Why I love the Turkish Get-Up

The term ‘bang for your buck’ is usually used in the fitness industry to describe compound exercises such as Deadlifts, Overhead presses and Squat variations. In my opinion no exercise gives you a bigger return on your investment than the Turkish Get up!

The TGU is a full body, multi-planar movement, which simultaneously challenges proximal and distal stability as well as global mobility. It can train Rate of Force Development (RFD), improve/consolidate Thoracic spine posture and even allows for the learning of correct hip hinge technique. Check out the video below from Mike Boyle for a detailed breakdown of the full movement.

The beauty of the TGU is in the fact that it can be scaled to suit different demographics and the choice of kit to perform it with is vast. My favourite way to program it is to use the first 1/3 of the movement to help beginner seniors develop RFD moving from a supine position to the seated position or even bridge position using either a light sandbag (5-10kg) or a Dumbbell 4-8kg). For rationale just look at how difficult it can be for gym members in the 6th, 7th and 8th decade to get from the floor to a standing position or vice versa.

Pre requisites are :

  • A good level of proximal stability at the glutes and trunk and the ability to establish a Zone of Apposition (ZOA).
  • Pain free/ normal ROM at Glenohumeral joint (particularly if using the overhead variation) and Hips.
  • Postural awareness ( shoulder blades on ribcage, lat recruitment etc)
  • Foundational full body strength

In terms of reps and sets ranges, start by programming single reps per side before resting and repeating 2 – 3 more times. Then increase reps accordingly based on the clients tolerance.


Apart from the obvious progression of going from the seated or bridge position to a standing (and returning to the ground to increase the eccentric loading demands), eventually I like to progress clients to low level animal flow exercises on the ground to further harness stability, mobility and power in a three-dimensional manner. The modified underswitch to crab is a great choice.

Until next time, happy training!


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