How To Improve The Lockout In The Getup - Strong As Hec

How To Improve The Lockout In The Getup

I remember when trying to improve the lockout of my getup, I used to think, If I can't strict press the kettlebell to the lockout, I have no business doing a getup with whatever particular bell I'm about to getup.

While this seems like a good idea and can serve as a safety mechanism for beginners, it can also shift the focus from actually practicing the getup and turning it into a one arm bench press. 

One of the things that I noticed I started doing (and see many others make the same mistake) was, keeping the bell too close to my chest and losing leverage under the bell by preventing the forearm from maintaining a vertical position. I'm sure you've probably noticed, I video everything I do, why?

I often train alone, so to get another set of eyes on my technique, I use video [a lot]. When I was videoing several of my getups I noticed I was losing my shoulder each time I single arm pressed the kettlebell; because of the way I was letting the kettlebell rest on my chest.

Ears Are Shoulder Poison

Master Kettlebell Instructor Jeff O'Connor once quipped, Ears are shoulder poison.

Meaning, the closer your ear gets to your shoulder (imagine shrugging), the weaker the shoulder becomes. In contrast, the further the ear is from the shoulder, the stronger and more stable the shoulder becomes.

Fear Can Lead To Injury

Think about is for a second...

What do your shoulders do when you caught off guard... or someone scares you? They (your shoulders) shrug up, right


It's a reflex to protect your head and face. *This* shrugged shoulder posture, can send a fear signal to your brain and force you into survival mode. What happens next is, you're body will likely look for the path of least resistance to execute the lift.

This includes sacrificing your postural integrity no matter what. According to Gray Cook, Founder of Functional Movement Systems (FMS), the definition of stability is, strength with integrity under load.

So, if you give up your structural integrity (posture) under load (the getup in this case), you're ultimately giving up (or lacking) your stability. A lack of stability, especially in the shoulder, is a recipe for disaster. 

Secret Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Technique To Help you  improve your lock out in the getup

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is based on what I call, The 2 Pillars of Strength and Technique.

  1. Posture 
  2. Positioning

You must have strong posture first. The stronger and better your posture is, the better your positioning will be. The better your positioning is the better leverage you will have over your opponent or whatever weight you're trying to move.

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.  ~ Archimedes

We'll be applying these two concepts (posture and positioning) to today's technique to help you improve your getup lockout. This will come in-handy with heavy getups.

I know, that's a pretty subjective statement... so, what are heavy getups?

For beginner gentlemen, 24-32kg could be considered heavy. For intermediate to advanced kettlebell'ers (6 months - 1 year of practice), 36-48kg will be considered heavy getups.

For beginner ladies, 10-16kg could be considered heavy. For intermediate to advanced ladies (6 months - 1 year of practice), 20-32kg and up would be pretty dang heavy, power to you!

Enter, the hip bump

In BJJ we refer to this hip bump as UPA (ooopuh, meaning 'bridge and roll'), not to be confused with the Mexican greeting, ¡jepa!... jaja! 

The hips are your center of mass, the closer you can get your hips to the kettlebell, the better leverage you will have.

The Setup

  1. Set up for the getup as normal.
  2. While lying sideline, hug the kettlebell into your hips.
  3. Roll to your back.
  4. From here, the kettlebell should be pretty close to you hips. *This* will improve your shoulder posture, allow you to maintain a vertical forearm (the best position the press from), and allows for the weight of the kettlebell to rest through your forearm to the floor. Rather that you trying to hold it up on your chest. Like I mentioned earlier, resting the kettlebell on your chest can lead to you shrugging the shoulder up to initiate the press.
  5. Using the down leg, drive through your mid-foot and upa (i.e., bump) the bell up to get it moving, from there, using a two hand assist, assume the firing position.

Practice this 3-5 times per side for 2-5 total sets. Let me  know how it goes, leave a comment below or, share this post on Facebook and tag me.