The Turkish Get-Up
It is called the Turkish get-up because Turkish wrestlers apparently used it as a way of demonstrating their immense strength to each other.
The Turkish Get Up is the ultimate goal for any kettle bell enthusiasts or anybody mad enough to put their bodies through this.
I was first introduced to this form of full body pain by my personal trainer Mike of Coyote Fitness.
Check him out at www.coyote-fitness.com
Now this guy knows his kettlebells. A triathlete himself and an ultra trail runner, he has built a strong reputation of being able to get a person triathlon fit and injury free. Which occasionally includes the infamous Turkish Get-Up.
It is the way the Turkish Get-Up was introduced to me – a casual attitude with a wry smile.
I did not think much about that wry smile or even the demonstration done by Mike until I was lying down with a 12kg kettle bell in my right hand and my arms fully stretched out pointing to the sky.
As the saying goes – the first cut is the deepest. So was the first move in the Turkish Get-Up.
It looks simple, that’s what I said during the demo from Mike. How difficult can it be, I told myself.
All you need to do is to lift a 12kg kettlebell with one arm pointing straight up to the sky while lying down and then prop yourself up with your left
When you have to add in controlling the 12kg kettle bell from swinging around and losing your balance towards almost breaking your arm, plus using your core to prop yourself up with your left arm. That becomes a totally different movement altogether!
After propping up with your left arm and praying that both your arms do not give way, you have to continue using your core and arm strength to push your body up like a bridge, still having the right arm pointing straight up and keeping the balance of that 12kg kettlebell.
The third move is as difficult as it looks. At a bridge position, you will need to swing your right leg behind your left ending in a kneeling position. Basically what this means is to contort your body into a position you will never have done if it is not for this Turkish Get-up!
At this point you should be feeling new sensations in all parts of your body and on the verge of giving up.
This next move then pushes you a little further by requiring your to use whatever strength left in your core and legs to push yourself up into a standing position.
Oh, and did I mention that you still need to keep that right arm straight up balancing the 12kg kettle bell all this time
After standing up with that out-stretched up pointing upwards balancing that bloody kettle bell (yes trust me you will hate the kettle bell), if you still do have some sense of strength and sanity left, you can celebrate with pride that you have just completed 25% of one set of the Turkish Get-Up.
From this position, you need to back track, contort, use your core, curse at the kettle bell (keep that arm straight and balanced), maybe curse at your coach, and move back to the position before the first move which is lying down.
Just when you thought it was over, you have to do the whole insane and testosterone driven move again on your left side.
That is considered as ONE turkish getup
While you are lying down after completing the first set, start contemplating if demonstrating your immense strength and accomplishing this feat is more important than how your body feels.
The answer for most athletes are going to be the same…..Set 2!
Breathe! Yes, you would think that this has to be the most important aspect and a given. Trust me, amidst controlling your body movements, contorting your body, thinking what the next move is, all these while balancing a kettle bell above your head and that immense pride to accomplish and complete the move – the most important things become secondary. So, breathe!
Lastly, make sure you are doing this with a coach. This is of utmost importance as the posture and technique has to be right or else injuries will set in very quickly.
Good luck in accomplishing the ultimate exercise of the kettle bell.