January 13, 2022 11 min read
Although it might seem like a strange exercise, the Turkish get-up is a great addition to any workout routine. In fact, it is one of the most functional, strength building exercises you can add to your weekly program.
It is an excellent choice for improving total body strength, balance, muscle coordination, and stability.
The Turkish get-up requires you to lift yourself off the ground from a prone position (lying on your back) to a standing position, while holding a kettlebell over your head the entire time. All while keeping proper form.
Here, we provide an appropriate deconstruction of this complicated exercise.
Turkish get-ups or TGUs employ a wide range of movements that range from lying down to a sitting, lunge, and standing position in a series of fluid motions. All these are done while you clutch a kettlebell in your grip.
They are incredibly demanding and provide equally good muscle feedback.
An exercise fit for gladiators, the Turkish get-up is thought to have originated from Turkish wrestlers and military men centuries ago. Given the amount of strength and endurance necessary to perform this legendary exercise, its history of being famous amongst cavaliers does not come as a total surprise.
More than 200 years on, and the Turkish get-up has come to settle in the bro-split of men looking to get shredded.
If you can choose one full-body exercise to perform, Turkish get-ups remain one of your best bets. Thanks to its holistic movements, this compound exercise targets and activates all the muscles in your body as you go through all three planes of movement.
That’s right, Turkish get-ups are one of few exercises that stimulate all major muscle groups in the body for the ultimate workout payoff. Turkish get-ups engage muscles in the upper body, core, and lower body in its ultimate muscle strength test.
Turkish get-ups use various weighted equipment like sandbags, dumbbells, and kettlebells to provide an added resistance advantage.
While this makes an already complicated exercise even more difficult, it improves muscle strength and tolerance to high-intensity workouts. Overall, the Turkish get-up is an all-around exercise with numerous strength and muscle benefits. It is an excellent choice for athletes across all levels, regardless of their fitness level.
While many gym newbies ask what muscles they stimulate while performing Turkish get-ups, the real question should be, “What muscles are not being stimulated?”. This ultimate strength-training and mobility exercise packs a punch that will ripple throughout your full-body muscle groups. While it might leave you gasping for air, the integrated movements that make up the Turkish get-up lead to the activation and contraction of several muscle groups across all directions.
These muscle groups include the shoulders, back, hip, biceps, triceps, knees, and legs.
Turkish get-ups work the shoulders during the lifting of the weighted equipment overhead. It works the muscles in the shoulder, activating and strengthening muscles like the rotator cuff muscles.
Since rotator cuff injury is a predominant shoulder injury,Turkish get-ups deserve a spot in weekly program. It strengthens the deltoid muscles and the scapular muscles that help to stabilise the shoulders. This helps to improve lifting power, joint strength, stability and shoulder mobility.
Turkish get-ups work the all of trunks and torso muscles.
The torso stabilises the spine and coordinates several functional movements. It enables the body to flex, extend, twist, and bend.Since all four actions are involved in the Turkish get-up, the core muscles like the transverse abdominis, erector spinae, and obliques are engaged.
It strengthens these muscles during the movements and the involvement of weighted equipment, leading to better stability, mobility, and endurance.
TGU equally activates the glutes and hip flexors during the lunging, rotating, and lifting movements of the exercise. Besides aesthetic functions, the glutes help to stabilise the pelvis and aid in directional and rotational signs. Turkish get-ups use a wide range of motion to challenge and enhance hip mobility, increasing gluteal strength and improving stability. As an added advantage, the Turkish get-ups also engage the muscles in the upper back.
Turkish get-ups target a whole lot of muscles that help to improve functionality.
Some of the benefits of this exercise include:
The Turkish get-up is done in a series of steps that sum up to one exercise. There are two parts to it; the standing motion and the reverse motion. The standing motion comprises a series of small steps designed to drive your body from a fetal position to an erect position. The reverse movement is simply the reverse of the standing motion to get from an upright position to the starting fetal position.
The second phase of the Turkish get-up involves reversing all movements up until you get to the starting fetal position on the floor.
As if the Turkish get-up isn’t cool enough, there are several variations that you can try out. Some of these variations are simple, while others might be even more challenging.
The weightless Turkish get-up is a simple variation. Unlike the staple version that requires you to hold weighted equipment, this variation makes full use of your body weight as a means of resistance. The weightless Turkish get-up is a great way to practice and perfect the movements of the exercise. It has a lower intensity than the weighted version. The weightless Turkish mirrors the moves of the basic Turkish get-up minus the kettlebell or dumbbell. To do this variation, follow the step by step initiative of the basic Turkish get-up without using any weight.
The half Turkish get-up shortens the range of similar movement patterns by splitting the basic Turkish get-up in half. It targets the core muscles and reduces the stress on the hip flexors. The half Turkish get-up is a significant variation for beginners and gym-goers who suffer from hip injuries.
To do this variation:
The double kettlebell Turkish get-up is an advanced high-intensity muscle grappling workout routine. It is double the resistance, double the need for control, and double the effort.
To do this variation:
For the reverse motion:
Turkish get-ups are an all-around exercise that might leave you feeling shaky but are worth it in the long run. The constant practice would lead to a stronger core, better back, sculpted abs, more muscular arms, and built legs.
For the best result, pair the Turkish get-up with any full-body kettlebell exercises for insane muscle strength and mass gains.