Turkish Get-Up


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I was wondering why the Turkish Get-Up is such a tremendous exercise? I have seen many evidences, like improved body awareness, shoulder mobility, symmetry etc.

But since I want to be very strong in the first place, I was wondering about the strength benefits of this exercise. Does it build unreal strength? How does it build strength? How strong can you get from it?

Can it fill all the strength needs of a young man if it is combined with, let's say, pull-ups, as a grinding exercise and swings for conditioning and posterior exercise?

If you have any comments on the TGU, please let me know.


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There are masters who understand this better than I, I'm sure, but as someone with damaged shoulders who has made and is making tremendous progress with the TGU, here is what I can offer for an explanation.

The TGU is one of the near perfect, whole body exercises that creates a tremendous WTH (what the hell) effect. Yes, it will build terrific strength, most specifically in one of the weakest parts of the human body... the shoulder. Shoulders have very little there to protect its joints, hence so many with serious injury. It is a very vulnerable spot. And... since you can do very little without a healthy shoulder, a very vital component to any strength training. Over-simplifying, the TGU takes your shoulder through a complete range of motion, without moving it. Done properly, you "pack" or lock it into its strongest position. You then take your body through a range of motion that requires all the muscles (small stabilizers included) to keep that shoulder in its safest and "strongest" position. You get to work vulnerable and inherently weak muscles without putting the joint at risk. Makes sense?

The TGU will make you very strong. If we were to agree that the shoulder is, by nature, one of our weakest points, and that anything is only as strong as its weakest point, how strong can you get if your shoulder is very strong? I challenge you to go find out. :)

Oh, and in so doing... please do yourself a favor and get with a certified instructor. It's golden. I'm not one, so I'm telling you this from a trainee perspective. Don't be a retard with an ego. The men and women who have earned, and I do mean earned, certification... they know what the hell they are doing.

Good luck with your TGU's! Im off to do mine.



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I challenge you to go find out
Bill, a challenge I'm eager to accept! So for now, I'm only doing TGU's backed up with swings, so PM in short.

But I'm not able to get to a cert who can help me. In Belgium, there aren't any! Or at least not in my neighbourhood. The only correction I can get to perfect my technique is here...

I still have one question: do you need lots of volume to see results, like other kettlebell exercises?

Oh yeah Bill, what weight do you use?


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Hi Siemen, what part of belgium are you from?  I've found an RKC lvl II certed trainer which helps me out, based in brabant, giving grouplessons in brussels and hasselt.






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Here you go http://honbudojo.be/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=116:cursus-kettlenell&catid=38:algemeen&Itemid=60

She's supernice :) helped me progress a lot so far

Steve B.

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TGU builds strength at many different angles especially ones that dont really get worked through traditional exercise and strengthens them lessen chances of injury.Makes your body work from head to toe as an integrated unit.Many use it as an assessment movement to see where we need more mobility or to expose weaknesses.A valuable must to add to any program you do.

Brian P Gill

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Certified Instructor

Quoting Joe Rollino (a student of Warren Lincoln Travis), Dave Whitley referred to the Get Up as a "a beautiful exercise." My practice, results, and an RKC weekend in particular, support this. Any exercise that would allow you to stretch (yawn), publicly, during its performance was a welcome treat during my Certification experience.

Though I hate to state the obvious (which may be the antithesis of a site called Strong First), you may want to consider purchasing 'Kalos Sthenos (Beautiful Strength) - Kettlebells From the Ground Up' ( Kettlebells From The Ground Up). Though it cannot replace the personal instruction of a certified trainer, it will provide in depth instruction on the Turkish Get Up, as well as a number of supplemental movements.

To answer your previous inquiry, as a "Grind" the Turkish Get Up doesn't necessitate high volume practice. In fact, exceeding five reps (per side) a set may be counterproductive, particularly if the quality of the movement is questionable. As for weight used, I've performed the Get Up (and most of the supplemental movements) with every bell from 4kg to 40kg (@ around 165lb./75kg) . Every repetition has had its benefits.

What each repetition provides is a pull, a press, hip hinge/extension, rotational stability, a quad dominant movement, as well as the aforementioned yawn when necessary.

Quality of movement, programming, and a number of other elements, make 'Kettlebells From the Ground Up' essential for any kettlebell practitioner, especially those embarking on the PM...

With that in mind, 'Mastering the HardStyle Swing' might be another product worth considering.

Sorry for the sales pitch, but what you are saving by not seeing an instructor could be put to good use with these products.

Good luck with your practice and progress.


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Looks like you got most of it answered. Speaking from experience, the Kalos Sthenos is fantastic. We use it almost daily, and I have my 16yr-old boxing daughter doing it to strengthen her bad shoulder. That and arm bars. Really works nice. As stated, it is not a high rep movement. Just be consistent. Practice a few getups every day. We do them as warmups every day, with usually one "heavy" day per week. Heavy is only a rep or maybe 2 with a heavy bell, once your TGU is solid. As for weight, check your ego at the door and keep it reasonable for a while, focusing on form, your wrist especially, etc. There is great benefit even in lighter weight getups.

Once you think you want to test your max, have a spotter! That iron ball hanging over you can do some damage. Also never try to "save" a getup. Toss the damn thing away or you'll do some damage to a wrist or shoulder.

You're on the right track doing PM. Once you feel really good about it, and have had some evaluation (submit a video if you can't get with instructors), look at the ROP later in ETK. Stick to programs & don't get fancy & you'll be fine. The strength will start showing up. I'd encourage you to pick something... pullups, a traditional lift, anything that strikes your fancy, and DON'T train for it. Just attack Kettlebells for a coule months, then go attempt the lift, exercise, whatever you have picked, and see what happens. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.


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As a martial artist I view the TGU as the Kata of strength. It is something to always learn from and grow strong.

the hansenator

More than 500 posts
Get-ups have been treating my bad shoulder well. I've been surprised at the amount of lat involvement in the grounded arm during the bridge.

I don't see people talking about it but I feel that half the benefit comes from supporting yourself on one arm and the way that seems to engage all the muscles that every article on shoulder health mentions.


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fdnyceguy, what is the pulling part of the TGU?

Could I person take a 1 rep max in the bench press from 200 to 225 using only the TGU? How about increase a 1 rep max in the standing BB press?

I weigh 155 pounds and was able to do a TGU on each side with OKAY form with 65 pound DB's, is this considered weak? Any TGU baseline goals that are generally accepted for men?


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Thank you all for the help I got until now. It has helped me so far. I'm now doing TGU's with the 24kg, 1 rep at a time. Maybe some will think this isn't that much, but a couple of months ago, I couldn't do these with a 16kg. The 24kg has showed me especially where I'm leaking strength. I've found out that I have to use more tension in the entire arm and shoulder. I also need to work on my floor connection by grapping the floor with my feet and free hand. Core needs some work to, my legs get up when I crunch up. It showed me I need to work on staying tight eveywhere. A video will show what I mean, but haven't got the goods for filming now.

Nico, I should definitily go check on her for a lesson. Maybe I will improve too.

fdnyceguy, I'm also wondering about the pulling part of the TGU?

Bill Savage, now doing only singles with 24kg bell, the only one I still own. Heavier for me, but I don't have a choice, but it seems to work. Will keep you informed on the progress and my WTH effects ;)

Everywhere I look for this exercise, I see it is used as a mobility and assessment exercise. It also says it build terrific strength, nothing more. But why would the old-time strongmen then use this with a 100 pound as a right of passage for further learning and strength? Have we lost the value of this exercise?


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Sounds like you "get it", and your progress is certainly commendable. 24kg tgu's are nothing to sneeze at.

To your last point, yes, I believe many overlook or lose sight of the value of this exercise. Let's face it, it isn't a "tough guy" looking exercise. If you don't understand the difficulty of it, watching someone perform it produces little-to-no "wow" factor for the average spectator, etc. Us humans seem to inherently lose sight of the fundamentals. We have this need to over-complicate things, when in fact its the basics that produce the lion's share of the results. Kettlebells... been around for hundreds of years. A simply iron ball with a handle. But we've developed fancy machines costing thousands of dollars to try to accomplish the same result. TGU... one exercise, one iron ball. Traditional... a host of a dozen exercises with machines and different bars and plates all to try to accomplish what one exercise can produce. My personal opinion... if it seems too basic... you're probably on the right track.

Iron Tamer

Strongman, Speaker and Seeker of Truth
After spending a year and a half doing little else beside getups, i recommend spending time with it. Most of your questions will be answered by the practice and if you pay attention to the process, you will gain insight that you can learn but not be taught.


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Yes, Bill, I have the same impression. It can be too basic. But if you see human TGU's, then the wow finally comes. But then, there's not enough information on the internet, and most people don't want to spend too much time doing it to understand the exercise.

Iron Tamer, you're absolutely right, I have learned more in a few days of TGU's then I have in months doing not.


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What kind of move is TGU in Easy Strength/40 days workout? Push? "The 5th movements"?

Is it reasonable to do:

3 easy 1-2-3 ladder of One Arm Overhead Press ,

Pull up,

Zercher Squat (rule of ten),

KB Swing (50-100)

and 1-3 TGU per side?



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Toby, I think the TGU is a anterior chain movement.

Can't help you on the programming though. Don't have the experience or knowledge for that.


Just figured something out: the PM is 1 posterior chain + 1 anterior chain movement. What a coincidence... Still don't know though why this is a program minimum, it's just all you need...

Brian P Gill

Double-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
With regard to the 'pull' in the Turkish Get Up, part of me wants to refer to Mr. Whitley's post, "most of your questions will be answered by the practice..." Though I think that is the case, it'd be a fairly lazy response, making it inappropriate for this forum.

Explicitly, the roll to press has a pull. Implicitly, in my opinion, maintaining proper shoulder alignment (throughout the exercise) requires a 'pull.' Lat activation is essential throughout. A number of cues are available, reiterating this point.

Regarding Daniel's inquiry about baseline goals, there are a variety of approaches. Personally, I like have use the Get Up as a gauge for my Military Press (Being sure that i can perform a Get Up with a weight before pressing it overhead). Therefore, with ETK in mind, the kettlebell closest to one half your body weight is a respectable lift. Of course, having accomplished that, the strongman standard of one hundred pounds, presented in 'Kettlebells From the Ground Up' may become your new goal/standard.

That said, however, I'd suggest paying more attention to the quality of the movement. As indicated in my previous post, I've practiced the movement with a variety of weights and each repetition was valuable. Humbly expanding upon what Mr. Whitley said, the movement IS that rewarding. Be sure to perform it mindfully, and reap the benefits.



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Certified Instructor
Hi Toby,

I'd probably use the TGU as the warm up for the 40 day program. It could be the push, but I'd rather use it as a movement screen beforehand with a lighter bell. I would probably leave the ab work as the wheel, or leg raises - although heavy get ups do work the abs...


If the 24kg gets easy, you may find that dropping the weight and doing a 'bottoms up' get up will yield excellent rewards.

Hope that helps guys.

Piers Kwan, SFG, CK-FMS
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