The Turkish Get Up – A Full Body BJJ Kettlebell Workout

07.02.2022 by

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

Starting Position

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.

Body positioning

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.

Comfort

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

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:

PowerBlock Adjustable Kettlebell

  • Four kettlebell sizes in one
  • Contoured shell for comfort
  • Durability of an iron kettlebell
  • Magnetic locking system          
The Turkish Get Up - A Full Body BJJ Kettlebell Workout 1 The Turkish Get Up - A Full Body BJJ Kettlebell Workout turkish get up

If you like working with kettlebells and like using multiple sizes, but don’t have the room to store a full set, this one’s for you. The PowerBlock Adjustable Kettlebell gives you four different size options in just one piece of equipment. 

The kettlebell is as durable as iron, yet has a contoured shell to ensure a comfortable grip.

You also won’t have to worry about the weight switching or dropping out as you workout; the PowerBlock has a magnetic locking system to prevent that from happening.

GarageFit Powder Coated Kettlebell

  • Built to last
  • Comfortable grip
  • Anti rust powder coating
  • 10 size options
The Turkish Get Up - A Full Body BJJ Kettlebell Workout 2 The Turkish Get Up - A Full Body BJJ Kettlebell Workout turkish get up

If you want the highest rated kettlebell on Amazon, the GarageFit Powder Coated Kettlebell is what you’re looking for. GarageFit’s kettlebells were built to last and come complete with an anti-rust powder coating.

The handle is designed with a comfortable grip that makes Turkish get ups easier to do. This is a professional grade kettlebell that will be one of the best pieces of equipment you ever bought.

Amazon Basics Cast Iron KettleBell

  • Cast iron kettlebell
  • Comfortable wide handles grips
  • Painted Surface
  • Most affordable kettlebell
The Turkish Get Up - A Full Body BJJ Kettlebell Workout 3 The Turkish Get Up - A Full Body BJJ Kettlebell Workout turkish get up

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.

Improper alignment

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.

Rocking up

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.

No tension

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.

FAQs

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.