Explosive and dynamic training

Tornado Ball training is an explosive and dynamic form of working out that pulls together elements of kettlebell training and medicine ball work. It places specific demands on the body, requires precision of movement, generates great strengthening and mobility results…and is good fun!

Tornado Ball workouts provide a great way of overloading the muscles involved in dynamic movement patterns in the transverse and sagital plane. Any sport that requires this action to be produced at speed, such as a racquet/club, throwing, punching disciplines, throwing disciplines, cricket ball bowling, club swinging, will certainly benefit from this type of workout.

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To benefit properly from performing a Tornado Ball workout you should already have a reasonable level of core stability and be able to perform loaded wood chop movement patterns with approx 5% – 10% of their bodyweight using a medicine ball. Once you are proficient in the medicine ball exercise, move onto the tornado ball but start off with a lighter one. The progression can now take you to the next level.

Starting with a lighter ball – it could be a 1-3kg version progressing up to 5kg. Strength and conditioning levels are different in amongst individuals, so find a weight that suits you to start with and then work up as you become more experienced and conditioned to this form of exercising.

Tornado ball specific Warm up

Due to the dynamic nature of the tornado ball workout it is imperative to thoroughly warm up the torso and shoulder girdle muscular structure first. Of course you should warm up before any exercise, but this is definitely not a workout to go into cold.

Torso rotations with arms bent

Hold the tornado ball as shown and slowly rotate the torso from side to side making sure the cervical spine remains neutral. Perform 10 reps to each side. Repeat for 10 more reps to each side at a faster pace.

Torso rotations with arms bent

Torso rotations with arms straight

Hold the tornado ball as shown and repeat the same sequence as above.

Torso rotations with arms straight

Halo

Hold the tornado ball as shown and rotate around the head 10 times in one direction and then repeat 10 times in the other direction at a slow pace. Repeat again for the same reps but at a faster pace.

Halo

Torso sagital plane high swing

Hold the tornado ball and fold at the hips as if doing a kettlebell swing but not as deep. Drive through with the hips and use arms to take ball overhead. Reverse movement and repeat 10 times.

The muscles of the torso and shoulder girdle should now be warm enough to proceed with the workout.

Holding the tornado ball for correct execution of technique

When slamming the tornado ball from side to side it is imperative to hold the rope correctly. When in motion the rope should be held with one hand through the loop and the other hand securely over the looped hand.

Holding the tornado ball

To start an exercise it is easier to set up the hand position but then hold the actual ball with the unlooped hand to initiate the movement, quickly taking position after projecting the ball in the required direction.

Exercise 1 – seated lateral chop

Sit on the floor in the position shown and set up the start position as detailed in the paragraph above. Once the tornado ball has been projected in the correct direction the rope should be kept taught.

As the ball hits the floor the torso should be rotated in the same direction, quickly reverse the torso rotation in conjunction with the shoulders and arms to project the ball in the other direction. The rope must remain taught throughout. This movement pattern is initially quite tricky to achieve so don’t worry when the ball doesn’t bounce in an even manner.

With practise you will learn to coordinate torso and arm movement. The key to achieving a good rhythm is in the dynamics of the movement pattern.

seated lateral chop

Please note that once you decide to stop the ball will keep bouncing so aim to catch it otherwise it may bounce and catch you on the head.

Exercise 2 – standing lateral chop

Stand with your back towards the wall but with a slight gap to allow rotational movement.

Again, grasp the rope with one hand through the loop and the other over as previously described. Using a powerful torso rotation, slam the ball in a horizontal plane from one side of the body to the other. Use a fast dynamic movement of the torso to achieve the speed required to drive the ball from one side to the other.

standing lateral chop

Exercise 3 – diagonal wall chop

Assume the same position as previously but this time bring the ball from above one shoulder to the opposite side on the outside of the leg in a diagonal movement pattern.

diagonal wall chop

Exercise 4 – seated diagonal wood chop

Sit on the floor in the position shown and set up the start position. This time the ball will be projected at an angle over the shoulder and return to just on the outside of the opposite leg. Once the tornado ball has been projected in the correct direction the rope should be kept taught.

As the ball hits the floor the torso should be rotated in the same direction, quickly reverse the torso rotation in conjunction with the shoulders and arms to project the ball in the other direction. The rope must remain taught throughout.

seated diagonal wood chop

Exercise 5 – sagital plane chop

Hold the rope in one hand as previous and the ball in the other. Project the ball over the head and roll the spine back onto the floor quickly. As the ball rebounds from the floor quickly reverse the torso movement to project the ball back over the head to slam onto the floor between the legs. Rhythm is required to coordinate the arm movement with the torso so be patient.

sagital plane chop

The Workout

After your warm up perform the following :

– Exercise 1 – 3-5 sets of 10-15 seconds only. Remember that tornado ball training is a power exercise and once mastered should be performed for brief maximum effort bursts.

– Rest interval should follow a 1-6 ratio of work to rest so anything from 60secs to 90 secs.

– Exercise 2 -5 follow the same work to rest ratios. The other option is to perform one set of each exercise in a circuit fashion with the appropriate rest interval between each set.

 

Ina Gutowska was working with Guy Noble. For further video instruction on these drills and exercises go to www.kettlebellseminars.co.uk.

Images by Simon Howard

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