Daily Dose of Coach #252: Technique - The Turkish Get Up

Ah, another one of the most disliked exercises I have people do. But if you asked me if I could only do one exercise for the rest of my life, I'd choose the Turkish Get-Up.

Not because I like it any more than you, but it's because there aren't too many exercises I've found hit stability, mobility and strength in almost all joints as does the Turkish Get Up.

I understand why most people dislike it. First timers usually overthink the exercise and are taught too quickly the whole movement rather than in parts. And even as the StongFirst folks explain it in the video above, there's a little more detail than most people think.

If you dislike this exercise, give it another chance. You will discover stability and or mobility issues you have. And you will find out just how weak you are in specific areas as well.

Some typical weak points I've seen in beginners:

  •    Elevating and holding the post so you can sweep the leg
  • Keeping the kettlebell vertical in the transition from post to 1/2 kneeling
  •     Standing up from kneeling position with kettlebell overhead (without leaning forward or being able to maintain the kettlebell vertical, over the head)

Many of you I've worked with have gotten the cliff notes version of the execution. Meaning I teach you in seven steps. In the video above, StrongFirst coach's teach it in ten to twelve steps.

StrongFirst teaches an excellent Turkish Get Up. 

I've broken down their steps below (kettlebell in right hand):

  1. Roll left and press with right hand (same side leg is bent, opposite leg is straight)
  2. Maintain 45-degree angle with left arm and right leg
  3. Roll to left elbow
  4. Post to right hand into a good hinge position
  5.  Low sweep the left leg
  6. Come up to lunge position; windshield wiper left foot back to square hips
  7.  Stand from lunge position (maintaining kettlebell directly overhead)
  8. Reverse the movement by lunging to a soft knee
  9. Same windshield wiper of left foot so you can hinge to post.
  10. Post by returning left hand to the ground
  11. Low sweep the left leg back to straight
  12. Drop to the elbow under control and then roll to the back.

Here are three more tips to help you improve your Get Up.

  • Perfect the movement by first perfecting the Get Up balancing a shoe on top of your fist
  • Keep your eyes on the kettlebell at all times. It helps maintain balance of the bell overhead.
  • Work on pieces. Sometimes I start with teaching the Get Up from the top down rather than bottom up. This way you can train the movement with people who have a hard time transitioning from the bottom up lunge position.

Have fun.