You may or may not have heard of Turbulence Training by Craig Ballantyne. I remember reading about it a few years back and kind of shrugged it off as a workout for beginners. I figured such a brief workout wouldn’t work for someone like myself who has lifted for over 20 years. I was wrong! As a matter of fact, Craig has case study after case study of advanced athletes achieving ultra-high levels of conditioning with Turbulence Training.
Craig Ballantyne – Ripped Year Round From Brief Workouts
Craig works out 3-4 times per week and uses extremely brief 30-40 minute workouts to stay in great shape.
This will be a 2 part post. In part one, I’ll explain a bit about Turbulence Training and why it works so well. In part two, Craig answers specific questions I asked him last week about his workout principles. A great program for the lean Hollywood look.
Turbulence Training -The Story Behind Its Creation
Back in 1998-1999, Craig was earning his master’s degree in Exercise Physiology and literally spent 16 hours per day in the lab. He would get there at 7AM and leave at 11PM. He only had 50 minutes of down-time, while the lab’s gamma-counter analyzed blood samples (he was studying the effects of Androstenedione on athletic performance). The gym he trained in was 5 minutes across campus, so that only gave him 40 minutes to get in a solid workout.
How He Constructed His 40 Minute Workout
So with only 40 minutes, he was forced to be efficient. I failed to mention that he previously worked with athletes as the school’s Strength and Conditioning Coach. The athletes he trained had seen tremendous results with sprint intervals (HIIT)…so that was going to be a big component of his workout. Plus he could do HIIT in 15 minutes, leaving him 25 minutes for strength training. He also knew that high reps weren’t going to be as efficient as low reps. So the lifting part of his workout was brief heavy strength training with low reps.
Brief Strength Training + HIIT
Does the formula above sound familiar? Well…this is what I consistently talk about on this site…because it develops a lean, ripped, athletic physique with just the right amount of muscle. The cool thing is how Craig makes this formula more time efficient. He does “non-competing” supersets to get the strength training part of the workout done in a much shorter period of time.
What is a “Non-Competing” Superset?
This is a set which involves doing one lift for a body part followed by another lift which works an entirely different body part. You do these sets back to back and then rest for a 30-60 seconds. Basically, this is a way to get more quality sets done in less time. If strength is your goal, then you can rest a bit longer in between these supersets to be able to lift slightly heavier weights.
Note: I made the incorrect assumption that Turbulence Training was just circuit training meant to increase the heart rate by doing exercises back to back. Increased heart rate is NOT the goal of the resistance part of the workout. The main reason for non-competing supersets is to get more quality work done in less time. His basic course includes a 50 minute recording that explains the real reason why intervals and supersets work at burning body fat…going against any main-stream publication that I’ve read. It actually makes a lot of sense.
The HIIT Part of The Workout is Very Flexible
I’m a big fan of doing sprint intervals on a treadmill, but there are many many ways to get HIIT done without cardio equipment at all. As a matter of fact, Craig has several body weight only circuits that are extremely effective. Here is a free page that he created with videos demonstrating a lot of the exercises he recommends: Turbulence Training Videos
Note: On the video page there is a video called “High Intensity Interval Training”. This is the exact sprinting Treadmill Workout that I have done for over 10 years. There is another video that I think is outstanding called “Fat Burning Circuit”. This is a way to do HIIT at home with no equipment except for a stability ball. I am actually going to add this once a week for those extra busy days that I can’t get into the gym.
Why I’m a Fan of Turbulence Training
In the past, I had the time to easily get in 4-5 workouts per week. In fact, I have consistently averaged around 5 workouts per week for close to 20 years. These days, life is getting busier and busier. I picked up the Deluxe Edition of Turbulence Training as a way for me to get the same results in less time. I will incorporate many of Craig’s methods in a way that works for me. I have my own variations and incorporate tweaks here and there, but this is going to be a big time saver.
In Part 2, I Ask Craig Questions About Turbulence Training
Some of the questions revolve around building the slim “Hollywood” physique as well as how well this workout works for women. He talks about how he recently trained an actress to get slim for her upcoming movie role, while retaining her slim and sexy physique. I also ask him what his workouts look like these days, etc. It was cool of him to take some time and answer some questions for readers of Fitness Black Book.