The Turkish Get Up: The Ultimate Test For The Serious Kettlebell Enthusiast

 In The Blog
[bctt tweet=”Do you even Get Up Bro? ” username=””]

How often is this featured in the Instagram selfie shots? Rarely- but many of the ‘bro’s’ are missing a trick maybe. One of the ultimate tests of any serious kettlebell enthusiasts toolkit.

I give you the Turkish Get Up 

My favorite exercise for many more reasons than one. Does it look cool? Yes. Does it test mobility-stability-strength of the shoulder-trunk-hips and legs? Yes. Does it challenge multiple stabilizers and prime movers of the body? Yes.

Can it be used as a movement test and be broken down into a huge variation of stages for beginners and advanced trainees alike- making it both a feedback assessment tool and exercise in one. Yes!

You don’t even need a kettlebell for this exercise. Pass me the shoe, water bottle, pint glass, sandbag, dumbbells,  barbell. The list goes on……

The get up can be completed anywhere anytime.
No excuses. And so it should be.   

What Else Can And Should We Love And Promote About Being Able To Get Up?

Once described to me (in a commercial gym where let’s face it quality get-ups can be rare, in fact let me rephrase that, any kind of get up is rare) by a fellow gym user observing my practice:-

  [bctt tweet=”“Are you doing yoga with weights?” ” username=””]

 After the initial look of confusion on my face, I received this compliment graciously and patted myself on the back for what I would consider as a movement well expressed.   A Get Up that flows through the movement, I feel is described here, likened to a yogi with weights’-what could be a more beautiful image. Showing more than just strength but most importantly confidence with the bell.

And this confidence is exactly what and why I love about working with kettlebells. The transference of a positive emotional state, simply by increasing capability in various aspects of the bodies ability.

Why Is This Relevant To Everyday Life? How Can This Link With Our Clients?

What could allow an individual to gain more confidence in their own body (and in you for that matter) than knowing that if they fell to the ground, they can lift themselves back up again. This is a simple. Basic. Essential part of life.   I always like to think of exercise movements as having not only a functional aspect of the body but a metaphorical transference for how we then mentally face life and deal with the challenge.

  [bctt tweet=”When life gets tough, stand tall.” username=””]

Keep the chin up. Reach up to the stars. Fall 7 times get back up 8.

It’s not how many times you fall that matters. It’s about how many times you get back up. What defines us is how well we rise after falling.

The Importance Of Being Confident

Just a quick google search of motivational quotes shows us a huge number of indicators as to how we are all inspired with confidence in our ability to get up and stand tall- after we fall. Being able to lift ourselves physically with an added challenge (of a kettlebell or weight) is more than just an exercise drill. It is a movement which emits a powerful expression to ourselves about our own potential to overcome the difficulty.

The level of concentration required when performing heavier get-ups has an almost meditative feel about the movement that (aside from a windmill) I have found in no other exercise to date. It’s easy to be distracted by others around a gym mid-exercise. Place a 24kg bell above my head, however, and I’ll know about it if my focus isn’t fully in the groove. This is another reason why I keep this movement in my clients training programs, as I often find that the area of focus is something that can be lacking and if developed through movement, can help them in many other areas of their lives.

Information regarding the financial and physical costs of being unable to get oneself up from the ground is extensive. In a year-long study of the elderly, the BMJ indicates suggested that 82% of falls occur when participants are alone. A huge proportion of this group where then unable to get back up again and many of whom were left lying on the floor for over an hour.

The NHS reports that around one in three adults over 65 who live at home will have at least one fall a year, and about half of these will have more frequent falls.  Further studies by Dr. Claudio Gil Araújo, (who carried out the study with colleagues at the Clinimex-Exercise Medicine Clinic in Rio de Janeiro) describes

‘If a middle-aged or older man or woman can sit and rise from the floor using just one hand – or even better without the help of a hand – they are not only in the higher quartile of musculoskeletal fitness but their survival prognosis is probably better than that of those unable to do so.’  ‘remarkably predictive’ of physical strength, flexibility and co-ordination at a range of ages.

With this quote alone I kind of rest my case in terms of how confidence can link to being able to get up off the ground. Survival prognosis will increase by being able to get up off the floor with one hand. This is an easy sell for many clients.


Clients will reap confidence from being able to perform ‘some kind’ of a Get Up. I say ‘some kind’ as we work on a basis of inclusion with strength matters, and whilst we know what a perfect ‘turkish get up’ looks like, we also know that to get to hit SM standards can take a long time for a complete beginner. To be quite frank if I can get a client who was too overweight -too immobile or too weak to get up and stand tall, from a stationary position in any which way they can, safely and without support, then I am happy to have done a pretty good job in my ability to make their world a better place to live in.

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