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6 Common Turkish Get-up Technique Mistakes

Written on October 30, 2013 at 6:23 am, by Eric Cressey

Today's guest post on the Turkish Get-up comes from Cressey Performance coach, Greg Robins.

The Turkish Get-up has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, and rightfully so, as it's a fantastic exercise.  It is also, however, a complex exercise with many different components that must be "synced up" to get the most benefits of the drill.  With that in mind, I wanted to use today's article to discuss the six most common Turkish Get-up technique mistakes I see, and how I correct them with our clients at Cressey Performance.

Mistake #1: Not actively getting up.

While I didn’t sequence these in any particular order, this mistake is the most common. Too often, people roll into the start of a get-up instead creating tension and actively moving into the first position. This first movement is the definitive step in the get-up, in my opinion. If you cannot reach your forearm actively, you are either using to much load, or approaching the exercise incorrectly. Check out the video below for sign of rolling, or passive movement, and for tips on how to do it correctly.

Mistake #2: Not creating enough “space.”

One cue I use all the time when teaching the get-up is to “not let your masses move into your spaces.” In other words, if the body stays in proper alignment, you will have certain amounts of space present between your torso and your limbs / head. When we lose these spaces, you can be sure that you are beginning to rely on passive stability measures, as opposed to creating tension and actively holding positions.

Mistake #3: Rocking instead of hinging.

The transition from three points of contact to two (or from two to three, on the way back down) is common place for get-up mistakes. Mostly, people tend to rock off, or to the ground. Instead they should utilize a hip hinge pattern to shift the weight completely onto the back knee. This way they can easily lift, or place the hand back onto the ground.

Mistake #4: Keeping the joints too soft.

In some ways, this mistake could fall into the category of not creating enough space. However, I want to hone in on the importance of extension at a few joints during the movement. Often times I will see people keep these joints in slight flexion, when they should be extended. It is of note that you should also watch for people who tend to hyperextend at the elbows and knees and cue them to stay neutral, so as to promote an active form of stability.  You could also apply this to the grip, which should be firm; you don't want to see the hands open.

Mistake #5: Not engaging the anterior core.

We may have very well beat the “anti-extension” theme to death on this site. That being said, it’s a problem we see time and time again.  It also happens to be very common with most folks' Turkish Get-up technique. Make sure you are keeping the ribs down, and core braced throughout this exercise.

Mistake #6: Starting with an incorrect bottom arm position.

As with any exercise, if you don't set up correctly, your technique will always be suboptimal. With respect to the Turkish Get-up, this is particularly important in the context of where the bottom arm is positioned at the start of the movement.

I hope these suggestions help you to improve your Turkish Get-up technique, as this is one exercise you really want to include in your strength training programs because of the many benefits it delivers. And, optimizing technique will ensure that you receive all of those benefits!

If you're looking for how we might incorporate Turkish Get-up variations in our strength training programs, be sure to check out The High Performance Handbook, the most versatile strength and conditioning resource available today.

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17 Responses to “6 Common Turkish Get-up Technique Mistakes”

  1. Larry Weiland Says:

    I thought I had seen every dissection of Get Up form that I needed to, but this offered great new information. Great stuff, Greg.

  2. Andrew Says:

    Hi guys, I really like this post, as I like to incorporate the Turkish get-up into my workout program often. However, is there any way you could add a video of a full Turkish get-up to show the correct motions all the way through the exercise?

  3. Alicia Herron Says:

    All of these videos are so helpful! I pray more people learn about you guys at CP. One thing I did after watching this, just for S’s and G’s is I typed into Bing Proper Turkish Get-up’s. I recommend you do this too because the crap that shows up in the search is ridiculous. The cross fit videos are the worst! Absolute terrible form and technique. Keep up the amazing work at CP.

  4. Kevin Ford Says:

    Great post! The explanations were clear, concise and the video’s help to see what you’re describing. I appreciate all the good work your team does at CP.

    Sincerely,
    Kevin Ford, PT, DPT, OCS

  5. Maria Says:

    Thank you for publishig this video. It was super informative and I learned much from it

    Maria

  6. Dinah Says:

    Thank you! I will watch for these things in my own training and in my clients’ movements.

  7. Matias Ratti Says:

    Eric, como siempre muy bueno, gracias y saludos

  8. Eric Cressey Says:

    Andrew,

    Here’s a bottoms-up variation as a frame of reference:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-NmkMzwrZg

  9. Evan Says:

    One of my favorite posts. I love the Turkish getup as a warm up and shoulder pre-hab exercise for my upper body days. I taught myself from dragondoors kettlebell training books and I feel like a lot of this advice either wasn’t mentioned or I overlooked it. Either way thanks for the videos. I catch myself doing the rib flaring thing so I’ll have to keep an eye out for that.

    On a side note, I have no affiliation with these guys but, if you like kettlebells you should check out the demon bells company. They make some awesome kettlebells.

  10. Brian Bochette Says:

    Excellent post Greg. I admit that I’ve been guilty of #3 myself. A good get up requires patience and respect for the weight. Thanks again for all the valuable information that you and Eric share.

  11. Antwan Harris Says:

    This is very clear and concise guys, I will be actually using this movement within our upcoming phase! Great Job

  12. Adam Says:

    Hey guys,
    Wondering your take on a couple of technique points that Gray Cook and Brett Jones use…

    1) Taking weight off the heel from start position to the forearm and from forearm to the hand. In Mistake #1, the video talks about driving through the heel to get to the elbow/hand, but Cook and Jones point out that taking weight off of that foot in the first two steps of the movement creates more anterior core activation.

    2) Addition of “speed bumps” into the movement at various points. I’ve been doing this a lot lately in my own get-ups as well as those with my clients, and I’ve noticed a big improvement in shoulder function. At the elbow position and hand position (on the way up, not down), I’ll add three very slow full wrist rotations as well as three very slow neck rotations. For me, not only does this identify some potentially restricted areas, but it also puts us into a good position wrist and neck wise before we get into the rest of the movement. And almost by accident, it really reinforces the idea of packing the shoulder.

    By the way, Eric talks a lot about allowing scap upward rotation with overhead movements, does this apply to the Get-Up? Should the should be packed at all times during this movement? Some PT’s will say that overhead is overhead, regardless of whether it’s a press, a carry, or a get-up…and that overhead mechanics should allow for upward rotation. Guys like Pavel, Dan John, etc. have been stressing packing the shoulder for years. Wondering what your thoughts are on that as well.

  13. David Isaac-George Says:

    Great post, I particularly liked the way you broke each component down. But to finish off I would like to have seen the complete move all in one take.

  14. Rick Says:

    Really appreciated this video. Excellent job!

  15. sean whiteside Says:

    Eric, great stuff as usual! Maybe you can help me and some other coaches settle a debate. Our head football coach (also AD) has began what he calls “zero” period , which in short, is where he is “asking” all varsity athletes to come workout at 6 in the a.m. for an hour. While I fully support that our strength and conditioning needs to get better but he is having everyone, even guys who have basketball and baseball games that afternoon to come in and lift heavy, not a mantienence program. He states that the young men have plenty of recovery time but I disagree. Some of these kids are as young as 13 & I contend that it is possibly setting some of these kids up for injury and that if it is not a mantienence program it could be dangerous for the boys. What are your thoughts on the subject.I thought maybe if an “expert” wouldngive us his opinion that maybe we can get an answer.

  16. Brian Says:

    Greg,

    Great tips. I incorporated 4 of these cues for the first time today and smashed my PR.

    keep em coming.

    brian

  17. J S Says:

    My PT incorporated this exercise into my rehabilitation routine for core strengthening, but I kept having problems with my shoulders when performing without supervision. Particularly helpful was the demonstration of incorrect move followed by correct position. Thanks so much!

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