Strength-Training Exercise: The Turkish Get-Up
The Turkish get-up is one of the most comprehensive, compound movements in existence today, because it has you moving just about every joint in your body. The purpose of this exercise is to get up off the ground while supporting a weight overhead.
This movement simultaneously works elements of mobility (the ability to move through a range of motion) and stability (the ability to resist changes in joint position) in the shoulders, hips, and core. It's also a marvelous strength builder, when you're ready to go heavy with it. The Turkish get-up, or get-up for short, forges resilient shoulders, supple hips, and a bulletproof midsection.
Here's how you can do the Turkish get-up:
Lie on your back in the prone position.
Fully extend your arms and legs and angle them away from your body at roughly 45 degrees. Your right arm should run parallel to your right leg and vice versa. It should sort of look like the bottom of a snow angel position.
To work on your right side, directly press your right arm in line with your sternum (mid-chest) as if you were performing a one-arm bench press (this is also the arm that will be holding the weight).
Don't perform this movement with any weight until you have each of these steps mastered. Bend your right knee and plant your right heel relatively close to your butt.
Your right heel should be relatively close to your butt, not directly. Take as much time as you need to set up correctly. (If you're working on the left side, you should do the opposite with the setup and the following directions.)
To execute the roll, push hard into your right-planted heel, pull hard from your left-planted elbow, drive your chest upward, and prop yourself up onto your left forearm.
This movement is a roll, not a crunch or a sit-up. Lead with a proud chest, and keep your back flat. Keep your right arm extended straight overhead. (Imagine you're balancing a half cup of water on your fist at all times; don't let it spill!) If you lead this movement with your head and round your back, then you're doing it wrong.
Move from your forearm up to your hand, by extending the elbow.
However, don't lift your hand, instead, simply pivot on it. Don't let your shoulders shrug up in this position. Think about keeping as much distance between your shoulders and ears as possible. An effective, but somewhat crude cue that seems to do the trick is to pretend you're squishing a beetle.
Bridge by pushing your heel into the ground, squeezing your butt, and driving your hips up into the air.
You should be able to freely lift your straight leg off the ground in the bridge position. If you can't, shift your weight onto the heel of your bent leg. Try your very best to come into a full bridge, but don't overextend.
Sweep your straight leg (in this case your left leg) back under your hips, planting your knee directly in line with your planted hand.
When done correctly, your legs should form an L with one knee facing forward and the other knee facing outward. Don't try to sweep your leg back in such a manner that both knees face forward, like they would in a lunge position. This is awkward and will put you into a bad position.
Simultaneously lift your planted hand and rotate your back leg to come up off the ground and into an overhead lunge position.
In the starting position, firmly plant your back toes on the ground (not pointed behind you), so that you can push off your back leg just as much as your front leg to stand up.
The movement of your back leg should look similar to a windshield wiper, as your back calf swings outward until both knees are pointed in the same direction.
To finish the Turkish get-up, stand up out of the lunge.
At the top of the Turkish get-up, there should be a straight line up through your legs, torso, and arm connecting the weight to the ground.
You can reverse everything you just did — step-by-step — and return to the starting position.