A dumbbell can help you graduate to a kettlebell in the Turkish get-up.
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The essence of the Turkish get-up, one of the most unusual and effective exercises in the lifting canon, can be tricky to distill. It's as if you combined tai chi with a series of offbeat yoga poses and a subtle but tough weight lift all at once. It's the most intricate kettlebell lift, and perhaps in fact the most complex lift known -- as it requires the entire body to work together, notes Boston-area trainer Stacey Schaedler.
The traditional Turkish get-up involves a kettlebell, whose lopsided center of gravity ensures a terrific challenge as you flow through the sequence. You begin on your back with the bell in one hand, arm locked overhead -- as it will be throughout the move -- and rise into a seated position with your torso upright, supported by your free arm. After briefly arching your body, a bit like yoga's Camel pose, you swing your leg opposite the lift arm to kneel under your torso. Recruiting every bit of your core strength allows you to bring your torso vertical again. Both legs, especially the quad on the front leg, pull your body upright, as your shoulder asks for mercy.
The kettlebell forces more recruitment of your stabilizer muscles. But a dumbbell can be used in a pinch if you don't have a bell. For beginners, it allows you to improve your stability and strength in the shoulder and entire body, notes kettlebell champion and trainer Lorna Kleidman. Pick a weight that you can handle with good form for your goal repetitions -- typically one rep per arm for five sets.
Body Weight for Beginners
Newcomers to the TGU, as it is called by kettlebell fans, can start with no weight at all. Just mimic the motions to get the hang of the form, performing what is called a nonweighted TGU. вЂњTry body weight only to establish smooth transitions between the movements,вЂќ Kleidman suggests. You can then progress to a dumbbell and finally a kettlebell.
Keeping Focused As You Move
Focus intently on the dumbbell or kettlebell in your fist as you progress through the TGU. вЂњThis will train you to keep your arm straight and steady as you move your body beneath it,вЂќ Kleidman says. Compared to a kettlebell, the dumbbell gives your core a tiny break as you master the move, especially the tricky latter stages as you move to the full upright position.