How to Perfect the Turkish Get-Up

Here’s a great one to try – We love the Turkish Get-Up (TGU) because it focuses on small stabilizing muscles and develops a solid movement foundation. Without a strong core, adequate mobility, and strong stabilizing muscles, the TGU will not let you progress to higher weights, so it’s incredibly effective for learning strong, quality movement.

Here are the important steps! 

Begin lying on the floor with your arm at full extension, wrist straight, with your shoulder pulled down away from your ear. Your knee should be bent on the same side as the extended arm, with your heel pushing into the ground. The other arm should be out at 45 degrees. Keep your eyes on the kettlebell the entire time!

Step 1: Sit Up • Keep your eyes on the kettlebell, and smoothly sit up along the line of your opposite arm: first to the elbow, then to the hand. (Keep your shoulder down and maintain great posture!)

Step 2: Hip Extension • Push from the heel of the bent leg and drive your hips up while squeezing your glutes. There should be a straight line from the kettlebell to the bottom hand.

Step 3: Sweep the Leg • Sweep the straight leg back and through to a half kneeling position with your shoulders square, eyes on the kettlebell, and make sure your shoulder is staying down.

Step 4: Half-Kneeling • Taking the hand off the floor, straighten the body by sitting upright at the waist to half-kneeling.

Step 5: Standing • Drive from the *front* heel to push yourself upwards into standing. Keep the shoulder blades back and down, and maintain a straight arm, eyes on the kettlebell still, before reversing the movement to come back down, step by step.

From the fetal position, roll onto your back and help the kettlebell into the straight arm position. Rotate your shoulder blade back and down so the arm sits nicely in the shoulder joint. Make sure the kettlebell lays comfortably against the back of the forearm.

7 Benefits of the TGU

  1. Shoulder Stability: In a high-range joint, it is important to be both mobile and strong to avoid injury. The TGU challenges small shoulder stabilizer muscles which serve to protect it against injury, while also acting as a test of mobility. You wouldn’t be able to advance in the TGU if your shoulders aren’t able to move through a wide range of motion.
  2. Core Strength: Each step of the TGU requires core strength in varying positions, which helps develop functional core strength that actually serves to protect your back in real-life situations, from lifting to the rotational strength needed for golf, racket sports, running and more.
  3. Safeguarding against Back Pain: The Turkish Get-Up is great for mobilizing the hips and upper back. Flexibility in the hips and upper back ensures that the lower back does not have to rotate or extend excessively, protecting it against potential injuries.
  4.  Improving Posture: As you progress through the Turkish Get-Up, you realize alignment is very important. In fact, completing the TGU without good posture is very difficult, which immediately cues you into proper alignment.
  5. Full-Body Integration: Since so many muscle groups are used during the exercise, and they all have to work together, it keeps you from favoring large muscle groups over smaller ones (stabilizers). Plus, having to move your body under a balanced kettlebell is great for proprioceptive strength, and it helps you quickly develop a strong sense of bodily awareness.
  6. Assessment Tool: We all have movement issues whether it is lacking adequate movement through the joints, weak core muscles, dominate large prime mover muscles, poor balance, or bad proprioception. The Turkish Get-Up will quickly highlight your problems and help you to overcome them.
  7. Improve overhead confidence and strength: Balancing under a kettlebell during the entire movement helps you develop the strength and confidence needed for other overhead exercises as well, such as an overhead snatch. Once your shoulder stability has improved, lifting larger weights (especially in exercises like bench press and pull-ups) becomes easier and safer.

    If you have any questions let us know!

Posted in Elevate Blog.