T Nation

Turkish Get Ups for Cardio?


I was thinking of exercises I can use at home to improve my fitness. In the past I've used things like burpees and jump rope, but has anyone tried high rep Turkish get up's?


I've never tried it, but I can kinda see where you're going with the idea. A full body exercise that's tough enough to do by itself and should get bumped up another level by cranking into the higher reps.

Only trouble is that the number one limiting factor is going to be the stabilizing strength of the working shoulder. Odds are that'll fatigue much faster than your cardio capabilities, so you'd probably end up short-changing yourself.

Give it a shot if you want, but make 110% sure you keep an eye on the weight and be ready to safely bail out of the lift if it starts coming down mid-rep.


I completely agree with this. Turkish get-ups probably tire me more than any other weighted exercise (including high rep squats) but I've found whenever I try higher reps my shoulders really hold me back.

If your shoulders don't hold you back I'd have thought it would be a great choice for cardio.


Thanks for the replies - I'll give them a go. Maybe do burpees first, then the tgu's.


I've done high-rep Turkish get-ups and didn't experience a setback due to shoulder/elbow stabilization breakdown. For the record I used various kettlebells upwards of 32kg. I used the split style of get-up and alternated arms/sides between REPS. The only issue I had was that the skin on my elbow (on the arm that was on the ground) got rubbed raw from the friction with the ground. This however can be minimized if you do the get-ups on a well padded mat and wear long sleeves.


High rep Sand bag getups are probably a better alternative seeing as you're not limited by the stabilization factor. You can use a lot more weight too, I usually do them with an 80 .lbs Sandbag.

30 each side in 10 minutes would be a good target to aim for.


I would not do burpees before TGU's. I love the TGU, but it does eat up your elbows and knees when doing reps. I actually got a staph infection.

If you want the cardio benefit there are 3 ways to go at this.
Set the clock for 15 minutes. Do TGU's, alternating hands after each rep.
Once you've dominated that. Do Reverse getups for 15 minutes, meaning start at the top, go down and come back up. Switch hands at the tiop of the rep. Much harder because for 15 minutes you never put the bell down.
FInally do sets of 5 on each side without switching hands. This is the best for cardio.

I find kettlebell complexes and chains to be the best for cardio/conditioning.


I also agree. I think shoulders are the limiting factor in using TGUs for cardio.

Personally when I do TGUs, I ramp up the weight and ramp down the reps. i.e; 3 x 12.5 kg, 2 x 15 kg, 1 x 17.5 kg.



Why wouldn't you do burpees before the tgu's? I thought they would make a good pairing?

I agree complexes are good for cardio, but what do mean by chains?



I wouldn't do the burpees first because they will pre-fatigue your shoulders if you drop into a pushup. A TGU needs concentration due to the complex of the movement. Also, if you have a good sweat going from burpees, the bell will be slippery, laying on the floor will make it slippery from sweat and fatigued shoulders will make it difficult. You can try it, but to me it seems dangerous.

A suggestion would be to do the getups first. Set a time, let's say 5, 10 or 15 minutes and do getups. Then, rest and try this.

Two hand swing x 10, one burpee
Swing x 10, two burpees.

Do 10 sets of swings and add a burpee to each superset so the last set will be 10 burpees. . See if you can do it without stopping. That will come out to 100 swings + 55 burpees


Chains are doing of one exercise after another only doing 1 rep.

In a complex, you do Swings x 5, Presses x 5, Squats x 5, Rows x 5, Pushups x 5.
In a chain you do swings x 1, then press x 1, squat x 1, row x 1, pushup 1. Repeat this 5 times. You're switching the exercise after each rep. It's brutal because of all the movement of your body.


Now you've said it, it does make sense to do the tgu's first, and burpees after. Thanks for the advice, I'll give it a go.


80# sandbag getups. 50 for time or AMRAP in 10 minutes. cardio like a motherfucker.


I was just thinking about this thread the other day, and I remembered this drill I once tried. Basically for time I just got down on the floor, lay on my back and got back up (without any external load). So I essentially did unweighted Turkish get-ups for time.

This sounds like the most pathetic workout ever, and the first few reps were obviously very easy, but holy moly does it suddenly become very very challenging. Also it doesn't have any of the technique issues of doing high rep weighted versions. I'd recommend giving it a try.


Got a weight vest? Ditch the kettlebell. Throw the vest on and go through the same movement. Removes the shoulder weak-link all together.


Not trying to side track the thread, but for those that do have a weighted vest, how useful are they?

Im thinking about getting one, although they are expensive.