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A blog about thriving and feeling awesome, by Brad Rourke

How To Do Turkish Get Ups

Yesterday in my workout with Grant Hill, we did Turkish Get Ups — one of my favorite exercises.

The original purpose of the Turkish Get Up is to train wrestlers to “get up” from a pinned position — a very difficult task. Turkish wrestling is one of the “folk” forms of wrestling. It has been around for hundreds of years, with an annual tournament that dates to the 1300’s.

The TGU is a complex, multi-part set of movements. As Grant says, “there’s a lot going on.”

The photos below show the first half of the exercise. Start at the upper left and go counter-clockwise:


Photo: Grant Hill

Begin in starting position:

  • Start on your back, with a weight in your right hand, arm straight. The weight should be directly above your shoulder, with elbow locked and shoulders tight on back. You will keep the weight in this position for the entire series of movements — so pick one for which this is possible. (A good rule of thumb is to take what would be a “heavy” kettlebell swing weight for you, and halve it. For me, a 32kg or 70 pound kettlebell is a heavy swing, so I went with 16kg or about 35 pounds.)
  • Bend your right leg so that your right foot is on the ground, just outside your hips and slightly below. Put your left arm straight out on the ground. (Upper left pic in the photo.)

Now perform the movements:

  1. Press your right foot into the ground to lift yourself up onto your left elbow
  2. Straighten your left arm so your hand is supporting you
  3. Pressing your right leg straight, lift your hips off the ground
  4. Bring your left leg back through so you are on your left knee and right foot
  5. Stand up. You’re halfway through! (Large pic in the photo.) Now reverse:
  6. Down to kneeling
  7. Leg forward so you are in a “side plank”
  8. Down to elbow
  9. Flat on your back
  10. Repeat

Do as many using your right hand as you do using the left hand, of course!

This is a hard exercise . . . five on each side is a good all-over strength builder. Add a good metabolic conditioning exercise (i.e., high intensity cardio like my benchmark workout “Andrea“) and you’ve got a great workout.

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