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Master The Turkish Getup In 2022

[Complete Step-By-Step Guide]

By: Zack Mathews

So you are ready to learn how to do a Turkish Getup, props!

Maybe, you saw someone at the gym doing it and thought, what the heck is that?

Or you have always known about it, but didn’t quite know how to perfect it since it requires so many steps.

Well, it’s time to make you an expert on how to do a Turkish getup!

  1. Benefits Of The Turkish Getup
  2. Turkish Getup Breakdown
  3. Phase 1
  4. Phase 2
  5. Phase 3

Benefits Of The Turkish Getup

The Turkish getup one is one of my favorite exercises to perform and also to teach my online clients.  Because of the multitude of steps required, it quickly becomes a whole body movement that will get your heart pumping in no time.

Perfecting a Turkish getup will result in:

  • Increase shoulder strength, stabilization, and mobility.  You’ll quickly learn that although you are only holding a weight in one arm, both shoulders will be working.

  • A stronger core and obliques since you will be engaging your stomach muscles and moving laterally to raise yourself up.

  • Increases in glute strength and hip mobility.

  • Better stamina and endurance.

Look at all those benefits!  It is hard to find many exercises that can provide that many benefits in one movement.  It’s a great bang for your buck, so let’s master how to do a Turkish getup.

Turkish Getup Breakdown

Instead of learning the full Turkish getup in one go around, I was taught it in 3 different phases where I was able to master the movements in each phase.  This is a superior way to do it since it will allow you time to practice your weak spots and get better at them, rather than rushing through the whole movement.

I now teach my clients how to do a Turkish getup in a span of 3 months, since it's built into their monthly program.

Do that if you wish, but if you want to learn it faster, break it down over 3 weeks.

Week 1: Phase 1 - Perform 8 - 10 reps/side for 2 rounds.  Rest 60 seconds between sets.

Week 2: Phase 2 - Perform 6 - 8 reps/side for 2 rounds.  Rest 60 seconds between sets.

Week 3: Phase 3 - Perform 5 reps/side for 2 rounds.  Rest 60 seconds between sets.

Perform the Turkish Getup 2-3x/week in each phase and try to increase your weight in Phase 1 & 2 so you will be at your peak performance for when you start Phase 3.

Phase 1 Turkish Getup

The first phase is all about getting a solid starting position to allow for a fluid motion all the way from the top to bottom.  Here is your starting position with two different views.

Turkish Getup Correct Starting Position

Start by lying on your back with one leg bent at the knee and that same side hand is extended overhead.  You can do these without any weights or add a dumbbell or kettlebell for an added challenge. 

Your other arm will be at a 30-45% angle with your hand flat on the floor

The shoulder position of the arm being extended should be tucked back into your shoulder capsule to ensure optimal shoulder health.  Take a look at the two pictures below to see the difference between one arm being stretched forward, versus letting the arm drop back into the capsule.

Turkish Getup Shoulder Correction

No, I am not in pain here, although it looks like I am!  I was recording a video and talking.

The final part of your setup is where you will be looking.  Keep your eyes on the arm that is extended throughout the whole movement.

This is your optimal starting position and you should start and end each turkish getup rep in this position.

The first phase can be broken up into 4 steps.

Step 1: 

Using your core muscles, and not rotating your hips, transfer your body onto your elbow and forearms. Hold for 1/2 - 1 second.


Step 2:

Raise your elbow off the ground and lock out your arm so it is straight and your hand stays flat on the ground.  Hold for 1/2 - 1 second.

Exercise TG 1

Step 3:

Transition back down to your elbow at a controlled pace.  Hold for 1/2 - 1 second.

Exercise TG 2

Step 4:

Return slowly to the starting position and drop your shoulder back into the shoulder capsule before beginning the next rep.  Hold for 1/2 - 1 second.

Exercise TG 3

Those are the 4 movements for phase 1.  I added the 1/2 - 1 second hold at each position to really show you that I want you taking this slowly step by step, and really owning each movement. 

I am much more impressed with someone that does this in a controlled, clean fashion, rather than someone that loads up a huge dumbbell and just rushes through it.

Shoot for 8 - 10 reps on each side for 2 rounds total.  Rest 60 seconds between sets.

Phase 2 Turkish Getup

With phase 2, you will be incorporating your hips and glutes, along with using your hips and core to rotate your body.

The end goal of this phase it to be in a kneeling reverse lunge position with your body positioned straight forward.

To begin, start by doing the first two steps from phase one to get yourself up and onto your hand.

Now, instead of going back down, push your hips up as high as you can.  Think of yourself doing a glute bridge and want to get your butt as high as it can go.


Exercise TG 2
Exercise TG 1
Exercise TG 4

The next sequence is one of the toughest for a lot of my clients.

You want to rotate your hips down as you bring your leg thats extended, under you and onto your knee.

From here, push up from your hand on the ground, and rotate your body so you are positioned looking straight ahead, with your arm still locked overhead with the weight.

Exercise TG 5
Turkish Getup Step 6

Time to head back down now the same way you came up.

Hinge yourself to the side to get your hand on the ground for support.

Once you are stable with your base, kick your leg back out and straighten it out with your heel touching the ground.

Lower your hips to the ground, and guess what...

You are back into phase 1!

You now what to do here.  Control the movement back to your elbow and forearm, and then slowly onto your back.

Turkish Getup Step 9
Turkish Getup Step 10
Turkish Getup Step 111
Turkish Getup Step 12
Turkish Getup Step 13

Work on perfecting this phase since it's the toughest.

There is no problem staying here for 2-4 weeks mastering the rotation, keeping your arm locked up, and controlling the weight back down.

Because of the added movements in this phase, less total reps will be required.

Perform 6-8 reps on each side for 2 rounds total.

Turkish Getup Phase 3

You've made it!

Time for phase 3.

It requires pushing yourself up from the kneeling position into a tall, upright position.

Once you reach the top, just like hiking up a mountain, you need to get down.

Step back into a reverse lunge and put your knee on the ground.

You're right back into phase 2 here, so you know what to do to get to the ground.

Shoot for 5 reps on each side and remember to take it nice and slow.  No rushing this movement.

Here is the step by step visual of how to do a Turkish getup.

Exercise TG 3
Exercise TG 2
Exercise TG 1
Exercise TG 4
Exercise TG 5
Turkish Getup Step 6
Turkish Getup Step 7
Turkish Getup Step 8
Turkish Getup Step 9
Turkish Getup Step 10
Turkish Getup Step 111
Turkish Getup Step 12
Turkish Getup Step 13

And that my friends, is how to do a Turkish getup.

Leave a comment below with any questions, contact me HERE or tag me @VBAFitness with a video of you completing the movement!

Good luck!

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