Workout of the Day
TESTING DAY – Please follow prescription and report scores. We use this data to track our athletes’ progress.

“15-Minute Work Capacity Test”
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 15 minutes of:
10 Push-Ups with Hand Release (Games standards)
15 Wall Ball Shots (20/12 lb. to 10′ target)
20 Kettlebell Swings (24/16 kg)
Turkish Get Up 9 by CrossFit Invictus
The Turkish Get-Up
Written by George Economou

The Turkish Get-Up (TGU) isn’t a fancy exercise. Through a somewhat awkward series of movements, the TGU has you take a weight from a supine to a standing position with the weight extended overhead the entire time. It doesn’t have the sex appeal of the Olympic lifts, and you can’t “butterfly” it like a pull-up. Those things aside, it’s still an incredibly potent and effective exercise for two reasons: shoulder stability and core strength.

Shoulder Stability: The TGU takes you through a range of motion not duplicated by any other exercise, all the while forcing your shoulder stabilizers to respond to your movement, and teaching the shoulder how to stay “packed” through movement.

Core Strength: For anyone wishing to improve their deadlift, squat, Olympic lifts, or just avoid back pain, the TGU teaches you how to integrate your core/trunk/midsection/what-have-you into movement in a way that will help you maintain a neutral spine while also minimizing energy leaks.

The following pictures and cues explain how to execute a variation of the exercise that I prefer over others. Once you feel proficient in this lunge technique, you’re encouraged to experiment with other methods. As with any exercise, if this is your first exposure to it, keep the weight light (or non-existent) and practice the technique first. DO NOT sacrifice movement quality in order to get the heaviest weight possible overhead.

Throughout the movement descriptions, the term “working” refers to the hand, arm, or same-side leg that is holding the KB. Don’t be confused, you’re entire body is being worked throughout the exercise. Notes written in italics are common faults. Just as a disclaimer, I did not invent the TGU, and I don’t know who did. As for the way that I coach the TGU, my biggest influences have been McGill, Pavel and Cook.

Step 1: Getting into your starting position
– Lay down on your side, the side you intend on starting with.
– Establish a false-grip on the kettlebell (KB) with your working hand. Clasp your other hand on top.
– With the KB held close to your body, roll onto your back.
– Your working forearm is perpendicular to the floor.
– Your same-side leg’s knee is flexed, with your foot planted on the floor.
– Keeping your shoulder blade pulled back-and-down towards your spine, tighten down your abs and press the KB straight up.
– Keep your eye on the KB at all times.

Turkish Get Up 3 by CrossFit Invictus
Common Faults in Step 1:
– Taking the KB overhead from a compromised shoulder position.
– Flexing the wrong knee (bringing the wrong foot up into the support position).

Step 2: Push up to your elbow
– Keep your eye on the KB at all times.
– Keep the shoulder blade of your working arm pulled back-and-down.
– Set a tight brace.
– Keeping your working foot planted, roll/push onto your non-working elbow.

Common Fault in Step 2:
– Biggest fault seen here is not maintaining a solid brace. Throughout the movement, but at this point in particular, it’s critical to try to “marry” your rib cage and your pelvis – the two should not move independently of each other.
– Don’t be afraid of using your working foot to help push you up. This exercise is all about identifying movement strategies – integrating
every part of your body in order to accomplish a task.

Step 3: Push up to your hand
– Keep your eye on the KB at all times.
– Keep the shoulder blade of your working arm pulled back-and-down.
– Keep your working foot planted, maintain your brace, and press up to your non-working hand.

Common Fault in Step 3:
– This is where you tend to see the elbow start to bend. Keep the arm locked out. It may help to think of trying to keep the biceps close to the ear. If you can’t keep the arm locked out, try it with a lighter weight.

Step 4: High-Hip Bridge
– Keep your eye on the KB at all times.
– Keep the shoulder blade of your working arm pulled back-and-down.
– Keep your working foot planted and maintain your brace.
– Squeeze your glutes and drive your hips up as high as possible

Common Fault in Step 4:
– Creeping up to the toes. If you’re up on the toes of your working foot, the glutes will not fully engage, your hips will be too low, and
you won’t have enough clearance to pull your non-working leg all the way through. It’s an easy fix though, keep the heel of the working foot planted.

Step 5: Sweep the leg! You got a problem with that?
– Keep your eye on the KB at all times.
– Keep the shoulder blade of your working arm pulled back-and-down.
– Maintain a rigid position with a straight line from back of the head to working foot.
– Pull your non-working leg behind you until you’re in a partial lunge.

Step 6: Come into the lunge
– Keep your eye on the KB at all times.
– Keep the shoulder blade of your working arm pulled back-and-down.
– Keeping a tight brace, bring your torso into a vertical position directly over your hips.
– The palm of your working hand should turn in towards your head as your torso becomes vertical.
Turkish Get Up 8 by CrossFit Invictus
Common Fault in Step 6:
– The limp noodle. Keep the arm locked out!

Step 7: Stand
– Keep your eye on the KB at all times.
– Keep the shoulder blade of your working arm pulled back-and-down.
– Stand. (As shown in the photo at the very top.)

Step 8: Go through steps 1-7 in reverse order.

  • Deuce

    I love seeing “Testing Day” after a long holiday weekend full of poisoning myself!!!! This workout should be call “15 minutes of DETOX”

  • Cynthia

    Great 6 a.m. class sweating out all the ‘extras’ we ate this weekend. The humidity was KILLER.

    Just wait til it warms up for the later classes…..blech! Stay super hydrated today!

    (Deuce, that means drink water—not more beer.)

  • Mark Riebel

    Sinthia, I don’t want to hear complaints about humidity from you SoCal people. You’re more than welcome to come do some Bikram weightlifting in San Antonio.

    And Jorge, you need more olive oil for this photo essay of the TGU.

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