Turkish Get-up Benefits and its Get-up Technique

Turkish Get-up Benefits and its Get-up Technique

1. Core stability:

The Turkish Get-up forces the athlete to maintain a braced, strong position as she moves through space and brings the weight overhead. This exercise develops core stability as well as shoulder stability and strength.

2. Total body strength:

Besides working the anterior and posterior chains of the upper body, due to going from lying to standing, the Turkish Get-up also works the lower body as well. The athlete must drive through the legs and stand up with control in order to avoid falling over or having the weight pull her down.

3. Coordination/Balance:

The Turkish Get-up involves moving through a series of planes while manipulating a load overhead. This develops coordination and balance throughout the body.

4. Improved shoulder function:

The Turkish Get-up works the rotator cuff through a complete range of motion (shoulder depression, external rotation, extension, and abduction), mimicking common daily activities such as reaching up to grab something from a high shelf or throwing a ball overhand. It also helps develop the stabilizing muscles around the scapulae.

5. Grip strength:

The Turkish Get-up forces the athlete to maintain a strong grip on the weight throughout the movement, requiring increased grip strength.

6. Increased work capacity:

As previously mentioned, the Turkish Get-up requires multiple muscle groups to work together in order to accomplish this exercise. This increases the heart rate and work capacity throughout the entire body, which is beneficial to athletes in many sports (e.g., wrestling, hockey).

7. Increased full-body strength:

Once an athlete can complete 10 reps of this exercise, she has developed a very respectable amount of total body strength. She will have increased her grip strength, core endurance, upper body strength, lower body strength, and work capacity.

8. Improved shoulder health:

The Turkish Get-up is an excellent way to develop the stabilizing muscles around the shoulders, reducing the chance of injury when throwing, grappling, or engaging in other activities which require overhead movements.

9. Increased shoulder flexibility:

By moving through a complete range of motion, the Turkish Get-up also increases shoulder flexibility.

10. Improved proprioception:

The Turkish Get-up improves a person’s sense of where her body is in space and maintains this awareness throughout the entire movement. This is an important aspect of performing skills such as shooting a basketball or throwing a football properly.

11. Improved accuracy with overhead skills:

Since the Turkish Get-up develops proprioception, it can improve an athlete’s ability to control her body in space while simultaneously controlling a weight overhead. This results in greater accuracy with ball-handling skills (e.g., passing or shooting) and wrestling moves (e.g., lifting or slamming an opponent).

12. Reduced lower back pain:

Due to the Turkish Get-up requiring an athlete to maintain a braced, strong core throughout the entire movement, she will be less likely to experience or at least greatly reduce any lower back issues.

13. More efficient training sessions:

An added benefit of performing this exercise is that it can make training sessions more efficient. By forcing an athlete to maintain a braced, strong core throughout the movement, she will be less likely to start her next exercise with poor posture or other faults that may lead to injury.

Red flags:

1. Poor shoulder mobility or stability can cause issues during this exercise. If an athlete is having trouble completing the Turkish Get-up due to shoulder pain, she should reduce the weight being used or work with a coach to improve her range of motion or stability in that area.

2. Hyperextension of the elbow can also cause issues during this exercise. Ankle flexibility is required throughout the Turkish Get-up because it allows an athlete to fully straighten her arm at the bottom of the movement. Ankle flexibility is a common problem for wrestlers and other combat athletes so it may be something to improve on if elbow hyperextension issues arise.

3. Athletes with past shoulder or elbow injuries should not use this exercise in their training, especially if that injury was re-aggravated while training.

4. Athletes with a history of lower back problems should use caution when performing this exercise, especially if they feel any pain or discomfort during the movement. If pain occurs, immediately stop and consult a medical practitioner for clearance before continuing to train.

5. This is an advanced exercise so athletes should not try to work up to a full Turkish Get-up until they have mastered the Kettlebell Military Press, a quality Hip and Waist Hinge, and can perform 10 strict bodyweight Reverse Lunges with good form.

Turkish get up weight:

1) kettlebell weight: 15kg (33lb)

2) sumo deadlift highpull weight: 10kg (22lb)

3) hanging leg raise weight: 3kg (6.5lb), 2×10

4) barbell back extension weight: 10kg (22lbs), 1×10 + 0.5kg (1.1lb)

Approaching the end of my second year in training, I’ve been experimenting with different forms of “unilateral” work [exercise involving one-sided movement], exercises that have a positive transfer to my weightlifting and certain athletic abilities such as rotational power, reactive strength, and speed development.

During the past few months, I’ve been doing variations of barbell work (both traditional and snatch grip), kettlebell get-ups, bodyweight get-ups, windmills/spiral get-ups (my favorite at present), and single-arm low-intensity training (1 kg plate).

All these exercises definitely work and I would even say that certain variations (the ones that involve a weight transfer) are superior to barbell and dumbbell variations.

However, due to the lack of equipment such as racks for overhead pressing, pulling blocks for deadlifts, platforms/benches suitable for sumo-pulls, and rotational exercises, I’ve been forced to look for alternatives.

Benefits of Turkish get up every day:

-improves core strength and stability (particularly obliques, lower back, and hamstrings)

-increases shoulder flexion mobility

-improves rotational power and control of rotation direction in weightlifting/throwing movements such as the snatch and clean & jerk

-improvement in overall athleticism: coordination, balance, explosiveness, and overall strength

-increases work capacity.

Turkish get-up for beginners:

-sit up with legs bent (bent-knee sit-up)

-raise one hand and extend at the elbow (shoulder extension)

-push yourself off the ground by straightening your arm (shoulder extension to standing position)

repeat on another side.

One of my favorite “unilateral” exercises – the single-arm barbell back extension – was unfortunately banned by my coach.

There is one thing: the get-up.

Turkish get-up technique:

I’ve posted the video of my latest “get-up rampage” on my Instagram (go follow me !). I’ve done 15 complete get-ups in a row with the same weight – that’s it! I don’t know many athletes who can do that, especially not with a weight that is more than their body weight.

These are the exact steps of the Turkish get-up technique:

1) lie down on the floor with your left side to an imaginary vertical object

2) sit up by raising your hips – your arms should be completely straight at this point

3) raise yourself on to one hand, elbow locked out

4) raise yourself on to your knuckles (fingers should be bent towards the ground, palms facing down)

5) rotate your body so that you are now in a half-kneeling position – the opposite arm is now straight and raised up at a 90° angle with a locked elbow.

6) stand up from a half-kneeling position by making a quarter turn to the right

7) return back to the floor in a lying position

8) repeat steps 2-3

9) after completing the desired number of reps, finish off with a pushup and back extension (in that order).

Half Turkish get-up muscles worked:

Many people might argue that the get-up is mostly a shoulder exercise and has little to no significance for other muscle groups.

However, if you take a closer look at how your body needs to move through space, you will realize that it’s actually pretty much impossible to do this exercise without engaging your abs, obliques, hips, and lower back.

For example, if you fail to maintain perfect body alignment (lumbar lordosis) while performing the get-up, your hips will sag down towards the floor. This might be easy on your hip joints but it places enormous stress on your lower back muscles.

Additionally, unlike most other exercises that involve weight on the barbell, you are not able to use your own body weight as resistance because it is on the ground. So, in order to succeed with correct movement patterns while getting up and down, you need to engage all muscles around your spine.

Here’s a list of muscles that get worked when doing get-ups:

-Shoulder flexors (teres major and minor, long head of the triceps)

-Shoulder stabilizers (middle and lower trapezius, serratus anterior, latissimus dorsi, teres major and minor)

-External obliques

-Internal obliques

-Rectus abdominis


spinal (iliocostalis, longissimus, spinalis)

-Hip flexors



-Gluteus maximus

-Gluteus medius

-Gluteus minimus

Other muscles that contribute to the get-up but are not listed above because I don’t consider them core muscles:

-Inner thigh adductors (adductor longus, adductor brevis)

-Inner thigh abductors (gluteus medius, gluteus minimus)


-Traps (especially the upper trapezius – it is really hard to relax this muscle during the get-up)

Turkish get-up muscle activation:

The second reason why I love doing get-ups so much is that they help me to establish better congruency between my left and right side. It is normal to see an imbalance of strength and coordination between the two sides of our bodies (at least I cannot say that this is not true for me). This happens on different levels:

-Weakness on one side compared to the other

-A higher level of coordination is needed to perform a certain movement on one side compared to the other

-A difference of muscle activation between both sides (less or more)

It is not a bad idea to focus on side-specific movements and exercises in order to rectify this situation and establish better coordination, strength, and symmetry. One of my favorite tools for achieving this goal is unilateral bodyweight exercises such as get-ups.

Another exercise that I like to use for this purpose is single-leg deadlifts, which require much more stability on one side compared to the other (so much that at first, it looks as if you are only balancing the bar instead of lifting it).

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