TGU Clinic – How the Turkish Get Up Applies to Mountain Biking

The Turkish Get Up (TGU) is one of my favorite exercises for improving your core strength and technical skills on the trail. It is essentially 7 mini-exercises in one flowing movement, making it a vary unique and valuable exercise. However, if you don’t understand how the different parts of the TGU relate to riding on the trail it can be easy to miss some of the details that can make a huge difference in the results you see on the trail.

Each of the 7 steps of the TGU target a different type of movement and core strength that you need on the trail and knowing this will change how you look at this exercise forever. No longer are you just doing an “exercise” but instead you are practicing the movements needed to improve your body position, cornering, pedaling power and overall stability and flow on the bike.

This is a video from a clinic I did a few months ago for a local riding group where I break down the TGU in a way that has never been done before, showing you exactly how each step applies to improving your ability yo ride faster, longer and with more confidence on the trail. It is a bit long but well worth it – when you are done with it you will understand the TGU and its unique benefits better than a lot of personal trainers and strength coaches.

-James Wilson-

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  1. Wade says:

    You made the comment to practice the TGU everyday. Everything else I’ve read is that you need to take your “rest” days. Do you suggest adjusting your weight to make some days easier so that you can practice everyday?

    Any suggestions on a starting weight and/or exercises to get more comfortable holding a kb over your head? (I only have a 20kg kb and get very nervous/tired/uncomfortable holding it overhead.) No problems with swings but do get exhausted doing them.


    Reply • February 18 at 5:00 pm
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      You can just do bodyweight TGUs or practice by balancing a shoe on your fist as well. Those are both great ways to practice the TGU and to get more comfortable with holding your arm overhead. I would also suggest getting 16kg KB, 20 kg is very heavy to start off with and not a weight I would recommend unless you were exceptionally strong to begin.

      Reply • February 19 at 11:46 am
  2. Greg says:

    I’m 50 and over the years I’ve had back and shoulder surgeries,various broken bones and multiple pulls, tears, soreness and “bad knees” (my only MTB injury has been 2 cracked ribs). Needless to say, I’m not quite as flexible as I used to be. FYI, I’ve been cleared to exercise and MTB by my well paid orthopedic surgeon, but 50 yr old me can’t quite do what 30 yr old me could.
    I do your Pretzel stretch every morning, exercise or not, as I’ve found it to loosen up my lower back and hips better than anything else.

    What other “stretches” do you recommend before and after doing TGUs and KB swings? BTW, I’m confident that I use proper form for both exercises using 30 lb for TGU and up to 50 LB for swings.


    Reply • February 21 at 10:48 am
  3. David says:

    The TGU is the best exercise/movement I have come across for core strength. What the sun salutation is to Yoga, the TGU is to mtn bike training. The price of admission to one of James programs is worth being introduced to the TGU. Just for you.

    Reply • February 17 at 8:09 am

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James Wilson
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James Wilson