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Why You Do The Get-up Wrong

sandbag training

You don’t have to look hard to see this really weird looking exercise popping up everywhere. It is in major fitness magazines, tons of Youtube clips, and supposedly solves every fitness problem under the sun. What is it? Oh, I forgot to mention it has a really weird name….the Turkish Get-up. 

I first learned of the get-up from in the Russian Kettlebell Challenge book, around 2002. I didn’t work with it much until attending my RKC in 2003 and Steve Maxwell taught the get-up to all of us. It was a cool drill, you could feel your mobility, core, and shoulders being challenged all at once. 


However, there are a lot of exercises that we can point to that improve the core, hips, and shoulders, so why this one? Why did the get-up gain popularity over time even though it is a rather old exercise? 

As other professionals like physical therapist, Gray Cook, got a hold of the get-up, the exercise began to change. What made the exercise unique were some of the qualities that were trained unlike most of our other drills in the gym. Most prominent was the initiation of the get-up that required a roll. 

Yes, most people try to “sit-up” in the get-up and this is the most inefficient way to get off the ground and doesn’t do too much to properly integrate our body. Instead, the idea of rolling wakes up many of our small core stabilizers that sitting, pain, and dysfunctional patterns have shut off. 

In a paper in the North American Journal of Physical Therapy (you can read here), “Using Rolling to Develop Neuromuscular Control and Coordination of the Core and Extremities of Athletes”, the authors describe some of the values of rolling….“Abnormalities of the rolling patterns frequently expose proximal to distal and distal to proximal sequencing errors or proprioceptive inefficiency that may present during general motor tasks. Finally, many adults have lost the ability to capture the power or utilize the innate relationship of the head, neck, and shoulders to positively affect coordinated movements.”

If you didn’t catch that, they said it was pretty important! 

However, this isn’t the ONE big mistake people make. The reason WHY people sit-up rather than roll has to do with the most fundamental aspect of rolling….head position! Huh? Yes, actually turning the head first leads to a good rolling pattern. As the authors in the above paper state, “Remember, the head and neck are connected to the core, therefore where the head and neck lead the body will follow.”


Here is the problem though, in the way that most teach the get-up, the weight is over head. When the weight is overhead you really don’t want to turn your head because the arm with the weight can follow and that would equal a disastrous situation!!! 

That is one unique advantage of what we call DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Leg Threading. With the weight of the Ultimate Sandbag on the shoulder we can actually turn the head properly and begin to facilitate proper rolling patterning. 

If you think this is easy, you will be shocked at how most people often can’t come CLOSE to using the same weight that they will in the get-up. Why? To be honest, most people have developed the wrong core patterning and really “cheat” what the get-up can provide. 

Another advantage of DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Leg Threading is the fact we emphasize not just the rolling pattern, but lateral stability. Yes, you know WHY people have a hard time lunging and doing a host of more functional activities? Most would attribute it purely to strength, but it is more lateral stability issues. That is why experts like, Dr. Stuart McGill, actually test the side plank in their “Big 3” of core stability tests. 

DVRT Master, Greg Perlaki, shows that we can use any component of leg threading to build the qualities of a better get-up.

I’m glad to say that I am not the only one that has seen these issues with the get-up. In fact, Steve Maxwell himself said the following, “I also came to realize that to perform the get-up exercise at all, you had to first be able to perform a proper lunge. From all this, you can see the that for the average person, the Turkish get-up requires plenty of coordination.”

The beauty of DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Leg Threading is that we can break down any portion of the movement into individual segments. As I often say at our DVRT certifications, I consider our clients on a “need to know basis.” I don’t show the entire movement, but rather just specific phases and over time we add layers. What you find is a more successful client and skills that actually transfer to other exercises. 

Check out some of our DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Leg Threading concepts and make this drill a staple in your routine. That is if you want to move better, be stronger, and feel your best;) Strength coach Joel Gunterman breaks down one of our favorite ways to teach concepts that make for better get-ups. 

Find out how you can solve more fitness goals, have great workouts, and enjoy your training more than ever with our 30% off DVRT sale HERE. Save 30% for the last few hours all throughout our DVRT site (excluding live events) when you use coupon code “springsale”