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training. Keep in mind, these sequences are meant to make The beauty of tornado training is that it creates a feeling
the client feel like they just got sucked in a vortex. They should all its own. The up, down and side to side nature of the work-
be moving in all directions and never know what exercise is out is a unique challenge to the sympathetic nervous system.
coming next and from what direction. A popular tornado ex- The different movements work muscles that are normally ne-
ercise is a squat thrust to a jumping pull up. This is done by glected in standard machine and free weight workouts. The
standing under a high pull-up bar that you need to jump up simultaneous aerobic and anaerobic challenge builds a more
to reach. Then, drop down into a squat thrust and then, rather holistic base of fitness than is usually achievable in more con-
than standing back up, spring into a jump, grab the pull up bar ventional workouts. The protocol is perfectly suited to athletes
and complete a pull up. Next, drop down for another squat involved in unpredictable sports where momentum changes
thrust and repeat. Another concept is what we call quick tran- and awkward body positions prevail. Examples include Amer-
sitions where we will start a client on a particular exercise,
ican football, mixed martial arts, gymnastics, cheerleading,
say a Russian twist, hold them there for ten seconds before
wrestling and others. But you don’t have to be an athlete to
moving them quickly to a mountain climber for 10 seconds,
enjoy the challenge. Anyone looking for a fresh but challeng-
followed by a reverse mountain climber for 10 seconds, fol-
ing exercise protocol will love this approach. All you need is
lowed by bicycles for 10 seconds, followed by squat jumps
a little imagination.
for 10 seconds. With these types of transitions, you move from
face up, to face down, to face up again before rising to your
Here is a quick guide to putting together a tornado workout.
feet and blasting out a series of jumps. This is quintessential
tornado training.
1) Choose some exercises involving twisting motions (i.e.
When throwing in the weights, string movements together
pushup/row, Pushup side pike, Russian twists, bicycles, etc)
in the same way while throwing in one or two heavy move-
2) Choose some exercise combinations that go from stand-
ments. An example would be starting out with a push-up row
ing to the floor (i.e. up/downs, squat thrusts or burpees, moun-
for 20 seconds, followed immediately by rolling over for a
tain climbers to reverse mountain climbers, or Turkish getups)
chest press/crunch for 20 seconds, followed by 5 reps of bar-
3) Sprinkle in some plyometrics, Olympic lifts, body-
bell powercleans, 20 seconds of bicycles may be next, fol-
weight exercises, and sprint type exercises.
lowed by 5 reps of barbell squats. This type of series is ex-
4) Now combine it all in a blender and spit it out in quick
tremely difficult. You are forced to twist, get up, get down, lift
succession in whatever order comes to mind. Repeat any exer-
heavy, lift light, and move continuously for a full body stimu-
cises whenever you want and add in any new stuff at anytime.
lus, taxing the metabolism completely. The amount of creativ-
Remember to mix up your counting scheme, using seconds at
ity in a tornado workout is immense, which makes the system
times and reps at other times.
very versatile. In a crowded fitness center all you may need is
a couple pairs of dumbbells and a small corner of the floor. In Submitted by Keoni Teta, ND, CSCS, LAc and Jade Teta, ND,
a gym with a wide-open floor, you literally have a playground
CSCS, naturopathic physicians and experts in the science of
at your disposal. Tornado training is the perfect protocol for
exercise. For more information, visit www.MetabolicEffect.
trainers and fitness enthusiasts who love the adventure and
com or email
unpredictability of a new challenge. For those who are less
creative and prefer the comfort of the old sets and reps format
this protocol may be a bit much.
October 2009
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