Exercise to Make You More Awesome: The Turkish Get Up

Are TGU's more awesome than double rainbows?  While I never thought I'd say it....yes.

Are TGU's more awesome than double rainbows?  While I never thought I'd say it....yes.

This time of year is always a bit funky: it's cold and snowy up here in the Northeast, there's no major sporting events, and we're about a month away from spring making it's long awaited and triumphant return.

Thus, it's only natural to start thinking about more awesome things.  A few that come to my mind are: Double Rainbows, or this little guy giving you an epic speech, an amazing basketball shot, and....the Turkish Get Up.

Wait, what?

As I've been doing during the previous few posts, here's a video of myself performing a TGU (Turkish Get Up) with 28 kilograms.  Not exactly record breaking, I know, but I'm getting there:

As you can see, the TGU isn't simply "get up by any means possible."  It's a 7 (or 8) step movement that trains almost everything you could ever want/need.  In fact, here's a list of what we get when we perform a TGU (starting at the top):

  • Multi-planar shoulder stability
  • Single arm strength
  • Scapular stability
  • T-spine mobility
  • Multi-planar abdominal/core stability
  • Multi-planar hip mobility
  • Single leg strength
  • Big toe mobility

....and I'm even missing a few.  If you want to talk about "bang for your buck" exercises, then you really don't need to look any further.

Beyond the advantages I've listed above, one of the biggest reasons I teach my clients the TGU, is due to this quote from noted kettlebell god, Pavel Tsatsouline:

[The TGU] teaches the important concept of linkage, while eliminating strength leakage.

This concept is so important in daily life.  Was your lower back sore from shoveling snow a few weekends ago?  Chances are that you had "leakage" in your chain.  Any exercise I select for my clients is not just to make them look good, but it's to make them understand how to move when they're in normal life.  Assuming my clients don't have any vestibular issues and are "ready to rock" from a mobility perspective, then they are going to learn the TGU.

If you're interested in learning the TGU, I would highly suggest watching this video from Gray Cook.  You may also consider contacting someone that has a RKC or HKC certification, or works in an environment that is well-versed in kettlebells.  Yes, it IS that important, because if you were to perform only deadlifts and TGU's, you'd be "consuming" a healthy training diet.

The next question is when to program the TGU's in your training, and how much to do?  I usually favor doing TGU's in the beginning of a workout as it works as a continuation of a warm-up.  Most people don't warm up enough (or at all), and forcing yourself to focus on performing the Get Up, and not having the weight come crashing down on your face, usually serves to wake up the nervous system.  As far as reps go, I usually program 1-3 reps per side, as anything above that is really just exhausting.

So there you have it.  Do yourself a favor and perform some TGUs because you're going to get a ton of mobility and stability out of it.  And beyond these advantages, everyone in your gym will look at you like this:


And that, in my book, is well worth it.