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As I watch from sidelines, it occurs to me: even this guy’s warm-up would make most men puke.
“This guy” is 37-year-old Martin Rooney, one of the world’s top strength and conditioning coaches, who has worked with thousands of elite athletes, including Olympians. And the men he’s training right now? Well, you might call them warriors. In front of me are two world champions in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, one national judo champ and three Ultimate Fighters. They’re here because Rooney is best known for his ability to physically and mentally prepare mixed martial artists for the ring. It’s easy to see why. Only after a 45-minute warm-up that features agility drills, abdominal training and wind sprints are the fighters ready for their actual workout. And it’s not about to become easier.
Next on the docket is one of Rooney’s trademark “hurricane” training sessions: three five-minute rounds of five different exercises, performed for one minute each. Today he’s demanding these lung- and muscle-busting moves:
A 135kg tyre flip.
Quick-feet drills through a ladder.
Pushing a weighted sledge.
Sprinting with added resistance.
Pounding a tyre with a sledgehammer.
Go fast, go hard, go for a minute and move to the next station – for five minutes straight. Then catch your breath and do it all over again.
“If a guy we compete against can’t do on one day what we do every day,” says Rooney, “he’s going to be in trouble.” So ask: can you handle a hurricane? Find out by trying the routine for yourself, using Rooney’s mix-and-match system. Even if you’re not quite ready for the ring, you’ll burn blubber, build muscle and take your conditioning to an all-time high.
Create Your Own Hurricane
Not only will Rooney’s hurricane training system melt your midsection, but it’ll also help keep you motivated. That’s because the variety of exercise combinations you can use is nearly limitless, which is key to keeping your workout fresh and exciting. “You can do arm curls for only so long before you become bored,” says Rooney. “There’s nothing better than designing a workout that has people sweating and smiling.”
Simply pick one exercise from the options (a, b or c) listed in each group. Then do all five exercises in the order shown for 60 seconds each at your highest intensity level, without resting. That’s one round. Rest for two minutes between rounds, then repeat up to two more times. Use this plan twice a week, on the days between your regular workouts.
A. Jump rope
Skip or jump at the highest intensity you can maintain for a total of 60 seconds.
B. Treadmill run
Go at the fastest pace that you can maintain for the entire 60 seconds.
C. Shadow-boxing shadow
Throw punches at an imaginary opponent – alternate hands, mix jabs and hooks to the body and head – while you dance and duck as if you were in the ring.
Place your left foot on a bench and push your body up until both feet are on it. Step down with your left foot and then your right. Repeat, this time starting with your right foot. Continue to alternate.
B. Bench jump
With your feet shoulder- width apart, dip down and jump up onto a bench. Step down and repeat.
C. Scissor bench jump
Place your left foot on a bench with your right foot on the floor. In one movement, jump up and switch leg positions in midair. Continue to alternate to the left and right.
A. Medicine-ball crunch
Perform a classic crunch while holding a medicine ball against your chest.
B. Medicine-ball Russian
Holding a medicine ball in front of your chest. Lean your torso back slightly and raise your feet off the floor. Now rotate the ball to your left and then to your right. Move back and forth quickly.
C. Medicine-ball pike
Lie on your back with your body straight, holding a medicine ball behind your head. Now simultaneously raise your legs and arms until the ball touches your feet.
Keeping your body rigid, lower yourself until your chest touches the floor. Repeat as many times as you can in 60 seconds, even if you have to stop – just rest and start again.
Using a shoulder-width, underhand grip, pull your chest to the bar. Repeat as many times as you can in 60 seconds, just as you did on the push-up.
Lower your body until your elbows are bent 90 degrees. Repeat as many times as you can in 60 seconds, just as you did on the push-up.
A. Walking lunge
Step forwards with your left foot, lower your body into a lunge and then bring your right foot forwards. Now push your body back to a standing position.
B. Squat thrust
Squat and lean forwards so that your hands are on the floor and you’re on the balls of your feet. Then kick both legs back into a push-up position, reverse back to a squat, and jump as high as you can.
C. Jump squat
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then jump as high as you can.