Turkish Get Up

By 11th July 2016 No Comments

Neil loves a good Turkish Get Up. I can’t tell you how many times I have been in one of his Kettlebell classes and he’s opted to finish the session off with a few get ups. It all sounds like a good idea when he says “pick up your lightest kettlebell, we are going to finish off with 3 reps”. ‘Easy!’ we all sigh with relief, until his pen touches the whiteboard and we see which exercise he’s chosen.

What is it?

In essence, the Turkish Get Up involves holding a weight above your head, lying down and standing back up. It doesn’t sound so terrible when you say it like that, but my goodness it’s hard work in practice.

  1. Take a kettlebell in your right hand and lie on the floor on your back (supine).
  2. Press the kettlebell straight up by extending your elbow.
  3. Bend your right knee.
  4. Pivot to your left side, keeping the kettlebell locked out, and use your left arm to prop yourself up into a seated position.
  5. Pushing your body up further with your left arm, slide your left leg up from in front of you to have it supporting a lunge position behind you.
  6. Keep looking straight up at the locked out kettlebell, and slowly stand up.
  7. Reverse the motion back to the starting supine position and repeat for 6-8 repetitions for each side.

Turkish Get Up

I only realised part through writing this blog, how hard it is to explain the Turkish Get Up – I would advise using the pictures to guide you if you are brave enough to attempt it (or check out the sneaky video of Neil I snapped this lunchtime!).


The Turkish Get Up acquired its name from (yep, you guessed it!) Turkey. It was invented over 200 years ago – as a means of training the Turkish wrestling team. According to sources, a trainee wrestler could not proceed without being able to hold 100lbs (approximately 45kg!) of weight above their head whilst smoothly standing up and lying down repeatedly.

Why do we do it?

The Turkish Get Up is a fantastic, full body exercise – it uses almost every major muscle group – targeting the shoulders, core and legs. Specifically:

Turkish Get UpTurkish Get Up
• Deltoids
• Triceps
• Abdominals
• Quadriceps
• and Hamstrings


It’s in a different league to many other exercises because it doesn’t target just one area of the body, nor does it only involve one or two movements (see above). It improves strength, develops stability and can enhance just about any training regime. By engaging a range of muscles, the Turkish Get Up elevates your heart rate and helps you to burn more calories. The beauty of the Turkish Get Up is how functional it is. In essence, you are lying down and standing up – which we do quite often every single day: when we get up in the morning, when we take a bath or, if you’re anything like me, when you are rolling around on the floor with your new puppy (look at how cute she is!).

Turkish Get Up

Top Tip: Start with a light kettlebell whilst you perfect your technique. When you’re starting off, the hardest part can be nailing the sequence. Until its second nature, resist jumping up the weights too much. Once you have bossed it, have a go at pushing yourself – and don’t forget to tell us your personal bests (both for weight and amount of reps!).