I don’t consider myself much of a warrior. So I approached TFW Providence with a bit of trepidation. TFW stands for Training for Warriors, a fitness regimen developed by strength trainer and javelin thrower Martin Rooney. TFW Providence is the third in Rhode Island. It was started by Mike Cronin, a National Strength and Conditioning Association-certified specialist, grad student in kinesiology and former mixed martial arts fighter.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that TFW Providence is much more Average Joe’s than Globo-Gym. Currently, Mike runs his classes at Next Level Fitness in Johnston, as he works towards opening his own studio in Providence next fall. I arrived to meet the other “warriors” I would be training with: one guy a little older than me and another a little younger, both recovering from injuries; two women I would estimate to be in their 60s, one of whom was overcoming Lyme disease; and a roughly 12-year-old kid. If we were going to be a team of warriors in some sort of post-apocalyptic thunderdome, I didn’t like our odds. Fortunately, these warriors were there to take on personal challenges, not motorbike-riding berserkers.
Warriors lift heavy and sprint
The TFW approach is based on alternating days of strength and speed training, with the added bonus of a “Hurricane,” which mixes sprints with bodyweight exercises in a kind of fast-paced interval training. (That’s the class I tried.) “Everybody wants to have the physique of an athlete – lean with muscle,” says Mike. “How do athletes get that physique? They lift weights two days a week and they sprint two days a week.”
The Hurricane was built around the latter half of this principle. There were three rounds of sprints, two 80-yarders and one 60. Each sprint was followed by two different strength exercises such as medicine ball figure eights, push-ups or reverse crunches.
Warriors don’t get injured
Mike is diligent about protecting his warriors. “Why do we warm up?” he asked the class during a set of jumping jacks at the beginning. “So we don’t get injured,” they responded in unison. He emphasizes proper warm-ups and recovery to stave off the ravages that hard training can inflict. He also tailors the workout to each person’s individual abilities and fitness level. At every step, Mike encouraged us to focus on our form – not just doing the exercise, but doing it right.
A warrior’s last set is the best
TFW preaches the gospel of finishing strong. Throughout the workout we were encouraged to be deliberate and focus on form during the early sets, rather than going top speed out of the gate. Once we had the form, we could max out our efforts on the final sets.
TFW Providence is a welcoming place where anyone can do their thing. And if you really want to train for the thunderdome, Mike can probably tailor a workout to you, too.
Located inside Next Level Fitness
12 Industrial Lane, Johnston