How the Turkish Get-Up Changed My Life

How The Turkish Get-Up changed my life

 In 2013, I registered for the Ride to Conquer Cancer, a 2-day- 220Km ride through the pacific northwest to benefit the BC Cancer Foundation.  I trained hard and felt strong, fit and ready to ride.  With my helmet, Brainiacs kit and power bars in tow, I was pumped.

At the starting gate, the energy was palpable. The opening ceremonies were inspiring, heart-wrenching and motivating. As I crossed through the starting gates, an overwhelming sense of emotion flooded through me as I remembered the kids and families I cared for as a pediatric oncology nurse. I was also thinking of my brother and friend, whom I was riding for, who were being treated for cancer.  I didn’t anticipate the emotional impact the ride would have on me and fought the tears the best I could. 

Blurry vision doesn’t bode well for safe cycling


I managed to pull myself together only to break down again at the lunch stop.  I silently ate my lunch and continued on the ride slowly ascending the one long hill of the ride.  I crested the hill and was relieved to have a bit of downhill. 

Picking up speed, I relaxed into the descent, with partially blurry eyes.  In a flash, I was hurling through the air, quite certain I had met the end of my human existence.  I landed with a crash, my right side of my body skidding on the surface to a halt. The strip of uneven pavement that caught the thin front tire was barely noticeable to my unfocused eyes and mind.  Clearly my feet unclipped from my pedals as my bike was about 20 feet from me as I lay sprawled on the road. 

Once I realized that I was still alive, I wondered if I would move again. Slowly I wiggled my fingers and toes to find relief that all four limbs still worked.  Drifting in an out of consciousness (I realize now I was probably in some level of shock), two voices hovered over me, gentle, calm, comforting asking me my name and calling me back to the here and now.  Two cyclists had stopped to help me and stayed with me until the ambulance came. 

Dori, can you hear me? Stay with me. You will be ok”

Within a few hours in the Emergency room, my wounds were cleaned, stitched and bandaged and I was discharged to the cycling camp with painkillers in tow. Delusional from the pain killers, I was hopeful to ride Day 2 of the ride, until it was evident that my injuries were more than what originally thought.  I was booked to go to Europe in three weeks for a cycling trip, so my priority for that time was to  heal my surface wounds, bruised ego and disappointment in not finishing the ride.

I’ll be good to go for Day 2!

I’ll be good to go for Day 2!


The countryside of France with the lavender and sunflower fields distracted me enough to get through each day of the cycling trip. While I slogged through the cycling trip, I knew that I had deeper injuries than the skin wounds.   Once back in Vancouver, I began the many months of physiotherapy, acupuncture, chiropractor, massage to slowly regain mobility, and decrease the pain in my right shoulder and right hip.  Frozen shoulder set in and I couldn’t do anything as simple as put my hair in a ponytail or hang up a shirt.  I continued with all the therapies, and decided to try something different.  I wanted a focused and dedicated training and recovery program. I randomly found Its Time! Fitness Results and booked personal training with owner and founder Sheila Hamilton.  

My first appointment was an assessment and functional assessment to test my mobility and movement patterns.  I wasn’t quite sure why this mattered so much, except I wanted my shoulder to move more. So I trusted Sheila with my plight. 

Beginning to transform my life…notice the meditative stance even back then!

Beginning to transform my life…notice the meditative stance even back then!


Week after week, I was put through all these new exercise techniques that included foam rolling my muscles and joints, swinging a kettlebell, stretching, and learning a very weird exercise technique call the Turkish get-up. 

Get what??  Get-up? 

Yes! the Turkish Get-Up

The Turkish Get-up is an all-around exercise that requires you to hold one arm in a stable overhead position while moving through multiple planes of motion, finding points of stability in the anterior, lateral and overhead positions  all while supporting yourself with one hand and transitioning from lying, to kneeling to standing.  Sound complicated? Difficult? Impossible? Not with Sheila at the helm.


Sheila introduced this all-in-one exercise to me, step by step, along with the other skills at Its Time! gym.  Gradually my hip strength and mobility improved, and within a few months, my shoulder mobility was back with even more strength than I had before.   Almost a year from the cycling accident, I was stronger, more fit, more focused and more confident.  I did the ride again that year AND went to Europe for another cycling trip to celebrate my “50th but feel like 30 birthday”!


There are several benefits to the Turkish Get-up, besides ‘CHANGING MY LIFE’.  I can think of at least  9 benefits of this ‘CHANGE YOUR LIFE” exercise:


9 Benefits of the Turkish Get-Up

·      Loaded lunge pattern

·      Overhead hold

·      Two hip hinges

·      Glute activation

·      Core stability and activation

·      Rotator cuff stabilization

·      Increased confidence

·      Focused breath work

·      Present and focused in the moment


When you add all these TGU benefits up, it is unbelievable for overall mobility, and stability of the core, shoulders and hips, while also bringing awareness to breath, body and mind.  No other single exercise can do all this.  IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.  Learning the TGU helps you move with controlled coordinated movements.  Many people refer to it as ‘loaded yoga’.  Which makes it a perfect complement to an enso retreat where we blend a variety of activities to nourish your body, calm your mind and soothe your soul.

There are many ways to hold the focus in your body, your breath and your mind. Together with Sheila Hamilton, I am excited to host:

“A Shade More…Strong”

Join us June 8-10, 2019 at enso Retreat Centre on Salt Spring Island, where we will “TGU it up” on the beach, on a mountain, in a studio in addition to relaxing, rejuvenating, playing and energizing.

Dori Howard1 Comment