How to Perform the Heavy Double Kettlebell Turkish Get Up Exercise (Eventually)

February 25, 2014
Updated April 12, 2018

Several of my colleagues and friends who are trainers agree that if we were trapped on a desert island and could only perform one movement to stay in shape for the rest of our lives, we would choose the Turkish Get Up.

Why I Love Kettlebells (And the TGU)

I have been obsessed with the kettlebell as a training tool for years now, and within the last year and a half have been training more specifically for Girveoy (Kettlebell) Sport. I’ve learned throughout my athletic career that the athletes with the most longevity are the ones who take the best care of their bodies – great nutrition, smart programming, dedication and patience to learning technique and crafting it…and a lot of time spent on pre and post workout rituals. The best of the best devote a significant amount of time to not just their strength but also flexibility. I know that for me I often lack balance and create a lot tension during my training and need to counter balance to release it.

The Turkish Get Up is a movement which allows me to train both mobility and flexibility which has helped keep my body primed and prepared for the demands of Kettlebell Sport. Over the last year I have religiously incorporated movements into my warm ups and cooldowns that provide both mobility and flexibility and I frequently use routines created by Steve Maxwell, as well as Kettle-Jitsu by Joey Alvarez, into my daily warmup and cooldown routines.

The Double Kettlebell TGU Inspiration

One day on my youtube channel I noticed a new video posting from Agatsu. It was one of my favourite movement coaches, Sara-Clare Lajeunesse. She performed my favourite movement – the Turkish Get Up, with not one, but two kettlebells. Not only did she use two kettlebells, but they were 20kg each! I have performed a single kettlebell TGU with a 24kg kettlebell, but the idea of controlling two weighing 20kg overhead seemed like a challenge I wanted to master.

Double Kettlebell TGU Practice

In Kettlebell Sport my speciality is the Long Cycle with a single kettlebell. I am currently competing with a 20kg kettlebell. I initially thought a Double Kettlebell TGU with the 20kg’s would be something I might find challenging, but I was convinced I would perform it on the first try. Afterall, I am used to putting that load overhead multiple times over 10 minutes. How hard could one TGU be?

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Double Kettlebell TGU Attempt #1

I warmed up attempting a pair of 12kg kettlebells, then a pair of 16’s. The 16’s went so smoothly I felt ready for the 20’s. My first attempt failed. I could really notice how tight and imbalanced my hips were and how much the weigh accentuated the differences and the weaknesses.

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Movement Patterns for the Double Kettlebell TGU

I went back to the beginning and broke the Double Kettlebell TGU apart into four different movement patterns. For the next several weeks I played around with these movement patterns using no weight, light dumbbells, and progressively heavier kettlebells. I worked on the movements separately, and eventually I was able to link the movements together into a complex where I would repeat 3-5 repetitions of each movement (I love using this both before and after my Kettlebell sport workouts by the way).

The movement sequence arms are locked out overhead from start to finish went as follows:

1. Rocking Sit Up

double TGU rocking sit up

2. Z-Pose/Shin Box Knee Changes

ART_DoubleTGUZPoseShinSwitch

3. Z-Pose/Shin Box to Kneeling

Double TGU Z pose/shin box to kneeling

4. Kneeling to Standing (Lunge)

Double TGU kneel to stand

More Double Kettlebell TGU Practice

Finally after a few weeks I was able to perform the 36kg TGU.

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Success! The Double 20kg Kettlebell TGU

I was still have difficulties with the Rocking Sit Up and Z-Position under heavy loads, so I spent a couple of more weeks practicing these movements at increasingly heavier loads until I felt ready for another attempt at 40kg TGU.

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SUCCESS! Still more work to do to develop more control and movement efficiency, but 7 weeks after incorporating into my pre and post training routines and I definitely noticed an improvement in my hip mobility and flexibility.

Cynthia Roulston, BSc, BEd, MSc
I have always been involved in competitive sports my entire life as both coach and athlete – track, cross country running, soccer, basketball, ultimate Frisbee, and most recently Girevoy sport. I am a full time elementary Health and Physical Education teacher and part time movement coach at StrengthBox. I became a movement coach at StrengthBox because it is an unconventional gym emphasizing primal MovNat (Moving Naturally) skills like running, jumping, throwing and catching lifting and carrying, balancing, and walking on all fours. My experience in this community led me to becoming a certified MovNat instructor. I also compete in Girevoy Sport and hope to one day achieve Master of Sport ranking.

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