Master the kettlebell Turkish get up

Kettlebell swing

The Turkish get up (TGU) is a full body functional exercise which is particularly good at developing the core musculature as well as shoulder strength, stability and range.

The TGU is complexed and is often broken down into separate phases, however essentially it is simply standing from a lying position while holding a weight.

The TGU has a massive carry over to general activities of daily living and sports due to the nature of the full body movement pattern and core activation involved and is one of the ultimate in compound exercises

Muscles used during the TGU

With all dynamic kettlebell exercises there is a demand for large muscle recruitment.

Below are the specific lower body muscles used during the kettlebell TGU.

Muscles used in kettlebell swing

Coaching points for the TGU

Start in a foetal position with both hands on the kettlebell handle. Roll over onto the back keeping the bell close then drive the arm with the bell up above the chest into a straight arm position.

The free arm should move out to the side, maintaining sight of the kettlebell the whole time.

Flex the knee on the same side as the kettlebell with the foot planted. Sit up keeping the kettlebell arm vertical until the empty arm is straight. Lift the hips and move the straight leg underneath the body into a lunge position, again keeping the kettlebell arm vertical and looking at the kettlebell.

When in a lunge position look forwards and push up to a standing position. Reverse the actions under control to the start position.

How it should be executed

To be able to execute the TGU correctly, it needs to be broken down into the separate ascending and descending  phases. 

See how its should be performed in this demonstration video which we have broken down into the two phases.

Common mistakes

The TGU is a complexed exercise which has many benefits once executed correctly, however with lack of practice or poor execution then injury can occur.

Shoulder instability.

Pulling from front leg.

Flexed arm with kettlebell.

Alternative exercises

The following exercises are alternative exercises for individuals who are struggling to competently execute the TGU;


Loaded sit ups

Weight-less TGU


Download our free kettlebell exercise guide.

Download our free booklet here, explaining exactly how to complete the 7 different fundamental kettlebell exercises which will be a great addition to your or your clients workouts.



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