Coaching The Turkish Get Up

The Turkish Get Up So why is it called a 'Turkish Get Up'? Legend has it that when old-time strongmen were asked to take on an apprentice, they would send the applicant away, telling him not to return until he could perform one Turkish Get-up using a 50kg weight.

It is believed that this exercise was invented by ancient wrestlers in what is now Turkey to prepare them for their grueling competitions.

Then the real training would begin.

At some point in your life you need to get up from the floor. And you first learn this 'skill' when you were a baby. This is when you developed your first movement patterns such as crawling, squatting, hinging and learning to get up. Enter the KB Get Up. We love the KB Get as it is also a great assessment tool which can highlight movement patterns or weaknesses and will also keep you HONEST in your movement especially as you increase the LOAD. The Get Up highlights the following: Ankle Mobility

Knee Stability

Hip Mobility

Core Stability

Thoracic Mobility

Shoulder Stability

You can now see why it is such as amazing assessment tool but also why it needs to be coached correctly. This exercise integrates every muscle in your body. If there’s a weakness, you will find it very quickly or it will find you - this is also one of the reasons why beginners especially have a hard time with the TGU. But when it is coached and performed correctly the results are amazing. And lets be honest. ‘It is one sexy looking lift’ The main issue with the KB Get is that many people RUSH through the exercise without getting a feel for it. You have to feel each movement. Breath with each movement.

Benefits of KB Get Up

It makes a great Instagram Video or Pic!

Improves Shoulder stability

Integrates Cross body control

Develops Core strength

Can help improve Posture

Promotes a good range of Ankle dorsiflexion

Improves Hip stability Incorporates Single Leg Stability

Improves Hip Mobility

Increases Strength and carry over to other lifts

Improves confidence in movement patterns

The versatility of the TGU means it can be used as an effective warm up drill (for all the aforementioned reasons) and easily included in your mobility/stability at the start of your session. It is a great strength exercise, not so much in terms of contractile strength, but in terms of time under tension, eccentric loading and switching on all your stabilising muscles like a Xmas Tree.

80s classic ‘Running Man’ Dynamo is lit after a 32kg TGU!

So why should we be interested in lighting up your stabilising muscles? The majority of shoulder injuries are due to an imbalance or weakness in the rotator cuff muscle (SITS) and nothing will get these working more than holding 32kg above your head.

This will result in increased functional strength and carry over to other lifts such as bench press and overhead pressing, and why is such a great exercise for ‘bullet proofing your shoulders’ and developing core strength.


We are not a fan of high rep TGU as the movement should be performed with INTENTION.

Focus on slow, controlled movements which should include diaphragmatic breathing, and certainly an emphasis on quality over quantity.

‘Perform the TGU with intention’ and aim for no more than 1-5 reps per arm and sets 3-5 but sometimes I will just perform one set each side if including it as part of a warm up routine.

If you have been using KB’s in your training you will appreciate you will have to ‘EARN THE RIGHT’ to increase the load due to the increments in KB weight, for example, 12-16-20-24-28-32kg and so on. BE PATIENT. Respect the KB and the MOVEMENT.

The TGU has six positions which should include 6 diaphragmatic breaths. During every transition you should maintain tension in the body and sharply exhale as you pass through each phase of the exercise.

On our Kettebell Instructor course we go into great detail and cover areas such as: How to pack the shoulder

How to create space

The importable of the leg sweep

Using the hip hinge

Avoiding flared rib cage

Breathing and bracing

So lets break down what we feel are the important steps or movements of an effective KB Get up. Before attempting the TGU with a weight perform several repetitions using only bodyweight or your trainer an pretend that trainer weights 50kg!

1. Roll to press

Roll to your side and press the Kettlebell with 1 or 2 arms.

Kettlebell at 45 degree angle with opposite arm and leg at roughly 45 degree angle.

2. 1/4 Elbow

Elbow locked and focus sight on the Kettlebell.

3. 1/2 Elbow

Shoulder packed and space created between neck and shoulders.

4. Knee to hand

Shoulders remain packed creating a 'pillar of tension' with arm underneath the armpit, sweep the leg before hinging back through the hips and the back foot should be on the toes.

5. Lunge position

Establish a solid lunge with a brace anterior core.

6 Stand

Exhale sharply as you stand and bring your back foot forward. Your feet should now be shoulder width apart. Our next Kettebell Instructor course will be held at FFTAcademy Cardiff on August 6th 2017. If you would like any further information please do not hesitate to get in touch. 'Follow your passion with Wales' No1 Training Provider'

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