The Turkish Get gets a lot of love.
There are those around who harp on at it ad nauseum. They’ll tell you all sorts of hyped up hyperbole leading you to believe that if you were only allowed to do one exercise, it’d be the Get Up.
Well, they’re not far wrong.
It won’t cure you of all your dysfunctions.
It won’t make you indestructible.
It won’t cure cancer.
But here’s a few things about the Turkish Get Up that I absolutely love:
1: It rewards patience.
You simply cannot explode though a get up. You can’t use sheer force. You have to be smooth, controlled and take the time to stabilise at each transition point.
In other words, a heavy get up will teach you to slow down. That doesn’t mean you move slowly, but you find the right speed to get the job done.
2: It’s great for the shoulder.
From time to time my dodgy shoulder flares up and the Get Up becomes my only way to train the upper body. As you roll and stand in the movement, your arm is taken from straight out in front of the body, to the side and then to overhead. All the while the shoulder is loaded, but not really moving, unlike a pressing action.
This forces the rotator cuff muscles to work reactively in order to keep the shoulder stable and the weight locked out.
3: It involves a dead-start lunge.
On the way up, especially with a significant weight, once you get to the half kneeling position with the bell overhead, you will discover that getting from there to standing is a bit tricky.
This is because we have to lunge, but not just any lunge. We have to start from scratch, no lowering portion to pre-stretch the muscle, we have to create all the tension ourselves. Much akin to the most lauded of all strength lifts, the deadlift. The deadlift is so awesome because it comes from a dead start.
A dead start lunge is a rarely trained beast, yet look at real life. How often are you on the floor resting on one knee and have to get up? Well if you any sort of contact sport, I bet it’s a hell of a lot.
4: It’s a lesson in proprioception.
Proprioception is the body’s ability to judge where it is in space. It’s listening to the feedback from the nerve endings, the muscle spindles and the Golgi Tendon Organs, all the little sensory jobbies that feed us information.
We are visual creatures, but our senses go much further. The Get Up is one tool for helping us tune into those other senses. If we load up (I’m not a fan of going light on the get up) then we must focus on stabilising that weight over head as we move from a prone position to a standing position. This means using our other three limbs to shift our body around underneath that weight.
And we can’t look down, or we’ll drop it!
5: Getting strong on the Get Up improves most other things.
It’s true, the get up will improve every other lift to a point. The added core and shoulder stability, the increased body awareness and the ability to brace reactively as you move are all skills that cross over to the rest of the world.
That doesn’t mean you can drop everything and just do get ups, but it does mean that spending time developing the get up, especially in the off season, is a pretty good idea. It goes both ways too, has your training program made you stronger and more athletic? Test your get up, it’s a decent litmus test.
So there are 5 reasons I love the Turkish Get Up.
Now grab a weight and get on it, if you can’t manage a single rep in each hand with half your bodyweight, then start practicing!
If you’re new to the lift, the Level 2 Kettlebell Manual goes into detail on the lift with around 30 photo’s taking you through it step by step.
You can get it here:
Just don’t rush into attempting Jeff Martone’s party trick: