The Turkish Get Up

by Kerry Taylor

The Turkish Get Up at first glance can be seen as a useless exercise, but if you take a closer look it has tremendous benefit.  Before we dive a little deeper into the benefits of this drill, let’s talk about where it comes from.  In all honesty, I’m not 100% sure where, but I have heard a few different stories over the years.  One story is that old time strongmen used the Turkish Get Up as a bench mark for new students to see if they were ready for training.  The weight requirement was to perform it with 100lbs.  Another story I discovered was that the Turkish Get Up was a part of old Turkish soldiers training regimen to get them ready for battle.  The last story I have heard was that ancient wrestlers from Turkey used the Turkish Get Up immensely to get ready for their competitions.  For all I know it can be a mixture of all of these, but the one commonality is that the Turkish Get Up has a lot of benefit to it when performed slowly and properly.


Okay by now those that aren’t familiar with the Turkish Get Up may want to know what it is, please see the video below.  Seen here being performed with a kettlebell, but it can be performed with any tool that you can hold in your hand. I’ve done them naked, (get your mind out the gutter, that’s another way to say body weight, or without weight), but also with dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, rocks, sandbags and a shoe. They all created a different form of difficulty.

When it is all said and done the benefits of doing the Turkish Get Ups are:

  • Total Body Awareness

  • Overall Balance and Coordination

  • Confidence

  • Improve shoulder strength and stability

  • Total Body Strength and Conditioning

  • Creating head to toe to fingertip tension and core strength

If you get the opportunity to perform the Turkish Get Up, try to use a different tool than you are used to or use a heavier weight than normal. You will find that you will get a different challenge by doing so.  Until next time, continue to stay above average and live a life 1 degree above the rest.