When you first watch someone performing the Turkish Get-Up, you might dismiss it as a dumb exercise. It looks strange and it doesn’t seem to simulate anything you would do on the field.
But you’re mistaken if you discount it. Few exercises work as many attributes of athleticism at one time: shoulder mobility, hip mobility, torso rotation, core strength and muscular endurance. If you’re weak in one of these areas, you can bet it will get exposed in a game.
The fact that you can train all of these attributes with one movement makes it a go-to exercise in my book—even if it does prompt some perplexed looks. But you can’t just grab a weight and stand up from the ground and think you’ll get stronger.
Here’s how to do the Turkish Get-Up properly.
Step 1: Roll to Your Elbow and Hand
- Lie on your back with your arm carrying the weight pointing straight to the ceiling.
- Bend the knee on your carrying side and plant your foot on the floor.
- Keep your supporting leg flat on the ground.
- Position your supporting arm flat on the ground at a 45-degree angle.
- Maintaining all four points of contact, roll to the elbow of your supporting arm. It’s OK to press into the floor with your other limbs to start the Get-Up.
- Press into the ground with your supporting hand and straighten your arm so you’re sitting up tall.
- Keep your eyes on the weight and hold your carrying arm elbow straight.
Step 2: Hips Up, Bro
- Contract your glutes and hamstrings to raise your hips as high as possible into a bridge position.
- Angle your body slightly so the hip of your carrying side is a bit higher than the hip of your supporting side.
- Create as much space as possible between your body and the floor to give yourself sufficient clearance for the next step.
Step 3: Leg Through
- Keep your hips high and engage your core to hold a solid bridge position.
- Bend your supporting knee and avoid catching the floor with your shoe.
- Pull your leg through as far as possible to the opposite side and plant your knee to assume a half-kneeling position.
- Your supporting hand should still be on the ground.
- Remember to keep looking up at the weight.
Step 4: Get Upright
- Push off the floor with your supporting hand in one strong motion.
- Keep your upper body straight and tall. You should be in a half-kneeling position with the weight overhead.
Step 5: Stand Up
- This is the easiest part. Simply stand up.
Step 6: Return to the Start
- Getting up is only half the battle.
- To return to start, begin by bending your knee and lunging back into the half-kneeling position.
- Plant the your supporting hand beside you on the floor, and shift your supporting leg straight in front of your body.
- Carefully plant your butt on the floor, roll down to your elbow and then onto your back.
For all the visual learners out there, here’s a demonstration of how to do it:
Bonus Challenge: Barbell Turkish Get-Up
Changing the shape or length of the weight makes this exercise an entirely different animal. If you want to improve your grip strength, increase shoulder stability and torch your forearms, try a Turkish Get-Up with a barbell. Here’s my best effort so far to show you the idea.
Tip: It’s helpful to use a bar that has a “grip” located in the center. This makes finding that exact balancing point a non-factor, which is quite important.