Turbulence Training – The Most Efficient Fat Loss Workout?

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 ballantyne turbulence trainingHere is a recent picture of Craig with his dog. I always tell people to take advice from people who are actually in great shape.

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

turbulence training treadmill workout

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.

Craig Ballantyne – 7 Questions and Answers About Turbulence Training

40 thoughts on “Turbulence Training – The Most Efficient Fat Loss Workout?”

  1. This treadmjill is famous for offering lots of workouts via iFit.
    Its speed iis 1-16 km/h with increments from 0.1 km/h.
    The last two trips into the gym, the bikes were all occupied,
    so I picked the treadmill.

  2. You have done really nice job. There are many people searching about that now they will find enough sources by your tips.

  3. I just want to vouch for Turbulence Training. I’ve had nothing but great results by following the training program. It’s immediate and you feel freaking great in a very short time.

  4. Nice, after traveling a lot and beeing on a reisen malta trip for the last month I gained a lot of weight from the maltese food. I will do some of the exercises so I look like the guy on the picture again.

  5. A lot of these HIIT are great for me because I need exercise programs that I can do while I’m traveling for business. In addition, I’m interested in learning more about the strength component of Turbulence Training.

    The hardest part for me in my battle of the bulge is food! When I’m on the road, this is a real challenge. Any tips on how to eat better when I’m living out of a hotel room?

  6. Hmm…. no doubt the guy in the pic is ripped but I think one cannot solely focus on HIIT to get those abs. He/she must also have a decent diet and balanced weight training routine.

  7. Agreed Ged, I have been following Rusty for a while, such great guidance. In a world FULL of supplements and fitness routines its nice to gain some direction.

  8. It’s good that you’re spreading the word in other projects, go for it with huge success Rusty, i’m sure everyone will keep following this blog and your other projects.

  9. Thanks for the advice about Turbulence Training Review, Exercise is The Best to reduce fat on our body and it is working.

  10. The HIIT workouts are the best. I can’t believe how tired I was when I first started, but it’s really starting to show results! Thanks for highlighting some of the ins and outs of it too.

  11. Hi,thanks for sharing the information regarding to tarbulence training .Really it is very useful in reducing the fat.Thanks a lot again for sharing the information here…

  12. Rusty, another great article. Your guidance and client respect is evident in the regular posts and positive comments.

  13. Pingback: Age Turbulence, How to Reduce fat? | Turbulence Training Guidelines & Toolbox
  14. The techniques in turbulence training may help you get fit and work if you use them properly, but the rigorous nature of the workouts may not be good for everyone.

  15. Ok I just downloaded the free weight loss program from Craig’s Turbulance Training site. I’ll start from today. I need to lose about 30 lbs so I hope it works 🙂 And yes, I have started eating healthy as well so lets see. I have my fingers cossed.

    On another note, has anyone tried P90X workouts?

  16. Hi, Rusty!

    I have a quick question. I recently just read some of your old posts on Craig Ballantyne’s Turbulence Training and found them particularly interesting. What really caught my eye was the concept of non-competing super sets. You see, I’ve been spending at LEAST an hour and a half at the gym recently doing each of the two workouts that you’ve outlined on your site.

    Here’s what my workout currently looks like:

    Day 1: Back, Chest Abs

    5×5 Incline Dumbbell Press
    5×5 Inline Machine Press

    6×5 Chin-Ups
    4×5 One arm Dumbbell Row

    Right Side, Left Side, Normal and exercise ball planks for 80 sec. each

    Stubborn Fat Protocol (15 min. HIIT and 25 min. Steady State Cardio)

    Day 2: Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps

    5×5 Standing Barbell Military Press
    5×5 Hammer Strength Shoulder Press

    5×5 Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curls
    5×5 Hammer Strength Preacher Curls

    5×5 Weighted Dips
    5×5 Seated Tricep extension

    1-2 sets of planks

    Stubborn Fat Protocol

    I alternate Day 1 and Day 2 for a total of 4 workouts per week. I am currently following Eat Stop Eat and am a little over 6 feet and weigh 183 lbs and am most likely around 12% bodyfat (just in case you need this information to answer my question).


    Can I utilize the concept of non-competing super sets to drastically cut the amount of time I spend in the gym if my goal is to generate maximal contractions on each and every set/rep for muscle density and strength?

    Thank you for your time and patience! I’m a HUGE fan of your site!



  17. Hi everyone

    I’ve done enough research into Craig Ballantyne’s TT program, and I’ll definitely buy it. What I’m not sure about is the need for an upgrade to the deluxe version, as I don’t intend to aim for superhumandom once I achieve my target weight.

    I keep things simple when it comes to this stuff. My needs are straightforward: lose 50lbs from my current 207lbs so that I can get back to enjoying the 3 or 4 sports I regularly play. I don’t need huge muscle mass, I just need to be lean, to maximise by agility and mobility.

    Given the high fat loss involved I’m reckoning on 6 months of hard graft to get down to my target weight, if we assume an avg 2lbs-per-week fat loss rate. My worry is that the TT basic version really caters for shorter periods, and that I’ll start to plateau after around 12 weeks due to the lack of exercise variety (the TT concept revolves around new exrecise routines every 4 weeks or so).

    Opinions please: basic or deluxe?

    Thanks a span

  18. If you really want to lose weight fast and have some beach-worthy body that you could show off, you might want to try some intense training to have a much better looking physique. You can achieve this and more by engaging in Turbulence Training as developed by Craig Ballantyne.

  19. I just want to add, when I say that I have been told my workout is not going to work, obviously it is going to work, but I have been told there are better ways for a person with my body size to either, loose weight or fill out my body in ordre to look fit.

    Please also note, during my lifting rutine, through-out the 16 different excirsizes, I swich upperbody, lowerbody as well as swiching between reverse muscle groups. (fx. abbductors, biceps, adductors, triceps)

    Looking forward to your reply! 🙂

  20. Hey Rusty,

    Nice site… I find lots of your articles good to read.

    Anyway, I have been doing a full body circut program for a couple of weeks now.
    I start with 10min warm-up on the treadmill (2min walking, 3min sprint, 5min jog) then I do the full body circut, 16 different machines, 15reps and I do this 3 times, no brakes or stopping and aim to be done with the lifting in 45min to an hour. Once done, I hit the treadmill for 15min where I mix jogging and sprinting.
    I do this every other day and on “off” days I usually go for a 2 mile run, use 20 min on my boxing bag.. in other words I try to get in aprox 20-30 min activity where I am moving and sweating.

    I am curious about your opinion on this workout. I got it from a trainer, but lots of people I talk to say it’s not going to help.

    I weigh 187pounds (not sure body fat %) and am 6ft tall. My goal is to loose about 10-15pounds.

    Please let me know what you think.

    Thx – All the best from Denmark

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