Move of the Week: Bottoms-up TGU to Hand

For today’s Move of the Week, we’ll be revisiting one of our all-time favorite exercises: the Turkish Get-up. This time though, we’re adding another layer of difficulty. Check it out below!

THE MOVE: Bottoms-up TGU to Hand

MOVEMENT PATTERN AND MUSCLES WORKED: Carry; core, rotator cuff, and shoulders.

WHY DO IT: As we have emphasized multiple times prior, the Turkish Get-up is one of our go-to exercises. It’s actually hard to characterize as just a single movement pattern because it works through so much. But because of this versatility, teaching it is always a worthwhile priority.

How to Master the Turkish Get-up

We’ve detailed the progression we used to teach our members the TGU before, and you can find that above. Today it’s time to go back to the basics, with another layer of difficulty.

Besides increasing weight, there’s another great way to make the TGU harder. When we turn the kettlebell upside down, we add an element of instability for the shoulder. In order to prevent the kettlebell from crashing down, the rotator cuff must fire reflexively to keep the shoulder and the arm stable as you get up from the floor.

This will also slow you down considerably, as every move you make on the way up will have to be deliberate and controlled. The TGU is a long, complicated movement, and the bottoms-up kettlebell is an effective remedy for those who like to rush through it.

As such, today’s move combines elements of the single-arm bottoms-up carry with the TGU. We won’t be doing the full TGU today; it’s complicated as it is without the bottoms-up kettlebell. We’ll only be getting up to the hand, but this will give us the chance to build shoulder stability before we add more phases and moving parts to the TGU.

In addition to shoulder stability, the Bottoms-up TGU to Hand will also work the core in a rolling/diagonal pattern, and we’ll detail how to take advantage of these benefits below.

HOW TO DO IT: As a prerequisite, make sure you hands are dry here; sweaty palms won’t help. Turn the kettlebell upside-down and grip it tightly like you mean it in your right hand. Lie down on the floor and press the bottoms-up kettlebell towards the ceiling. Keep your right foot flat on the floor with your knee bent, but you left leg straight and off to the side at about a 45-degree angle. The left arm should be off to the side as well. You almost want to think about spreading your body out like a starfish.

With the kettlebell pressed towards the ceiling, roll up to your left elbow. To do so, brace your core and think about pushing the floor away from you with both your left heel and left elbow. Done correctly, you should now be supporting your weight on your forearm. Finish off the move by pressing up onto your left hand.

Slowly reverse this move by coming back down onto your elbow and then onto your back. Keep the kettlebell stable the entire time. Don’t let the kettlebell arm bend, and be sure to repeat for reps on both sides.

The weight of the kettlebell will be light to start, but this is more about feeling it in the right places rather than compensating with bad form. As such, you should feel some activation in the back of you shoulder and below your armpits, and not in the front at all. That’s your biceps tendon doing something it shouldn’t be doing.

For today’s move, I’d recommend 2-3 sets of 6-8 reps/side at the beginning or end of a workout. If your needs are more on the technical side, I’d probably use this in the beginning. At this frequency, not only will you begin to build shoulder stability, you should also be able to fire up the core really good, too.

Try this out, and let us know what you think on Twitter or Instagram @halevylife !

by Jeremy Lau

Jeremy Lau

Jeremy Lau Halevy Life Staff CoachJeremy Lau is a Senior Staff Coach at Halevy Life.

Jeremy graduated cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BSc. in Biomedical Engineering and is currently pursuing his M.Ed. in Exercise Physiology at Columbia University. In addition to his academic accolades, Jeremy is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).

Prior to joining the team at Halevy Life, Jeremy completed a coaching internship at Cressey Sports Performance, where he coached both amateur and professional athletes, among whom were many professional MLB baseball players.

As an athlete, Jeremy has played baseball competitively for most of his life.