The Turkish Get Up (TGU) is a total body movement that builds shoulder stability and core strength. Since there are many parts to the movement, be sure to practice the sequence with bodyweight initially. Ensure proper and smooth execution of the entire movement before adding a kettlebell. You should have control over each part of the movement; if someone yelled “freeze!” at any point, you would be able to stop and maintain stability of the kettlebell.
The TGU is best practiced in sets of 1-5 repetitions. There is a lot of focus required, so doing a lower rep count will ensure better quality movement. Build up your volume slowly by increasing the number of sets. I recommend being able to do at least 3-5 perfect repetitions with the weight you are using before moving up in weight. A perfect repetition means there is no wobbling of the kettlebell and you have complete control of each portion of the movement (including the return to the floor).
The TGU can be practiced in parts as well. Typically the most challenging part of the movement is the Turkish Sit Up (also known as the Half Get Up), which is the initial portion of the movement where you come to an upright torso position with hips still on the floor, then slowly return to the floor. When training toward a heavy TGU, it’s helpful to work on the TSU with heavier weights than what you would use for the full TGU. Besides the TSU, other parts of the TGU to isolate would be the pass through of the leg from the TSU into the Kneeling Windmill, the Kneeling Windmill, and the Overhead Lunge.
- Start lying on your side in the fetal position. Insert your hand fully through the kettlebell handle.
- Roll onto your back, keeping both hands over the kettlebell handle and elbow tight to the body. Set the legs about 45 degrees apart, with the leg bent and foot flat on the side you are holding the kettlebell. The other leg should be straight.
- Press the kettlebell up until the arm is straight and the weight of the kettlebell is balanced over the shoulder. Remove the free arm and place it on the floor, palm down and about 45 degrees from the body.
- Use the elbow of the free arm and the foot of the bent leg to drive into the ground and bring yourself up onto your elbow, then up onto your hand.
- Lift the hips, then pass the straight leg underneath until the knee is under the hip. Keep your eyes on the kettlebell.
- Bring the torso up straight, then pivot the back leg so you are in a lunge position.
- Drive into the heel of the front leg to come up to a standing position.
- To reverse the movement, step back with the leg opposite to the side you’re holding the kettlebell and come back into the bottom of the lunge position (knee resting on the floor).
- Pivot the back foot in, then slide the free arm down the thigh and onto the floor directly beneath the shoulder. Pass the back leg through the free arm and the front leg and set your hips down onto the floor.
- Lower down to the elbow. As you lower all the way down to the floor, feather the kettlebell across the body slightly to slow its descent.
-Travis Jones, PTA (courtesy of Kettlebell Kings)