As noted in The 3 Most Important Lifts for the Hunter article, there are few exercises or lifts that target as many movements and muscle groups in one repetition as the Turkish Get-Up (TGU). In a single repetition it trains upper and lower body stability, reflex control of the trunk/torso and extremities, stimulates our balance systems, promotes coordination and develops upper body strength, trunk strength and hip strength.

If you can do a heavy TGU properly, you can handle just about anything the mountains will throw at you.

The TGU can have rehabilitative and therapeutic effects as well as be utilized as both a conditioning exercise at higher repetitions (low weight) and a true test of functional and integrated maximal strength at lower repetitions (heavy weight).

In our opinion the TGU belongs in every mountain hunter’s program.

It is a highly technical movement that has a high carry over to an individual’s ability to lift heavy weight, and provides great insight into the physical coordination of that person. It is however the most technical lift on our list and not a lift to mess around with, especially at higher weights due to the dangers of the kettlebell being held overhead for an extended period of time.

The entire point of the TGU is to enhance one’s movement quality so it is essential that you receive coaching in this lift if it is new to you.

Do not let that deter you from adding it to your regimen. We assure you that once you’ve learned how to complete the lift properly you’ll never look back. Given the fact you can do these at home, at the cabin, or even in the field with nothing more than a single kettlebell it is one of the most efficient exercises or lifts you can do in today’s time crunched world.

If you had to do one exercise and one exercise only for the remainder of your life, it would be the TGU.

To Summarize The Benefits of the TGU:

– Requires shoulder stability and motor control, a high level of core strength, and joint integrity and mobility in the hips, knees and ankles.

– Allows an individual to address asymmetries in unilateral (one sided) strength, mobility and coordination.

– Allows an individual to develop focus and confidence in total body control and through the slower, controlled and complex nature of the movement.

– Develops active mobility throughout the torso, hips and extremities.

Coaching Essentials

To be crystal clear, there are a few different approaches to the TGU and depending on your own personal fitness history, injury history and current state of fitness the TGU can be completed with varying technique. This again, is why we advise you to seek out professional coaching in this movement. An experienced kettlebell instructor or coach will determine the best technique for your given abilities and goals.

The Steps (right handed) – Video Below:

1) Lie or roll onto your side and hug the kettlebell in tight.

2) From there, roll onto your back and press the weight up with one arm to a fully extended elbow. Your elbow should remain extended until the weight hits the floor again. This position can be challenging for individuals with a history of shoulder injuries, so choose an appropriate starting weight.

3) Sit up and press the bell to the sky. If you’re holding the bell with your right arm, the foot of your right leg should be flat on the floor with bent knee. The other leg should be positioned fully extended on the floor. You’ll need to roll over onto your free (left) elbow and drive yourself up, keeping your right arm raised and the kettle bell over your head. Use that flat foot on the ground and drive it down, this causes your hips to roll over in the direction from which you initially picked the bell off the floor. Make sure the bell stays vertical over your shoulder.

4) Getting into the lunge. This is the toughest step in the process. Keeping your eyes on the kettlebell and the bent leg foot flat, transfer your weight to your free (left) hand and lift your hips off the ground. The hip drive or lift is one of the steps where the technique will vary depending on your needs. Once you’ve done that, bring your left knee back in line with the hand and foot that are on the ground. while the other while the other foot slides through the space you have created by This gives you a base of support that involves your (left) hand, (left) knee, and opposing (right) foot in a very stable position that we will use to stand up under control. Once in a stable side bent position, shift your weight over your hips so that you can lift your hand off the floor. This half kneeling position with a weight overhead is a great exercise for anyone with lateral instability and is excellent for getting the hips and torso conditioned to carry a heavy pack.

5) Now stand up! Easiest technical step, but the hardest physically. With your core and hips braced hard, press up into a standing position and bring your feet together. Stand proud in your accomplishment, holding that kettlebell high, with your elbow extended. Breathe.

6) You’re halfway there. Do everything you just did…in reverse. The good news is you just completed one of the most technically difficult exercises possible. The bad news is it’s time to come back to earth without dropping the weight on your head. Follow the steps in reverse.

Still images do not easily convey the complex movements of the TGU. In our opinion one of the best instructional videos available come from the crew at Strong First (starts at 4:40): TGU INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO

Bryce Hafso
BSc. Health and Fitness Mgmt, CSCS, NCCP
Strength and Conditioning Coach
Hunting Fitness Correspondent for The Journal of Mountain Hunting

Adam Janke
Editor in Chief
FMS 1 & 2

Matt Thompson
Field Editor


Posted by JOMH Editor