27 Mar The Awesomeness of The Turkish Get Up

TGU504The Turkish Get Up (TGU) is one of the most valuable exercises for every fitness enthusiast and athlete.

This isn’t even a question.

The TGU is an exercise that offers improved movement skills, dynamic strength, powerful and  resilient shoulders, and a high level of mobility and stability.

If there’s a “breakthrough” exercise for most people, this is it.

It’s easily one of the most beneficial exercises for the rotator cuff in the shoulder because the rotator cuff is firing the entire time as we move through the TGU.

The athlete who performs this exercise will be a better performing athlete.

A more mobile and more resilient athlete.

There are many great things about the exercise and one of the excellent benefits is the ability to incorporate this into any program.

There’s no program approach that the TGU wouldn’t fit into, without detracting from the goal.

This exercise also seems to “fix things” and “clean up” movement patterns, perhaps due to the stability and mobility that’s required to effectively perform it.

From the MMA athlete to the golf pro to the recreational fitness enthusiast, there’s no one that wouldn’t benefit from performing the TGU.

Here’s a few key points to keep in mind with the exercise.


It’s important to slow down the movement and own each step along the way.

The TGU is not meant to be rushed.

It’s a slow, deliberate movement pattern.

One of the biggest mistakes, by far, is rushing through this movement.

Slow down, almost to an uncomfortably slow pace.

It will help you own the movements.


If you’re not in a good position during the transitions, it’s okay to move and get in a good position or alignment before moving onto the next step.

The TGU is a simple exercise and a complex exercise.

We can analyze it and we can over analyze it, you know what I mean?

As Dan John beautifully states, we should “strive for mastery and grace,” but we don’t have to be the “movement police” and over analyze this exercise to death (because we certainly can do that).

Yes, we want beautiful movement, but we MUST have safe movement.

Safe movement is being in a good position.

If you’re not in a good position at any point, fix it.

Always be in a good position.

If we strive for mastery and grace, everything will take care of itself.


The exercise can best be summarized like this.

The TGU is driving away (from the floor) with the extremities while maintaining a stiff torso.

That statement is the essence of the get up.

The body is a unit and trunk stability is key to optimal performance.

It’s very important to remember this simple insight.

The TGU is driving away with the extremities while maintaining a stiff torso.


As mentioned above, the TGU is exceptional for optimizing the function of the shoulders.

The rotator cuff’s (RTC) main function is to hold the humoral head (the ball) in the glenoid (the socket).

During the entire TGU exercise (which is a long time), the RTC is firing dynamically to maintain optimal position of the shoulder joint.

The RTC is working statically and dynamically under load for the time it takes to get up and back down.

I’ve found it to be an exceptional exercise, specifically for RTC health, but also the entire shoulder girdle and scapular region without overly taxing or fatiguing those muscles.

My personal belief and experience is that this is one of the best overall shoulder exercises we have available to us.

What exercise can possibly be more valuable to any athlete or fitness enthusiast than getting up and getting down under load and owning movement, mobility, and stability?

That’s the value of the TGU.

The strength, conditioning, and body composition benefits are the icing on top of the cake.

Fat loss, lean muscle building, full body strength, and athleticism are all part of the benefits of the exercise.

The TGU can be viewed as several things.

  • a high-performance exercise
  • a functional movement enhancer
  • a mobility and stability program
  • a dynamic warm up
  • a shoulder health optimizer
  • a corrective exercise
  • a strength and conditioning system
  • a movement assessment

The exercise has an “awesomeness” to it.

How many other exercises could we use to describe all the things listed above?

Not many.

It’s almost a disservice to human movement to not incorporate the Turkish Get Up into a program or training approach.

It’s that valuable and you could argue that it even improves quality of life.


If you can’t get up and down from the floor, we’ve got problems.

I’d say it improves quality of life, how about you?

To focus on improving strength and performance with the Turkish Get Up and other kettlebell fundamentals, take a look at Kettlebell Domination to see if it’s program that matches your goals and skill level.

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Scott Iardella, MPT, CSCS writes about training methods to optimize health and performance. If you enjoyed this article, join a strong and growing community of passionate fitness enthusiasts and subscribe below to get a ton of cool, free stuff! Subscribe below or go to RdellaTraining.com/join to get your FREE Report, Kettlebell Impact with 12 of my best Kettlebell Workouts.
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