Improve Your Get-up and Improve Your One-hand Swing

Recently I designed a training session that involves the get-up and the one-hand swing. I designed this session to help clients gain a better understanding of the get-up. I found myself revisiting the same corrections each week with each client. Therefore, I created this easy but not simple session to work on the program minimum.

Technique First, Load Second

the get-up and one-hand swingIt is no secret I am fascinated with the movement of the human body. For twelve years, I worked in the rehabilitation and strength and conditioning setting with both general population and Division I athletes. I live and coach by the model of technique first and load second.

In my eyes, movement trumps everything. I found that the get-up and one-hand swing session I designed gave just enough load to the get-up as well as the one-hand swing to see significant improvements in the movement and strength of both. The emphasis is to be placed on coaching the client and performing the movements in a controlled manner. Do not rush, your goal is to look, as Dan John would say, “graceful” in the get-up and swings.

The Get-up and One-hand Swing Training Session

  • Use a kettlebell that you can comfortably perform 10 one-hand swings.
  • You will use this same kettlebell for the whole training session.
  • You will break the get-up into stages.
  • In-between those stages you will place the kettlebell down and perform 10 one-hand swings.

Kettlebell in Right Hand:

  1. Get-up to the elbow: 3x
  2. One-hand swing: 10
  3. Get-Up to the palm: 3x
  4. One-hand swing: 10
  5. Get-up to the palm, sweep the leg to knee, return to butt: 3x (sweep leg, return to butt, do not go all the way down)
  6. One-hand swing: 10
  7. Get-up to half kneeling: perform 3 half kneeling windmills
  8. One-hand swing: 10
  9. Take a drink and shake it out now return to training with the kettlebell in the Left Hand.

Kettlebell in Left Hand:

  1. Get-up to the elbow: 3x
  2. One-hand swing: 10
  3. Get-up to the palm: 3x
  4. One-hand swing: 10
  5. Get-up to the palm, sweep the leg to knee, return to butt: 3x (sweep leg, return to butt, do not go all the way down)
  6. One-hand swing: 10
  7. Get-up to half kneeling: perform 3 half kneeling windmills
  8. One-hand swing: 10

Every one of my clients performed this sequence of get-up segments to one-hand swing twice with the same kettlebell.

Typical Improvements in the Get-up and One-hand Swing

  • Increased mobility of the shoulders and hips
  • Increased stability of the shoulders and hips
  • Increase ability to maintain a packed shoulder throughout the whole movement
  • Increased awareness of wedging the shoulder into the torso and sitting tall
  • Increased ability to place the knee following leg sweep
  • Increased ability to pull into both hips in the half kneeling position
  • Increase ability and understanding of being under the weight throughout the whole movement
  • Decrease motion and movement in the lumbar spine due to increase understanding of importance of hip movement
  • General improvements in the one-hand swing

I found and witnessed a strong relationship between the get-up and the one-hand swing. As the client improved on each segment of the get-up, the technique for the one-hand swing improved as well. My feeling is that this was a result of further understanding the appropriate places for tension in the body while performing the movement, as well as all the improvements noted above.

Work on this get-up and one-hand swing training session with yourself and/or your clients. Embrace the changes in mobility and stability as the sequences progress.

Eric Gahan
Eric Gahan, MS, ATC/L, SFG, SCSC, CK-FMS, Co-Owner of Iron Body Studios in Needham Massachusetts incorporates thirteen years as an athletic trainer (ATC/L), strength coach (CSCS), and post rehabilitation specialist to provide a detailed movement screen into your training sessions.

Eric’s eye for movement began while working with Division I athletes in undergraduate studies at Canisius College and then continuing at the University of Kentucky.

Professionally Eric has worked with athletes from St. Bonaventure University in the Atlantic-10 conference to the University of Mississippi in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) while he was rehabilitating and balancing asymmetries with future MLB and NFL players.

Eric served as the Senior Athletic Trainer for football at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) and most recently served as the Senior Athletic Trainer at Boston University
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16 thoughts on “Improve Your Get-up and Improve Your One-hand Swing

  • I’m excited to try this program in a KB class I’m teaching tomorrow… Any idea how long this generally takes?

  • This workout is an excellent example of keeping
    things simple and to the point.Who needs all the
    confusing movement ?Thanks Eric Mahan and
    Pavel T for keeping things the way they should be.

  • Hi Eric,

    This looks fantastic. Is this just a preliminary or do you use progressions in weight or anything?

  • I have been using a variation of this workout for years with 2Hand swings and the get up in pieces…
    Looking forward to trying it with the 1hand swing instead..
    thanks Eric

  • Spectacular program. I used this yesterday with a small group class, with clear improvements in the swing with each set. It was great to see. Thanks Eric for the insight!

  • Thanks for helping me start my day right! I will definitely repeat this to get my technique a lot more solid.

  • Thanks for this Eric! Looking forward to trying it with a few people. Maybe I missed it, what are you using for the get up weight? Same as swing?

    • Hi Christine:
      Yes the goal is to use the same KB for each movement. Although I did work with some clients with 2 KBs one for GU and one for Swing. Movement quality should be your goal! Nail each stage with great stability!

  • Super! I recently made my class do 2H swings 5, 10 and 15, each set followed by a get up (naked) as active recovery. 15-25 minutes and everyone felt awesome.

  • Thank you Eric, look forward to using with my clients – starting today in fact! Cheers!

  • Out of the box thinking, Eric – it never would have occurred to me to mix these two movements this way, and I’m looking forward to trying this.


    • Thank you Steve! I hope you enjoy. I had to write about it…..since I saw so many changes happening before my eyes with all clients.

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