Standing up with a kettlebell in your hand may not sound impressive but it can be challenging. Find out what benefits Turkish get-ups offer in return.
One thing to note before going into the positive points is that Turkish get-ups can also be challenging for areas like your shoulders and wrists.
Make sure you can do the movement safely and with the weight you have in mind to make sure the benefits don’t come with downsides.
1. Turkish get-ups can train your muscles
You can use Turkish get-ups for many different purposes. One of these is improving muscle endurance and potentially even muscle growth in a variety of areas.
These areas of your fitness in turn offer a variety of health and functional benefits.
Some of the muscles worked in Turkish get-ups include:
- Deltoids (main shoulder muscle)
- Scapular muscles (muscles that move your shoulder blades)
- Trapezius (upper back and upper shoulders)
- Core muscles like your abs, obliques, and erector spinae
- Forearm muscles
- Variety of leg muscles
Your deltoids and scapular muscles are typically the muscles that will have to work the hardest compared to their relative strengths in Turkish get-ups.
This is relevant because for something like growing and strengthening your leg muscles, you will have to turn to other exercises.
That aside, to grow and strengthen these deltoid and scapular muscles you want to use a kettlebell that is heavy enough for your training goals but not too heavy.
Keep increasing the weight of the kettlebell (in safe increments) as you get stronger to keep seeing muscle growth and strength progress.
How many Turkish get-ups you should do with what weights depends on details like your goals and strength level.
2. Turkish get-ups can improve flexibility and mobility
You can describe flexibility as how much you can comfortably lengthen your muscles. Mobility is something similar but it applies to your joints and tendons.
Similar to many other areas of your body, you can improve flexibility and mobility by challenging yourself in these areas to safe extents.
One of the benefits of Turkish get-ups is that they can help you do this.
The movement can be relatively challenging for flexibility and mobility in areas like your shoulders, hips, and lower back.
Improving these areas of your health can reduce your risk of falling, improve performance in certain sports and exercises, and reduce your injury risk.
3. Turkish get-ups can be good for weight loss
Many people turn to cardiovascular workouts like running when trying to lose weight but you don’t want to forget strength exercises like Turkish get-ups can also help with this goal.
If you want to lose weight, you need to make it so your body requires more energy than is coming in.
Turkish get-ups help in this process in two main ways.
First of all, the Turkish get-up movement makes your body use up more energy than activities where you just sit down.
This is because your movements are faster and because you have to move more weight than usual in the form of a kettlebell.
Secondly, Turkish get-ups can help you build a bit of muscle mass. This extra mass makes it so your body has to burn more calories to stay alive and move around during the day.
That being said, you still need to know that lifestyle habits like nutrition still influence whether and to what extent you lose weight with Turkish get-ups a lot.
Additionally, there are many Turkish get-up alternatives that are more effective for weight loss.
4. Turkish get-ups can help you avoid muscle imbalances
Something you don’t want to forget when doing your workouts is that Turkish get-ups mainly target the muscles on one side of your body.
This is important because you want to do the same number of repetitions on each side.
That aside, this unilateral muscle engagement also has benefits.
Because you work each side separately with Turkish get-ups, you basically have to work the muscles equally hard.
This is relevant because you can use one side more than the other in two-sided shoulder, core, and leg exercises like barbell shoulder presses, pike pushups, crunches, hanging leg raises, squats, etc.
In turn, this would lead to unequal changes in muscle size and or strength. This can lead to injuries or an imbalanced look.
In short, Turkish get-ups work one side at a time which can help you avoid muscle imbalances.
Keep in mind that this also means your workouts will take longer to complete than these two-sided exercises.
5. Turkish get-ups can improve balance and coordination
You can describe balance and coordination as not falling down and moving your body parts where you intend. These areas are fitness skills that you can train.
Since Turkish get-ups can be challenging in terms of balance and coordination, safely doing them can also improve your skills in these areas.
Turkish get-ups are a relatively functional exercise in the sense that you could encounter the movement when doing something like playing with your kids.
The balance and coordination skills you train could make these activities easier and more fun.
6. Turkish get-ups may reduce back pain
Many people struggle with aches and pains. Especially after being inactive for long periods of time. Luckily there are ways to prevent and resolve this.
For example, the lower back is a common area where issues arrive.
One review of studies concluded that core strength training exercises can be effective for reducing low back pain (1).
While this is not the main purpose of Turkish get-ups, you can still describe them as a core strength training exercise.
Another study compared the effect of a core stabilization exercise program to routine physical therapy exercises for a similar duration on pain in 120 participants with lower back pain.
They observed that the core stabilization exercise program was more effective for this purpose (2).
You can likely expect similar effects in the other areas (shoulders, hips, wrists, ankles) that Turkish get-ups challenge.
People who currently struggle with these areas do want to be careful. In these cases, it can be smart to talk to an expert before doing more Turkish get-ups.
7. Turkish get-ups can help you avoid injuries
As briefly mentioned, Turkish get-ups are not only useful for resolving issues. You can also use them to prevent these things from happening in advance.
This is the case because you improve the mobility, flexibility, and muscle strength of your shoulders and the muscles around them.
The issues you can avoid can go from an uncomfortable feeling in your shoulders to not being able to move your upper arms.
Even though it can be hard to really notice the effect of Turkish get-ups in this area (since you are preventing things, not resolving them), this can be a big benefit of this exercise.