Turkish Get-Up

How to do the turkish get-up and fit it into your delt, leg and core training routine.
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Photography by Paul Buceta

Turkey (the country, not your poultry of choice for lean protein) has given us many notable names and items, including St. Nicholas, King Midas, and the love-it-or-hate-it sweet treat, Turkish delight. And now, you can add one more thing to that list: the Turkish get-up — a comprehensive sequence of movements that combines elements of the lunge, bridge and side plank into a powerful, whole-body functional exercise.

According to personal trainer and kettlebell educator Brett Jones, the Turkish get-up is an exercise with more than 300 years of history, originating from Turkish wrestling traditions and recently revived by kettlebell expert Paul Tsatsouline. Challenging even without resistance, the Turkish get-up can be performed anywhere and at any fitness level.

As with any exercise, form is important, so ensure you nail each position in the sequence before challenging yourself with more weight. Jones recommends performing 3 to 5 reps per side either at the beginning of your workout after you have warmed up, as a stand-alone routine, or including it in a circuit along with other exercises (with or without kettlebells) for a full-body workout. However, never perform it to failure.

Start with a 6- to 12-kilogram kettlebell, depending on your ability.

Step One

Lie on your right side with your legs bent, and hold the handle of the kettlebell with both hands as shown, with the weight resting on the outside of your right forearm.

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Step Two

Roll onto your back and press the kettlebell up with your right hand. Bend your right knee and place your foot flat on the ground. Your left leg should be straight, and your left arm bent and angled out slightly.

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Step Three

Point the kettlebell upward as you roll up onto your left elbow by driving your right foot into the ground.Extend your left arm, supporting your body with your left hand and left hip. Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips as shown.

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Step Four

Slide your left leg underneath you, placing your left knee on the ground. The kettlebell should be directly over your right shoulder. Raise your torso; it should look as though you are in a low lunge.

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Step Five

Press through your front heel and stand. End with your feet together and kettlebell locked overhead.

To complete one rep, perform the steps in reverse.

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