Sheri’s Workouts: The Turkish Get Up (TGU)

Posted on January 16, 2011 by


A reminder that these sets are for intermediate to advanced exercisers with weight room experience –  it’s assumed you know the basics.  Talk to your coach, get a good book on weight training or hire a trainer if any of this doesn’t make sense to you, okay? This is serious stuff, weight training, and you don’t want to get hurt.

THE TURKISH GET UP:  a superior core exercise

The TGU uses every single muscle of your body, builds core muscles, and works on your endurance and stamina as well.  In this way, it is an all-around complete exercise much like the classic Deadlift, which we’ll cover another time. Do this exercise in one session every week to get really good at it as well as build superior strength.

This move is wonderful without any weight at all to build core, balance, stamina, and is great for someone who is in rehab and newly building muscle. In this case, progress to balancing a large fitball on your hand and don’t let it fall as you get up and down.

When you’re ready to add weight, try a dumbell, a kettlebell or hug a sandbag.  WARNING:  this move is complicated and will not require much weight to kick your booty!  So go light and build up. Keep your eyes up on the raised arm the whole time.

Watch the video closely to figure this move out – and remember to switch sides.  WHEN YOU SWITCH SIDES you will feel confused – it’s part of the protocol – so expect that and work with it.  I suggest alternating every rep.  Start with 2 reps, alternating on each side, and building up to 5 to 10.  You can get a full body workout done in a half an hour with the TGU.  Make sure you warm up real good before you start…

DIRECTIONS: (for the right side, no weight)

1.  Lying on the ground, bend your right knee and make sure your right foot is planted steady.  Raise your right arm with hand in a fist and lock out the elbow.  Keep your eyes on your fist.

2. Pushing off your right foot, roll onto your left hip and up onto your left elbow.

3.  Push up onto your left hand.

4.  Holding yourself up on your left hand and right foot, bring yourself up off the ground, and thread your left leg back into a kneeling position.  You are now with your left knee on the floor, right foot on the floor, and arm locked out overhead with your eyes on your fist.  Keep your core tight and watch your back alignment!

5.  From this kneeling position, take a deep breath, tighten that core, lock that arm (keeping the wrists straight!), and lunge forward into a standing position.

6.  Do the entire thing in reverse to come back down.  You are not done with the move until you are prone back on the ground!

Listen, this is harder than it looks.  Take your time.  Make sure you have plenty of room.  Don’t overdo the weight – even 5 lbs is going to feel heavy the first few times you do the TGU.  DO THIS BAREFOOT OR IN BAREFOOT SHOES – otherwise the soles of the shoe will throw you off balance – you want your CORE working for you, not your shoes!