Turkish Get-up Benefits

7 Frequently Asked Turkish Get-up Questions

The Turkish Get-up is a kettlebell exercise that is performed with one kettlebell using one arm. Variations of the Get-up can be performed with two kettlebells. The main variations are the lunge and squat get-up. Below are some common questions we get asked about the Turkish Get-up.


How many Turkish Get-ups should I do?

How many TGUs you should do will depend on the goal of the workout. Muscular endurance will require more reps than working for strength. See more.

Do Turkish Get-ups build muscle?

Yes, TGUs will build muscle if you use heavier weight than your muscles are currently used to. See more.

Do you do Turkish Get-ups on both sides?

Yes, you should do TGUs on both sides, you should alternate the exercise so that both sides are worked. See more.

Why do Turkish get-ups?

You should perform TGUs for the numerous benefits that they provide like shoulder stability and strength; core stability and strength; hip, shoulder, and some spine flexibility (rotation); and upper-arm and leg strength. See more.

Why is it called Turkish Get-up?

It is said that the old-time strongman saw the Turkish wrestlers perform this movement. The movement is getting up from laying on the ground to standing, hence the name, Turkish Get-up.

What are the benefits of the Turkish Get-up?

The benefits of the Turkish Get-up are plenty, but mainly they are stability, strength, and endurance for the shoulder. There are also benefits for the core and legs in regards to strength.

How fast should you do the Turkish Get-up?

How fast you should do the Turkish Get-up will depend on how many reps you’re doing and what goals you’re after but the more generic answer is that you should do it as slow as possible. See more.

Turkish Get-up Benefits

At the start of the TGU, you get the benefit of a press as you need to bring the weight up and this is done with a chest or triceps press. If you do several TGUs in one set then you’re not putting the weight down, and the benefit would then be muscular endurance. But if you put the weight down and alternate sides, then you get that added benefit of the chest press.

Prime Movers

The pectoralis major and triceps brachii (anconeus too) are used and benefit as prime movers for bringing the weight up.


A lot of muscles are working for stabilization, to keep the arm overhead, and when moving the torso from horizontal to vertical. Muscles that stabilize the arm overhead, but are not limited to, are the deltoids, pectoralis major, biceps brachii, coracobrachialis, serratus anterior, supraspinatus, latissimus dorsi, and teres major.


There are added muscles that work to create shoulder rotation during the movement like the teres major and subscapularis.


There are muscles used in the core like the quadratus lumborum, rectus abdominis, obliques, erector spinae, and so on.

Main Benefit

No matter whether you do one, or a lot of unbroken reps, this exercise is mainly about stabilization, muscular endurance, and strength. 


The leg muscles are working to come from a kneeling into a standing position, which targets the whole leg, calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, and so on. That’s not the extent of it as far as total muscles used. As you can see, the TGU is a full-body exercise.

As you might have noticed, most of the work is stabilization, with the prime movers mainly being the arms and legs. The arms are used at the start to come into a sitting position, and the legs to come from kneeling into a standing position.

If you want to know more details on the muscles used and the benefits, watch the video below.

Kettlebell Turkish Get-up Benefits List:

  • Shoulder stability
  • Shoulder and triceps muscular endurance
  • Core strength
  • Hip rotation and flexibility
  • Shoulder and triceps strength
  • Leg strength
  • Overall strength
  • Coordination

More: How many Turkish Get-ups should I do?

If you are after strength, then you should do 2 to 4 sets of 4 to 6 reps on each side. But, obviously, on your 1RM days, you only perform one of the heaviest reps you can do on each side. If you are after muscular endurance, then you should be in the 12 reps range and higher as you build up your endurance.

More: Do Turkish Get-ups build muscle?

Any exercise builds muscle as long as you challenge your current state. Meaning, that if you lift the same weights at the same reps all the time then you will generally stay in the same shape. You need to challenge your muscles with heavier weight than they are used to and the right reps. 

More: Do you do Turkish Get-ups on both sides?

Yes, you should do an even number of Turkish Get-ups on both sides but that doesn’t mean that you need to work one side first and then the other. It depends on your goals, when you stick to one side you are focussing more on muscular endurance. If you swap sides each time you can focus more on strength. You can go heavier and do fewer reps to focus on strength but you can also go lighter and perform more reps to also get a cardio effect (this requires that you have mastered the exercise). A great book to learn more about programming is How to Program for Kettlebell Training.

More: Why do Turkish get-ups?

Besides all the benefits mentioned above, there is one extremely important reason to perform the TGU, and it’s nothing to with strength or muscle mass, it’s all to do with being able to get up off the ground with ease. You’ll be surprised how many people I’ve worked with that were actually not able to get off the ground at all or with ease. The TGU fixed that quite quickly.

Kettlebell TGU Speed

More: How fast should you do the Turkish Get-up?

We have previously written a detailed article on how fast you should do the Turkish Get-up. Above, the answer was, to do them as slowly as possible. The article here gives you an idea of how fast or slow that can be.

The 3 Best Kettlebell Grinding Exercises For STRENGTH

The Turkish Get-up is one of the three best kettlebell grinding exercises for strength. The other two are the windmill and bent press. 

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