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The Turkish Get Up!  Everybody and their brother’s cow should be doing a Turkish Get Up. Why? Let us count the ways:

  1. It challenges the body in all planes of motion. Transverse, sagittal, or frontal, your whole body gets put to the test.
  2. It improves stability.
  3. It builds core strength.
  4. Used with a relatively light load (or even no load at all), it can be a terrific warm up for any activity.
  5. Safely used with a heavy load it can be the only exercise you will need.  If you are ever short on time, and want to make sure every muscle fiber in your body is being challenged, look no further than the “TGU.”
  6. It will improve your performance in all your other lifts. Each position of the Turkish Get Up is not only challenging, but it requires the whole body to work together as a unit.  This challenges the body’s central nervous system (or CNS, a fancy term for the body’s control and coordination center). As the CNS becomes more efficient at the TGU, every other lift becomes easier.

So, in a nutshell, if you want to become more awesome, then start doing Turkish Get Ups!


Question: When is it ok to not engage your core when doing a Turkish Get Up?
Answer: NEVER, EVER, EVER.  You have to promise me right now you will keep your core engaged throughout the exercise, and only relax it when you fully finish the movement and have let go of the kettlebell on the floor (if you’re using weight).  If you can’t promise me that, it’s  better that we just part ways now, so you don’t break your body, and I don’t get my heart broken.

  1. Start with the kettlebell at your right side. Roll onto your right side, and grip the bell with your right hand, and then wrap your left hand around your clasped right hand.  Pull the kettlebell towards you, keeping your back, neck, and head neutral.
  2. Using your trunk muscles, rotate onto your back, with both right knee bent, and left leg extended out at 45 degrees. Press the kettlebell up using both hands for support. Be sure to “pack” your shoulder blade in to securely position your shoulder/arm. When your arms are fully extended, release your grip onto the ground with the left hand, and place it 45 degrees away from your trunk, palm down.
  3. This is one of the most challenging positions in the TGU. Using your right leg and trunk muscles, you are going to push your right arm up and rotate your trunk onto your left elbow; you can also imagine you are driving your left leg through the floor.  It is vital that you keep both your shoulders “packed”; drawing the shoulder back and down, and continue to keep it snug and protected in the shoulder capsule.
  4. Drive up even further, and press up on your left shoulder.  Again, you must make sure to keep your shoulder packed back. There should be a straight line from your left wrist on the ground all the way up to your right hand.
  5. Thrust your hips up towards the ceiling using your glute muscles, keeping the right leg bent and the left leg straight.
  6. Draw the left leg back, bending the knee, and placing it directly beneath your center of gravity. Your left bent knee should be pointing at your left hand.
  7. Pull your body upright, and rotate your left knee so that it is pointing forward. You will be in somewhat of a lunge position now.
  8. Come up and step the left leg forward.

Now you’re done! WAIT. I lied. Now, you have to go in reverse order to get it back down!

Again, the Turkish Get Up is a terrific exercise that everybody should be doing.  You can do it unweighted as a warm up and/or cool down; you can ramp up the weight and challenge every muscle in your body in moments.  We hope you enjoy it!