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The Turkish get up!

Updated: Mar 1, 2023

You will probably notice this exercise creep up in the home programme over the next few weeks, we don’t want to leave you frantically trawling google making up your own version, however amusing that may be 😉. We have put together a short guide on the benefits of this exercise and how to perform it.

Why is the Turkish get up so beneficial?

The Turkish get up can increase overhead strength, core and shoulder stability as-well as lower body mobility! Almost everyone can benefit from this exercise, hence why we have put it into our programme!

Whether you are looking to improve your strength, conditioning, body awareness or general fitness, it has you covered!

Here are a few benefits...

Shoulder stability and overhead strength

The load must be supported correctly overhead, forcing your upper back and rotator cuff muscles to work efficiently and in turn increasing strength and stability. Furthermore you are forced to move under a unilateral load (one sided) with your shoulders having to work through a full range of motion, something that is vital for any strength athlete, power athlete or fitness athlete in order to excel in their sport and prevent injury!

It is very hard to muscle your way through this exercise so any imbalances in both your lower and upper body will be exposed whilst performing the Turkish get up, giving you an insight into any problem areas you need to work on!

Helps to build a strong core

You must fight to maintain a neutral spine throughout the whole movement forcing your core to stay tight and therefore improving stability. If you’ve ever tried doing a sit up holding anything overhead then you’ll know how strong your core needs to be!

Proprioception (Body awareness)

Awareness of how your body moves is vital to perform a Turkish get up successfully. If you struggle with this then learning and simply working through the steps of the movement will most certainly help develop great muscle co-ordination, balance and stability.


The Turkish get up can be programmed in a number of ways. Heavy, for a carry over to your strength training, high volume for conditioning purposes and for general fitness and functionality. The load, reps and sets can be adjusted accordingly depending on your goals.

One thing must always stay consistent however and that is the quality of movement!

So get creative with this one guys! Pretty much anything can be used for a Turkish get up (please be careful 😂) and we look forward to seeing all your efforts!

How to perform the Turkish get up

The Turkish get up is essentially standing up from the floor, whilst holding a weight overhead. Sounds easy right? Well without proper technique, you will more than likely find yourself flailing around and trying not to drop a dumbbell on your head!

Step 1.

Lie on your back with your chosen weight (usually a kettlebell, dumbbell or even a baked bean tin to begin with) held with a locked out arm over your face. Bending the knee of your leg on the same side as the weight, plant your heel into the ground. Position the opposite arm at a 45 degree angle. On this arm, roll onto your elbow and then push through your elbow onto your palm into a half sit up position.

Step 2.

With the weight still locked out overhead, raise your hips as high as possible into a bridge. Your body will be at a slight angle so that your weight carrying side is higher.

You need to ensure that your hips are high enough to allow your supporting leg to pass underneath you!

Step 3.

When your hips are high enough, bend your supporting knee, transitioning your leg underneath you and behind. Planting your knee on the floor, you should now be in a half kneeling position!

Throughout all of this you should keep the weight in sight with your arm locked out!

You will now need to push off your supporting hand so that you are in a reverse lunge position with the weight overhead. You now simply need to stand up.

Step 4.

To finish the movement and get back down to the floor, you need to reverse the previous three steps. Lunge back into the half kneeling position. Planting your supporting hand into the floor, move your supporting leg through and under your body, then slowly lower yourself down on to your elbow until you are led flat (start position).

And there you have it! You have completed one (I know.. just one) Turkish get up.

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