Turkish Get-Ups… The REAL Reason Why You Should Be Doing Them

As part of my constant effort to improve and stay updated in my field, I make it a priority to catch up on what my fellow strength & conditioning and respected fitness colleagues are doing and researching on a regular basis. Each week, I have a list of websites that I visit, online journals that I read and blogs that I peruse.

One of the sites that is on my weekly list is T-Muscle.com (formerly T-Nation.com). Amongst all the bodybuilding articles that don’t interest me that much anymore, you’ll always find gems and cutting edge material from big-time experts in strength and conditioning.

Despite the name of the site (with the “T” meaning Testosterone), the fact of the matter is that some of the brightest coaches and authors write articles for T-Muscle. So when guys like Mike Boyle, Dan John, Alwyn Cosgrove or Mike Roussell write something, I’m definitely reading it.

Eric Cressey is one of those guys that I’ve been following and reading for a few years.  Last week he wrote an article entitled “What I Learned in 2009” and is a synopsis of some of the most important things that he has learned and began to implement into his practice over the past year.

The point that really struck a chord with me was point # 4…


Cressey went on to talk about a rehab specialist from the Czech Republic (Dr. Pavel Kolar) and the research he has done in developmental kinesiology.  Looking back at early motor development – where babies learn how to roll over, get on all 4s, then crawl, then stand and finally walk – Dr. Kolar suggested that we can look at this “ground to standing” development to help us re-establish proper functioning.

So what does this all mean for “regular people” like you and me?

It means that incorporating Turkish Get Ups (or “TGUs”) into your regular kettlebell training practice could be beneficial in preventing injury or correcting imbalance.

Exercises like TGUs or lunges where your back knee slightly touches the ground can help your nervous system “re-learn” some of the the developmental fundamentals that you may have lost because of injury or years and years of bad training technique.

In fact, because of this article and minimal research that I have done on Dr. Kolar’s work, I now have my clients and young athletes doing sprints where they start on their back and are required to turn over and go right into acceleration…kind of like the stuff we did during “old school” PE class.

The bottom line is that as good an exercise as we once believed Turkish Get-Ups to be, this is now more evidence that it could be one of the best exercises that you can do not only to lose fat and build muscle, but to stay healthy and mobile for years and years to come.

If you don’t know how to do a TGU, then check out the video below and let me know if you have any questions…

If you can’t view the video below, then you can see it HERE

=>Watch the Turkish Get-Up Demo Video



-Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT

P.S. Turkish Get-Ups are a staple exercise in the TT Kettlebell Revolution Fat Loss Workouts. Click HERE to learn how to use TGUs in your fat loss program…

=>Get Started with the TT Kettlebell Revolution Fat Loss Workouts



  • Reply March 11, 2010


    Hi Chris

    good article, but I couldn’t see the video. I am the only one?



    p.s. I hope the baby & the missus are doing well

  • Reply March 11, 2010


    Great stuff Chris. This make a lot of sense for so many athletes as it utilizes a full body movement. The video did come up for me and helped to illustrate the variations in TGU’s.

  • Reply March 11, 2010

    Jerry Shreck

    The TGU should not be looked as an additional exercise. It should be respected as an emphasis lift much like the back squat. I know that a statement like this will spark some heat with certain individuals but if you work with TGU you quickly understand the importance of these exercises.

    PS-I did not say it should replace the back squat!

    • Reply March 11, 2010

      Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT

      Hey Jerry,

      In your training practice, how do you use the TGUs? Would you program somebody to use it as a main lift in a workout? What assistance exercises would you combine with it in a training program?

      I’ve never used it as a main lift in my programs, so I’m curious as to what other trainers are doing.


      • Reply March 12, 2010

        Jerry Shreck

        We will do a good dynamic warm-up, followed up with injury prevention exercises, then move into some weighted core exercises (I have put TGU’s here). Now if I incorporated them into the program as emphasis work (we do variations of TGU-Lunge & Squat Styles, Singles and Doubles) we may do 1 set of 8 reps, then 3 sets of 5 reps, followed up by 2 heavy sets of 2-3 reps. We may do one other emphasis lift(Maybe RDL’s) after that and then finish with a few supplemental lift sets, more core and flexibility work.

        Trust me these are hard workouts. If you have not tried something like this give it a shot and let me know what you think.

  • Reply March 11, 2010

    Kuini Hakopa

    Never saw the video either……….Cheers

  • Reply March 11, 2010

    Scott S.

    Hi Chris, I enjoy the videos you send, but I was unable to view this one. It sounds like I would benefit from it.
    Thanks, Scott

  • Reply March 11, 2010


    Is the speed with which you demonstrated the get-up the speed we should be doing the exercise or was it slowed down?

    • Reply March 11, 2010

      Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT

      Hi Heather,

      It was slightly slower just because I was talking and explaining while I was doing them.

      The speed at which you do the exercise though, would depend on how heavy of a KB you are using.


  • Reply March 11, 2010

    Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT

    Hi Everyone,

    My apologies, the video was supposed to be at the bottom of the email.

    Here is the direct link…


  • Reply March 11, 2010


    Chris –

    Your email asked for suggestions as to what to film next, so my vote is for KB snatches. Emphasis on the “flip” at the top of the motion, so as to save a newbie’s forearms. Please and thanks.

    • Reply March 11, 2010

      Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT

      Thanks, Chris. I’ll get on that at my next filming session.

      Quick advice – it’s not a “flip” at the top, it’s actually a “high pull then a ‘punch’ to the sky”. Your arm is supposed to “move around” the KB.

      I’ll elaborate more when I film that video.


  • Reply March 11, 2010


    i think the TGU can be used as a great warm-up even without any weight

  • Reply March 16, 2010

    Bob McEnaney

    Hey Chris,

    If I could only do 1 exercise, it’d be the TGU. I love it. Question…..a few weeks ago I ended up with a sore and inflamed SI joint (just 1 side) and I don’t know why. I’m not sure if it was from TGU’s or a different exercise (like KB cleans or snatches). Any thoughts?



    • Reply March 20, 2010

      Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT

      I’ve had really bad (almost immobilizing) SI joint pain a few years back and my chiro told me it was because my hamstrings were so tight.

      I’m not quite sure if it was the TGUs or the cleans or snatches (it’s something that I’d have to see you do), buy my suggestion would be to try to get some flexibility work in for your hammies.


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