Turkish Get Ups and Waiters Walks
When designing programs for rehabilitation patients and fitness clients, I often pair up exercises. This practice is commonly called super-setting and it has multiple benefits:
Train efficiently—You get much more work done during your training time.
Abolish performance deficits—Most physical therapy and fitness clients need to work on glaring right vs. left movement asymmetries, postural restrictions, and stability limitations.
Lose weight—Fat loss is a primary goal of most fitness clients. Pairing exercises ramps up exercise intensity and creates the hormonal response that improves body composition.
Move better—Training neurologically related movement patterns improves motor control.
Turkish Get Up and Waiter Walk Complex
How you move says more about your fitness than how you look. The pairing of the Turkish Get Up (TGU) and Waiter Walk is an exercise complex that improves gait mechanics and the survival skill of getting up and down off the ground. You will be performing a TGU and immediately move into a Waiter Walk so you need twenty yards of open space. As you get stronger at this complex and use a heavier implement, some interesting things start to happen. You get better at controlling respiration and have an intense focus on how your body moves during the TGU and Waiter Walk. My yoga friends tell me this is the focus of their practice sessions: better respiration, improved motor control, and increased strength.
Turkish Get Up
The Turkish Get Up (TGU) is generally performed with a kettlebell, but you can use a dumbbell. A medicine ball can help teach body alignment to beginners.
Exercise activities that produce the greatest rewards are the ones that take the most time to master. You can learn a barbell curl in five seconds but a TGU can take weeks to master. Developing proficiency with the Turkish Get Up will require some patience and instruction, but for the time spent, the pay off is tremendous. Complete instruction on the TGU is not possible in this short article. Watch the accompanying video and work with a qualified trainer on this exercise. Steve Cotter and Gray Cook both have excellent YouTube tutorials on the TGU.
You must have adequate shoulder range of motion and good balance to perform this exercise safely. Hold the kettlebell overhead like a waiter carrying a tray. Keep the chest proud and the neck relaxed. The upper arm should be adjacent to the head and your walk should be smooth and free of any lean or limp.
I like to train TGU rookies with a soft Dynamax ball. If they drop the ball it will not damage any aspect of their anatomy. Balancing the ball on the hand tends to teach proper alignment. Progress to a kettlebell as you become more proficient. Start on the floor and perform the TGU ascent. Once at the top of the TGU, perform a Waiter Walk for twenty yards and then lower back down to the floor with a TGU descent. Switch the implement to the other side and repeat. Perform two trips on each side.
When you perform this complex, strive to move more gracefully before adding more resistance. Get up and down off the floor and walk in a coordinated and efficient manner. Only then increase the load of the ‘bell.
View video of Mike performing these exercises here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0U9GWMI4bU&t=8s
-Michael S. O’Hara, P.T., OCS, CSCS