Turkish Get-up to Elbow (And A Way to Use It)

There’s a grandiose amount of “How To” content on the web. How to skin a cat-fish; how to make napalm; how to use chloroform. Speaking of which, does this napkin smell like chloroform to you? (Shout out to Aaron Lee.)

I’ve no doubt that with all the demonstrations available, you’re thumbs and fingers will lead you in the direction of a worthy Turkish Get-up (TGU for those of us on the inside) demonstration.

To save you some time, Chris put together a great tutorial post a little while back:

Turkish Get Up Tutorial with Progressions

(I’ve also included a video you’ll find a little later in the post.)

Learning how to do something is important, but learning how to apply your newly earned skills is vital. Otherwise you’ve a new hammer to haphazardly swing at every nail. This makes us dangerous–not knowledgeable. Application must be thoroughly understood through practice–knowledge plus use of knowledge with detailed attention adds up to experience.

In the name of garnering experience, here’s one way I apply the TGU to elbow.

High-Frequency Strength Prior to Pressing

At Ranfone Training Systems and Beyond Strength Performance we use a training tool called High-Frequency Strength (HFS). Mike (Ranfone) and I are releasing an HFS program later this year, but until then a short description will suffice.

HFS uses light, fast lifts every day to create a desired training outcome. I know, it’s vague; but we use it to develop a lot of different movement and strength outcomes. Mostly, it’s used to develop strength and power. Mostly, we use barbell lifts.

We’re about to discuss the case of a high-school senior–a football player entering college football’s bigger, more violent gridiron. To improve his neurology, my goal is to have him use reverse-band bench press as one of his HFS exercises. Problem is the kid’s got an asymmetrical shoulder mobility screen–a respective 1,3. I can’t–in good conscience–have this gent bench press every day with underlying shoulder issues.

Here’s the thing–his passive glenohumeral ROM was fine, as were is active internal and external rotation. So if the GH’s are moving fine and we’re still stuck with an asymmetry, the communication between the t-spine, scaps and the joints further down the chain is lost in translation. I’m using the TGU to elbow as the translator.

YouTube Preview Image

Sure, we could use unloaded, active t-spine drills to improve his thoracic mobility (he does some in his warm-up), but loading a drill that requires scapular stability accompanied by t-spine extension and rotation helps the adaptation stick–asymmetrical loading coupled with t-spine rotation balances movement. But there are other elements to consider.

Teaching tension while loading the shoulder girdle also prepares him to handle loads whilst benching. Simultaneously, we’re building the raw materials that negate issues caused by benching–GH control, soft-tissue resiliency.

The young gentleman we’re discussing is strong–so I’ve loaded the movement with a decent bit o’ weight. He uses a 24kg kettlebell. This strategy won’t work for everyone. It’s often that folks need nothing more than a shoe rested upon the top of their clenched fist to make this a worthy drill. But that’s where your experience comes in–pay attention, learn and make decisions. Hold yourself a standard, but give yourself some room to make mistakes. I fuck up every day; I ask my co-workers questions every day.

Our strapping football lad does three or four sets of five reps/side every day he comes in–he’s using the TGU to elbow for a month. His shoulder mobility is nearly balanced and, soon, he’ll be reverse band benching every day.

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Todd Bumgardner

M.S./ CSCS/ Owner of Beyond Strength Performance/ Ginger

Todd Bumgardner

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