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Boil off all the fluff out there in the training world, and there’s really only a handful of movement patterns that really tend to yield the highest return for their use.

Some will say the king of all lifts is the deadlift.

Fans of olympic lifting will say the same about the barbell snatch.

Still others will say that nothing beats back squatting.

Now I’m not here to say that those aren’t great lifts, but the questions I’m asking you is this:

If there was only one exercise, or lift, that you could do for the rest of your life, what would it be?

“There can be only one!”

If you’re not north of 35 years old, you may not understand the movie reference.

For me, the answer is unequivocally the Turkish Get-Up. Now of course I need to defend myself from the onslaught of differing opinions, of which I’m sure are many, and that’s what makes this coaching thing such an art form. Personally, I like to think of myself as late in my life, grey bearded, steely eyed, lean, mean, and still being able to climb treestands in the Midwest, hike in the western mountains after Elk and Mule Deer, casting large plugs for Muskies on Lake of the Woods, and walk for miles in the prairies chasing ring-necked pheasants.

Obviously you’ve pegged me as an outdoorsman, and you’re right. I view this late stage of life as a time where I hope to be able to retain as much athleticism, strength, balance, mobility, and stability as possible and when I view the exercise selection of the 1 exercise I need to do for the rest of my life, the answer, to me, is glaringly obvious why the Turkish Get-Up (TGU we’ll call it from here on out) is best.

Let’s break it down shall we?

Rolling from the fetal position to the supine position while pressing the kettlebell to the starting “get-up” position alone is a great movement pattern that all of us will wish to retain. After we get into the starting position, I like to teach the TGU in 5 steps:

  1. Drive, push, and roll
  2. Extend and swivel
  3. Hinge Up and windshield wipe
  4. Bottoms up FWD Lunge
  5. Reverse Lunge
  6. Windshield wipe and hinge down
  7. Extend and swivel
  8. Lower back to starting position

Now we could spend all day breaking down the movement patterns and qualities of the TGU, so since we have all day, let’s do just that.

Just kidding…..

But let’s at least bullet-point some powerful benefits of performing the TGU regularly:

  • Trunk stability/strength
  • Shoulder stability/mobility
  • Horizontal & overhead pressing strength
  • Hip complex strength/mobility
  • Functional concentric and eccentric leg strength

With that many movement qualities being addressed and improved upon, I plan on being much like Brad Pitt’s character Tristan in the Legends of the Fall movie, hunting deep into the woods and fighting myself to a “good death.”