Improving Flexibility and Preventing Injury

In part 2, Martin Rooney author of MMA Training for Warriors, shares with us what he has found works and what doesn’t work,  for the average person who wants to have a great workout and to get lean.

One way to get your metabolism going is to start with a few warm up exercises.  Not only will you burn fat, you will get an awesome abdominal workout too, as Martin points out today.

Click here to listen to the call.


Craig:    Yeah, you guys are pretty much legendary for your warm ups. Why don’t you take us through? You guys are definitely pioneering a lot of the stuff that people do in their dynamic warm ups these days, but also I remember you’ve written a couple of times that people go through the warm up and think, “Oh, that was the workout,” and then you say, “Okay, now the workout is going to start,” and they’re so blown away by it because you have that high tempo and high energy in there.

Tell us more about that.

Martin: Exactly. What I always joke about is I say, “Man, if I had a penny for every time somebody said, “Warm up? That was a workout.” I’d probably have a mountain of copper right now.

I believe that the warm up, especially in my system, is one of the most important pieces. So many people think the warm up is something just to get through quickly to get to the good stuff, where I see the warm up as that is the good stuff. That’s where you can work on not only increasing core body temperature and flexibility, but you can improve strength, mobility, balance, coordination.

As everybody is going to see in San Diego, my warm up is where the real motivation happens. If we’re doing a metabolic training session or we’re doing a speed session, when somebody’s heart rate is through the roof and you’re doing a lot of technical stuff, it’s hard for them to absorb information. It’s hard for them to get that motivational message, so I reserve that stuff for the beginning and the ends of my session. That’s the warm up where that happens.

Over the years, it’s true, I’ve been brought out more times for professional teams just to show off the theory and the practice behind my warm ups. Remember, when I was on the bobsled team and when I was on track and field in college, this stuff didn’t even exist. It was just you did a lap around the track and then you got going.

Now, our stuff is so detailed where it’s almost like the rehabilitation, the speed training, the strength training, the actual warming up itself, it’s all in one. In all my books I feature a different warm up version that I’ve used. Right I probably have about seven to 10 warm ups that I use kind of on a regular basis so it keeps the people fresh and I can always change up what I’m trying to address.

Without a doubt I would caution everybody out there that if your warm up isn’t the real orchestrated event or even a bigger challenge, that the people on this call aren’t taking their own warm ups seriously, then I don’t know how you’re going to be able to do that with someone else.

For instance, right before this call you asked me if I was ready and I said, “Yeah, I’m ready. I was just downstairs dead lifting and doing overhead press and chin-ups.” Before I did any of those things, I went through a 25 minute really solid warm up to make sure that not only am I prepared, but I’ve really set the tone for my workout. I’ve been doing that for 15 years straight and it’s my own practice of what I preach that helps me to preach it even more when I force other people to practice it.

Craig:    You’re not only keeping in shape, but you’re keeping yourself from getting injured and doing exactly what you said needs to be done.

Let’s move over to kind of what you’re doing these days and what your book is about and what your articles are often about in Men’s Health, the hurricane levels of body weight training, the Training for Warriors, the Warrior Cardio. Tell us more about these types of workouts. They’re not lifting heavy weights in most cases, but you’re doing some really cool stuff with body weight.

Martin: How this all started is originally when I was training all the fighters, here’s where it came from and it’s a pretty neat story. I was training a lot of the best fighters in the world, and back then if you were asking how long could a fight be, I was training the guys when there was still no time limit. You fought until somebody either won or lost. I had to try to create training sessions that mimicked that.

I was doing hour long circuits, hour and a half circuits, I was beating people up, I was breaking them down. Being honest on the call to everybody, I was making a lot of mistakes and that’s what gives me the right to do this call now is that I want everybody to know that if you spend time around me, you’re not going to make the mistakes we made. I’m proud to say I was over training them, I was doing too much, but I was honing it down and I was always trying to make it better.

Then, the rounds in the fights changed and the demands on a fighter changed and I started to mimic it closer and closer, but also I started to notice that these fighters were getting lean, they were building muscle, their cardiac capacity was better, and ultimately in a weird way, it wasn’t that I set out to do those things, I set out to make them better fighters so I kind of de-engineered the way I did it. I created training that then gave me results, and then I started to understand the results, and then I changed the training.

Some people today are just either chasing results or something else and trying to figure out how to get there. The Hurricane system was born; that’s my form or what I call in Training for Warriors, the metabolic training sessions that we do besides the strength training. Those are high energy, shorter lived sessions that can either involve weights or body weight or some form of sprinting.

Those things are to now really press the people physically and mentally, and ultimately when they go through these workouts they feel better at the end, they’re not banged up, it’s different from them just going on a Monday and hitting bench press and dumb bells. They’re fired up again, but it’s done in a safe, efficient, and organized manner versus what I see happening a lot today.

A big thing that I’ll definitely be discussing when we get out there in San Diego is I’m going to talk about the current stuff of what is going on in training and how I feel if we don’t swing the pendulum back a little bit from the barbed wire shocking runs where you’re hitting people over the head with pugil sticks and the 10 minutes straight of box jumps, we’re going to take as many people out of fitness as we want to get them in.

What I’m trying to pioneer now is how to do these things correctly and give people a real standard and goal so that not only are we helping people, but we’re definitely not hurting them.

Craig:    I could have used the correct instructions for how to run through electric shocks last year when I did a couple of those races. I didn’t know there was a correct way to do it.

Martin: Yeah, the correct way to do that is bring your own car battery and shock the people trying to do it. Actually, the correct way to do it is don’t do it at all.

Good point!

Alright join us tomorrow in part 4, where talk a little about all the fitness challenges he has.

Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer