The Turkish Get-Up (TGU) has become a popular lift in recent years because of its unique name and movement. It may sound simple but it is a complex exercise that requires the entire body to be “synchronized” together in order to get full benefits. It teaches the body to move in the correct order in more than one plane of motion. This exercise can also be a great assessment tool to help you locate weaknesses (lack of mobility/stability/strength), which will be easy to find on the TGU.
Benefits of the TGU
- Core Strength
- Scapula Stability
- Thoracic Mobility
- Hip Mobility
- Glute Activation
- Full-body Coordination
- Overall Strength
Important Safety Tips
- Do not try and perform this with a heavy dumbbell or kettlebell if you’re a beginner. Start with your bodyweight or something light and focus on perfecting all positions.
- Slow it down and take the time to “feel” the exercise at every position (pause for a second on each position). More often a beginner will rush through all the positions and lose all the benefits of the exercise.
Now, let’s get started!
How to Perform the TGU
1. Start Position
To pick up the dumbbell or kettlebell, start by laying on your side in a fetal position. Roll over on your back while pushing the weight up. As you lay down in a prone position with one of the arms perpendicular to the body, the shoulders should be “packed” meaning shoulders down and back. The leg on the same side should be flexed and heels near your glutes. The opposite arm and leg should be should be straight and slightly abducted (or 45 degrees away from your body). Also, the core should be activated.
2. Push up and Crunch
Using your straight-arm, punch up to the ceiling while driving your heels on the same side as your straight-arm. Lengthen the opposite leg so that it is easier to keep it straight and on the floor. The key to crunching is to extend your thoracic spine (this should keep your chest up and prevent it from caving in) and you should be getting up on your opposite elbow.
3. Elbow to Hand
At this point, shift the weight from your elbow to your hand while keeping the straight-arm shoulders tight and packed.
4. The Bridge
This is the awesome part, this is when you feel its benefits. Drive the heels to the ground and elevate the hips (squeeze the glutes) off the ground. Holding this position can improve glutes, shoulder, and core strength. Maintain a neutral spine by keeping the chest up.
5. Leg Sweep
You are going to bring the straight-leg behind you and your knee should be on the ground underneath your body. It is important to maintain a neutral spine and keep the chest up.
6. Half-Kneeling Position
Internally rotate the leg with the knee touching the ground while straightening the torso into a half kneeling position. This is when you check if you are maintaining a neutral spine, chest up, and shoulders packed.
7. Standing up
You are half way there! From a split stance position, stand up by driving through your heels. You should be in a standing position with feet together and your straight-arm overhead, maintaining a neutral spine with shoulders packed.
Repeat the steps on the way down and BOOM! Great job on doing the first repetition of the Turkish Get-up.
As you can see this is an intricate lift that requires a lot of attention to technique. Also, there are easier variations to the Turkish Get Ups for people that have limitations and weaknesses. I hope the instruction provided for this exercise can help you safely perform the TGUs and improve your technique.
If you want to see those other modifications or if you have any additional tips, please feel free to comment below. #StayGritty