Sunday, January 17, 2016

Move of The Week: Turkish Get Up

Last week I didn't post a move of the week due to a simple oversight. However I am back with a great move this week, and a few more in the pocket of the weeks to come. In this week's move of the week I wanted to talk about a move that isn't exactly basic but once you have it down it can be a workout all by itself. The movie of course is the Turkish Get Up, and as the name implies the basic idea is to get up off the floor while holding a weight over your head. This move can be performed with a dumbbell or a kettlebell, though I of course use my kettlebells for it.

The reason I want to highlight this move is because I have done an entire workout with only this one move. It works just about your entire body, will build good muscle, strength, and stability. The thing about it is it will require for the core to be constantly engaged, for your shoulder to keep the weights steady above your head, and confidence in oneself that you will not drop that weight on your your head. But if you're brave enough to try it you will reap great benefits from this one simple move. Check out the video below for a good example of how to perform a Turkish Get Up with great form.


This video by Pursuit Fitness & Performance shows how to practice this move if you've never tried it in a way that will avoid one being injured. Trying this move with weight right off the back is not something I recommend. So I like the idea of trying it with something light that you simply try to balance on your hand, a sandal or flip flop as stated in the video would be ideal. Let me also share what I feel are the 2 big keys for mastering the move and getting the form right, or at least what were the keys for me.  Those are:

  • You must absolutely keep your core engaged. I noticed any deviation in posture made the stabilization of the raised hand a little more difficult, a problem you really want to avoid when performing this move with weight.
  • And the next key is, absolutely keep your eye on the raised hand/weight. This will allow for focusing on keeping proper alignment as well as aid your posture. 
Anytime I am performing this move and do not focus on these two keys, I can tell my form is suffering greatly. And since longevity is key, you want to avoid doing any exercise with poor form or posture. The immediate and cumulative effects of that are injury.

Now what I'd like to do is to give an example of how an entire workout can be accomplished with this one. It will require a few weights so if you don't have enough of them at home doing this at a gym would be fine. I've listed it out with the weights that I have but this can be adjusted based on your strength level or what is available to you. Please note that I can perform this pyramid style workout for at least 2 rounds before my phone starts to suffer so bear in mind what your fitness level is and I highly recommend that that you perfect this move preferably under the supervision of a trainer before you try it before you attempt this. The workout is as follows:


  • 1 Turkish getup with a 25 pound kettlebell
  • 1 Turkish getup with a 30 pound kettlebell
  • 1 Turkish getup with a 36 pound kettlebell
  • 1 Turkish getup with a 45 pound kettlebell
  • 1 Turkish getup with a 36 pound kettlebell
  • 1 Turkish getup with a 30 pound kettlebell
  • 1 Turkish getup with a 25 pound kettlebell


You perform one get up per side per weight continuously. At that point to rest for 2 minutes and go for it again. Perform as many rounds of this as you can. As with most kettlebell exercises this one is one of my favorites because it does not require a lot of space and you can really bang out a pretty rigorous workout fairly quickly.

I'd like to add that while I have been able to do a Turkish Get Up with my 72 pound kettlebell, I wouldn't feel comfortable enough to throw in the mix with this type of circuit. The reason I'm pointing this out is again, safety first folks. Even if you feel you get this move down quickly, please focus on quality, not quantity.I practice what I preach, and encourage others to practice good judgement. So give this a try folks, if you're ready for a new challenge this move here will surely give you that.

-FG

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