This week’s blog comes to you from Dustin Bachand, certified Level 1 Training for Warriors. He shares how he uses “Hurricanes” in his sessions and how they work.
Most of my clients have at least one cardio session each week, and I will often use “hurricane training” for that session. The intensity of the hurricane varies depending on what we’ve done in that week’s previous sessions – if it was an “easy” strength week, then we would go for a harder hurricane, and vice versa we would do an “easier” hurricane if the strength workouts were more intense.
By definition a hurricane is a metabolic training system that creates a disturbance in the body, forcing it to burn calories to try and maintain homeostasis. This additional calorie burn can last for upwards of 48 hours post exercise, making it a “great bang for your buck.” The hurricane workout was originally developed by Martin Rooney for mixed martial arts fighters. Hurricanes are broken down into categories 1-5 just like the actual weather phenomenon, with Category 1 being the easiest and Category 5 the most intense. Each category has 3 rounds of 3 sets of exercises, for a total of 9 working sets.
- Category I: A category 1 hurricane is the baseline test. This phase consists of 9 sprints lasting 30 seconds each. After each sprint, the client will take his/her heart rate, and will rest until their heart rate has returned to 120 bpm (beats per minute) or less – this is called the resting recovery. Once it has returned to 120 bpm they will do another sprint, and this routine will continue for 9 total rounds.
- Category II: In category 2, the client will perform a 30 second sprint, then 2 body weight exercises which is called active recovery. Examples of exercises are squats, push ups, planks etc. Rep ranges are high, usually 15-30. This circuit of 1 sprint and 2 exercises will be performed for 3 sets. For round 2, the sprint will be followed by two new exercises, and during round 3 the sprint will be followed by two more exercises. The total for Category 2 would be 9 sprints, and three sets of 6 different body weight exercises.
- Category III: In category 3, the client will perform a 30 second sprint, upon completion of the sprint, the coach will choose 2 light weight exercises. The weight will be client dependent, meaning light weight for client A might be too much or too little for client B. This circuit of 1 sprint and 2 light weight exercises will be performed for 3 sets. Same as category 2, the second round will have two new light weight exercises, followed by round 3, of two more exercises.
- Category IV: In category 4, the client will perform a 30 second sprint, upon completion of the sprint, the coach will choose 2 heavy weight exercises. Exercises may include squats, deadlifts, bench press etc. The weight will be applicably heavy to the client. This circuit of 1 sprint and 2 heavy weight exercises will be performed for 3 sets, with two different heavy weight exercises added to round 2, and two more for round 3.
- Category V: In category 5, the client will perform a 30 second sprint, upon completion of the sprint, the coach will choose 2 strong man/strong woman exercises. Exercises may include battle rope slams, sled pushes, tire flips etc. Just like before, this circuit will be performed for 3 sets, with two new exercises added for round two and round three.
Hurricanes are a great addition to your training program, but should be used in a scientific way. Some recommend staying in each phase 2-3 weeks before moving on to the next phase, and performing only 1-3 hurricane workouts per week to be sure you have the proper recovery time. You don’t want to perform Category V hurricanes everyday – as Martin Rooney explains, that just like in actual weather, there are a lot of category 1 and 2 hurricanes in the season, there are very few category 5. So our training should also reflect this approach, allowing for optimal recovery from every workout.