24 Apr How The Turkish Get-Up Benefits Everyone

The more I learn about human movement and strength, the more I’m convinced of one thing.

A well executed Turkish get-up (TGU) or get-up will make anyone who performs it better and stronger.

The get-up is beautiful strength.

That is, moving better and moving stronger. It’s being more resilient.

How phenomenal is the get-up?

While, I hate to use the word “magical” about any one exercise or approach, the get-up is about as magnificent as I’ve seen.

It’s truly a “one-stop-shop” for many things.

Here’s a quick list of benefits from this “ancient” exercise:

  • improves total body strength
  • better movement quality
  • improves mobility (specifically shoulder, thoracic spine, hip, and ankle)
  • improved shoulder and spine stability 
  • conditioning benefits (programming dependent)
  • improved body composition (contributes to fat loss, muscle building)
  • makes the body more durable and resistant to falls
  • contributes to injury prevention
  • enhances athleticism
  • builds resiliency 

To my knowledge, there is no scientific research to date on the benefits of the get-up, but these things have been my experience through the years.

Getting up and down from the ground under load is a very powerful thing for the human body.

Yet, this is probably one of most underutilized exercises on the planet to improve strength, movement, and performance.

Why is this underutilized? I’ll talk more about this in minute.

While technical proficiency is required, it can be easy to get caught up in “perfecting” this movement.

As Gray cook once said in a presentation, we are not the “movement police.”

The goal is simply to perform the exercise as safely as effectively as possible.

Strive for mastery and do your best.

The get up can offer tremendous value to any fitness enthusiast or athlete.

No doubt – anyone can benefit from this.

Let me give you some specific examples.

The TGU and the Weightlifter

The TGU can be very valuable and complementary as a warm-up movement and mobility exercise for the weightlifter without taking away from performance. Specifically, it can help with the overhead strength, stability and range of motion that is required with Olympic weightlifting.

The TGU and the Powerlifter

For the same reason I just mentioned with a weightlifter, the TGU can be a valuable addition to the programming for a powerlifter. When properly programmed, it can help movement, mobility, stability and overall strength as a pre-training exercise or post-training movement. There can be different reasons to program pre-or post training depending on the individual.

The TGU and the Bodybuilder

Let’s face it, bodybuilders typically don’t train to improve movement and mobility. I know when I was bodybuilding, that was the last thing on my mind. But, adding in TGU’s to a bodybuilding program can make the programming approach much more beneficial without taking away from the primary goal. Even if hypertrophy is desired, there is no one who wouldn’t benefit by improving movement skills, mobility, and stability. Enter the TGU.

The TGU and the “X” Athlete

You can replace any athlete you can think of with the “X” listed above because I can’t think of any athlete that wouldn’t benefit from performing a few TGU’s per week, in addition to their regular training regimen. Of course, proper programming is the key here and it’s critical to keep focused on the primary goal and minimize distraction for the athlete. I just don’t see how this could diminish athletic potential with a proper programming approach. The goal is to “enhance” performance and not to take away from it. The TGU will enhance.

The TGU and the General Fitness Enthusiast

This is clearly the biggest no-brainer. Most people don’t do this exercise, yet they need to. They need to because of the list of benefits I’ve mentioned above. In the simplest terms, it will build strength and improve movement where strength and movement is needed. To look better, feel better, and perform better – the TGU will  help.

Problems with the TGU?

I think it comes down to a few things.

  • Many people have no idea what this exercise is
  • Most people don’t want to get down on the ground
  • Most people aren’t sure how to perform a proper TGU

Well, I can help with a few things here.

For now, here’s a short video demo I did some time ago demonstrating an “unloaded” Turkish get-up.

When learning the get-up, one must learn the movement first before adding a load to it.

Since the TGU is about movement and strength, it’s an exercise that can be easily utilized or added to many training approaches without cluttering or distorting training goals.

It’s a high value movement, maybe one of the highest value movements I know.

If that’s true, then shouldn’t this be an integral part of our training?

I remember something my friend Chuck once told me about his long-term training goals, specific to the TGU.

Chuck, a physical therapist and kettlebell instructor, told me about his idea of completing the “70 at 70” challenge.

I thought it was brilliant.

The “70 at 70” challenge is simply performing a Turkish get-up at the age of 70 with a 70 pound (a 32 kg) kettlebell.

How strong would that person be?

How resilient would that make a person as they age?

What kind of physical skill, mobility and stability would a 70-year-old person demonstrate by achieving this physical challenge?

For most, it would be beyond amazing.

The Turkish get-up is about having physical power at any age and with any background.

Get-up to get strong and stay resilient.

Spread the word! Please share this on Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere you’d like.

Scott Iardella, MPT, CSCS writes about strength training methods to optimize health and performance. If you enjoyed this, join a strong community of passionate fitness enthusiasts and subscribe below to get cool, free stuff! Subscribe at RdellaTraining.com/join.
  • Will cobley
    Posted at 02:55h, 31 August Reply

    Scott, I just came across your podcast after going through many different ones in the world of fitness. I am loving it. I have been going back and listening to past podcast. I just listened to your podcast on the 21 day TGU program. I see I am late to the game and I missed the free information. How can I get my hands on this program?
    Thank you for your time.

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