exercise, squat, form, technique, turkish get up, TGU

Daily Wisdom: Warm Up with the Turkish Get-Up

It's the ideal total-body move if performed correctly.

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The Turkish get-up (TGU) is often considered a major move you do during a total-body workout with a heavy weight. However, it’s also one of the best exercises to increase blood flow to your muscles, improve joint mobility, and reduce your risk of injury—before you dive in to your main sets and with light or no weight at all.


“When done properly, there are multiple benefits of the TGU: it promotes shoulder and hip joint mobility and overall stability,” says Samantha Carmean, C.S.C.S., an Equinox Tier X coach and a Strong First Level 2 kettlebell coach. “It’s a tri-planar movement that incorporates many developmental patterns such as rolling over, kneeling, standing, and reaching. Training in this way promotes strength gains by improving stabilizer responses during the exercises you do afterwards, thereby increasing mechanical advantage under load,” explains Carmean. This is helpful for when you start moving heavier weights around during squats, deadlifts, chest press, etc.

The key, however, is to do them properly. “The get-up movements are initiated almost entirely from the hips: There shouldn't be spinal flexion or side-bending at any point,” says Carmean.


To warm up for a strength workout, Carmean suggests a get-up ladder, in which you increase weight while decreasing reps: Start with an easy weight for three reps per side, then two reps per side at a heavier weight, then one rep per side at your near-max weight. But first, master the movement with no weight at all. “Before I coach anyone through a TGU with a kettlebell, I have them go through the full movement with a yoga block balanced on their closed fist,” she says.