Turkish Getup from a Rehab Perspective: Steps 4-7

May 24, 2019 | Tony Mikla DPT, MSPT, CSCS

Happy National Get Up Day! Let’s get up to speed on the Turkish Getup, steps 4-7.

This is the continuing blog of the Turkish Getup series. To see the first blog post, click here.

The Turkish Get Up has become a much more popular exercise over the past decade, but it has extensive roots. We have found the get up to be an amazing tool in rehabilitation process because of these demands it places on the body.

1- The exercise is multiplanar, involving all 3 planes of motion.
2- Control, sequencing and rhythm are necessary to complete the movement.
3- Open and closed chain positions are required of all 4 limbs, demanding true coordination
4- Attention, Focus, and Intention are necessary towards a task.

Step 4
We continue from the post position in sitting to a hip bridge position. We typically aim for this to be a high hip bridge demanding more control from the trunk, hips and shoulder. This high hip position asks the trunk to be stable and control spinal extension, while the hip extends and pushes through the ground. The other goal of this position is to gain separation between the pelvis and shoulders. The goal being for the pelvis to be parallel to the ground and the shoulders to be perpendicular. This again requires significant control of the shoulders and lumbar region, and tremendous thoracic mobility to accomplish this position. Use it as a screening tool. Lastly is the full weight bearing that occurs through one upper extremity and shoulder. This stability is incredible. For shoulder control development, I’ll often have clients practice the transition from position to 3-4 to develop control, and then ultimately transition from 4-5 to develop stability in multiple planes.

Step 5
On the leg sweep, we transition from 3 points of contact to 2 points of contact for a moment. This demands greater stability than position 4 on the trunk and shoulders. It also requires great hip mobility on the sweeping leg. The body is challenged to keep a stability trunk and midsection while the hip joint is moving. This is a fundamental movement concept that all people must master, and this position is a great way to work on it.

Step 6
As we transition to half kneeling, we hinge out of the tripod position of step 5 and move into no upper extremity contact with the ground. This is a nice way to begin to introduce or work on hip hinging in a single leg position. As we achieve step 6, the weight is now directly overhead, placing huge demand through the shoulder girdle and the trunk. This exercise is extremely effective for establishing shoulder control, with the most important factor being that we are getting the thoracic area to move under the scapula as opposed to trying to get the scapula to move on the thoracic. This is a much more authentic recruitment pattern for the body and mimics original developmental learning of shoulder function.

Step 7
As we rise from half kneeling to standing, maintaining a tall trunk and spine is the main focus. The first motion off the ground here should be very smooth and controlled. Nothing in the trunk or upper extremity should move, and all movement should occur below the waist. This type of stability in a split stance requires the same demands as running or gait and the transition from split stance to parallel stance allows for single leg stability, all while holding the trunk and upper extremities rock solid.

To complete the get up, we return back to the starting position. This should be done slowly and with tremendous control, exactly as you got up. Eyes should be focused on the bell to simulate task orientation and increase body self awareness.

I attended a class 15 years ago entitled “the best exercise you are not doing.” The instructor was right, it is the Turkish get up. It is an outstanding tool that requires immense control and mobility.

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