Deconstructing Kettlebells - GET UP. STAND UP. The TGU

If I told you to lay down on the ground in a supine position (on your back) and hold and arm extended vertically with a kettlebell and stand up completely without bending that arm holding that bell - you may think this is a dare or riddle. In a vague way, I would be asking you to perform one of the oldest exercises around - the Get Up, also known as the TGU, or Turkish Get Up.

The TGU is movement that requires the body to handle stability and mobility throughout the entire kinetic chain, while challenging the core, motor development, and whole-body integration. The TGU is also used to help break down "weak links" and be used as a corrective strategy in some practices. I will use this as an assessment tool occasionally to look at my client's progress.

The shoulders are a very complex body part and they have the most to gain from TGUs. the shoulders can do many things. They flex, extend, hyperextend, internally rotate, externally rotate, abduct, adduct, horizontally extend, horizontally flex, scapular depression, scapular elevation, scapular protraction, scapular retraction. And guess what...they do all of this in a single move. Yup. The get up.

Add to it that the TGU loads the body in an asymmetrical fashion and that does a helluva number on the core musculature. The center of gravity is always changing with the TGU, thus the core is always adjusting to find balance. Add into in all three planes of action are being tested - and your core is more than stimulated during the TGU.


Pick Up to Get Up Sit Up (Steps #1-#6)

1. Lay on back and have a bell sit at your side just below chest height

2. Roll onto side and grab the bell with the hand closest to ground first, then wrap top hand over it, knees are flexed

3. Engage the core, roll back onto back, press the bell over the chest. Keep a neutral wrist position.

4. The knee should be flexed and hip slightly abducted on the side with the bell, opposite leg is extended and abducted

5. Initiate a punch with the loaded arm across the body to start the movement pattern back up

6. Roll onto the elbow

Tall Sit (#7)

7. Then transition to an extended arm and grounded hand

Transition to Half Kneel (#8-#10)

8. Provide a hip bridge (high or low) and bring the long leg back to the posterior

9. Sit back into the heels and remove the grounded hand for support

10. Windshield wipe the back leg and now hold a position of grounded knee

Stand Up (#11)

11. Stand up with the bell still overhead throughout


12. Step back and kneel with the opposite leg - KEEP AN EYE ON THE BELL AT ALL TIMES

13. Twist the back leg towards the front leg (called windshield wiper)

14. Place the free hand down on the ground as you sit you weight back towards the heels

15. Take the leg that you stepped back into the lunge with and push it through to the front in full extension

16. Sit the hips down to the ground

17. Take the grounded hand and shift the weight to the forearm as you begin to lay flat

18. Transition the weight from the elbow to the shoulders as you should be laying flat on the ground

19. Repeat for desired reps and repeat on opposite side

No problem, right?


Before you decide to run out there and try this with a loaded kettlebell, execute the perfect TGU with a shoe. To learn the balance and control necessary for an effective TGU, make a fist and balance your shoe on the fist. After you can navigate the TGU with the shoe, on both arms, then we can start talking about loading the bell.

Check out the video showing the SGU, Shoe Get Up. please also take a brief moment to appreciate the Donkey Kong Vans ;-)








Now the many steps of the TGU can be used as individual exercises be very effective improving your fitness. Variations of the TGU are holding the bell with a bottom's up hold, a no-handed get up, and a double bell get up, along with other hybrid movements as well.

Next installment of Deconstructing Kettlebells will take a look at the clean and the overhead press.

If you are looking to make that serious change to your health & fitness, get customized programming from the b3 team today!

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