Back in the 1800’s, incredibly strong men performed incredible powerlifting weightlifting skills for an audience. Incredible, if not also a little crazy – these strongmen hefted huge rocks, pulled trains, etc. to wow a crowd.
Over time “strongman” became a category of athletics, where men competed in awe-inspiring movements that required an immense amount of overall body strength, heavily taxing muscles, tendons and joints, and requiring skillful coordination.
Today, some of the safer and more effective movements inspired from the strongman era are making a comeback. When done safely, these movements can be incredibly useful in advancing overall athletic fitness for men and women alike. One these strongman-inspired movements we incorporate in our workouts here at Axistence is the Turkish Get Up.
What is the Turkish Getup?
In this movement, the athlete starts lying on his or her back with a heavy weight, then lifts the weight toward the ceiling with one arm. From there they stand all the way up with the weight extended overhead (there are a few steps to do this safely - see the video), and lower back to the ground.
See a short video demonstrating the Turkish Get Up
The Turkish Get Up requires tremendous strength, balance, mobility, and stability. Incorporating this movement in your routine offers incredible benefits.
Shoulder Strength + Stability
The Turkish Get Up builds strong, resilient shoulders that can handle just about anything you can throw their way. The nature of the movement forces the shoulders to stabilize in different positions throughout the movement. To do it safely, you have to be able to hold a weight with a strong locked out arm packed in your shoulder while lying down, in half seated position, in a bridge, in a kneeling position, in a lunge position, and finally standing. As the position changes, the demand on the shoulders change.
When you build shoulder strength in different positions, they can better handle the forces thrown on them even when the positions are slightly unfavorable. They won’t be injury proof, but they will be more injury resistant.
Another cool side effect of Turksih Get Ups? Stronger shoulders mean heavier presses.
Trunk Stability + Strength
Holding a weight overhead while you rise and lower during the Get Up takes a tremendous amount of core strength. The trunk of the body is the transfer point for all movements. Presses, for example, like the military press and the push press, require a solid transfer from the ground through the midsection to the arms. If the midsection is weak then power is lost through the trunk to the arms.
A strong core improves strength and athleticism overall. A strong trunk improves your ability to move and lift overall. A weak trunk means you’re less generally strong, and worse, a weak trunk can lead to lost of balance and injuries to the hips and spine. The Turkish Get Up, especially when you get stronger with it, will strengthen the trunk allowing you to stay stable and transfer power more efficiently.
Hip Stability + Mobility
When you train with the Turkish Get Up, your hips will also be more mobile. The plus side is that they will be stronger in all the new ranges of movement you develop. Just like the trunk is a transfer point, the hips are a transfer point from the ground to the upper extremities.
It seems unrelated, but a lack of mobility and strength in one area, like the hips, can lead to an injury to the shoulder and vice versa. The lack of strength and mobility in one area forces another area to compensate.
The Turkish Get Up is a full body movement in different positions; working the body contra-laterally trains the body in unison. This is especially effective if mobility you do mobility work before you practice the Turkish Get Up. It reinforces new movement patterns.
The Turkish Get Up will improve your strength, mobility, and stability in the entire body while teaching it to work unilaterally and contra-laterally. If you aren’t already including this movement in your workouts, give the Turkish Get Up a try. You will be amazed how much stronger you’ll feel, and how much more strength you’ll gain during other movements. The amazement by your friends will be a bonus!
Steps for a Turkish Get Up
(Proper technique is a bit harder than it looks. Come on in and we'll teach you how.)