We love to debate the “best” things in life…
- The best food
- The best drinks
- The best vacation destinations
- The best diet to lose fat
One of the most popular debates in fitness circles centers around the “best” exercise.
Truth be told, there is no singular “best” exercise as it really depends on the individual -- their goals, training experience, equipment selection, training preferences, and injury history.
All that being said, there is one exercise that can offer a multitude of benefits of athletes of all kinds -- the Turkish Get-Up.
Read on to see why the Turkish Get-Up is the one exercise you should add to your workout routine!
Why the Turkish Get-Up is Awesome
If you’re looking for an exercise that hits just about everything from head to toe, you’ve found it in the Turkish Get-Up.
It’s a full-body exercise that recruits multiple muscles, including the core, upper back, shoulders, triceps, quads, and glutes, and it challenges your coordination, stability, and mental fortitude.
The Turkish Get-Up is also an exercise that burns lots of calories and elevates your heart rate, just like high-intensity interval training (HIIT), but where it really sets itself apart from HIIT protocols is that it’s low impactand easy on the joints.
Furthermore, the Turkish Get-Up also works the body in multiple planes, building functional strength, flexibility, and mobility, thereby helping you to become stronger, more resilient and a better all-around athlete all the while getting results from your training program!
How to Perform the Turkish-Get Up
While the Turkish Get-Up is traditionally performed with a kettlebell, the truth is that you can perform the movement with a dumbbell or just your bodyweight!
If you’re just starting out with the movement, we recommend starting with just your bodyweight (or a very light dumbbell/kettlebell) until you get the movement down.
The Set Up
Lie down on your back with legs extended, and then bend your left knee, so that your left foot is flat on the floor.
Now, make a fist with your left hand and extend it toward the ceiling, making sure that your left shoulder is firmly pressed into the ground.
Your right arm and leg should be spread out on the floor so that they are extended away from the centerline of your body at roughly a 30-45° angle.
Maintaining a “proud” chest, press through your left foot and roll toward your right side until you are propped up on your right elbow.
Continue rolling upward until your right arm is straight, still holding your left fist straight overhead.
Keeping your gaze fixed on your left hand, push through your right hand and left foot to lift your hips off the floor.
Lift your hips just enough to sweep the right leg under your body and place your right knee on the ground where you were just seated.
Next, pivot your right knee to sweep your lower right leg directly behind you and tuck your right toes under so that you finish in a kneeling lunge position with your hand still overhead.
Looking forward, push through your feet to stand up from the lunge with your arm overhead.
Reverse the movement by first stepping back from the standing position into a lunge. Then, Windshield-wiper your right leg.
Hinge your hips, then post your right hand on the ground.
Sweep your right leg around again so that it is extended straight.
Drop to your right elbow with your left arm still fully extended.
Like back with your shoulders on the ground, and then lower your arm down.
Common Mistakes with the Turkish Get-Up
Not Keeping Your Wrist Straight
Once you progress from the bodyweight version of the Turkish Get-Up, you’ll start holding some type of free weight overhead.
Make sure that you do NOT bend your wrist!
The more you allow the wrist to bend, the less pressure the kettlebell places on your forearm, which may seem like a good idea, but really it’s placing excessive stress on the small muscles and ligaments of the hand, fingers, and wrist.
You want to “crush” the handle of the kettlebell (or dumbbell), which helps maintain a straight wrist, and ultimately allows you to lift more weight.
Not Looking at the Kettlebell
When first attempting the Turkish Get-Up, many individuals stare at the ground or allow their eyes to drift off into the distance.
For starters, don’t worry...the ground isn’t going anywhere.
What you want to do (at least during the initial portions of the movement up until you’re in a kneeling lunge position), is to keep your gaze focused on the weight overhead.
It will take some practice to get used to this, but as you start to lift heavier weights overhead, you’ll want to focus more intently on the weight and movement efficiency, not whether the ground has moved since you shifted your leg around.
Not Packing the Shoulders
A key rule of most upper body lifts (bench press, pull ups, etc.) is to pack the shoulders. It puts the shoulder in a more stable, secure position, which allows more weight to be lifted all the while protecting the shoulder.
Another benefit of packing the shoulder is that it allows you to better engage your lats as well as the other surrounding muscles, making the shoulder girdle (and entire body) stronger.
The Turkish Get-Up is a phenomenal total body exercise that builds functional strength, stability, and coordination. It also improves mobility, which helps you to perform better during everyday tasks.
It may not be the most conventional exercise you’ve ever done, but if you’re willing to put in the time, then you’ll reap the rewards.
If you need added help figuring out the Turkish Get-Up, make sure to check out the video in our extensive library in the 1UP Fitness App, which is available for FREE. WIthing the 1UP App, you’ll also be able to track your macros, look up recipes, and get suggestions for both diet and training to help you get your goals.
You’ll also be able to sign up for our 8-week transformation challenge, where we award $50,000 in Cash and Prizes to 10 Total WINNERS. (5 Female and 5 Male).