Level Up Your Get-Up

"Those dang Turks!"

Kidding, of course.  But that's one of the kinder phrases people say when performing Turkish Get-Ups.  Well that or "Alex, I just sure love when we do Get-Ups!"

(I'm still waiting to hear the latter.)

To be honest I don't "get" all the complaining.  I love Turkish Get-Ups (TGUs) because they're A) tough and B) feel like an exercise Mr. Miyagi would have you perform. And who doesn't want to train like Daniel-San?

If you're curious on how to perform the TGU, there are plenty of great resources online -  herehere, and my personal favorite here.

But for the love of God, don't ever do this!

My eyes just bled a little bit.

Aside from whatever that was, the TGU is an important move in building overall strength and mobility - a big reason why it's also called "loaded yoga." But far too often the TGU is butchered because people go too heavy too fast, or they don't understand the importance of each step.  Either way, it ends up looking like the "Turdish" Get-Up.

Below are a few quick fixes on the most common TGU mistakes.  Use them to master the movement, take your TGU game to the next level, and defeat Cobra Kai.

Roll to Elbow

If you've failed on the first step of a TGU, you'll agree that it feels utterly depressing - like getting rejected to a 6th grade dance kind of depressing.  Yet the initial movement of the TGU is the toughest of all seven steps.  It requires good rolling patterns, lat and glute activation, as well as shoulder stability - we could use a bit more of each!

When done incorrectly, there's a tendency to treat the first step as a sit-up instead of a "roll."  Far too often it looks like this:

None of my limbs are on the ground, I'm stuck in limbo, and there's an overwhelming sense of "Haaaaallllp!" screaming from my well-groomed face.  To solve this problem here's a drill I stole from Tony Gentilcore.  It works wonders:

After a few reps with bodyweight, I'll throw a weight in someone hands so they can truly get the feeling of a roll.  This first step is an easy one to cheat, and if not done properly, it WILL come back to haunt you.

Packing The Shoulders

Pop quiz: Which shoulder am I paying attention to during the TGU - the one holding the weight or the one on the floor?

Answer: The shoulder on the floor.

Surprised?  I can't blame you.  Most people are so concerned with not dropping the bell that they forget about everything else. While the top shoulder is in a more vulnerable position, the shoulder on the ground has to support our own bodyweight as well as any weight that's in our hands.  Depending on who you are, that can be a lot!



Not good.

Not good.

In the picture on the right, both shoulders aren't properly packed and it looks like they're trying to make a mid-day snack out of my ears.  By properly packing our shoulders - which can be done by thinking about squeezing an index card in your armpits - it ensures we're keeping our shoulders healthy.

The same situation often arises in the tall sit position and an inability to control the lats and shoulders puts you on the road to a shoulder impingement.



Not nice.

Not nice.

I like to tell clients to imagine putting their shoulder blades in their back pockets and that usually remedies the above. Packing your shoulders with straight elbows can be a tough idea to comprehend - because we're used to sitting at computers all day, err'day - but it'll keep you healthy.

Half Kneeling to Stand

The last problem area occurs at the position on the right.  If you find that instead of standing straight up, you fold in half like a wet noodle, then we've identified the problem - reflexive core stability.  Oddly enough, I've also noticed a connection between the first step - roll to elbow - and this one: if you struggle with this step, the first one might be a piece o' cake.  And if the first step is hard, this one is probably the easiest.

But there is good news.  This problem area can usually be solved by crawling, pushups, chin ups, deadlifts, and squats.  

Or you know, what you could consider "good training." :)