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Everything you ever need to know about the Turkish Get Up

I like questions. So when I get this one from a friend and highly recommended Physiotherapist Gavin Yore, I have to respond:

“Well Dave, request for ya.

Could you do a video on how to do a proper Turkish get up?

I haven’t been trained in how to do them properly but understand why they’re so important.

When I look at tutorials on the University of YouTube a lot of the cueing seems to differ so not sure if I’m doing it right or wrong.

Yer man Brett Jones is the right sort to be watching, yeah?”

My response was of course, “Yes mate, I’ll get right on it!”

You see the Get Up is a WG-Fit staple, we use it a lot, and we love it. Here’s a couple of examples:

Here’s one of our Kettlebell Sport athletes using it for overhead stability purposes:

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Sicknote with a 32kg Turkish Get Up He trains Kettlebell Sport as his primary. But as he’s been rehabbing a shoulder injury and now has the early symptoms of Man Flu, he’s off program for a bit. What started out as a rehab/mobility session became a Get Up play session. While Get Up’s are often sneered at by the Kettlebell Sport community as it’s usually thought of as a “Hard Style” drill, it has great benefit for all athletes, particularly Overhead athletes. And Kettlebell Sport is definitely an overhead sport. We have consistently found that acheiving and maintaining a respectable Get Up helps an athlete lock out in an overhead position. The multiplaner movement that occurs atcthe shoulder as the body moves around under the bell offers a huge amount of stimulation throughout the shoulder girdle. Not to mention the more obvious core benefits. Do you use them? #wgfamily #irishfitfam #Kettlebellsport #girevoy #girevik #iukl #aiklf #kyokushin #karate #bjj #judo #strength #mobility #endurance #turkishgetup #Kettlebell #Kettleheads

A post shared by Dave Hedges (@dave_hedges) on Sep 24, 2018 at 12:43am PDT

Here’s a Hockey Player using it for shoulder rehab purposes:

And here’s me with the 52kg bell:

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A post shared by Dave Hedges (@dave_hedges) on Sep 4, 2018 at 12:45pm PDT

So what is it for? Why do we love the Get Up so much?

As an exercise, it challenges the shoulder, the core, the balance, patience, concentration, mobility, and the level to which your strength is integrated and coordinated. That’s a lot.

The order of movement goes like this:

  1. Start on your back with the bell beside you

  2. Roll into the bell, grab it with two hands and use your bodyweight to roll onto the back bringing the bell with you

  3. Lock the bell out with both hands taking the time to get it into a comfortable position

  4. Plant the same side foot, take a breath and get ready to go

  5. Press the planted foot into the ground and roll onto the non weighted shoulder, keep your eyes fixed on the bell

  6. Come up onto your elbow, keeping the eyes fixed on the bell.

  7. Straighten out the bottom arm, eyes on the bell. You now have both arms straight, shoulders down (neck long) and have achieved the half get up position. This alone is enough for many and is a highly effective shoulder rehab drill in the right context.

  8. Press the planted foot and hand into the floor to lift the hips off the ground, keep the eyes on the bell. How high you lift is a personal choice, more that later…

  9. Sweep the unloaded leg through underneath you until you can place your knee solidly on the floor close to the loaded hand. Keep your eyes on the bell.

  10. Remove the loaded hand and straighten up into a half kneeling position, you can now think about not looking at the bell.

  11. Adjust your feet until you can press the lead foot into the floor and come to standing.

  12. Stand tall for moment, own that top position

  13. Slide the unloaded side foot backwards with control.

  14. Gently come down into the half kneeling position, be gentle, the knee should caress the ground not smash into it, you probably want to be looking at the bell.

  15. Eyes fixed on the bell, reach the no weighted hand down towards the floor close to the knee

  16. Find the floor and bring your weight into the hand, eyes on the bell.

  17. Press the hand into the floor to unweight the knee and kick that leg through until it’s straight out in front.

  18. Sit the arse down, you’re still looking at the bell right?

  19. Now roll back sequentilally down the arm, elbow then shoulder then flat on your back, always looking at the bell.

  20. Bring the bell down under control, you may use both hands and return it to the floor.

  21. Swap sides and repeat.

And that’s all there is to it…..

Watch this video, it tells you all that, as well as the following:

  1. How to start the lift

  2. How to use a Dumbbell instead (yes, it can be done with tools other than the kettle)

  3. How to make a light kettlebell much harder to lift

So there you have it, everything you need to know to perform a Turkish Get Up well.

But how do we use it?

The Get Up is relatively forgiving and can be trained multiple times per week. It can be used in place of other upper body drills. It can be used to round out a lower body session. It can be light and smooth to warm up with (bottoms up are ideal here) It can be worked up heavy as a second or third movement in a workout

Here are some examples:

Upper body focused workout: 1A: Turkish Get Up x 1 L/R 1B: Pull Up x 5 4-6 rounds, work up the weight on the get up or set a timer for between 15-20 minutes and alternate the two exercises until the time runs out, don’t race! This can be the first or second exercise pair in a workout.

Minimalist full body workout: 1A: Turkish Get Up x 1L/R 1B: Goblet Squat x 8-12 5 rounds

“Hard Style” minimalist workouts: Program Minimum – Get Ups x 5 mins, Swings x 10 mins Simple & Sinister – 10 x 1 Arm Swings every 30 seconds, alternate arms each set for ten minutes, then 1 Turkish Get Up per minute for 6 minutes

Get Up complex: Snatch – Get down, Get Up, Windmill x 1 L/R for time. I usually get people to do this for 10 minutes, but will personally go for 45 minutes on this.

The key is to succeed in every rep of the Get Up. As you saw by the listed out description, there are several phases of the lift. Work to own every phase. Eliminate any wobbles, any loss of control. A lot of volume with relatively light weights will make the heavier weights go up easier.

Above all else, never ever rush!

And keep your eyes on the kettlebell as you move. If you don’t, it might end up in your teeth!

Since we mention dropping the bell, should you lose control, that’s exact;y what you do. Bin it, drop it anywhere that isn’t on yourself or another person.

And if you have questions, get in touch.

Oh, nearly forgot… That Brett Jones fella, yeah he knows a thing or two about the Get Up. Look him up.


Dave Hedges

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