The Turkish Get Up ...


The turkish get up with kettlebell the one exercise no one does but should; here's why.


Increased shoulder stability is one of the biggest benefits of TGU's. The cool thing is that they require the arm to be held in a stable position while moving through multiple planes of motion, finding points of stability in both anterior, lateral and overhead positions, all while propping yourself up on one hand and transitioning from lying to kneeling.


You also have to stabilize the kettlebell from rotating around your wrist which takes a lot of rotator cuff involvement, making this a much more involved shoulder training movement compared to endless external rotations with a band.


TGU's also bring a lot of hip and core action into the picture. You have to have freedom to move through large ranges of motion without compromising your structural integrity, losing balance or wearing the bell like a lip ring. It also requires a good deal of strength and control to lock into positions and not fall over, all while breathing regularly to stay relaxed.


Speaking of relaxed, it's a somewhat forgotten aspect of this exercise. You don't work yourself up to a foaming, frothing rage like you do for a deadlift. Instead, it's balance and control yin works in opposition of the yang of heavy max lifts.


The TGU is invaluable in that it's one of the few exercises where you're required to slow down and think about how you move and not just pushing so much weight you come close to exploding every blood vessel in your body.


Benefits of learning and practicing the Turkish Get Up:


  • improved shoulder and hip mobility

  • improved shoulder and hip stability

  • development of true core strength and stability

  • increased shoulder range of motion (excellent for shoulder rehab)

  • increased grip strength

  • strong and solid shoulders

  • improved ability to overhead press

  • increased coordination

  • improved posture


The turkish get up will also help correct left-right movement pattern asymmetries. Most of us have a ‘stronger’ side. As a consequence, movement patterns will be easier to perform on one side of the body than the other. Practice TGU’s on both sides of the body to improve the ease with which you can perform day-to-day movement patterns (e.g. getting in and out of a car) as well as those required during recreational sports.


Trainer Tip:


When performing unilateral exercises always start with your weaker, less coordinated side; focus on reducing the left-right imbalance before progressing the exercise.


The turkish get up is a whole body metabolic exercise; this means the more muscle groups required to perform an exercise, the more the exercise will elevate your heart rate and the more calories you’ll burn during (and perhaps after) the workout.


Trainer Tip:


Why not combine TGU’s with three or four other compound whole body exercises (pushups, pull ups, dead lifts and push presses) for an efficient metabolic style workout.


The TGU is fantastic when done correctly but take your time to master the technique. Start light and do it right.


If you'd like to learn more about kettlebell lifting and the various techniques involved contact me to arrange an instruction session.