The Turkish Get Up

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The Turkish Get Up is a phenomenal exercise. I use it with my clients almost every time I see them. I also recommend they do it the days they don't see me, too.

I am big on using exercises that give you a lot of bang for your buck and when it comes to the Get Up, you really can't get a more well rounded exercise than that. It can be used in your warm ups, cool downs, or as part of your main work.

When coaching my soccer players in New York, if I don't have a lot of time for their warm up, I will have them do a couple Get Ups to cover all the movement bases. When working in more general scenarios like in our small group training classes in Inwood, I like to program the Get Up as part of the main work. 


It's such a great exercise, because there are multiple planes of movement and positions used in what is this single movement pattern. To start, you have the floor and rotational work, followed by shoulder stability and core activation. More rotational and lateral core movements are used leading eventually to a squatting and lunging pattern, all the while maintaining a high level of shoulder stability and core activation. This not only makes it a great full body corrective exercise, but as you progress to heavier weights, it becomes a powerful full body strength exercise

So how to do it: First off, it is a pretty difficult move and not something that should be attempted from start to finish on the first go. Also, DO NOT do this with a kettlebell for a very long time. Make sure you can comfortably complete each step of the move without any issue before you try to add in a kettlebell. Even then, make sure it is a very light one. 


STEP 1 - The Set Up

  • Starting in the fetal position wrap both hands around the kettlebell, then role onto your back pressing the kettlebell up with both hands. 
  • Keep the kettlebell pressed vertically with your shoulder packed and externally rotated. 
  • Bend your knee on the same side that the arm is extended. 
  • The opposite arm and leg should be flat on the floor at a 45 degree angle from the body.

STEP 2 - The Roll

This is a tricky part.

  • Forcefully roll upright onto your elbow. Think about punching your chest up. This is not a sit up, you aren't flexing the abs to come up onto your elbow. 
  • Make sure your shoulder is not riding forward in the socket and your shoulder blades feel strong and connected. The trap should be long, not hunched to your ear. 
  • The kettlebell does not change it's position. Think about doing this with a glass of water resting on your fist instead of a kettlebell. There should be a straight line from the contact point of the elbow on the floor and the extended fist. 

Step 3 - Sitting Up

  • As always keep the kettlebell in the locked safe position. Then push through your palm and extend the elbow so that the only part of your upper body with contact to the ground is your hand. There should again be a straight line from that hand through your back to the kettlebell. 

Step 4 - The Plank

  • Keeping your bent knee push out from the body press through your heel so as to bring your entire body off the floor. 
  • The only point of contact will be your two feet and trailing arm. 

Step 5 - The Lunge

  • Pull your extended leg back underneath your body so that your knee is underneath your hip. 
  • Make sure that your hips stay high and you keep the straight line from the floor through your back and up to the kettlebell. 
  • Then using your obliques twist yourself upright into an upright lunge position position. 
  • Make sure rotate your body around shoulder, making sure that the kettlebell does not move. 
  •  From here you stand tall, finishing with a straight line running from your heel through your knee to your hip to your shoulder to the kettlebell. 



To complete the exercise you return to lying. You do this by reversing the steps. 

The key with the Get Up is to make sure that it is done slowly with no steps skipped. Try not to be in a rush to get to standing. Only go as far as is comfortable. If a certain stage is difficult then concentrate on mastering that aspect before moving on to the next.  

Feel free to reach out in the comments if you have any questions!