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Breaking Down the Turkish Get Up

In simple terms, the TGU is a multi-step movement that brings the athlete from the ground to a standing position. Of course, anyone who's done TGUs knows that they are anything but simple. In addition to working multiple muscle groups simultaneously, the TGU also works unilateral movement, coordination, mobility, strength and endurance. In other words, in terms of energy, performing this one movement allows the athlete to address multiple aspects of fitness in one of the most efficient ways.


In the past, some RF athletes have been hesitant to perform TGUs because the multi-step process can be overwhelming or confusing. To combat that, we're going to break down the steps here:


Step 1: Starting Position

The athlete should start in a supine (laying on the back) position. One leg should be bent with the arm on the same side holding a kettlebell pressed up towards the ceiling. To make explanation easier, we're going to say the left side is the side with the bell/bent knee. For beginning athletes, we recommend using a foam pad, your shoe, or just going weightless until you feel comfortable with the TGU. A general rule we like to abide by in class: once you can make it to a standing position without dropping the mat/shoe, then it's kettlebell time!

Step 2: Lift Up to the Elbow

From Step 1, the athlete will then engage their core and roll up onto the elbow. Make sure to take care that the left arm holding the kettlebell stays locked out throughout the movement and the left knee does not collapse. Additionally, when looking at the right arm, take care not to let your head start to sink down towards the shoulder.


Step 3: Rise to the Hand/Bridge Up

From the elbow, the athlete will continue to work their way to a standing position by rolling from the elbow up to the hand. Once up to the hand, the athlete will push through the right hand on the ground and the left foot of the bent knee to lift their hips until they are up in a bridge position. Before bridging up, the athlete can make sure their left foot and right hand are diagonal from one another; when in the ideal position, a triangle will form between the right hand, left foot, and the body (see below). This will give the athlete a better base of support for the bridge position. Ending position for this step should look like the picture below.




Step 4: Sweep the Leg

From the bridge position, the athlete will then sweep the right leg through the triangle made by the left leg and right hand. Once swept through, the right knee should land directly under the right hip. Once in the position pictured below, the athlete will "close the hip" by moving the right leg towards the left leg (see arrow) so the athlete starts step 5 in a lunge position.


Step 5: 1/2 kneel

In the half kneeling position, the athlete should take care to tuck the toes of the right foot and make sure the left foot is slightly behind the left knee. From here, the athlete can slowly shift their weight forward on to the left leg and stand up.


Step 6: Standing and Reverse

Once in a standing position, bring both feet together. You've completed the transition from supine to standing! The final step is to reverse the steps and return to the floor in the starting position.


We will be practicing the TGU for the entirety of February during upper body days. However, we encourage you to practice throughout the week!

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