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Freeletics Exercises: Standups


Standups may seem rather easy and self-explanatory but can actually be a tough exercise to master and get right. With this move even being challenging enough to be used in US Army training. They are the perfect example of a dynamic strength exercise and if difficult to perform are a great indicator of a weakened core.

What are Standups?

Standups are a calisthenics-based exercise, aka a bodyweight-only exercise, that are designed to improve your explosive strength. Explosive strength is the ability to exert maximum power in a minimal amount of time.

What muscles do Standups target?

Similar to a Situp, Standups require core strength and will ensure a burn in your abs, quads, and glutes. All the major muscles in your core such as the pelvic floor and deep core muscles, obliques, abs, and back extensors will be worked during this exercise. You will also recruit muscles that aid the core including the lats, glutes, and traps.

How do I properly perform Standups?

Training Tip: Instructional videos on all the Freeletics exercises, including Standups, can be found in the “Single Exercises” section of the app, in the “Explore” tab. There we’ve included enhanced tutorial features to help you master these exercises.

To begin a Standup, start by standing facing forward with your mat on the floor behind you. Lower yourself down into a deep squat position and in a controlled manner, lower yourself back onto the mat without the assistance of your hands if possible.

Lay completely flat with your legs extended out in front of you and your arms above your head with your hands touching the ground.

Your body should form a straight line, like a pencil. Make sure to avoid arching the lower spine by keeping the lower back in contact with the floor.

You should now proceed to stand back up, starting by using the momentum from your arms as you swing your upper body over your waist. At the same time, bring your heels in under your hips to thrust yourself into the deep squat position.

Straighten your legs and finish this repetition with a jump straight up in the air while maintaining your torso in a fully upright position and your hands behind your head.

Make sure that you are keeping the proper vertical alignment of your head, hips, and feet during the jump.

Throughout the duration of this move, make sure that your hands never touch the floor, your feet are shoulder-width apart, and most importantly, you are engaging your core muscles.

Additional things to keep in mind when training

As a large number of muscles are being used, Standups require a higher level of coordination and mobility, but the more you practice, the more you will improve on this specific exercise.

If you’re finding this move difficult, try performing this exercise barefoot to help restore some balance and the movement of standing up will become easier.

On the other hand, this move can always be made more difficult through the addition of weights. For those who want to explore the more challenging route, try holding a weight plate throughout the exercise.

Although not a well-known exercise move, Standups are greatly beneficial when accompanied by other strength training exercises. Especially for athletes that are already strong but want to practice and train their explosive strength.

Due to the quick movements, you must be careful to master the move before you go into it too quickly as it's incredibly easy to injure yourself. Begin by completing between 10 – 20 reps and building on this number as you feel more comfortable doing them.

Exercise overview by Freeletics Training and Nutrition Specialist, David Wiener