Why you should be doing the Turkish Get Up

mobility run form Mar 19, 2021

The Turkish Get Up or One Arm Get Up has to be one of the most versatile and comprehensive of all strength exercises. The theory goes that it was used by Turkish Janissary soldiers, as well as wrestlers, as part of their strength training routine – because it recruits so many muscles at once and helps to build strength from the ground up.

It’s very likely that your body craves movement and skill, so if you want to upgrade from boring planks and take your strength and stability exercises to the next level, it’s time to master the Turkish Get Up.

I personally use the Turkish Get Up as a mobility exercise, which is also the best way to learn how to do the move. Doing 5 repetitions of each of the components is a great way to mobilize, warm up and learn the individual steps of this initially complex exercise.

It’s also a great finisher exercise and I often do it at the end of a mobility or strength session to feel connected and centered. Remember from stability comes mobility.

Good to know...

You can perform this move without weight as a mobility exercise, but the true aim of the Turkish Get Up is to lift a weight that’s half your body weight, above your head! My best is 30kg or about 70 pounds, not quite half my skinniest body weight.

For more mobility tips and exercises to improve your form and reduce the chance of injury, join my Program: 10 Running Cues To Transform Your Running today. 

ALSO SEE: Why I love the Awesomiser – another effective mobility exercise to build better strength and balance and loosen tight muscles.

What does the Turkish Get Up involve?

This mobility move is a combination of a moving plank and a dynamic bridge that incorporates many different movement complexes. The Turkish Get Up also activates the core as you go from a lying to a sitting position and creates shoulder stability as you drive the weight or dumbbell up. I like how it creates cross sectional shoulder strength, which is so important for sports like swimming and rowing or anything that involves throwing.

As you move from the ground up, the split stance position creates stability, while the hip and iliopsoas muscle releases (this muscle is important for helping your legs drive forward when you walk or run).

You’re also using your upper body on a neutral pelvis, which is a good thing. Achieving big toe and toe flexibility as you drive up through the move to stand, develops the arch of the foot, plus you’re activating your glute muscles as you go from the oblique sling (right shoulder to left hip and left shoulder to right hip) to the side bridge and back down to the split stance.

The Get Up is really challenging because the aim is to maintain your postural integrity and stay focused throughout the move, under an asymmetrical load. The whole exercise requires shoulder and scapular control. It’s a lot of bang for your buck!

The Get Up typically takes about 30 seconds to complete from lying to standing and back to lying again, so it builds endurance into your stability. Performing 10 Get Ups means at least 5 minutes of moving, stabilization, mobility, and balance. The key with this move, is to breathe correctly throughout each step.

If you’re unsure how to use your breath during specific exercises, and you’re not even sure why breathing correctly is important, read my blog on the power of breathing

Try this

The goal is to do 3-5 Get Ups on either side of the body 2 to 3 times a week. Start with a light weight, then when you’re comfortable with the weight slowly increase the weight and consider experimenting with different weights such as a barbell, kettlebell or dumbbell.

How to master the move

The video below makes it as easy as one, two three. Groove the components and add to your mobility routine. Once you’re familiar with the steps, put them all together. Then, believe it or not. adding weight makes it easier!

WATCH My step-by-step guide here and get the move right from the get-go:

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