Turkish Get Up Benefits – How & Why to Do Turkish Get Ups

benefits of kettlebell Turkish Get Ups

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If you are interested in learning about the benefits of Turkish Get Up, you need to read this article!

The Turkish Get-Up is one of the best exercises you can do for for building strength, coordination, and movement function simultaneously.

According to a study published in Human Kinetics Journal,

“The origins of the turkish get up (TGU) can be traced over 200 years to Turkish wrestling training. Before allowing a wrestler to proceed to the next stage of training, he was required to get up from the ground nimbly, while holding a kettlebell overhead and maintaining control.”

The Turkish Get-up contains multiple different motions, and it has huge athletic carry over since it engages different movement patterns woven together.

In fact, it incorporates all three planes of movement in to one exercise!

A lot of the strength and conditioning coaches that I have worked with on my different basketball teams have used the Turkish get up as one of our primary exercise, but I didn’t become focused on it until I suffered a severe ankle injury back in 2015.

While recovering from my ankle injury, the Turkish get up became one of my primary exercises to help improve my full-body functional movement pattern.

I truly believe this is an excellent exercise for competitive athletes, and all-weightlifters alike, because the benefits of becoming better at this movement are amazing!

Keep reading below to find out more!

Why Should I Do Turkish Get-Ups?

According to a study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies,

“A recent development in rehabilitation and fitness training is the use of more functional exercises to teach patients the motor control needed for their daily activities, occupation, and sports. One such functional, whole body exercise is the Turkish Get-Up. This exercise is a very challenging performance exercise. It combines features of a lunge, bridge, and side plank into a functional whole body exercise.”

Turkish get ups are not an exercise that you need to worry about loading a ton of weight with.

In fact, just using a 10 or 15lb kettlebell is more than enough for most people!

Instead of an exercise which is predicated on using substantial amounts of weights to increase its effectiveness, simply doing Turkish get-ups with good form is enough of an accomplishment!

When you perform this movement, you challenge your entire body in an incredibly functional way. Turkish Get-ups help to build your body’s overall strength, awareness, coordination, stability, and balance.

As stated by a study published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal,

“Because this total body movement offers a unique challenge to core and upper-body stability with lower-body dynamic movement, it can be implemented into most strength and conditioning programs.”

Becoming better at this exercise will inevitably will become better at exercises which will further help you burn fat and build muscle such as all different squat variations, deadlifts, and sprints.

Why Should I Do Kettlebell Turkish Get Ups, Instead of Barbell or Dumbbell Turkish Get Ups?

If you do want to make this exercise more intense, progressively raising the amount of weight in which you use will further challenge your body and your center of gravity.

Turkish Get-ups bring you from a lying position on the floor, to a standing position, in one fluid motion.

Technically, you can use any form of external weight for this movement. You could even use another human if you wanted!

The most common weight that is used for this kind of movement is the kettlebell, and that is my favorite option.

You can use a kettlebell for many other exercises as well, such as the kettlebell swing or the kettlebell windmill., but kettlebell turkish get-ups are one of the most useful exercises you can do with it!

The main reason I believe doing kettlebell turkish get ups is the best option is because the handle allows for free movement of your arm during the exercise, and it is the most comfortable option.

Benefits of Kettlebell Turkish Get-Ups

Very few exercises can offer you the kind of overall body exercise that Turkish Get-ups provide.

Benefits of performing Turkish Get-ups include:

They Improve Athletic Function & Ability

The main benefit (in my opinion) of this exercise is that it improves athletic function.

Whether you want to be better at literally any sport in the world, lift more weight, or simply be better at sports, you need to perform this exercise.

The first benefit that get ups have for athletic function is that they help to promote upper body and lower body stability.

This movement works the body in multiple different movement planes and forces your entire body to be used to stabilize itself properly.

Along with this, Turkish get-ups enhance cross lateralization.

For all intents and purpose, cross lateralization is the ability of the right brain to work with the left side, and the other way around.

Coordination is enhanced through this movement by allowing the upper and lower extremities to work reciprocally.

According to a study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies,

“The results suggest the importance of training both phases of the TGU to gain the most benefit from the exercise and highlights the asymmetric nature of the exercise, which may be particularly relevant for athletes engaged in activities with rotational demands.”

If you are not coordinated, you simply will not be able to do this movement.

If you want to be more coordinated, do this movement!

When you are performing Turkish Get-ups, you will stimulate the visual system, vestibular system, and the proprioception system to contribute to balance.

This exercise will develop front and back weight shift, enhance spatial awareness, develop your trunk strength, upper body strength, and your hip strength

It promotes hip and leg mobility, thoracic extension and rotation, active flexibility, and closed and open chain shoulder stability.

They Help You Gain Muscle Easily and and Lose Weight Efficiently

As I wrote about before briefly, Turkish Get-Ups can help you burn fat and lose weight more effectively by improving your ability to do other exercises more efficiently.

One of the biggest limiting factors for many individual’s ability to do squats and deadlifts is that they cannot do these functional movements correctly and end up injuring themselves or never reaching their full lifting potential.

By training yourself with Turkish get ups, you will easily improve your ability to do these, and other compound movements such as the power clean, or power snatch.

Especially for those people who are interested to try CrossFit or CrossFit style training, you want to make 100% sure that your movement quality is superb before attempting any intense workout that involves the Olympic lifts.

Turkish get ups on their own are great for increasing your metabolism too!

Especially for those people who can eventually reach heavier weights of 50lbs or over, Turkish Get ups stimulate a ton of different muscles at once!

Even without thinking of the reciprocal benefits, this movement is excellent for building muscle and burning fat!

They are One of the Best Exercises for Shoulder Stability

Especially as a person who has had many shoulder health issues, turkish get ups are an awesome exercise because improve your shoulder stability and shoulder health.

As stated by a different study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies,

“The Turkish getup is an effective tool for isometrically loading the cervical spine and shoulder and can be used with minimal space and equipment. This exercise allowed the injured patient to integrate full body movement and conditioning with an emphasis on pain free isometric shoulder and cervical spine contractions to re-establish strength and motor control.”

How to Get the Most from Turkish Get-Ups

To get the most benefits from adding Turkish Get-ups to your training routine, there are few simple tips you should follow.

This exercise is generally difficult to perform, but it is not impossible to learn!

Step 1: Start with No Weight at All!

Due to the intensity of this exercise that involves various moving parts, I recommended that you first start with no weight at all.

Ingraining the movement pattern with a dowel or a broomstick does wonders to help the body become accustomed to the new movement, while also presenting a challenge.

If you do desire to start with using a weight, start with a light weight such as a 5lb kettlebell.

You can continue with a light weight until you are comfortable with the movement pattern, and then progressive upwards from there.

Step 2: Go Slow Through the Movement!

Learn to pause and take breaths between each position in the movement, because it will pay off big-time when you advance to heavier weights.

Work on being able to mentally confirm that you are keeping your core and joints strong, when you go through each separate motion.

If you learn this early on in your training program, it will be very valuable to you as time goes on.

The quality of the movement is the major factor that provides benefits, and not the amount of weight.

Be conscious of this fact, and you will be successful!

Step 3: Always Keep Your Eyes on the Prize!

Learn to look directly at the weight on the way up while performing heavier reps, because this has an incredible effect on your ability to move up in weight with proper form.

If you learn to do this properly, you will master this movement quicker than you could expect!

Common Errors When Performing Turkish Get Ups

Because of the level of complexity of Turkish Get-ups, there is a high tendency to commit errors when you are first learning this exercise.

If you take note of the common mistakes that you could make as a beginner when making the movements, you will be able to progress much quicker!

Fix Your Elbow Position

The failure to position your elbow straight while holding up the kettlebell is one of the most potentially harmful errors that can be made.

When performing a proper Turkish Get-up, the weight must be well supported by the passive structures.

For what we are talking about here, the passive structures imply your skeletal frame.

Bending your elbow exposes and destabilizes your shoulder, which could lead to injuries.

Personally, I have had issues with my left shoulder for about 6 years at this point, but that has not stopped me from performing get ups.

In fact, they make my shoulder more stable!

The reason for this is that I am always focused on the position of my elbow and shoulder, when I perform them.

Your triceps could be over-stressed if you do this exercise with a bent arm, and this will result in quicker muscle fatigue.

Especially if you are trying to move up in weights, you will drop the kettlebell before you can compete the movement.

Side note- if you do drop the weight do not try to save it.

Just stay clear of the weight to avoid further injuries.

Keep Your Shoulders Strong Through the Movement!

Another error is to start with an incorrect bottom arm position. If your arm is not locked and strong at the bottom, it will not be strong throughout the movement.

If you start with an incorrect bottom arm position, you will allow your joints and shoulder to go soft and fail.

Brace Your Core, It’s All in the Core!

The last mistake that most people make is that they forget to engage their anterior core enough.

If you brace your core and keep the middle of your body strong, you will be able to do this movement with much more weight overall.

At “its core”, the kettlebell Turkish Get up is a core movement.

Treat it like one!

Concluding Thoughts – Kettlebell Turkish Get Up Benefits

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced trainer, you can always enjoy better body coordination and balance by practicing Turkish Get-ups regularly.

This exercise will help you build your inner body strength, which you need to carry out your daily activities.

Regardless of how light of a weight you need to start with, adding them to your rotation of exercises today will ultimately help you become a better athlete overall!


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