focus on the shoulders.  If you keep the shoulders packed then the bell can only attack the groin because you don’t let it ‘get out and away’ from you. 

    • TonyGentilcore

      Great call Clifton. I definitely like to use the concept of packing the shoulders with clients, I just “forgot” to mention it during this demonstration. Oops.

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  • Chris

    What progressions do you use prior to incorporating the get- ups and swings to ensure mastering of the exercises and how do you incorporate the get- up and swings into your programs regarding sets, reps, placement of exercise, and would you incorporate get- ups on lower or upper body days?

    • TonyGentilcore

      Well, honestly, I’ll just start people with a naked half get up. I’ve yet to find anyone who can’t do that. If they have to do if for a few months, then so be it. From there, I can progress to a full get-up and then start to add weight.

      As far as sets/reps: 3-4 sets of 3-5 reps per side is a great starting point. I like to place them lower in the training session, but I’ve also used them as part of a warm-up, too.

      And, finally, get-ups can be placed on either a lower or upper day. I say both!…..;o)

      For the swing, it’s a lot easier for people to pick up than you think.

      I typically start with 3×10. Lame I know, but this exercise fits well with the 3×10 protocol.

  • Mitch

    Great video. I’d love to see more of these! 

    • TonyGentilcore

      Thanks Mitch. There are a few floating around here on the site. One on deadlifing set-up, the different between a box squat and squat TO box, and one on breathing patterns.

  • Barath

    The Turkish Get-Up has always been my bane. It also doesn’t help that the only KB I have is 35 lbs – a little too heavy to start learning the movement. So when I saw you demonstrating the naked get-up, I was excited to give it a shot. Two seconds later I had contorted myself into a shape the author of Kamasutra would be proud of.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Nice! You can also use DBs, too…..;o)

  • Donovan M.

    Awesome post, easy cues and fun to watch. My only concern is with clients that have shoulder mobility issues for the get-up,’ where that “shoe” would be falling off all the time because they don’t have adequate mobility and stability to keep the hand/weight in it’s proper place. At that point, would you in your opinion nullify the exercise or find a suitable progression? Personally, I do feel that’s the whole point of the exercise is to execute it well enough to engage the entire body, but not at the cost of butchering it to where it doesn’t look like a get-up should or close to it.

    Also, that being the case, do you feel the “naked” or “empty” get up would be a viable assessment tool to program for an individuals weak point?  Thanks TG!

    • TonyGentilcore

      Well, the get-up IS going to be an advanced movement for some people, especially for those with mobility restrictions. As a trainer, you’ll have to be the judge as to whether or not the exercise is suitable for any given client. Maybe ONLY start with the rollover part, and work your way up.

      I guess I could see the get-up as an assessment tool, but it seems a little excessive to me. I can find out one’s movement quality by doing other, simpler things.

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  • Rafal

    try figuring out iMovie on the iphone…..Did not go well for me

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  • Lauren L

    I’m on spring break from school and finally had the time to sit down and watch this. I’m glad you linked it up on today’s blog post because I totally forgot about it! Great tutorial on TGU and the swing. The little coaching tips sprinkled throughout were helpful as well. Hope you’ve figured out how to import files since then ;D

    • TonyGentilcore

      You’re on spring break and watching videos of me teach the get-up and swing?????? Go out to the pool for crying out loud!!!……;O)

      • Lauren L

        Oh don’t worry I’ll be in Palm Springs soon. Just wanted to brush up on my tgu technique so I can practice it with a mai tai poolside (duh)

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