Kettlebell Turkish Get Ups: How-To Guide

Time to introduce you to one of my favorite exercises! It is enough to give you a full body workout, help you build strength through almost every plane, and build coordination that transfers over to almost all athletic activities. Kettlebell turkish get ups (TGU) are dynamic and engage the whole body. The move has its roots in ancient strength training practices. It’s a movement that requires strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility, making it a keystone movement for any kettlebell training program (I would say ANY program in general)! That’s why we wanted to provide you with this in-depth tutorial, where we’ll explore the history, benefits, and detailed instructions for performing kettlebell Turkish get ups.

Some Turkish Get Up History

The Turkish Get-Up has a history that can be traced back to the 18th-century Ottoman Empire, where it was known as the “get-up” or “rise.” It was a fundamental exercise in the practice of Kettlebell sport, a popular form of physical training in Eastern Europe and Asia.

This exercise was initially used to prepare soldiers and athletes for battle and competition. It was considered essential for building strength, stability, and resilience. Over time, it has evolved into a staple exercise in modern fitness routines due to its effectiveness in targeting multiple muscle groups and enhancing functional strength.

The Benefits of Kettlebell Turkish Get Ups

Before we dive into the tutorial, let’s take a look at the numerous benefits of incorporating the Turkish Get-Up into your fitness regimen:

1. Total Body Strength

The TGU engages nearly every major muscle group in your body. It’s particularly effective at strengthening your core, shoulders, legs, and hips. On top of that, the get up builds strength in positions these muscles aren’t typically used in during more traditional gym movements.

2. Improved Stability and Coordination

I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you there is a small learning curve to the TGU. But that’s a good thing! It keeps your mind and body connected, engaging your nervous system in a unique way, as you seek to navigate this movement. This exercise challenges your stability and requires precise coordination, enhancing your neuromuscular control.

3. Functional Fitness

The TGU moves through a very different range of motion. This means it helps better equip you for the twists, turns and sudden movements that can come during everyday life, or other recreations! You’ll feel the effects once you get a few sessions with this movement under your belt.

4. Enhanced Flexibility

The full range of motion involved in the TGU can help increase flexibility in your hips, shoulders, and thoracic spine. And because you are strengthening these muscles while in a stretched position, you are building active flexibility (commonly known as mobility).

5. Injury Prevention

By strengthening your stabilizing muscles and improving posture, the TGU can help reduce the risk of injury during other physical activities.

6. Increased Body Awareness

Performing the TGU requires a keen sense of body awareness, which can translate into better form and technique in other exercises.

7. Core Strengthening

The TGU places a significant demand on your core muscles, helping you develop a strong and stable midsection.

Convinced? The Turkish get up is an amazing exercise! Now let’s get into a step-by-step tutorial, so you can make this move a stable in your kettlebell training program.

How to Perform Kettlebell Turkish Get Ups

As you practice the TGU, start with a lighter weight to help you perfect the movement pattern, then begin to increase the weight, to really challenge your strength and stability. With this move, slower is better at first. Don’t start trying to do get ups for time or under too much fatigue until you are confident you understand the movement.

Set Up

  1. Lie on your back with your legs extended and your kettlebell beside you (next to your belly button line on one side)
  2. Turn your upper torso towards the side with the kettlebell and grasp the handle with both hands.
  3. Bring the kettlebell to your chest, closet to the side where the kettlebell started (kind of like you’re going to do a one arm dumbbell bench press)
  4. Keep holding the kettlebell (somewhat resting on your chest) with your dominant hand. Your non-dominant arm should be extended out to the side at a 45-degree angle.
  5. Bend your dominant leg (the same side as your kettlebell-holding hand) and place your foot flat on the ground.
  6. Keep your non-dominant leg extended straight.
  7. Keep your eyes on the kettlebell at all times.


  1. Your dominant hand should still be holding the kettlebell handle.
  2. Push the kettlebell upward, keeping your wrist straight and your eyes on the weight.
  3. Use your non-dominant arm as support on the ground, keeping it at a 45-degree angle from your body.

Hip Lift

  1. Raise your hips off the ground by pushing through your bent leg.
  2. Slide your non-dominant leg underneath your body, positioning it beneath your torso. You should be kneeling on that leg (similar to the bottom position of a long, but with the kettlebell extended overhead-remember, keep your eyes on the kettlebell!)
  3. Keep your non-dominant hand on the floor for support

Kneeling Position

  1. Straighten out your body, releasing your non-dominant hand from the ground, so that you transition into a kneeling position. One knee one the floor, the other leg bent with the foot planted
  2. Your non-dominant leg should be beneath you, and your dominant knee should be on the ground.
  3. Keep your eyes on the kettlebell, which is now positioned above your head in a single-arm overhead lunge position.

Stand Up

  1. Stand up from the kneeling position while keeping your kettlebell arm fully extended.
  2. Maintain a strong and upright posture.
  3. Keep your eyes on the kettlebell throughout the movement.
  4. Reverse the Steps
  5. Slowly reverse the steps to return to the starting position, keeping your eyes on the kettlebell.
  6. Lower yourself back to the kneeling position, then to the seated position, and finally to lying on your back.
  7. Be mindful of your movements and maintain control.
  8. Repeat on the Opposite Side

Once you’ve completed the Turkish Get-Up on one side, switch to the other side and repeat the entire sequence. Ensure that you maintain proper form and control throughout the movement.

Does it feel like a lot? Maybe at first, but I promise the more you do it, the more it makes sense, and the more you’ll begin to understand and feel the benefits of this amazing exercise! The turkish get up has a rich history dating back to the Ottoman Empire and is now a staple in modern fitness routines due to its effectiveness in building strength, stability, and flexibility.

Incorporating the TGU into your workout regimen can lead to total body strength, improved stability and coordination, enhanced flexibility, and injury prevention. It’s a versatile exercise that can benefit individuals of all fitness levels, from beginners to advanced athletes.

Again, I just want to note that kettlebell turkish get ups can be complex and may require practice to master. Start with a light kettlebell to focus on form and gradually increase the weight as you become more proficient. Always prioritize safety and proper technique.

Look up videos on this love so you can really see it in motion (we’ll try to get some on here soon!) and be sure to ask for advice if you need it! You can always reach out to us with any questions! Feel welcome to check out some of the other workouts on our website to really round out your kettlebell training, and as always…

Happy Kettlebelling,


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