Today we'll touch on the Turkish Get Up (TGU), which can be an exercise whose benefit may not be readily apparent. Much of my info on the TGU will come from an article by Jeff Martone, who is the founder and CEO of Tactical Athlete Training Systems, Inc. and is considered one of the trailblazers for the modern KB movement.

The TGU is a great exercise to develop strength, flexibility, and stability through the body as you go through the entirety of the movement. It is a good exercise to pre-hab and rehab the shoulders and is an excellent prelude to a safer and more efficient overhead position.

Historically, the TGU was a staple exercise for old-time strongmen and wrestlers. It’s been said that in the days of old, this was the first and only exercise taught to many 
aspiring weightlifters to practice. Supposedly, no other exercises were taught or practiced until the pupil could perform the TGU with a 100-pound weight in either hand.

It seemed, at first, that striving to 100# per hand was excessive, but the merit of doing such became apparent in three ways:

  • First, it takes tenacity and commitment to conquer this feat of strength. 
  • Second, it slowly yet steadily builds a solid foundation of strength that nearly “injury proofs” the body making it ready for more demanding training.
  • Third, it significantly strengthens the major muscle groups, small stabilizing muscles, and connective tissues

The sequence of completing the TGU may seem confusing at first but here's a good tip (broken down into a few segments) to follow as you go through the movement:

  1. Stay tight
  2. Move slowly
  3. Keep your elbow locked
  4. Remain focused on the kettlebell. This is especially important when transitioning from standing to kneeling, kneeling to sitting, and sitting to supine.

The combination of a bent elbow, a little momentum, and the sudden jolt could cause the kettlebell to come crashing down. Take your time, and be smooth.

Oh, and if you want an extra challenge in stability, try doing a TGU with a barbell!

A. Banded elbow distraction
B. Low Back Smash w lacrosse ball 

A. HBBS 1x20
B. TGU 5x2/2 

Couplet of:

Toes To Bar

Thrusters 135/95