Kettlebell training has always been a favorite of mine. I took a course several years ago and became Level 1 Certified in Kettlbell training in 2010. Eventually, I’d like to become RKC (Russian Kettlebell Certified). Programming Kettlbell workouts in our CrossFit programming occurs at least weekly. One of my favorite KB movements is the Turkish Get Up (TGU). This movement requires (at minimum) strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. You can easily add Turkish Get Ups to your weekly warm up, or workout regimen.
The Set Up
Below, I will go through the steps for performing the TGU. These should never be performed as a part of high intensity training, but more as strength and skill development. There is a high demand for core stability in this movement, so go slowly.
When getting ready to perform TGUs with a KB, it’s very important to get the
weight onto the shoulder properly to prevent injury. Lie on your back, roll to your side, grab the KB by its ‘horn’. The KB will rest on the back of your hand (keep your wrist straight). While keeping the KB close to you, roll back over onto your back and then extend the arm as in a floor press. After you complete the movement, return the KB by bringing the weight back down toward your chest, roll back to your side, and release the weight.
Always practice without weight first. This movement demands a lot of shoulder stability so lighter weight is best when you are a beginner.
The Get Up
- As pictured above, lie on your back and extend your arm toward the ceiling. This is your working arm. The KB should be locked out at the elbow and the shoulder at all times. Bend your right leg and bring your foot near your bottom. Extend your left arm and place it at a 45 degree angle on the ground, palm down. This arm will serve as your support arm.
- Eyes should always remain focused on the KB.
- Inhale, and slowly rise up and ‘lean’ onto your left elbow, then onto your hand. You should slowly exhale a bit of air during this transition.
- From here, press your shoulder into an ‘active’ position.
5. Rebreathe and raise your hips off the ground. Remember, keep your eyes on the KB and keep the weighted arm locked out and extended at all times. Keep your bones in a “stacked” position.
6. In one motion, sweep your left leg under your hips (so that your knee aligns under your hip). Sit up to a lunge position.
7. Stand up while maintaining the KB locked out overhead.
The Get Down
The movement is not complete until you return back to the lying position. You will perform the exact same steps but in reverse order.
- While continuing to maintain lockout overhead with the KB, step your left leg behind you like you are performing a reverse lunge.
- With your left hand, reach for the ground (forward in an angled position). In this position, you should continue to have your bones “stacked”.
- Sweep your leg back through and return your bottom to the floor. Keep the KB locked out!
- Lean toward your elbow, then down to your shoulder, back to the start position. (Go slowly!)
- Switch arms, and begin again.
How to Program the TGU
It requires a lot of muscle memory to learn the TGU. Because the body gets taken through all ranges of motion, all joints receive a little bit of a load, and they get your heart rate up a bit, putting these in your warm up is always a good choice.
Once you have become proficient at the TGU and would like to add them to your conditioning routine, consider doing these as an EMOM (every minute on the minute). You don’t have to do many, one or two in each minute, but the clock will help make sure you’re working at the task consistently.
For strength training, consider increasing load to get to a maximum weight that you can do for 2 -3 reps, resting 2-3 minutes in between for about 5 rounds.
If you’d like further instruction on these, please to hesitate to hit me up in the gym, I’m happy to help!
(Special thanks to Elise Lovelace for helping me with the photos. We couldn’t have picked a sunnier day!)