Everyone loves kettlebells. What’s not to love in swinging around an iron cannonball that has a handle attached to it? Apart from the kettlebell looking extremely cool, as well as you looking all manly and stuff while training with it, it is also a highly effective training tool. After all, it is something that Russian powerlifters and wrestlers have been using for three centuries now. And there is one exercise that you can do with a kettlebell, that’s pretty much the only one you’ll ever need, particularly as a grappler. In that sense, let’s look at how a Turkish Get Up workout for grappling can help you with your performance on the mats.
The Turkish get up is a complicated training exercise that requires a lot of dexterity, spatial orientation, coordination, strength, etc. In short, it is not an easy one to perform, and might even be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. You will be holding a heavy iron ball over your head while performing it, so this comes as no surprise. As afar as an effective workout for grappling goes, just mastering the Turkish get up is more than enough. However, today we’ll go a bit further, and provide you with a Turkish get up workout that will challenge even the strongest among us.
The Turkish Get Up
As an exercise, the Turklsih get up dates back (most likely) to ancient times when Truskish wrestlers were preparing for competitions. What they’ used as weight is anybody’s guess, but combined with the Russian kettlebell we have the exercise we all love to hate today. Seriously, the Turkish get up is the Tabata of kettlebell exercises. it is extremely effective and rewarding, but nobody really loves doing them for prolonged periods of time.
The exercise is basically taking you through all levels of motion while keeping your entire body engaged. The focus of engagement is on the core at all times and other body parts get activated throughout the motion at different stages.
The Turkish get up starts with you lying on your back. you only need one kettlebell, which you hold in one arm and simply bench press it. From there on, your arm stays straight until you’re in the same position again. The first step is lifting your body up, while propping on your gree hand. First, you go with the elbow and then the palm. The next step is usually hard for people that don’t grapple, but it’ll come easy to Jiu-Jiteros. It is a technical stand up. However, you can’t just swing your leg back.
It is more than enough to just get on the knee of your back leg. From there on you can focus on getting up to standing, with perfect posture. At all times, the kettlebell stays above you, meaning you’re now in a position where you’re holding a kettlebell with one arm straight over your head. And that’s just halfway through – you now need to go back to prone the same way you came up.
It is evident how a Turkish get up workout for grappling makes sense, right?
An Unusual Turkish Get Up Workout
So, how do you go about setting up a Turkish get up workout? For starters, it is enough to know that this exercise is really all you need for a killer workout. It looks deceptively easy until you give it a try. Plus the more weight you can use, the more challenging it will be.
As far as pointers go, the most important one has to do with safety – always keep your eyes on the kettlebell. From the moment you bench press it to the moment you set it beside you, you need to keep your eyes on it. Secondly, fo course, make sure you can do the entire movement with no or very little weight first.
As for the workout, just alternating sides with a 24kg kettlebell for let’s say 20 minutes will have you panting and acting in ways you haven’t felt before. But there is a much better Turkish get up workout for grappling. Instead of simply going through the Turkish get up motion, you actually add a bit of dynamic work by doing a press at every stage of getting up and going down. That means apart from the first bench press, you do a press every time you reach a stage, from elbow propping, through basing on your palm, getting to a kneeling standup, etc. You get the point.
And, if you really want to spice it up, the moment you’re up, keep the kettlebell overhead and do a walk. Go for time or distance, regardless, before coming back, and going down, not forgetting to do a press at every stage of the movement.
More than Just A Workout For Grappling
When it comes to workouts for grappling, people usually think they have to be technical, involve specific patterns and pieces of gear. Well, you can actually tick all these boxes (and more) with just a simple kettlebell. For grapplers, doing a Turkish get up workout has way more benefits than just the obvious strength and conditioning focus:
- Movement – the technical stand up, along with a hip escape and moving with a weight on just one side of your body is immense for Jiu-Jitsu. It is not just the pattern, but also loading that occurs exactly like that in plenty of situations during rolling.
- Balance. There’s no real philosophy about this. You have unilateral placement of the weight, meaning you require balance and developing stability to manage to get up with it. Moreover, adding the presses introduces, even more, balancing, and coordination challenges.
- Grappling strength – strength is strength, some would say, but it is not really so. In BJJ, you need the strength to both hold on, stabilize, and move something, or yourself at the same time. From grip strength to static and dynamic, and even eccentric strength, there’s nothing left untouched by a Turkish get up.
Wrapping up, try our Turkish get up workout for grappling. In fact, do the presses and the waiter walk as we discussed, alternating sides once you’re back down for 20 minutes. Start off light, though, with safety being your primary concern. You’ll not only develop a newfound respect for kettlebells, but you’ll be amazed at how your grappling movement and skills sharpen up as well.