Turkish Get-Up Variations to Try Now

Turkish Get Up

3 Challenging Turkish Get-Up Variations

Turkish Get-Ups are a fantastic movement to learn, refine and build. Get-Ups have many uses to assess movement quality and build total-body strength and conditioning. As it’s right and left side exercise, you may identify strengths and weaknesses between each side.

Turkish Get-Ups improve shoulder performance, core stability/strength, leg strength, upper and lower body joints mobility, and building true movement strength. You can even practice Turkish Get Ups for longer durations to elicit a cardio stimulus.

Turkish Get-Ups are usually performed using kettlebells, but you can also use dumbbells, sandbags, or any weighted object that you can control.  

A traditional Turkish Get-Up looks like this: 

The steps leading to the standing position are quickly reversed and "mirrored" while returning to the floor. The ascent is the “concentric” portion of the exercise, while the descent includes "eccentric" phases of the same movements.

Any exercise can be re-imagined to create a new training effect. Subtle modifications can change a lot about a movement. Adjustments to tempo, time under tension, increasing or decreasing weight, using various training tools (dumbbell vs. kettlebell, etc.), adding exercises, or tweaking steps along the way are effective strategies to boost any exercise challenge.

Already mastered this movement? Here are 3 Turkish Get-Up Variations that present a fresh movement challenge for your next workout.


  1. Kettlebells
  2. Or
  3. A Dumbbell

#1: Turkish Get-Up + Squat Ascent/Descent

This Turkish Get-Up variation uses a squat to stand up and lower down, with subtle tweaks in technique. Sorting out how to position the feet underneath the body can take some practice, so starting with no weight or lightweight is essential.

Dropping into the squat on the way back down is a little more forgiving. Once you're low enough to touch the hand to the floor, support yourself between the arm and the opposite leg. Slide the foot out in front, lower back to the floor.

Consistently practicing overhead squats will do wonders for expanding your movement capacity, opening up the thoracic spine while reinforcing shoulder stability in the overhead position.

#2: Turkish Get-Up + Press at Every Step

This variation taxes the upper body aggressively by adding a press at each step of the Turkish Get-Up.

Performing an overhead press from the elbow and hand will be foreign and challenge people the most. Pressing from the half kneeling and standing position will be far more familiar for most people. Start with lighter weight, get acquainted with the demands of performing the presses from uncommon positions.

Assuming you press at every step as I did in the video, there will be a total of 11 presses. That's a lot of upper body stress. One complete Turkish Get-Up repetition (on each side) will include 22 press repetitions.

In a workout, perform 2-3 reps (on each side) of this variation, then transition to finishing the workout with a different version to give the upper body a break.

#3: Turkish Get Up + Clean - Squat - Press

Once in the standing position, adding a clean, squat and a press creates a unique stimulus. The clean, squat, and press combination is a timeless movement sequence that flows exceptionally well with kettlebells.

Perform the usual steps getting up to the standing position. Once standing, execute a clean, squat, and press. After the press, keep the kettlebell overhead an descend back to the floor.

Before attempting this variation, make sure you're proficient with kettlebell cleans, squats, and presses. Exercise combinations like this are exciting and have tremendous benefits, but practicing each exercise in isolation to gain familiarity is critical.


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