If you’re looking for a great full body exercise, you’d be hard-pressed to find one better than the Turkish get-up.
Turkish get-ups involve full-body strength, flexibility and coordination in a way that few other movements offer. They’re especially good for your shoulders and core, and they can have functional carryover for handstands and handstand push-ups.
If you’re new to this exercise, start with no weight or use a very light weight until you get a feel for the movement pattern. Some people will get it quicker than others, so be patient if you struggle at first. Remember, it’s always beneficial to have one-on-one instruction from an experienced personal trainer when learning a difficult new exercise.
Originally developed as a military technique for self defense, the Turkish get-up has become a viable tool for athletes and strongmen of all kinds. The lift involves moving from a position where you are flat on your back into a full standing position, the whole time keeping a weight extended above you in one hand.
Get On Up
Though there are a few different variations on specific techniques, the classic Turkish get-up starts with the lifter bending the leg on the same side where the weight is being held. That foot is used for leverage to roll the torso up onto the opposite hip and elbow. From here, roll onto your palm, bridge your hips, and drag the far leg under your body. Complete the move by standing up just like you were coming up out of a lunge.
Make sure you keep the arm holding the weight straight during the entire lift. Think about actively pressing through that shoulder the whole time. Keep your eyes on the weight, maintaining a tight grip with your arm vertical.
Once you get to a standing position, you’ll need to return to the ground to complete the lift. Take it slow and controlled. Sometimes getting down can be harder than getting up!
Don’t worry about going for high reps on these, a few at a time is plenty. You might be surprised how quickly you’ll fatigue, even with a light weight. As always, form first!
Once you are comfortable with this exercise, it can be used to assess your strength. If you can do even half your bodyweight on a Turkish getup, you are extremely strong! (When going heavy, use your free arm to get the weight into position before starting the lift.)
Watch the video below for more:
Thanks to Nimble Fitness for letting me shoot this video in their facility.