WARRIOR CARDIO – Martin Rooney – Book Review


I have said it before and I will say it again, performance comes with a price. That price is the very real prospect of injury, nowhere more so than in the world of combat sport. It takes a very particular set of skills, “…skills I have acquired over a very long career” as Liam Neeson might say, to get someone fight ready and healthy. I know just the person…

My first attempt at writing a review of WARRIOR CARDIO read like and introduction to superlatives. I had to reel it in. Between that and the incredibly incessant alliteration, I went back to the drawing board. I have a case of what you might call “confirmation bias”. I have read Martin’s books, am a longtime fan of TRAINING for WARRIORS and have been lucky enough to train and learn from him. I have seen him in action. I know exactly who’s behind the pics and the posts.

In simple terms, this book is absolutely packed with information. So rather than paint a pretty picture, I want to tell you exactly what to expect.

In the foreword to Martin Rooney’s new book, WARRIOR CARDIO, Top 10 ranked UFC Lightweight, Jim Miller tells us “In the 3 years I have been following the Training for Warriors system, I have changed from a tough local-level fighter into a professional athlete. I have fought ten times for the UFC, going 9-1 over that span and I am ranked Top 10 in the World. I have not only been able to pack on 10 pounds of muscle and add hundreds of pounds to my lifts, but I have also stayed healthy.”

So let’s consider that. Top ranked, 10 pounds of muscle (remember, combat sport has demanding weight categories), strong and healthy. Sounds like a triple win.

WARRIOR CARDIO is the distillation of Martin Rooney’s formidable experience. He has worked with athletes from the UFC, NBA, NFL, Olympians, armed forces and Division 1 colleges. Moreover, he himself has performed at the highest levels in a number of disciplines. So he’s the embodiment of practicing what he preaches. And this, for me, is the clincher. What he says, is what he does and I can tell you, it’s infectious.

If you are familiar with Training for Warriors and Ultimate Warrior Workouts you will know Rooney Rule #1“We don’t do something for nothing”.  WARRIOR CARDIO is designed, without compromise, to get you fight ready, whether that fight is getting in the best shape possible or preparing to go 5 rounds in the ring. No knowledge or experience of martial arts or combat sport is required. Training for Warriors is aimed at each and every one of us. If you have any doubts just read Martin’s blog, you’ll feel better for it, I promise.

WARRIOR CARDIO breaks down in to three sections.

Part One  

  • Getting Started, gives an initial view of what we have come to consider “cardio”. Martin’s long time mentor Dr Tony Caterisano gives us the Science. It’s a wonderfully concise overview of the various energy systems along with a solid breakdown on the nuts and bolts of WARRIOR CARDIO. If you want the why, this is it. It will have you question many of the practices that have become conventional wisdom. It will also introduce you to a way of training that banishes boring cardio in exchange for a comprehensive system that provides incredible bang for your buck.
  • Mental Cardio is essential reading. Martin knows about coaching. I am not talking about teaching an exercise or providing a workout. I am talking about the ability to engage at the deepest level. Mental Cardio looks at the components of building a resilient athlete from the inside out. Some folk will want to skim over this section. I strongly advise that you sit down, read it thoroughly and apply. Taking the time to do this might be the best investment you can make.
  • Warrior Performance Self Evaluation. If you want to know where you are going you have to know where you are at. There are separate Speed and Power Tests and an eye opening Endurance Test. Once again, everything is laid out and ready to apply. You’ll be able to rate your performance for each test which gives you an invaluable benchmark to work from.
  • Warrior Prehab 15 lays out a top to toe routine with 15 carefully chosen drills. This stuff is standard issue within the Warrior Cardio 12 week program and it might just be the nicest thing you can do to your body. People are quick to jump in to the deep end. The key to staying injury free is taking your time to get the body moving through a natural range of motion. WP15 is the answer.
  • Warrior Cardio Warm Up. Here’s another aspect that we are quick to skim over. This warm up with challenge you. There are a number of dynamic drills, mapped out in sequence. There’s no doubt that you’ll be familiar with many of these. But I can bet you don’t do them! Once you are familiar with the drills it’s easy to mix and match. Failing that, the drills are integrated into the 12 week program.

Part Two takes us right in to the Metabolic Training section where everything is explained in detail with accompanying photographs. You will find all manner of tools and enough variety to challenge and engage even pickiest prospect. Martin maps out the 10 Commandments of Metabolic Training then delivers -

  • Energy Circuits,
  •  TFW’s trademark Hurricanes
  •  Barbell, Dumbbell & Kettlebell Circuits
  • Bodyweight training
  •  Speciality Strength Circuits
  •  Sprint Training
  •  Finishers
  •  Core workouts.

It is a complete toolbox incorporating everything you can lay your hands on. Challenging? Yes. Boring? No way.

Part Three focuses on -

  • Nutrition for Warriors. Martin has brought in the talents of Dr John Berardi and his team to give us a resoundingly sensible approach to how we fuel our bodies. Berardi’s Precision Nutrition is one of the most respected nutrition programs available. Here we get a no gimmicks approach, focussing of the kind of foods athletes eat to maintain muscle, get lean and perform at the highest level. It’s a relief to see real food front and centre. The supplements section is practical look at what actually delivers, listing the benefits of ten key supplements and how to ingrate them in to your diet. Information on gaining, losing and cutting weight rounds out this Nutrition for Warriors. Again, the approach is practical and informed by people who actually do this, week in, week out.
  • Warrior Cardio 12 Week Program. It makes a lot of sense to read this book cover to cover before jumping in to the 12 Week program. The 12 week program maps out three sessions per week. Each comes complete with Prehab and Warm Up drills followed by Metabolic Training and finishing with a brief Core Training session. If you really want to understand and benefit from Martin’s years of experience, I suggest you “absorb what is useful” and get to applying it!

I recently spoke with Martin about the new book and what he has planned in the coming year. You can read that here

WARRIOR CARDIO is published by Harper Collins and available from April 10th.






About the author

I am a movement maverick, exploring beginner's mind and beginner's body through mobility, bodyweight training, breathwork, mindfulness, kettlebells and martial arts, focussing on self care, pain free movement and resilience. Find suggestions to get you moving over at http://100repchallenge.com Want to move with ease and imagination? For individual or group instruction please contact me.

Powered by WordPress | Deadline Theme : An AWESEM design