Few people care about mobility until they can’t move. Getting up and down from the floor isn’t much different. It’s often overlooked until it becomes a problem, as you may have discovered with some of your elder clients. Fortunately through smart fitness training, getting off the floor doesn’t have to become a constant battle. Enter the Turkish Get-Up.
The Turkish Get-Up is one of the best exercises to address and work on mobility, stability, and full body strength. The exercise moves from the lying on the ground to standing requiring a mastery of body control to execute properly. Within this movement, there is a bridge, sit-up, a hinge, a lunge, and more–all combining to work on a little bit of everything contributing to total body strength. Due to the complexity of the movement, I recommend breaking the movement down into small chunks.
Start off using a sneaker or yoga block balanced on top of the knuckles instead of loading with weight. This is will keep your arm in the correct position and will require your to slow down and learn the movement properly. When you progress to using weights such as a kettlebell, you will start out laying on your side in order to get the kettlebell into position. Master the block or shoe first though. For demo purposes, the Turkish Get-Up is performed with a kettlebell.
- The arm that is up stays straight throughout movement
- Eyes stay on thumb of the arm that is up until you are ready to stand up
Step 1: Supine Position
While laying on your back, press the kettlebell up toward the ceiling with your right hand. Then bend your right knee (*the same side with the raised arm and weight will alwas be the same side with the bent leg), keep your left leg and left arm straight at both 45 degrees to your body.
Step 2: Drive To Elbow
Drive through your right foot and pushing off your left arm (don’t let your left foot come off the ground). Your torso should be over your elbow. Imagine a straight line from your left elbow all the way up to the weight in your right hand. Be sure to keep your left shoulder strong and prevent it from internally rotating.
Step 3: Extend The Left Arm
Push off the ground and onto your left hand, fully extending the elbow. Only your left glute should be on the floor. Keep the left shoulder externally rotated. Always keep the right arm straight and pushing towards the sky throughout the movement. Your right knee is still bent and the foot is planted.
Step 4: Bridge
Drive through the right hip into a bridge position with left leg still straight. Squeeze your glutes hard and keep your hips in full extension at the top.
Step 5: Sweep Leg Under
Thread your left leg back under your body without moving the right foot, and place your left knee in line with your left hand.
Step 6: Windmill
Push your left hip away from your left hand and extend your hips through to get your torso tall.
Step 7: Windshield Wiper Back Leg
Once you’re tall swing your lower left leg around. You are now in a lunge position.
Step 8: Lunge And Stand Up
Drive through your feet to a standing position, still maintaining the weight and a straight right arm. Repeat the steps backwards from step 8 to 1 to return back to the starting position on the ground.
Time To Get Up
As you practice this movement always focus on ideal form. I always say, the form and tempo should look the same regardless of how much weight you are using. The Turkish Get-Up can be used in many different ways such as part of your warm-up or in the strength portion of your workout.
You can also break the movement down into single exercises, especially when teaching someone the entire movement, such as doing the windmill; I will often do three sets of 8 reps on each side of windmills which will not only improve performance on that part of the get-up but will allow me to handle more load than I typically would be able to while trying to complete the entire Turkish Getup. Regardless if you or your clients struggle to get off the floor or seasoned lifters, this exercise will improve overall mobility, movement performance, and overall strength.