All About Turbulence Training With Craig Ballantyne

Turbulence Training Author Craig Ballantyne Interview

craig ballantyne interviewI’ve used various tools in my quest to become better over the years. I’ve tried and kept many natural health principle’s as well as used many exercise programs to build muscle and burn fat.

I’ve done traditional bodybuilder exercises, walked, done endless cardio and implemented High Intensity Interval Training. I’ve tried running and I’ve done a few different boot camps in recent years.

My guest for this interview is the creator of what I like to think of as the simplest yet most effective method to end hours of cardio and use your very own body weight to build muscle and burn fat at the same time.

Craig Ballantyne is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and contributor to Men’s Health Magazine. He’s on the Inside Fitness training advisory board as well as Oxygen magazine training advisory board and has a background as a personal trainer in the Toronto Canada area.

Craig is the creator of Turbulence Training and I’m glad to have him here today to discuss his program and how it can help you achieve your ultimate physique.

turbulence training fat loss system

Part 4 – The 300 Workout


What was your intention around the 300 workout?

Craig Ballantyne turbulence trainingI didn’t actually create the 300 workout.

It was designed by Mark Twight. He trained the guys for the movie.

I just showed all the exercises in a video I did for Men’s Health.

Robah ha – the truth comes out! just kidding. That’s interesting.. I don’t think I’ve seen a reference to Mark anywhere the 300 workout is mentioned.

so for the benefit of readers wondering about the 300 workout, lets re-hash quickly what we discussed by email a few months ago.

What is the 300 workout, why was it designed and how often does a person do it?

Craig Ballantyne turbulence trainingHere’s the original Men’s Health article that started all the 300 workout hype. I think it was in the March issue of 2007.

The article mentions how Gerard Butler, the lead actor from the 300 movie, trained with Mark Twight.

The 300 workout, the story goes, is simply a single challenge workout to be done after you’ve trained with these types of exercises for a while.

I’m not impressed when some guy emails me to say he’s been doing the 300 workout 3 times per week. That’s not the point.

It’s like doing a max squat, bench, and deadlift 3 times per week. You just don’t do that.

The 300 workout should be considered like a race day, something you prepare for, get “psyched up” for, and then do once in a while to test your fitness.

That is the reason why it was designed. As they say in the article, it was a “right of passage”.

It’s just meant to be done once maybe every couple of months – not 3 times per week for 12 weeks.

RobYes, a right of passage – that it is.

What exercises are part of the 300 workout?

Craig Ballantyne turbulence trainingHere’s the complete list of the exercises…

a) Pullups – 25 reps
b) Deadlifts with 135lbs – 50 reps
c) Pushups – 50 reps
d) 24-inch Box jumps – 50 reps
e) Floor wipers – 50 reps
f) 1-arm Clean & Press with 36lbs Kettlebell – 50 reps
g) Pullups – 25 reps

And here’s how it goes in reality (for me, anyways)…

I got off to a flying start, doing as many pullups as I could. Then after a quick break, I did another set. Then a third set. Hmmm, now I can barely crank out 2-3 reps per set! Eventually, I was down to doing 1-2 reps per set, but I finally finish up the 25. On to deadlifts…

The first 30 or so are no problem, even though my grip is tired from the pullups. Then another 10-15, and then one more set to finish off. Overall, not doing too bad.

Then the pushups hit me. At this point, I was a little tired. So 30 pushups was a decent effort, followed by two more sets of 10. When I was done the 50, I was feeling it.

The jumps end up being done in slow motion. A set of 10, rest, another set of 10, rest, then sets of 5 alternated with rests until I slowly get done the 50.

On to floor wipers, which I had never done before. And frankly, I don’t think too much of this exercise. Personally, I wouldn’t use it for my abs, and I don’t plan on using it any time soon in the programs I write for people…but still, I see guys doing it all the time now that they’ve seen it in the 300 workout. To each his own, I guess.

Anyways, at this point it is a brutal test of endurance for your chest and arms to hold the weight at arms length. And you have to take your legs to both sides in order to complete a rep…curses! It would have been so much better if just going to one side meant one rep.

This is where I lost a lot of time in my workout. I would do a few reps, then rest. The 50 total reps took a long, long time. Or so it seemed.

Was very happy to get to the kettlebell component. But again, due to cumulative fatigue, I was doing 5 reps at a time. Then resting briefly.

Finally, to the pullups again. I think I did 5 in the first set, and from there is was a long road of 2 reps per set until all 25 were done.

I was pretty spent, but due to the long, drawn out process of the pullups at the end, it could have been worse. Especially if there had been more lower body stuff in there. Then it would have been “puke city”. But I beat 20 minutes, and recovered in about the same amount of time.

Overall, it was fun, but people need to understand its not something you do three times per week.

It should be something you get “fired up” for once every couple of months.
Or at least that’s how I understand it based on the article, and based on my understanding of a good training program. Doing the same workout 3 times per week is NOT a good training program.

RobGreat explanation. Not quite what I was looking for, but a good read for anyone else considering taking on the 300. I’d like to ask a question to you from your personal trainer point of view. If someone wanted to take this one, obviously we’d have to train for it. The 300 workout gets done as a test, once every 2 months or so, so how would we prepare for it? It’s got strength components as well as endurance. Would you be willing to share some thoughts on some sort of routine to follow to get ready for this?

How Would You Train For The 300 Workout? To Prepare For it?

Craig Ballantyne turbulence trainingWell, the first thing you need to do is obvious.

Someone would need to lose fat before they did this. Otherwise, you’d be finished before you stared because 25 pullups are no joke for the average person. If you are too heavy, its game over.

So losing fat is priority number 1.

Next up, practice pullups. Two ways:

  1. Get strong, so work your way up to weighted pullups, and
  2. Spend one day per week doing endurance work on pullups (i.e. something like a set of 6, rest 1 minute, then 6 again, rest 1 minute, and so on for 3-5 sets). Then decrease the rest time each workout, by 10 seconds.

Having a big deadlift will also help, as it makes 135 a “joke” the stronger you are.

I’d also practice the floor wipers, because most people haven’t done it before.

And finally, do some type of interval or circuit training for “mental toughness”. If you are above average fitness, then the real “deal” about the 300 is having the toughness to continue moving ahead rather than taking long breaks as you get tired.

All of the above could easily be incorporated into a Turbulence Training type workout without taking up too much time.

RobExactly what I was just going to say, train with the Turbulence Training program and you get the best of both, strength conditioning and endurance.

It’s fairly obvious that one would have to be in extremely good shape with great strength plus endurance to complete the 300 workout. It’s not for the average Joe to start with but I see where it could be something to train for using your program.

Where the 300 is a test of strength, a right of passage, what of your bodyweight 500 program? It’s similar in name, but much different in design isn’t it?

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