Posts Tagged ‘Turkish Get Up’

This is Part II on Why Hockey Players Should Do Turkish Get Ups. For reasons #1-5 see Part II below this post.

#6 – It Develops Grip Strength

Have you ever shaken the hands of a top level NHL player? It’s like grabbing a meat hook.

It’s never a weak, limp wristed hand that reaches out to you. It’s a strong firm grip that gets your attention without trying hard to act tough.

Why does this matter?

Well besides the fact that you’ll get off a quicker, harder shot it also allows you to develop more strength and power.

There are more nerves in your hands than most other places in the body. Developing your grip strength innervates these nerves and allows for stronger contractions and more force to be developed through the rest of the body. Turkish Get Ups are great for developing this strength.

#7 – It Is a Self Limiting Exercise

Have you heard this term before?

It means that you can’t overdo the exercise. Think about chin ups for example. It’s pretty hard to do too many. You can either do a complete rep or you can’t. There’s no in between.

The same applies for Turkish Get Ups.

There are a few variations on technique but in the end what matters is whether or not you can get from a position on your back to standing and back down again. All while stabilizing a load overhead.

#8 – Great for Thoracic Mobility

Thoracic mobility is key for hockey players.


Because it allows the torso to dissociate from the hips more effectively. And this separation of torso and hips allows for more power generation on the skating stride as well as greater degree of shoulder rotation on slap shots. Or the tee box in the summer.

Plus from an injury prevention stand point thoracic mobility is important as it helps take strain off the low back and shoulders. In other words if the thoracic spine doesn’t move the body will seek out this mobility elsewhere. And often times this movement is transferred to the low back or shoulders resulting in injury.

#9 – Easily Progressed or Regressed

I like exercises that can be made easier or harder depending in the situation.

For example if a player lacks the strength to perform a TGU with a particular load a lighter one can be used. Or for more challenge the exercise can be performed with the bell up.

And when the situation arises where there is an injury the exercise can be modified. For example with a lower body injury, perform a TGU to the sitting position. Or maybe as far as hip extension. Lastly, with a hand injury substitute a sandbag on the shoulder to eliminate the need for gripping.

#10 – It Develops Toughness

Hockey is definitely a game of toughness. Both physical and mental. Lacking either puts you at a disadvantage.

I’ve worked with some hockey players who have complained about the placement of the bell on the back of their arm. Now I understand this can be adjusted and a neutral wrist will help the bell in place. But really?

You play a sport where 100 mph pucks fly past your head when you set up in front of the goal and you’re complaining about a little discomfort on the back of your arm?

I think it’s good to do some things that are a little bit uncomfortable. I don’t mean stupid circus act training but exercises that are physically challenging enough to make you want to stop.

The question is, do you?

Can you persevere when others would stop? How bad do you want the end goal? Are you willing to pay the price?

Many will say the right things in an interview and may even through in a cliché or two. But fewer will save their breath for the efforts they make on the training room floor.

#11 – Simple Set up

Sometimes I’ll watch videos of hockey training programs. And in the videos they are using the most high tech equipment available and doing some really cool things.

But that’s not the real world.

Most people don’t train where budgets don’t matter, where facility size doesn’t matter and where the expertise of the coach is among the best anywhere.

So we need a better option.

Kettlebells are great in that they are relatively inexpensive, are widely available, can be transported easily and can be used to perform a number of exercises.

There is no maintenance required. No special storage. And there is no set up required is order to use them.


The Turkish Get Up is an excellent exercise choice for hockey players. It develops so many things at once from strength, to core stability, to 3D movement awareness as well as grip strength that it is hard not to include this one in your training arsenal.

If you are going to give this exercise a try start slowly. In fact get used to basic swing first before you progress to the TGU. And if you have an RKC in your area hire them to learn the safe and proper way to perform a Turkish Get Up.


In the last post I opened the discussion on Turkish Get Ups.

And I played the Devil’s Advocate by asking if this simply wasn’t an exercise that in a year or two we’ll all be looking back on wondering what were we thinking.

But I don’t think so.

Instead I see this exercise as sticking around for a while when it comes to hockey training because it offers so many benefits to the development of the complete hockey player.

So with that in mind here are my Top 11 Reasons Hockey Players Should Do TGU.

Reason #1 – It Facilitates Shoulder Stability

Quick question…what’s one of the most common injuries a hockey player will suffer if they get hurt? If you’re talking about the whole body you’d have to think of the groin and hips. And if you think of the upper body this would have to be the shoulders.

In a game where the first part of the body to take the impact against the boards is often times the shoulder this makes sense. Add to this the fact you are dealing with the joint with the greatest range of motion but doesn’t have a hinge or socket to hold it in place and you’re asking for trouble.

By holding a kettlebell overhead you are developing the stability of this joint which helps minimize potential injury down the road.

Reason #2 – Increased Fat Loss

Do you remember the recent research article that examined which fitness and athletic parameters correlated most closely to performance in hockey?

If not, that’s ok.

One of these was how lean the player was. Lower levels of bodyfat equated to higher levels of performance.

The TGU is an excellent whole body exercise that works the upper and lower body, in all planes of motion while challenging the cardiovascular system. Athletes have realized heart rates in the 180s from as little as 3 reps of this exercise.

All of this metabolic disruption makes the TGU an excellent choice for fat loss.

Reason #3 – Full Body Exercise

Hockey isn’t a lower body game. Nor is it an upper body game.

It is a whole body game that requires strength, power and coordinated movement throughout the system.

The TGU is a great exercise because you can’t rely on only your upper or lower body to complete the exercise. As such you quickly learn and develop whole body strength to translate to on ice performance.

#4 – Excellent Core Development

We all know the benefits core training has on hockey performance.

But after that there are many choices.

What the TGU offers is a little bit of everything.

You need core stability and core strength. You need to be able to flex and rotate through the core through one part of the exercise while resisting flexion and rotation at another point.

You move through all planes, from your back to standing and can be modified to regress or progress the exercise as needed.

#5 – Excellent Neural Development

If you watch young kids play hockey you may notice that their eyes are on their feet when skating and on their stick when the pucks is theirs.

However watch the pros at the highest level and their eyes are anywhere but at their feet or stick. Instead they are looking at their teammates, an opening to shoot or where there is open ice. In other words they are able to perform complex coordinated movements without looking at the ground.

Turkish Get Ups are very similar in that they require you to look up at the kettlebell while you perform them.

While your arms and legs are moving in multiple planes and the body changes from a supine to a standing position the nervous system must learn to coordinate these movements in a similar way that a hockey player can take a pass off his skates and kick it to his all while looking ahead to see the play developing.

Stay tuned for Part II where I give you Reasons #6-11.


Are you familiar with Turkish Get Ups?

Sometimes they are abbreviated as TGU or simply called get ups. I think the name gets shortened for the same reason some people call Bulgarian split squats simply split squats.

Anyways, if you’re not familiar with this exercise during your hockey training you’d be wise to look into it and see what benefits it may offer you.

Because to some this exercise looks really foreign and unlike anything related to the game of hockey.

For example:

* you start on your back

* you are rolling on the ground

* there is no slippery or unstable surface

* there is no powerful release of the training implement

* your focus is straight up at your vertical hand

* it doesn’t involve elements of sprinting, agility or contact with an opponent

I mean how can something that looks nothing like the game of hockey help you become a better hockey player?

Better yet, how can something that doesn’t involve any of the elements of the game of hockey, regardless of whether it looks like hockey, help you improve your game?

Shouldn’t hockey training be about improving your on-ice performance?

Shouldn’t hockey training be about minimizing your potential for injury?

Shouldn’t hockey training be about extending the length of your revenue generating years as much as possible?

Absolutely it should!

And shouldn’t hockey training be very specific to include only the elements that serve a purpose so as to be as efficient and effective as possible?

I think so.

So why are strength and conditioning coaches including Turkish Get Ups in their training programs?

Isn’t this just another example of a coach who gets excited about something new to them and then finds a way to work this into their training program?

I’ll admit that does happen. From time to time we do see coaches that get swayed by certain trends and invest in equipping, educating and training their athletes due to a particular training.

Consider the BOSU.

How many of you are still using the BOSU as a part of your hockey training program?

Let me qualify that first.

How many of you are using the BOSU that:

* don’t have an injury you are currently trying to rehab

* aren’t using the BOSU for upper body exercises

* aren’t using this tool once in a blue moon 

but instead everytime you are going to do a lower body workout are looking for the rubber dome to do your leg training?

Probably not as many as 5 years ago.

And in 5 years there will be even fewer people using this tool than there are today.

Sometimes it take a while for the correct information to get out there.

I get that .

So isn’t doing Turkish Get Ups just another example of an exercise that we’re getting a little too excited about that in a few yeara we’re going to look back and laugh that we used to think so much of it?

I don’t think so.

And in Part II of this post I’ll give 11 Reasons Why the TGU WIll Make You a Better Hockey Player.

In the meantime keep training hard and post your questions hockey training questions below and I’ll answer them as soon as I can.