TGU- One exercise for the whole body

Posted: June 7, 2016 in Strength and Conditioning for Health and Fitness

Time is precious and wouldn’t it be great if we can have just one exercise the whole body? It will save us a lot of time. Is there such a thing? Yes, there is not just one but many individual exercises that alone would work your whole body. One of them is called the Turkish get up or it can be shortened to TGU. The TGU is quite challenging because it is a complex exercise and it requires a lot of effort and concentration. It’s name suggest that was popularized or originated in Turkey and may have been used by the ancient Ottoman army and also their wrestlers.

During the 80’s there was a dance move named the Chinese get up copied from martial arts. It was called such because probably the martial artists who do it are of asian origin and are most probably Chinese. Anyway, the Chinese get up and the Turkish get up exercises are called get ups because that is what you do, you get up from the ground. Their difference is that the Chinese get up is explosive in nature. Kind of an acrobatic move. While the Turkish get up is more deliberate. It has slower movement because you are supposed to get up from the ground with a heavy weight being held overhead by one arm and go back down to the ground with the heavy weight still held over head. Similar exercises, different nature.

The TGU is not exclusive for the kettlebell. In fact, barbells, dumbells, even people, are being used in this exercise. Another good point about the TGU is you learn how to go down to the ground safely. Getting up from the ground and getting down to the ground is one rep. Of course you can stop once you are able to stand up straight but better practice going down to the ground with the weight too.

It would be best to keep practicing an exercise but also add some variety once in a while. Bodyweight exercises are very good and helps in body awareness. Here is a good reference for bodyweight training.

The video shows two views. It is just one of the many variations. Some would not have the T-shaped side plank position, or the one arm push press after the standing position. As you can see, it really is an exercise for the whole body. All the major joints- the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, and wrists, are being used.

How to do Kettlebell TGU:

Watch the video and memorize the movements by practicing first without any weight. After you memorized the movements, start with a light weight that you can easily control with just one arm. Start with your non-dominant side first- that is if you are left handed, start with the left arm holding the kettlebell. After one complete rep, practice it with the dominant side. Once you are quite confident of the whole movement, you can gradually use heavier loads. There are some parts where in you have to hold your breath for one or two seconds especially if the load is heavy. But you do not need to hold your breath for a long time. It happens when you need to stabilize your body or the load.

Focus

In order to have more control of the load you are holding, focus on it. That means if you are holding the kettlebell, look at the bottom part or somewhere near your wrist. This helps you catch the kettlebell with your free hand just in case you lose control.

Keep the elbow of your lifting arm locked straight. The wrist should almost be straight too if you are holding a kettlebell since it allows it. But if you are holding a dumbell, hold it like you would a dumbell. The lifting shoulder naturally moves to keep the lifting arm perpendicular to the ground at all times.

Since one arm is overhead all the time, and the neck extended because you are looking at the load, your torso is in a good position- that is not slouching. Maintain this. Your torso musculature- that is the muscles of your abdomen and back, should naturally contract as needed. But some guys may have to consciously do it, or just need to tense it more. So as a precaution, always keep your abdominal muscles tight.

Practice to get better

Now, the best way to get better at something is to do it. Watch the video as many times as you need. Then try it without load. Then watch the video again. And repeat. Keep practicing and you will get better.

After some time, you would be able to handle heavier loads. Your strength would have also increased by then. That is one exercise for the whole body.

For other exercises, you can also try the Animal Flow Workout. It is a great compliment to any type of training.

For fighters and martial artists, Animal Flow for Fighters would be a great complement to training too!

Your comments and suggestions are very much appreciated. Leave them below! Thanks!

Comments
  1. Great movement coach Val! Thanks for sharing this.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s