Why Perform Turkish Get Ups (TGU)

  • Core strength and stability
  • T-spine mobility
  • Hip mobility
  • Hip extension (glute) strength
  • Gleno-humeral (shoulder) stability
  • Body awareness and proprioception
  • I get to say "SWEEP THE LEG"

How To

  1. The first step is “packing” your shoulder/shoulder blade down and back. Everything outlined will be with the right hand being loaded. 

    If you’re holding the weight in your right hand, your right knee should be flexed with your heel back near your glutes, and your left leg should be slightly angled straight.

  2. The first motion is a crunch to get up to your left elbow.  Dan John uses the term “punch and crunch,” So you’re going to crunch and punch, but also drive through your right heel as well. If done with lengthening the left heel it'll be much easier to keep the left leg straight and flat. 

    One key with the crunch is to think of leading with your t-spine or chest. You don’t want your chest caved over.  Instead, think about really exaggerating keeping the chest up and out.

  3. After getting to your elbow you simply shift your weight onto your left hand. Maintaining your sight on your right hand, right shoulder packed and chest up and out. 

  4. After shifting to your hand you’re going to actively drive through your right heel into a high bridge.  The focal point should be to extend the hips, squeezing the glutes to get full hip extension. This would be the point in the exercise where if you're lacking good thoracic mobility, it'll begin to show. Beyond just the hip extension/glute strength, you’re also getting some fantastic shoulder stabilizing benefits on the left-hand side as well.

  5. Anyone who grew up watching the original Karate Kid will love coaching this part as it's commonly accepted to cue "SWEEP THE LEG". 

    From the high position you think about sweeping your left leg back until your left knee is on the ground underneath you. Here if the client exhibits poor lumbar control, they'll often slip out of neutral. If they have poor hip mobility they will be unable to keep neutral spine as well. 

    I cue chest up, and keep their lower back as flat as they can which will help them to be mindful of staying "long" through their spine. 

  6. From there all your going to do is rotate your left leg so it's straight and you should look like the bottom of a lunge. Are you still looking at your right hand? You should be. 

  7. Now look forward, and stand up. Really it's that simple. 

  8. From there go backwards, perform a reverse lunge. 

  9. Once you’re set-up in the half kneeling position, find the kettlebell with your eyes, and doing the “windshield wiper” motion with your left lower leg to get it back into position and actively driving into your right hip. If you do this correctly you should be able to maintain a fairly neutral spine, and get a killer stretch in your right hip as well.


    On the transition back, we don’t tend to focus on the high bridge as much. Instead, I’ll often integrate a lower “high bridge” at the same time I’m sweeping the leg through.  This portion of the lift should look more fluid than anything. 

  11. With the hips extended, simply drop down to your left hand. Is your shoulder still packed, core tight and eyes fixed on KB?

  12. Then down to your elbow and on back down to the floor for the starting position.