Turkish Get Up for Mountain Biking

I love the Turkish Get Up – rep for rep it gives you more than just about any exercise. I recently refined how I coach this great exercise and so I decided to shoot a video going over how to do it and how it applies to mountain biking. First, here are the steps to a great Turkish Get Up:

To get set up for the Turkish Get Up follow these steps:

  1. Start by lying on your back with your shoulders packed in and your toes pointed up to the ceiling. Press a kettle bell or dumbbell up with your right arm until your elbow is locked out. Do not let your shoulder “unpack” and round forward.
  2. Bring your right side heel up and in towards your butt. You want to place your foot flat on the ground slightly to the side and in as close as you can to your butt as you can.

From here there are 7 steps to complete the Turkish Get Up:

  1. Get up onto your left elbow.
  2. Get up onto your left hand.
  3. Elevate your hips off the ground.
  4. Pull your left knee in towards your chest.
  5. Roll your left knee under you, placing it on the ground under your right shoulder.
  6. Elevate your torso so that you are in a lunge position.
  7. Stand up.

To come back down just do it in reverse. It will break down like this:

  1. Lunge back with your left foot.
  2. Place your left hand on the ground, leaning over so that it is placed under your right shoulder.
  3. Roll your left knee up towards your chest.
  4. Straighten your left leg out.
  5. Lower your hips back down to the ground.
  6. Come down to your elbow.
  7. Roll back down to your back.

Here is the video demo:

-James Wilson-

Social Comments:

WordPress Comments:

  1. Joe says:

    This is great, James. Thx for breaking it down into steps. Great idea. I do have a couple of questions, if you don’t mind;
    (1) How many reps & sets would you suggest ?
    (2) What weight would you start with and how would you increase it over time ? A follow up question would be, how would you know you are using too little weight or too much weight ?

    Reply • April 21 at 11:29 am
    • bikejames says:

      I recommend 2 sets of 3-5 reps. For guys 25-35 pounds is a good place to start. For girls 10-25 pounds usually works well. It will be easy to tell if you go too heavy – you won’t be able to get up! it should feel challenging but doable. hope this help…

      Reply • April 21 at 12:40 pm
  2. Beautiful website. How to find the ideal mountain bike size for comfort and safety ?

    Reply • April 21 at 11:16 pm
    • bikejames says:

      You should find a good shop around you to help. Getting people who know how to help you select the right type of bike for your size and riding style is invaluable.

      Reply • April 22 at 7:13 am
  3. Walt says:

    This is one of the best exercises there is. The goal is to stand up with half your bodyweight without using your back hand to push off. I’m within 10 lbs of being there.

    Reply • April 22 at 11:37 am
  4. Chuck says:

    Awesome as always! Thanks for sharing this!

    Reply • April 22 at 12:38 pm
  5. cookie says:

    James, how would you suggest scheduling get-up’s and swings with the combo program? Is it worth replacing the get-up situp with the getup? cheers

    Reply • April 22 at 8:28 pm
    • bikejames says:

      @ cookie – I like to do TGUs and swings as a mini-routine for days I don’t do a bigger workout. I like to do a little something most days and doing 2 X 3 TGUs and 2 X 20-50 swings is a great way to get a lot of quality movement done in 15 minutes.

      BTW, don’t look to change around the DB Combos program, just trust it and follow it as it is laid out. It will work best if you take a “coach says so” mindset…

      Reply • April 24 at 7:34 am
  6. Simon says:

    James: I just happened to come across one of your older TGU videos, in which you say you should lift up the hips and swing the leg under in one movement. But here you’re breaking that part of the movement down into 3 steps. Is that what you mean by changing how you coach this, and what’s the rationale behind breaking down the movement like this – because it’s harder work to stabilize if you pause between the steps? Also, in one of your other drills you emphasize being able to sit up onto your elbow using your abs, not pressing down on the arm/elbow that’s on the floor. But you’re not emphasizing that here. Doing the TGU, it feels natural to use a bit of pressure from the lower arm to push yourself up, but do you still think you should be able to get up without using any assistance from the lower arm?

    Reply • April 25 at 7:34 pm
    • bikejames says:

      @ Simon – I have struggled with getting people to do the movement the right way which is why breaking it down into 3 steps was needed. I got it from a video I watched on http://www.artofstrength.com and after trying it out a few times it really makes people do it right. The goal is to get your knee set under you in a strong position and that sequence seems to do the best job of communicating that.

      The purpose of this demo is to give a general overview of the TGU. You can break it down into the different parts and hammer on the finer points, such as the ability to get up using your core and not your hand, in order to refine the movement but I did not want to overcomplicated it here. As for being able to sit up on the elbow with no assistance from the arm, you should be able to do it with lighter weights and be able to still drive most of the movement from the core with heavier weights. using the arm to help is fine but “helping” and “powering” are two different things.

      Reply • April 26 at 11:17 am
  7. Joe says:

    Did it for the first time the other day. Wow, this is an excellent exercise. Thanks for posting James.

    Reply • April 28 at 8:09 am
  8. today i discover your website, i have year looking for something like.

    Downhill Mexico is a mexicana organization that promotes dh riding, organize national constes and we are teaching young riders some ridding technics, bus what you have here is ver very nice. Thanks for all this tips, im putting your website link on y website.

    Also im starting to follow youre tips…. thanks again

    Christian Laris

    Reply • October 12 at 7:48 pm
  9. neal says:

    Hi James, Do you swap over which side you hold the weight?Neal

    Reply • September 26 at 4:55 am
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      For sure, I do the same number of reps on each side to complete 1 set.

      Reply • September 26 at 10:48 am

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