Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength


TGU (Turkish Get-up)
Written By : Scott Bird
Filed In : exercises

Jeff Martone Doing TGU with his Son

Jeff Martone Doing TGU with his Son.

If the On Sitting and Standing article got you thinking, you may be considering trying the Turkish Get-up. It’s definitely a full body exercise.

Turkish Get-up
The idea is simple – lie on the ground, press a weight in the air and stand up with it (without it touching the ground). However, it’s a little more challenging than it sounds.

Jeff Martone writes an excellent description of the process in Tactical Athlete magazine (a great read) :

  1. Lie on the floor, in a supine position (i.e. face up), next to an appropriate size kettlebell.
  2. Use both hands to press the kettlebell vertical – directly above your shoulder. Once in position, keep your elbow locked, wrist straight, and your eyes on the kettlebell.
  3. Post your foot close to your buttocks (same side as your working arm.)
  4. Allow the weight to drift slightly forward, then push off your posted foot and sit up. It is acceptable to allow your free arm to assist slightly in sitting up.
  5. From sitting, slowly move to the kneeling position. This can be done a number of ways. The main thing is to move slowly, keeping your working arm perpendicular to the ground and to finish in well supported, 3-point kneeling position.

To see a video of the movement (which may make things a little easier), check out this one [.mpg, 29.9mb] from Lisa Schaffer at No Fear Fitness. If you’re just beginning your kettlebell journey, you may like to read Lisa’s Kettlebell Smart Start [.pdf, 1.3mb].

Apart from simply using a heavier or lighter bell, there are two major versions of this exercise to keep in mind. These are the lunge (demonstrated in the above video) and squat versions, and differ slightly in their basic execution.

Within the lunge style of TGU there is a slight variation possible; and this is clearly demonstrated in this video by Steve Cotter.

The squat style requires more hip flexibility, and is similar to the lunge technique in the beginning stages. Once the bell has been pressed overhead, and you’ve rolled on to your side and begun to lean forward (with your other arm providing stability), tuck both legs under and push forward into a squat (rather than a lunge). If you’re not comfortable squatting ATG, don’t even consider this variation – stick with the lunge.

Things to consider
Keep your eyes on the bell throughout the movement. The last thing you want is to unlock your elbow whilst concentrating on tucking your legs under – a faceful of kettlebell is not a good look.

This is fast becoming a popular kettlebell movement, but it’s just as effective when performed with anything heavy and slightly unstable. The picture is of Jeff Martone using his son, but a heavy dumbell or a sandbag is also good.

Over to you. Drop us a line on Twitter ( @scottbird ), or add a comment below.



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Written By Scott Bird
Scott is a long-time fitness enthusiast (Jan 2004!), writer and photographer living in Sydney, Australia. If you share the passion for spending a bit of time under a bar, welcome. Love hearing how everyone else trains. You can connect via X (Formerly Twitter), Facebook and the various networks listed in the sidebar.
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