Kettlebell Struggling to stabilize the 16kg for TGU

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RLow04

Level 1 Valued Member
Struggling to stabilize the 16kg for TGU And i don’t have a ton of shoulder strength/stability. Should I just keep doing the first few steps from floor to elbow to straight arm or supplement in some other way? I have some lighter KBs for my wife, but I want to stay with the heavier weight to force myself to learn better form.

Would waiter carries with the 16kg help?
 
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_matt_

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I wouldn't worry about staying with the 16 to start. Practicing with lighter bells than your max still brings great benefits, and once you really master the movement at a lighter weight, you'll be surprised how strong (and safe!) you'll feel with the heavier weight when you're ready.

The general progression for moving up weight for me has been:

  • Get strong with the lighter weight ("own it"), and start increasing time under tension (pause & take 3 slow breaths at each stage, do 2 or 3 GU in a row on one side, etc). The benefits of increasing time under tension and spending some extra time with the lighter bell has really amazed me once I've moved my weight up.
  • If you're itching for the heavier bell, start with the the floor progressions (to elbow, to straight arm, to bridge, etc.)
  • Since you mentioned waiter carries, and if you're comfortable with it, you could do a "get down" from the top
 

RLow04

Level 1 Valued Member
I wouldn't worry about staying with the 16 to start. Practicing with lighter bells than your max still brings great benefits, and once you really master the movement at a lighter weight, you'll be surprised how strong (and safe!) you'll feel with the heavier weight when you're ready.

The general progression for moving up weight for me has been:

  • Get strong with the lighter weight ("own it"), and start increasing time under tension (pause & take 3 slow breaths at each stage, do 2 or 3 GU in a row on one side, etc). The benefits of increasing time under tension and spending some extra time with the lighter bell has really amazed me once I've moved my weight up.
  • If you're itching for the heavier bell, start with the the floor progressions (to elbow, to straight arm, to bridge, etc.)
  • Since you mentioned waiter carries, and if you're comfortable with it, you could do a "get down" from the top
@_matt_
This is great, thank you for the specifics. I’ll get over my pride and step down to 25lbs to start, take it slow and own it with pauses.
 

Smile-n-Nod

Level 5 Valued Member
@_matt_I’ll get over my pride
If you lose control of a kettlebell during a get-up and it decides to break your face, the kettlebell won't care if you're proud or not. Make sure you're always in control, even if you have to skip a workout because you're tired or you have to train with a lower weight.
 
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Bret S.

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Good advice all.. Another alternative that will force your stabilizers to work is using a half filled paper cup on your fist. You get stable or water on the face.. You get the idea, if you can do 5 consecutively on each side (5L+5R) you may be shocked the next time you try the 16. I do arm bars added to Pavel's S&S warmup. It's also great for thoracic mobility. I'll probably beat @Kettlebelephant
to the punch here by suggesting OS rocking and crawling for 15 mins daily as well.:p
 

King Cobra Fit

Matt - CSEP-CPT, SFG I, FMS I&II
Certified Instructor
+1 for Arm bars. They help a tonne with shoulder stability.

Here's a link to an article with some videos of the arm bar.
The Roll to Elbow: How to Build the Foundation for a Beautiful Get-up | StrongFirst

I'd also suggest practicing with lighter bells, and when you gain some confidence with a bell try moving through the GU with the bell in the bottoms up position. @_matt_ nails it when he says "Own it". Take your time with it, be consistent and persistent with your practice and you'll be rocking the 16 in no time.

Also, make sure you find an SFG in you area to work with, or look into a distance session with one, or post a video of your get up here. There could be a few suggestions on your form that could make a big difference.

Keep after it @RLow04
 

wespom9

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I'm on board with all these answers. Arm bar' are fantastic, carries are fantastic, crawling will be life-changing for you, and reducing the weight to "own" the 12kg are all fabulous ideas. Best of luck!
 

Matts

Level 3 Valued Member
all the above is good advice- and so is the most basic general rule of anything to do with weights- Don't attempt anything you can't control and stabilize properly and keep perfect form!!! This forum and others are full of stories of injuries that all could have been avoided by following that one simple rule. Have to be tempting Darwin's law to put a weight over your face and head you can't stabilize...and the S&S book is full of warnings about this. Probably shouldn't even go down to 25lbs/12kgs- get the movement perfected without weight, then the shoe or glass of water, then only as much as you're 100% comfortable with, step by step, and the weight will climb over time.
 

Kyle Kowalczuk

Level 5 Valued Member
As they are saying, this is all good advice. If you 'd like to work specifically the get up with a heavier bell try this.

1. Press the bell or get it overhead while standing
2. Do a get down (reverse order) all the way to the point you are in the arm support while sitting on the ground
3. Get back up

The phases from the floor press to the bridge put the most tension on the body when getting up or down. These are also the phases where the get up is failed most commonly. Good luck
 

thegoldengod

Level 4 Valued Member
Pushup Plank w/ Rotation can help work on your shoulder and mid-line stabilization, here is a good tutorial:


Try holding the plank position for added time under tension.
 

Mike Torres

Level 6 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Great suggestions; agree on moving to 12kg (or 14kg if you have it) and owning it, then building it up, and adding in arm bars. One thing that has helped me (and others around me) improve getup strength is time under tension at elbow/hand/elbow. A drill we use is to do 10s holds at each position with a heavier bell than you'd normally do getups with, and do as many as you can in 10 minutes. i.e. 5/5 or 6/6. The right time under tension can work wonders for shoulder stability. Make sure you can own that weight.

Just remember, no ego & it's a marathon, not a sprint. Strength takes time - if you try and rush it, you can end up injured - but if you stick with it, it'll come.
 

Shahaf Levin

Level 5 Valued Member
+1 for OS rolling, rocking and crawling and arm bars (keep those light - 8kg), and to water cup get-up (I prefer water bottle filled to 1/3 - less cleaning when it falls :) ).... Ok, I guess +1 for all above...
 

Patrick O'Keeffe

Level 4 Valued Member
I didn't start with the recommended weight for TGU.

While the book "suggests" a starting weight for men and women....its only a "suggestion". Remember not all men and women are made equal.

I had specific injuries (wrist) that prevented me starting with the 16kg Kettlebell. I had a hard time doing even bodyweight TGU in the beginning! But I persevered and managed to master the move at bodyweight. That was my primary purpose from every weight after that....to master the move with the appropriate weight. Then I tried to progress up from that weight. ...but only while still maintaing good form.

From bodyweight, I went to 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 20....and now im on 24kg. The formula still never changes. I practice the move in perfect form with the appropriate weight that allows me to achieve that. I never had to wander off doing any other exercises or drills. If I struggled with a weight, it meant that was not the appropriate weight at that time. So I come back down to find an appropriate weight to execute the move true to form.

Likewise, if I was learning to do a bench press for the very first time and it was recommended in some book to start at 30kg and I couldnt do it....I wouldn't do or learn a whole bunch of "other" exercises or drills to help me to get start benching at a 30kg starting point. I would just bench press!....but just start at whatever appropriate weight to do so in perfect form.

So my advice would be to keep practicing the TGU with perfect form with whatever weight allows that to be achieved. If that means bodyweight or 8kgs....so be it. That is the appropriate weight at that point in time. You obviously aren't using the appropriate weight. That is all that is wrong here and no need to over complicate things by going off on a different direction with other drills. Just drop down and find the appropriate weight that works.....Simple! I reckon that should take you all of about 2 mins to get you back on track. Thats my 2 cents worth anyway. To be honest, for me the numbers on the kettlebell are only there to remind me where I left off from the last session!.
 
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Mercury

Level 4 Valued Member
I just constantly practiced the move in perfect form with an appropriate weight that allowed that to happen. I didnt have to wander off doing other exercises. I just used an appropriate weight to complete that exercise......simple as!.

Gotta agree with this. I started with a 12kg bell. 1 per side for a week. Then 2 per side for a week and so on. When I could do 5 per side I spent another 5 weeks (whilst my 1 handed swings caught up) doing random cycles of:
* Normal 5 per side with plenty of rest between reps.
* “Fast” no actual change in speed but try and do all 10 reps one after the other with no rest - note that I didn’t manage this at first, I worked up to it over the 5 weeks
* doubles 2L, rest, 2R, rest, repeat and then 1 per side to finish.
* Slow - 5 secs hold per position.

At the end of the 10 weeks I generally felt like I actually owned the weight and then moved up a weight (12kg, 16kg and now 24kg) and started again e.g. just one per side every day for a week. The move from 16kg to 24kg was a bit step up (50%) but I managed it.

Start light, spend time on the weight till you really own it and only then move up.
 

RLow04

Level 1 Valued Member
Thank you for all the advice/encouragement! - last night I stepped it down to 12kg and felt way more in control. However after the third set I was starting to feel shaky so I called it quits. I think I wasn’t taking long enough to recover.

Tonight I’m going to step it down again to 8kg and go slow, work on my form. Once I can do the slow version with pauses at each step I’ll go back to 12kg and work on up again.
 

Matts

Level 3 Valued Member
@RLow04 Good move on the 8kg. I like doing getups with that weight- really lets you work the smaller muscles and stablilizers more consciously and focus on form at every step. Have you conquered the shoe or the half-glass of water yet? Those also help really nail down the form.

Strong are in control of the weight they use and their ego! Weak need a lot of external things (like heavier weights than they can handle and extra programs) to feel good.
 

RLow04

Level 1 Valued Member
I’ve done the shoe for several days to start and then tried the 16kg. I haven’t done the water yet as I typically do these in my carpeted living room/office... maybe I’ll try the water bottle version
 

Matts

Level 3 Valued Member
for several days to start

Getup time is measured in weeks and months...haha It wouldn't hurt to do them with a shoe for a week or two. One of the great things about them is the continual problem-solving and learning they require. It will take some time to build new muscles and ingrain the coordination...then, as you progress, you'll keep refining those. Just settle in and do the daily training and very good things will happen over time. Don't be in a rush, and you'll get there much quicker!
 
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