- Wear long pants today. Your knees will thank you for this. You'd think that using the mats at the gym would be helpful. It's not. It makes you unstable.
- You might find it's best to do TGUs without shoes.
- You may do all reps to the R then start with the L if you like. You may also alternate L & R.
- Don't be afraid of using a bar. Remember, the point here is to increase the strength and stability of your core. You might not be able to handle the same weight with a bar, but you'll likely add more strength to your core.
- Might consider using a KB for the weight also. I know people who will swear Turkish Get Ups with a KB cured their shoulder issues.
Turkish Get Up form is hotly debated.
It is a deeply complex exercise. Performing a single rep requires superb concentration, focus and effort. To become good at them requires mastery of the mind and body. In addition, moving a sizable amount of weight requires astonishing precision, timing, strength, flexibility, stamina, coordination, balance and accuracy - at once!
It's the kind of move trainers can gleefully geek out on. Often on TGU day, I find myself backsliding into a reductionist's world of intricacy and nuance. It is fair to say I have let this world of reductionist complexity, more than once, confound the process of health instead of advancing it.
One time, more than a decade ago, I was training training a client at a local gym. My supervisor, who was very critical of my methods, was watching me train. In the middle of my client's biceps set, my supervisor charged across the gym to halt the set. Taking me aside in a very abrupt manner he asked rhetorically,
"Do you have any idea what damage you are doing to his ACLs?"
"How?" I asked.
His knees aren't as "soft" (another term for bent) as they should be."
He then proceeded to lecture me on high sheering forces at the knee joint when performing a standing biceps curl. And how knee flexion should be, "At LEAST" 15-20 degrees when the joint is anteriorly weighted.
A part of me was utterly humiliated that he called me out in front of my client like that. Deeper down though, I was delighted by thought that the act of bending one's arms (biceps curls) could be so intricate.
So, I stopped the set and moved him to a machine (a classic error). I was determined not to do functional types of movement (free weights) with my clients until I more deeply understood the physics and biomechanics of exercise through intensive study and practice.
Want to know what I learned from all my studies?
I learned that most of us over-think this process. That MOVEMENT begets better movements.
Break it all down into its elements if you want to. Study the hell out of it. Just know: the person who wins is the person who DOES.
Do your best interpretation of the movements we outline here. Don't worry about how you look or how you may be perceived. The human body is proficient at adaptation. It will get better at anything you DO. Safety is surely something you should strive for. Study the move. Start slow and low. Move up from there. Just MOVE. It is the most important part of this process.
Top R is a good representation of a TGU. Everyone I know who is great at these has a little different style. As long as you aren't putting joints at extreme angles and weighting them torsionally (watch your knees) you'll be OK.