Turkish Get-ups

Turkish Get-Up
Turkish Get-Up

Turkish get-ups (TGU’s) are one of my all-time favorite exercises. TGU’s are also one of the exercises I sometimes dread! How can this exercise elicit both sets of emotions? Today’s article is about the Turkish Get-Up.

In reality, TGU’s may be the very best all-around fuctional exercises that you can do. According to Charlie Gould, an elite Strength & Conditioning Coach, “in one move, you’re working on full-body strength, mobility, stability, athleticism, and movement efficiency, all while forcing your entire body to act as a single, functional unit.”

History of the TGU

It is believed that the TGU was invented by ancient wrestlers in what is now Turkey, in order to prepare them for grueling competitions. Legend also has it that when old-time strongmen were asked to take on an apprentice, they would send the applicant away, telling him not to return until he could perform one Turkish Get-up using a 100-pound weight. Then the real training would begin.

The Movement

The Turkish Get-up is not a single movement, but rather multiple motions woven together, incorporating all three planes of movement. Holding a weight overhead challenges your core throughout the entire exercise, which must fire continuously to keep your torso upright as you bend, twist and lunge.
See this video for a tutorial how to do the TGU.

TGU Benefits

  • Compound Lift Carryover – the details that require focus in order to achieve a successful, heavy TGU are very similar to those of a max-effort lift:
      • Full-body tension must be maintained
      • Constant leg drive
      • Maximum movement efficiency
      • Strong braced core to facilitate maximal force production
  • The TGU can also build muscle, specifically in the core. This is because, when done with a heavy load, it requires a brutal isometric hold and extended time under tension. It works the shoulders, traps, forearms, glutes, and upper back from an endurance perspective, but make no mistake. None of this can be achieved without great core strength. In fact, researcher Bret Contreras has conducted EMG studies on various core exercises, and he found that, out of 52 common core exercises, “The TGU was the only exercise that had over 100% peak activation in all four core muscles.”
  • In addition to building strength, TGU’s increase overall body stability, spatial awareness, balance, and coordination. Very few exercises can boast so many benefits.

Give the TGU a try.  Put it into your weekly programming and get strong!!

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