Get 1% Better: Turkish Get-ups

The Turks sure know about healthy shoulders and core. In fact, the Turkish get-up is one of my favorite full-body exercises for improving body awareness, control, and overall fitness. And it can be used in a variety of circumstances.

Many of us have encountered the TGU in warm-ups or introductory classes. But it’s worth revisiting, even for advanced athletes looking to vary their training. Some important things to remember when revisiting this movement:

1. Make sure to go through each step to take full advantage of this awesome move. The focus is to look up at the bell (when using a kettlebell, the generally preferred weight element) and keep your shoulder “packed.” That means an engaged core, arm, and shoulder throughout the entirety of the movement, keeping tension pointed upward through the arm and to the bell.

2. In the 1% principle, we are searching for small changes to your movement to improve your overall health and fitness. The Turkish get-up, when performed with intention, can be one of the best ways to ensure your shoulders are strong through a vital range of motion. Don’t skimp on the range or “short” reps when performing these.

3. Even if you’re an experienced exerciser, it’s good to start with the basics before adding more loading. Start with a shoe on your fist for balance before progressing to weight. I do about three unweighted reps per arm, then three reps per arm with moderate weight to warm up before my workouts three times a week. It really helps wake up the whole body!