There are many positive effects you can get from doing Turkish get-ups. Among other things, this movement works a variety of muscles.
More specifically, Turkish get-ups work your deltoids, a variety of scapular muscles, forearm muscles, chest, triceps, latissimus dorsi, core muscles, hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, hip abductors, hip adductors, quadriceps, and calves.
The muscles that will have to work the hardest relative to their strengths include the deltoids, scapular muscles, wrist muscles, and core muscles.
This article will also go over the main muscles worked during each of the Turkish get-up steps. If needed, you can watch the demonstration video below to visualize each of the exercise steps better.
1. Getting the weight in the air
The first step of a Turkish get-up involves pushing the weight up in the air from a position where you lie down on your back. This movement mainly works your pectoralis major (chest), tricep, and deltoid (shoulder) muscles.
To put one foot on the ground you also use your hip flexors to raise your thigh. After that, mostly gravity moves the lower leg to a vertical position.
From this step on, muscles like your deltoids, latissimus dorsi (middle/upper back), a variety of scapular muscles (including your trapezius), and a variety of forearm muscles will work to keep your arm pointing up and the weight in position.
2. Raising one shoulder and leaning on your forearm
Next, as the step name implies, you raise one side of your body and start leaning on the forearm and then the hand of the other side.
This mainly engages your hip flexors and core muscles like your obliques and abs. For their relative strength, these muscles have to work a good amount.
Once you start leaning on your forearm on the other side, the bicep and tricep muscles of that side also work together to keep the upper arm at the desired angle.
After that, your tricep muscles help you stretch that arm so you can start leaning on the hand. A variety of wrist muscles have to work in small amounts to keep your arm at the desired angle.
During this entire part of the Turkish get-up movement, the muscles around your shoulder and forearm are still working to keep the weight up in the air and in position.
3. Hip raise and moving one leg under you
In the next step of the Turkish get-up, you elevate your hips so the leg that was extended up until now can move under you for support.
On the side of the leg that was already bent, raising your hips mainly works your glutes (butt), hamstrings (back thigh), hip adductors (inner thigh muscles), and quadriceps (front thigh).
On the other side, the glutes, hamstrings, and hip abductors (outer thigh muscles) will be used to fold the leg and move it under you.
While the knee of that side is on the ground, your quadriceps and hamstrings work to keep it at the desired angle.
Again, the same muscles are being used to keep the weight up and in position during the entire Turkish get-up step.
4. Raising your upper body
Raising your upper body until it is about vertical is a short and straightforward step. This mainly works your oblique and lower back core muscles.
From this point on, your core muscles are being used to a small extent to keep your body upright.
5. Going to a standing position
Lastly, all that is left is standing up from this lunge position. During this movement, you will mainly work the glute, hamstring, quadricep, and calf muscles of the leg with the foot flat on the ground.
These same muscles of the other leg will also have to work but to a lesser extent.
While there are many other benefits of Turkish get-ups, the weights used in the Turkish get-up will not be enough to really grow and strengthen these strong leg muscles for most people.
Does the Turkish get-up build muscle?
Building muscle in certain areas requires you to pressure these muscles with enough weight for the right number of repetitions and sets.
How many Turkish get-ups you should do with what weights depends the current strength of the main muscles you target and what you are trying to achieve.
You want to do about 3 to 6 Turkish get-ups per side for 3 to 6 sets with a weight where you can just barely complete the sets if building muscle is your goal.
The main muscles you use while doing Turkish get-ups that you can actually grow and strengthen are your deltoids, scapular muscles, wrist muscles, and core muscles.
Besides implementing a good workout routine, you also want to give your body enough nutrients and rest in between sessions. This is necessary to repair, grow, and strengthen your muscles.
Does the Turkish get-up work chest muscles?
Yes, Turkish get-ups do work your chest muscles in the first part of the movement. That being said, you will likely not be able to use a weight where you challenge your chest muscles enough for growth.