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How To: Turkish Get Up

The Turkish Get Up is a staple in all our athlete’s programs because it demonstrates dynamic mobility, shoulder stability, and coordination, all very important no matter what sport you play.

Step 1: Initiating the Set Up

Start by laying side on facing the kettlebell with knees bent. Grab the kettlebell by the horn (handle) with both hands, pull into in the chest and then roll onto your back with it. You should end up on your back with knees bent and kettlebell being held to the chest.

Step 2: Set Up

Once you are on your back, keep the kettlebell in the chosen hand you wish to start with, it is important to hold the kettlebell at the horn (or the bend/corner of the handle), extend this arm straight up whilst keeping the shoulder packed down and locked strong. You want to keep the same leg bent with your heel closer to your buttocks. The opposing arm is out straight to the side at a 45-degree angle with your palm facing down, and the opposing leg will also be lengthened out straight on the floor slightly away from the body. 

We are now ready to start a full Turkish Get Up!

Step 3: “Punch and Crunch”

During this first step a few movements need to happen simultaneously. We crunch and roll onto the left elbow (as demonstrated in the photos) as you do this you are going to drive down through your left hand and heel as well as punching upwards with the right arm that is holding the kettlebell.  You want to think about leading up with your chest and reaching for the roof with the arm holding the kettlebell so that you don’t roll forward at the chest.

Step 4: Post Position

During this transition you shift your weight from the left elbow up onto the left hand. As you do this you want to keep the right shoulder screwed in with the arm locked strong and keeping the chest up (without overarching your back). It is important to also keep the left arm locked strong, there should be no bend in the elbow of either arm, and eyesight should always be maintained on the kettlebell itself.

Step 5: High Post Position

Now, this is where the “Get Up” really begins! From post position, you’re going to drive up through the heel of the right foot which is planted firmly on the ground and extend the hips up. It is important here that extension is through the hips and not the lumbar spine. The left arm should remain straight and strong also supporting the weight of the body and eyesight maintained at the kettlebell in the right arm.

Step 6: Leg Sweep

From this high position, you’re going to “sweep” the left leg back to a point where your left knee is on the ground underneath your body. It is crucial through this phase not to lose your neutral spine position and rounding at the lumbar spine (if you have reduced hip mobility this will be seen and a great indication to add some mobility work for this area into your program). It is important to keep the lower back flat, midsection strong and your trunk tall – a great cue is to think of lengthening your spine through the movement.

Step 7: Half Kneeling Position

Once you have your stability in Phase 6 Step 4 we move into the half kneeling position. Subtly rotate your left leg so that it becomes straight and in-line with the body, then you can lift your hand off the ground and straighten your torso. Take a pause here to make sure everything is in place – think tall spine, weight on the front heel, and shoulder still screwed in. You can now adjust your eyesightht forward for the next move.

Step 8: Stand Up

From the half kneeling position, drive through the heel of the right foot in order to stand up. Ensure your are standing up tall with feet together. We are now at the half way point!

Step 9: Reverse Lunge to Half Kneeling

Now the fun part! We reverse all the movements. Take a big step backwards with the left leg and lower down with control until the left knee is on the ground again. Don’t lose your posture here, focus on keeping tall and keeping your right shoulder in place throughout the transition. 

Step 10: Hand Reach and Windscreen Wiper

Take your eyesight back to the kettlebell here, and steadily reach your left hand down to the side until it is firmly on the ground. Once here you are going to move our lower leg in a windscreen wiper action so that it is back under the body

Step 11: Sweep the Leg

Once you have arrived here you are going to maintain support through the left arm and right leg and sweep that left leg from underneath the body and back out straight into the high post position. Continue to maintain the postures mentioned above and eyes at the kettlebell.

Step 12: Lower to Buttocks

You are on the home stretch now! Keeping your posture strong simply lower your hips back to the ground with control. The left leg should still be extended, the right knee bent and the left arm still locked strong and supporting.

Step 13: Lower to Elbow

Stay under control and lower yourself back down onto the left elbow.

Step 14: Lower to Back/Return to Start Position

With control lower yourself down onto your back, keep the right arm packed through the shoulder, don’t just flop down. You have now completed ONE full Turkish Get Up (Crazy hey).

Step 15: Completion Roll

If you have finished performing your Turkish Get Ups we exit the exercise the same way we initiated set up. Lower the kettlebell back down to your chest, bend both knees up and slowly roll over to the side, then you can place the kettlebell on the floor and get up safely off the floor.


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