Turkish Get-Ups (TGU’s) are one of the great kettlebell exercises. Nevermind kettlebell exercises, they are one of the great movement training drills we’ve got.
When I am asked, “What are the best exercises I should be doing?”
Turkish Get-Ups are always a part of my answer.
This is a heavy question to ask and even heavier to answer. Responses will differ depending who you’re asking but generally speaking, there is too much movement value, low risk and high reward with Turkish Get-Ups to leave it out.
Few other exercises provide the total body training effect of Turkish Get-Ups.
Like any exercise, TGU’s have an infinite amount of variations, add-ons, and programming option (sets, reps, time, weight, etc). Practicing variations is a nice way to introduce a movement challenge and avoid the onset of boredom.
Make no mistake, keeping training fresh is important across the long-term.
One of those variations is the “press at every step”.
This TGU variation involves performing five presses in the following positions:
- Lying position.
- Elbow support.
- Hand support.
Press #1: Lying Position
This is the only true horizontal press of the five listed. “Horizontal”, meaning you’re pressing from the back of the body to the front of the body (anterior to posterior then back to anterior again), similar to the mechanics of a traditional bench press. Lower the weight down until the elbow makes light contact with the ground, pause, press back up.
Press #2: Elbow Support
Pressing from the elbow support position will be a new experience for a lot of people. Expect this to feel unnatural and use cautionary judgment with weight here. The trajectory of the kettlebell is slightly different than any traditional pressing exercise.
Press #3: Hand Support
This body position will likely be the most awkward press of them all. Remain rigid from waist to shoulder. Naturally, your body is going to want to crease or your ribs are going to flail. Avoid letting either happen. Stay rigid and press!
Press #4: Half-kneeling
Training in the half-kneeling narrow stance position is a natural core blaster and can reveal side-to-side differences in symmetry. You might be steady with the left knee up, but hardly maintain the position with the right knee up.
Turkish Get-Ups aside, half-kneeling pressing is a natural overhead pressing progression into the standing press.
Press #5: Standing
Finally, standing at last. In the world of “functional training”, this is as functional as it gets. Pressing objects overhead is a common task in life. Unfortunately, most of the objects pressed overhead in life aren’t evenly weighted with nice handles.
Here is a video of a full “Press at Every Step” Turkish Get-Up…
Whether you’re craving a movement challenge or simply a new variation of a timeless exercise, give this one a shot. Be prepared for sore shoulders and core in the days that follow. Five presses inside of each TGU repetition accumulates a lot of work for the upper extremities.
For more great kettlebell exercise variations, I recommend two resources. The first is a landmark book from the modern day Godfather of kettlebell training, Pavel Psatsouline. There isn’t a kettlebell professional who hasn’t read Pavel’s ongoing work with kettlebell training.
The second resource is a full training system from Chris Lopez designed to improve body composition using kettlebells, more specifically fat loss. Kettlebells are unique in their ability to burn fat when used systematically. Chris has published a number of kettlebell training programs focused on how to “lean out” using kettlebells for quite some time.
Most importantly, let me know how you made out with this TGU variation…