If you’re only going to do one exercise to improve your conditioning for Jiu Jitsu, it should be the Turkish get up. It is arguably the best exercise you can do that will benefit your Jiu Jitsu game.
Keep reading to see why this seemingly simple exercise is actually a full body workout and check out our step by step guide on how to properly perform a Turkish get up. We’ve also included some kettlebell recommendations and a FAQs about the Turkish get up.
Why is the Turkish Get Up So Effective for Grapplers?
The Turkish get up is an effective exercise for grapplers, because the exercise is a complete workout – not only improving your strength, but also mobility and stability in multiple key areas of your body.
When you perform a TGU, you are engaging multiple muscle groups at once. Everything from your shoulders, back, core, hips, and trunk are all engaged and work together to complete the movements.
The exercise is great for grapplers because it mimics common movements patterns seen in grappling. Doing a Turkish get up is almost the exact same as doing a technical stand up or exploding out of side-control.
By adding TGUs to your conditioning routine, you’re not only building strength and stability, but also drilling Jiu Jitsu movements!
How to do a naked stand up (technical stand up)
Before attempting a TGU with weights, you need to learn the movements of a naked stand up or technical stand up. If you don’t already know how, here is a breakdown for a technical stand up.
Plant your base hand
From a sitting position, plant your hand behind you as you keep your front hand up to block strikes. You do this in order to stand straight up and not lean forward into your opponent or attacker.
Lift your leg
Next, you’re going to lift your leg that’s on the same side as your base hand. This leg stays straight and lifted as your other foot is planted with your knee up.
Kick your leg back
To complete the technical stand up, shoot your lifted leg back and go right into a standing combat base.
How to Perform a Turkish Get Up for BJJ
Once you’ve got the technical stand up down, you’re ready to try a Turkish get up
Begin by lying on your back, with your kettle bell sitting on the ground beside you.
Picking up the Kettlebell
Next, roll towards the kettlebell to grip it and lift it up as you return flat to your back. Use two hands here – don’t just muscle the kettlebell up with one arm. As you move to higher weights you risk straining your bicep if you only use one arm. Your goal here is to be holding the kettle bell in one arm, wrist aligned vertically over your elbow, tricep resting on the ground.
Before you lift the kettlebell, make sure you’ve achieved the correct body alignment.
Keep your arm and leg on your non-kettle bell side at forty five degrees while planting your foot and lifting the knee on the same side as you’re holding the bell.
Press the bell and roll to your side
Now that your body is positioned correctly, you’re ready to press the kettlebell. Start by performing a one arm press. With the kettlebell held above you, roll to your non-lifting elbow, using it as a base.
Once on your elbow, continue the rotation, holding the kettle bell aloft, until you can post on the mat with your free hand. From here, you’ll be sitting all the way up with your hand posted on the mat and kettle bell held above your head.
Hip lift and low sweep
Next, you’ll drive off of your legs, elevating your hips. With your hips in the air, perform a low sweep with your extended leg – settling with your knee under your hip. This lunge-like position is called a hinge position, where your shoulders, core, hips, and knee are all aligned.
The kettlebell is still held above you – but if you can’t fully lock out your arm above your head that’s ok, just soften the elbow and hold the bell above you as naturally as possible.
The get up
From the hinge position, you’re going to make your way up to your feet. Windshield wiper your back foot to square your hips and stand straight up.
Reverse the movements
To go back down to the lying position, you must reverse the movements that you just did. Lunge to a soft knee, reverse windshield wiper your knee, then hinge to post on your hand.
Then low sweep your leg back through, go your elbow, and then your back to complete a TGU rep.
Choosing a Kettlebell for Turkish Get Ups
When choosing a kettlebell for Turkish get ups, the two most important features to look for are a comfortable handle and the correct weight.
Look for a kettlebell with a comfortable grip that makes doing exercises like the Turkish get up easier. Some cheap models have sharp seams from the mold they were cast in. If you’ve got an old kettlebell with this that bothers your hand, either file it down or wrap the handle in grip tape.
Weight is a very important factor when looking for a kettlebell to do TGUs. If you’re a beginner, always use a lighter kettlebell. Then once you know the movement, you can start using larger kettlebells. Try a starting weight of 15-20 lbs and adjust as needed. A lighter weight with perfect form is better than more weight with mediocre form.
Great Kettlebells for Beginners
If you’re looking to get into kettlebell training to improve your BJJ game here are some great kettlebells for beginners:
- HIGH-QUALITY CAST IRON CONSTRUCTION: Built to last of solid cast iron with no welds, weak spots, or seams. Great for training indoor and outdoor
- DURABLE VINYL COATED FINISH: Encased with vinyl to prevent corrosion, increase durability, reduce noise, protect flooring and enhance appearance
- WIDE, SMOOTH HANDLE: Smooth, high-quality slightly textured handle provides a comfortable and secure grip for high reps, makes chalk no longer necessary
- FLAT BOTTOM FOR STABILITY: Enable upright storage, ideal for renegade rows, handstands, mounted pistol squats and other exercises requiring a kettlebell with a flat bottom
- IDEAL FOR ANY AGE OR GENDER: Wide range of weights ideal for anyone wanting to improve fitness. Used for swings, deadlifts, squats, get-ups and snatches to work out many muscle groups and body parts including biceps, shoulders, legs, and more
- Set of 3 Kettlebells: Wide Grip 3-Piece Kettlebell Exercise Fitness Weight Set, Include 10 lbs, 15 lbs and 20 lbs
- Ergonomic Handle – Wide and comfortable grips make these weights easy to hold and ideal for the maneuverings
- Rust Free – Made of durable vinyl and filled with cement, will not get rusty
- 5-Pound Kettlebell: 5″ x 8.5″; 10-Pound Kettlebell: 6.5″ x 9.5″; 15-Pound Kettlebell: 7″ x 11″, 20-Pound Kettlebell: 7″ x 11″
- ADJUSTABLE WEIGHT: 5-40 pound plate loadable kettlebell and six removable cast iron plates ((2 x 4lb | 2 x 5lb | 2 x 6lb)), Yes4All strength training kettlebell set can be easily adjustable suit your fitness level and goals.
- COMFORTABLE AND SECURE GRIP: The slightly textured handle of kettlebells set provides a comfortable and secure grip for high-rep workouts, eliminating the need for chalk. The reliable locking of adjustable kettlebell set mechanism ensures safety during use.
- HIGH-QUALITY POWDER COATED KETTLEBELL SET: The powder-coated of adjustable kettlebell set cover prevents rust and corrosion, while the solid construction ensures long-lasting use.
- STABLE AND VERSATILE: Enable upright storage, ideal for renegade rows, handstands, mounted pistol squats & other exercises requiring adjustable weight with a flat bottom.
- VERSATILE & FUNCTIONAL FITNESS EQUIPMENT: adjustable weights suitable to swings, deadlifts, squats, lifting, get-ups & snatches to workout & increase strength of many muscle groups & body parts including biceps, shoulders, legs, & more.
- 15 pound kettlebell weight for exercise and strength training
- Solid cast iron with Pink vinyl coating that protects floors, reduces noise, and prevents corrosion
- Flat base for stay-in-place storage; weight clearly printed on both sides
- Textured, wide, curved handle offers a comfortable, secure grip; hold with one hand or two
- Available in multiple color-coded weight sizes to mix and match for specific workout needs and to expand on over time (additional weights sold separately)
- Premium Quality Kettlebells: Marcy’s kettlebell weights are furnished with high-quality hammer-tone finish for optimum performance and durability. The ergonomic construction boasts a sturdy handle that ensures a secure grip during exercise.
- Patented Design: Our kettlebells are constructed from recyclable cast iron reinforced with a non-rust coating. The coating offers exceptional metal protection that resists damage to the bells and prevents rust buildup.
- Ideal Home Gym Equipment: Enjoy working out from the comfort of your home with our versatile gym gear. Our kettlebell weights are excellent for various strength-training and circuit training exercises.
- Kettlebell Sizes: This kettlebell is available in 10, 15, 20, 25, 35, 45, and 55 pounds to allow you to customize your training according to your needs. Each piece of equipment is cast to a precise weight for safe and efficient weightlifting exercises.
- Kettlebell Sets: With a limited two-year manufacturer guarantee that lets you get the most out of your investment, our strength training kettlebells can be a great addition to your gym set.
The most affordable kettlebell that we’ll recommend is the Amazon Basics Cast Iron Kettlebell. While this is the most affordable kettlebell of the three, it does not give up much by way of durability or comfort.
Amazon made their kettlebell with a painted surface to increase its durability and to prevent corrosion. This kettlebell also has wide and comfortable grips, making it suitable for a wide variety of exercises.
If you want an affordable kettlebell that’s as durable as a high end one, this is the kettlebell for you.
Common Mistakes to Avoid While Doing Turkish Get Ups
The Turkish get up is a phenomenal dynamic exercise, but there are some common mistakes that many people make while doing them. To avoid injury and maximize your gains, here are some common mistakes to avoid while doing Turkish get ups:
Don’t roll up
Rolling up on a TGU is one of the most common mistakes that is cheating and can cause severe injury. To stand up, remember that you need to stabilize yourself on the mat and create tension in your legs and core.
This tension is all of your muscles activated and working together to complete the TGU.
When you try a TGU and feel like you’re too crowded to get up, that’s because your body isn’t properly aligned. If you remember to keep your body aligned, you will naturally give yourself space to complete the exercise.
Trying to cheat by rocking up is another common mistake that leads to injury. Always try to hinge your hips to transfer your weight to your back knee on the get up.
Your whole body needs to be tense in order to stabilize yourself in order to get up. If you lose tension, your muscles lose their connection, which makes completing the exercise nearly impossible without injury.
Not engaging your core
Your core plays an important role in literally every type of weight exercise imaginable and especially a TGU. That is why your core needs to be engaged the entire time you’re doing a Turkish get up.
Incorrect starting position
Many people doing the TGU wrong have made a mistake before they even attempted the exercise due to an incorrect starting position. Remember a TGU is just like a technical stand-up. Your bottom arm and leg need to start at your side at a 45-degree angle to your body.
What weight kettlebell do I need for the Turkish Get Up?
Before you think about how big of a kettlebell to use, remember to first master the movements of a TGU. Once you get the movements down, get a kettlebell that you can press over your head with perfect form. Most people will want to start with 15-20lbs, but remember to not sacrifice form to weight!
How many reps and sets of the Turkish Get Ups do I need to do?
How many TGU reps you do depends on if you’re doing a warm up, cardio, or strength exercise.
- Warmups: One to two sets of ten with a low weight kettlebell.
- Cardio: Three sets of eight to twelve reps.
- Strength: Four to six reps for four to six sets
What muscles are used to perform the Turkish Get Up?
When performing TGU, you use multiple muscle groups from your shoulders, core muscles, trunk muscles, and hips. This is truly a full body workout.
Can I perform a Turkish Get Up without a kettlebell?
Yes! If you do not have a kettlebell available, you can use a dumbbell as a replacement. You can also use an Olympic bar, but keep in mind that they’re difficult to control and not good for beginners.
Turkish get up wrap up
After reading through this breakdown of the Turkish get up, you should be ready to add it to your conditioning routine. You will no doubt see big improvements to your BJJ game after you start doing Turkish get ups.
If you already own a kettlebell you’re ready to get started, but if you don’t, we recommend the PowerBlock Adjustable Kettlebell for its versatility.