Exercise of the Week(ish) – Turkish Get Up

1 Apr

So I think I’m going to use this blog as an opportunity to highlight an exercise I really enjoy every week or so.  Sometimes I’ll include tips on performing the movement, other times I’ll just write a love letter to a particular corner of the exercise world.  This post definitely falls into the latter category.

It should surprise no one that the first exercise I’ve chosen to talk about is the turkish get up.  Not only is it my favorite exercise, but I try and perform some version of it every day that I’m in the gym.  So why do I love this bizarre looking, at least to the uninitiated, exercise?  Here’s the top 4 reasons.

  1. It’s really good for my shoulder health.  Due to swinging a sledgehammer for a couple summers in college, a history of borderline overtraining, and what might be charitably characterized as being a fucking moron, my shoulders are significantly beat up.  While at first glance get ups may look prone to causing shoulder injuries, as long as you don’t fail a rep in a really ugly way stabilizing your shoulder through the full range of motion is a great way to strengthen all the muscles of the shoulder girdle and prevent injuries during other activities.
  2. TGUs can be an extremely effective conditioning tool.  I do not enjoy traditional cardio.  I straight up hate it.  Even some sort of HIIT cardio just makes me miserable, and I don’t get the same endorphin rush I get from lifting.  However, a 12-16 rep set of TGUs leaves me equally as exhausted and out of breath as sprinting, and I feel like my muscles have actully done something significant.
  3. TGUs, when performed correctly, hit nearly every muscle in your body.  Triceps, abdominals, obliques, hips, quads, the entire shoulder girdle, none of them lie dormant, and many of them can be subjected to near-maximal loads.
  4. Performing a get up with a heavy weight, or an unwieldy implement, is impressive as all fuck.  It’s also one of the few exercises where people who are familiar with the movement still find it as impressive as those who have yet to be introduced to it.  And let’s be honest, looking impressive as all fuck comprises a minimum of 50% of why I go to the gym.  Here’s an example of what I mean when I said “unwieldy implement” up above, this is also my favorite party trick.


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