Turkish Get Ups Benefits and Steps to Mastery

Turkish Get Up Benefits Kristi Joy WilkinsThe Turkish Get Up’s Benefits:

  • Improved shoulder mobility/stability
  • Improved core stability
  • Improved hip mobility/stability
  • Improved developmental movement patterns
  • Turkish Get Ups are, of course, also a great way to build overall strength and coordination

TGUs are often used as an assessment tool to unmask your weaknesses, while at the same time being a fabulous tool for correcting those same weaknesses.

Get ups are often paired with kettlebell swings as part of what Pavel (the father of Russian kettlebell training), calls the Program Minimum. Get ups are less straight forward than swings, and can cause some frustration on the part of many newbies. Don’t feel bad. TGUs, take some time to learn, (even for someone with a movement or dance background like me) so don’t give up, and keep working at it.

Turkish Get Ups are a great way to warm up before a workout, even doing them with body weight only. You call this–get ready for it…the naked get up. Conjures up images, no? ( I love double entendre)


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When you master the Turkish Get Up, and are able to do it with a heavy weight, you feel like a totally awesome bad ass!

How to do a Turkish Get Up, Left side:

Start lying on your left side, using both hands to grip the kettlebell, roll onto your back, and with both hands press the kettlebell overhead. Keep your shoulders packed into the sockets throughout the exercise.

  • Release your right arm to the ground at a 45 degree angle.
  • Bend the left leg, knee up, foot flat at a 45 degree angle to the right leg.
  • Push with the left foot and roll up onto your right hip and elbow.
  • Push up from the elbow to the right hand into the tall sit position.
  • From the tall sit position, lift your hips and sweep your leg back under you coming into a kneeling position.
  • Come into a lunge position and square off.
  • From the lunge come to a standing position.
  • Reverse the process to come back down.

Here’s the Progression for Turkish Get ups

  1. start with naked half get ups to the hand post
  2. Progress to full naked get ups
  3. Then light weighted half get ups (start with 15-20lbs)
  4. Then lightly weighted full get ups
  5. Heavier weight half get up
  6. Heavier weight full get up

Trouble Shooting the Turkish Get up

If you are having trouble with the sit up portion of the get up, do some direct abdominal work for awhile and come back to the get up at a later time. Perform plank variations, leg raises, and anti-rotation holds.

If you’re struggling with hip extension, and the leg through portion, go back to kettlebell swings, glute bridges (strengthening the glutes in general), and mobility work for the hips.

If you are having trouble keeping the overhead arm locked out and packed in the socket (your arm falls forward, or you feel like you are going to lose the weight), work on your pressing and pulling strength.

How to Incorporate Turkish Get Ups into your Workout Plan

  • Pair the turkish get ups benefits with the benefits of the kettlebell swing, for The Program Minimum. The Program Minimum alternates days of kettlebell swings with TGUs. Perform swings, starting with sets of 20 reps, followed by active rest for 1 minute. The next day perform get ups alternating sides for 5 minutes.  Master these 2 movements and I promise you, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck.



If you are not using Turkish Get Ups in the Program Minimum, put them at the beginning of your training session. This is especially important if you are doing them heavy. You want your nervous system to be fresh, and you do not want to be tired while holding a heavy weight over your head.

Breakin’ it Down

Turkish Get Up, Steps to Mastery

  1. Start with the naked get up and learn the form–1/2 get up, then full get up
  2. Progress to weighted get ups–1/2 get up, then full get up
  3. Pair with kettlebell swings, or do at the beginning of your workout
  4. If you have trouble with portions of the Turkish Get up, focus on mobility and strengthening your abs, glutes, and shoulders first.

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