What Is a Turkish Get Up: Muscles Worked & Benefits

man performing kettlebell Turkish Get Up

A Turkish Get Up is a highly efficient functional exercise. It requires to start from a lying position to standing upright. Turkish Get Ups are usually performed with a kettlebell in one hand. It’s a superb full-body workout that improves stability and coordination. The exercise also works out a basic skill of getting off the ground.

Let’s check the proper form and benefits of the Turkish Get Up.

Turkish Get Up History

Kettlebells have been used as training pieces of equipment for ages. Some sources trace first records back to Ancient Greece. That’s an excellent gear to activate a range of muscle groups. A kettlebell can be added to a wide range of workouts to keep them challenging.

The Turkish Get Up is an efficient full-body exercise that is added to CrossFit training. Originally, Turkish Janissary soldiers used this movement in their strength training program. Turkish wrestlers are known for using kettlebells in their fitness regimen.

Turkish Sultan Murat the 4th

For instance, the Turkish Sultan, Murat the 4th used to carry a 224.5-pound on a daily basis. Every morning and evening he carried the piece from his palace to the resort and back. The Sultan trained consistently and built a solid amount of strength. Some sources claim he was swinging his 224.5-pound kettlebell for an hour per training.

Murat the 4th was also known to swing a mace bell for long distances. This was done one-handed with a gear that weighed 132 pounds! Mace bells were used in battles, not like a workout piece. Now, this bell is kept in Topkapi Museum as well as the Sultan’s 110-pound sword.

The Turkish Get Up has a range of variations nowadays. It can be performed lying or seated. You can use a barbell or a sandbag instead of a kettlebell. Such an exercise is added to CrossFit workouts and martial arts.

woman doing Turkish Get Up

How to Do a Turkish Get Up

Turkish Get Ups need you to practice to nail the proper form. First, do the Get Up movement with your body weight (no equipment). Here’s how to do a Turkish Get Up.

  1. Get down on a floor or a yoga mat with your face up. Lie with a starfish position with your arms and legs creating a 45-degree angle each. Bend the right leg with the right foot flat on the floor. The foot is slightly outside your hip. Raise your right arm up to the ceiling. Make a fist with your raised hand so your knuckles are faced straight up. Your head is raised with the face looking at the right fist.
  2. Drive through your right heel and left elbow to raise your torso. Your shoulders are off the ground where the left shoulder is packed. The chest is facing the wall in front of you, not the ceiling.
  3. Then use your left palm as a pivot point. Push it into the floor. Brace your core and bring your body to the sitting position. The left shoulder is still packed. The left elbow is faced behind you. And your fingers are turned slightly outward behind you.
  4. Bend your left leg so it’s underneath you facing toward your bottom. The left knee and ankle are parallel to the left hand. Your left knee is just underneath the left hip. Reposition your knee if necessary, don’t move your hand.
  5. Shift your body weight to the left heel. Get to the half-kneeling (lunge) position like as you’re proposing 🙂 Both your knees create a 90-degree angle. The up knee looks forward and the down knee touches the floor. Your right arm is still raised. And your left arm is rested by the side of the torso.
  6. Squeeze your core and push your body up with your back foot. Stand up and bring your feet together hip-width apart. That’s half of the movement. Now it’s time to get back to the lying position with a reversed move order.

Once you feel comfy with the Bodyweight Turkish Get Up, add a kettlebell in one hand. It should be placed in a hand that you’re going to lift up.

man lying with raised kettlebell

Turkish Get Up Muscles Worked

The Turkish Get Up is a tremendous exercise that amps up a full body. These are shoulders, abs and obliques, glutes, and upper back. The proper form requires integrated movements and contractions of muscles. Besides, the Turkish Get Up involves dynamic joint moves at your shoulders, knees, and hips. All of these make Turkish Get Ups an ace full-body movement.

Turkish Get Up Benefits

1. Improve Shoulder Stability

The Turkish Get Up is a brilliant exercise to increase the unilateral (single-arm) stability of your shoulders. The back and shoulder muscles are activated throughout the Get Up movement. From the lying position with your hand raised up until you get up with the load overhead.

2. Foster Your Overhead Strength

Overhead strength affects the overall power. Unlike other overhead exercises, like the Shoulder Press, the Turkish Get Up focuses on single-arm overhead stability. The athlete has to carry the load through a full range of motion. Such a move makes you improve your spine and core stability even better.

woman reaching the kettlebell on the floor

3. Improve Your Lower Body Mobility

Apart from your shoulders and arms, your legs are activated too. Turkish Get Ups affect your knee, hip, and ankle stability. As you have to perform a range of flexion angles when you lie down and stand up.

4. Strengthen Your Core

Core contraction is a must throughout the Turkish Get Up. This helps to assist your proper spinal posture. Especially with a load overhead, any imbalances must be avoided. Improving your core stability is beneficial for gaining more strength and power. So you can perform other lifting exercises with a solid weight.

5. Boost Stability and Balance

The Turkish Get Up ramps muscle groups all over the body. That’s advantageous for the entire body balance and coordination. Being able to control the proper form with solid extension helps to prevent injuries. That’s great training before moving to heavy lifting like in the Olympic lifts.

Turkish Get Up Alternative Exercises

Bodyweight Get Up

1. Bodyweight Get Up

This Turkish Get Up Alternative was already described above. That’s a great option for beginners to learn the proper form. Once you slay it, try adding some weight.

how to Kettlebell Windmill chart

2. Kettlebell Windmill

You need a kettlebell to perform the exercise. Stand up with gear in one hand. Your feet are wider than hip-width apart. Reposition both feet to the left creating a 45-degree angle in one direction. Load the right heel to push the hip outward. Lift your right hand with the kettlebell to straight it out. Keep the focus on the right hand.

Lower your torso to the front foot keeping your legs straight. The left hand touches the floor. It’s placed behind your leg. Feel your hips and hamstrings are flexing. Your right arm is still raised. There’s a straight vertical line between the arms with gear on the top. Your face looks at the kettlebell all the time.

Lift your torso up to the start position with your right hand raised. The left arm is rested by the side of the torso. That’s one rep. Do 6-10 reps per set. Then switch arms.

If you can’t reach the floor when you lower your torso, do the following. Slightly bend your forward knee to reach the floor. Or keep your knees straight and lower your torso as far as possible. Do some stretching to improve your flexibility.

Kettlebell Arm Bar

3. Kettlebell Arm Bar

That’s another fascinating exercise to boost your strength and stability. Lie down on the floor with your face down. Place a kettlebell close to your right shoulder. Roll onto the side to grasp the gear with both hands.

Roll on your back again. Raise your right arm up with the kettlebell. Now it’s in a vertical position looking at the ceiling. Your left hand is rested on the floor. It’s stretched out over your head. The left bicep is by your ear. Bend the right leg with the foot flat on the floor.

Drive through your right foot and twist your hips to roll onto the left side. The kettlebell is still off the ground. Keep the raised arm fully extended. Feel your spine and chest.

Roll over to the left side as far as possible. Extend your legs to reach a greater range of motion. Move your hips if you need to reposition. That’s one rep. Do 6-10 reps per set. Then switch arms and sides.

man doing Turkish Get Up outdoor

Turkish Get Up Proper Form Revealed

The Turkish Get Up is a full-body workout that hits a range of muscles. That’s a single-arm motion that greatly amps up your shoulders and back muscles. It can be performed barehand at first. When you master the proper form, you can add a kettlebell to make it even more challenging.

Turkish Get Ups is not an easy exercise. You have to get from the lying to standing position with one hand loaded and raised. Different muscle groups are activated throughout the workout. The Turkish Get Up is great training before moving to heavy weight lifting.

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