The 6 Best Get-Up Exercises to Help You More Easily Stand Up From the Floor

These get-up exercises will help improve your strength, balance and coordination to stand up from the floor.
Image Credit: Mareen Fischinger/Photodisc/GettyImages

In our youth, getting up from the floor is just something we do without much thought or effort. Until one day it isn't. As we age, this essential skill often becomes more strenuous.

That's because as we grow older, our joint mobility, stability and strength decline, says Grayson Wickham, DPT, CSCS, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, physical therapist and founder of the Movement Vault.

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And as our joints get tighter and less stable, and our muscles less strong as we age, our movements become restricted. The problem is, we need to get up and down many times a day, so if we lose our ability to do so, our quality of life takes a hit.

Not to mention being able to get off of the floor is also very important in the case of a fall, which becomes more common in older age, he adds.

However, the loss of mobility and strength with age isn't inevitable. There are steps you can take to strengthen and stabilize your joints. One way is by incorporating get-up exercises into your daily routine. As the name implies, get-up exercises simulate the set of movements that take you from sitting (or lying) on the floor to standing upright.

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The more you do these types of movements, the greater the likelihood your joints will remain loose and limber. You can start by doing these get-up exercise variations — courtesy of Wickham. They will help you go gracefully from the ground to standing by improving your strength, balance and coordination.

Tip

In addition to doing get-up drills, Wickham also recommends including active mobility exercises into your daily regimen to decrease your risk of developing tight, unstable and weak joints. “Ten minutes per day is all you need,” he says.

Move 1: Tall Sitting to Standing Get-Up

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Activity Mobility Workout
  1. Sit up tall on the ground with both legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Place both of your hands down on the ground beside your left side and bend your right knee, planting your right foot on the floor.
  3. Push through both hands and your right foot, swinging your left leg under you, to achieve a quadruped position on your hands and knees.
  4. Step forward with your right leg and lift your upper body, coming up to a half-kneeling position.
  5. Press through both legs, helping you come up to a standing position.
  6. Perform the movements in reverse to return to sitting.

“As easy as it looks, the tall sitting position can be challenging for a lot of people as it demands core control as well as hamstring mobility,” Wickham says.

This movement also incorporates the transverse plane (also known as rotational movement), which most people don’t utilize often enough, he adds. Moving in more planes of movement helps improve mobility and, consequently, reduces the risk of injury.

Move 2: Supine Lying to Standing Get-Up

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Activity Mobility Workout
  1. Start by lying on your back with your arms by your side and legs straight out.
  2. Bend your right leg and bring it slightly out to the side, planting your right foot on the floor.
  3. Lean to your left side, resting on your left elbow.
  4. Straighten your left arm, pushing through your left hand and right foot to help you swing your left leg under you, achieving a quadruped position on your hands and knees.
  5. Step forward with your right leg and lift your upper body, coming up to a half-kneeling position.
  6. Press through both legs, helping you come up to a standing position.
  7. Perform the movements in reverse to return to a supine position.

This get-up exercise — an unweighted variation of the Turkish get-up — is about as functional as it gets, Wickham says. “Every human needs to be able to master the transition [from lying down to standing].”

Move 3: Prone Lying to Standing Get-Up

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Activity Mobility Workout
  1. Lie face-down on the ground.
  2. Bend both elbows and bring your hands directly by your sides, palms on the ground.
  3. Press through the ground with both hands and arms pushing up into a quadruped position on your hands and knees.
  4. Step one foot forward and lift your upper body to come up to a half-kneeling position.
  5. Press through both legs to help you come to a standing position and bring your feet together.
  6. Perform the movements in reverse to return to the starting position.

“This is another functional movement transition as it uses almost every muscle in the body and all three planes of motion,” Wickham says. “It is also very important to master, especially in the case if someone falls face down to the ground,” he adds.

Move 4: Crossed Legs Sitting to Standing Get-Up

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Activity Mobility Workout
  1. Sit on the ground in a cross-legged position.
  2. Move your left leg back so that both knees are bent to about a 45-degree angle.
  3. Press through both legs coming up to a Z-sit (shin box) kneeling position. If this is difficult, you can use your hands for support.
  4. Step your left foot forward and lift your upper body to come up to a half-kneeling position.
  5. Press through both legs to help you come to a standing position.
  6. Perform the movements in reverse to return to the starting position.

This movement drills your hip mobility and stability, Wickham says.

Warning

These next two get-up exercises are great, but also very challenging. Only progress to them as feels comfortable to you.

Move 5: Pistol Squat to Standing Get-Up

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Activity Mobility Workout
  1. Start standing and lift your right leg a few inches off the floor in front of you. Try to keep this leg as straight as possible the entire time.
  2. Bend your left knee, while pushing your hips back, and slowly lower your hips as low as possible. Make sure to keep your left knee tracking over the middle of your left foot.
  3. Lower your hips down until you are sitting on the ground.
  4. Press through your left leg to help you come back to a standing position.
  5. Continue for the desired number of reps and repeat on the opposite leg.

“This is an advanced ground-to-standing movement transition that demands a lot of hip and ankle mobility,” Wickham says. Plus, pistol squats are great for building single-leg strength.

Too challenging? Try these pistol squat progressions.

Move 6: Deck Squat Get-Up

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Activity Mobility Workout
  1. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and slightly pointed outward.
  2. Push your hips back while bending your knees and descending as low as you can into a squat.
  3. Once your hips are as low as they can go, roll back onto your back.
  4. Then use your momentum to rock forward and come back to your deep squat position on your feet.
  5. Straighten your knees and hips to come back to a standing position.

“This one brings you back to being a kid,” Wickham says. Not only fun, but this movement is also functional as it “incorporates a full-body roll to stand, which is great for coordination,” he adds.

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