There are some workout moves that take strength, skill, and a lot of practice to be able to pull off. These are the types of exercises you see splashed across Instagram feeds, where the sheer technicality and difficulty of the maneuvers entice you to smash the like button.
As someone who’s just starting out in the weight room or who feels limited in your physical abilities, you might think that all of these exercises are out of your reach. In some cases, that might be true—and that’s not a bad thing, because not everything you see on Instagram is actually effective or even safe—but in others, you might have less difficulty mastering the moves than you might expect. Case in point: the Turkish getup, a multi-part exercise that can be adjusted for nearly any skill level as you learn the full movement without losing all of its usefulness.
Trainer Charlee Atkins, C.S.C.S. uses a pared-down version of the exercise to both prepare clients for the full movement and to give them a good workout on its own. “To complete a Turkish getup, you must first master this: the quarter getup,” she says. “When done correctly, the Turkish getup is a very ‘functional’ exercise to get us up on the floor. It’s an exercise that can be and should be implemented into every exercise routine because of it’s progressive nature.”
Atkins starts with just the first step of the getup to get her clients off the floor. “We’re focusing on level one today,” she says. “Before you fully get up off the floor, you have to have the ability and strength get up under load. Cue core strength. The quarter getup is a rotational situp.”
To perform the quarter getup, you’ll need a weight, preferably a dumbbell if you’re just starting out. You can use a kettlebell or even barbells as you get more accustomed to the steps of the getup, but you shouldn’t take on those unwieldy loads until you’re further along. Check out this adjustable dumbbell set from Bowflex if you want to train at home.
Perform 12 to 15 reps per side, starting with low weight
- Lay on a mat on your back, holding a dumbbell extended above your chest.
- Squeeze your core to lift your torso off the mat, keeping your arm overhead as you drive the opposite elbow down into the ground.
- Reverse the motion to return to the floor, keeping your arm in position through the movement.
Add the quarter getup to your workout with 3 to 5 rounds of 12 to 15 reps per side. Atkins advises that once you master the quarter getup, you can make your way to the half getup (elbow to the hand) and then half getup and a bridge (elbow to the hand to the bridge). Once you add those movements, cut down on the reps.