Deadlifts are essential.  So are squats and presses.  And power cleans confer great athletic benefits.  These lifts are widely recognized for their critical contributions to fitness and, rightly so!  If you’re not sure why, come in and see me and I’ll explain why you can’t live life without them.

But there is another lift that just doesn’t get the credit it deserves.  This lift develops full body strength, mobility, stability, develops your core and your shoulder girdle, demands coordination and full body proprioceptive awareness, trains correct posture and muscular asymmetries and develops resiliency to injury:  The Barbell Turkish Get Up.

Legend has it that old-time strongmen were required to perform a 100lb barbell Turkish Get Up before they were allowed to train with the masters.  This week I read an article suggesting everyone should aim to achieve a Turkish Get Up at 50% body weight.  I’m inclined to agree.  But only if we’re discussing the barbell version.

Whereas the dumbbell and kettlebell versions of this lift will allow a strong person to power through with sub-optimal posture, the barbell demands excellent execution.  In fact, novice lifters who struggle to “remember the steps” with a dumbbell find the barbell more intuitive because it allows no room for incorrect steps.

So many shoulder tweaks are the result of poor shoulder activation in the overhead loaded position, failure to maintain elbow lock out or failure to keep the load stacked vertically.  The barbell Turkish Get Up is a light weight, slow and controlled way to correct these movement inefficiencies while developing shoulder girdle strength AND mobility.  In short, the barbell Turkish Get Up is the perfect shoulder rehab/prehab tool!

Get great at this lift and bullet-proof your shoulders while building your full body strength and resilience.  As a coach, this is a movement I would love to see my athletes practice more regularly.  Those who achieve 50% body weight or more on this lift will be blessed with strong, solid, pain-free shoulders among other things.  At approximately 190lbs my personal best barbell Turkish Get Up (on both my left and right side) is 125lbs, so I know 50% is attainable.  Get after it!