Red Hood Training – A More BRUTAL Batman Workout

By on March 8, 2024

The Red Hood is basically what you get when you take Batman and remove the filter. He is a more aggressive, more lethal version of the Dark Knight. And his training needs to reflect that.

Like Batman, he is an expert martial artist and has undergone rigorous conditioning. Like Batman, he is an excellent detective. But, unlike Batman, he is willing to use firearms. And while Batman is the superior strategist, Jason may have the edge as a tactician. He is more unpredictable in combat and highly adaptable. 

Red Hood Workout

The crucial difference is, that while Batman is calm and collected – able to pick his opponents off using fear and mind games, Jason is more direct and driven by rage. Having been literally raised from the dead, Jason Todd is able to go to some seriously dark places and has an intense mental fortitude. Equally as terrifying but for different reasons. 

Note that although I will be touching on the firearms and their impact on training, I won’t be going into this aspect in-depth. This is outside of my jurisdiction – I’m with Batman on that one. 

The Training

As with the Batman routines, the focus of this training should be cross modality. However, we’re going to shift the balance slightly towards explosiveness, aggression, and endurance. 

This is the key distinction I try to put across on this channel. Simply training strength is not enough if you want to be a formidable athlete. In a typical scene, Batman or Red Hood will chase down criminals across roof tops, fight with them, talk them down from doing something crazy… They’ll be throwing or firing projectiles, leaping across gaps, grappling, throwing punches, and making split second decisions for extended periods without tiring. 

Sandbag Snatch

It’s not about being able to lift something heavy but being able to exert force for extended periods of time while remaining psychologically sharp. It’s about strength endurance, agility, explosiveness, speed, and psychomotor vigilance. 

I think this all applies to Red Hood even more. Batman will meticulously plan his movements and then execute them with workman-like precision – using psychological manipulation to terrify his opponents before eliminating them with his tank-like strength. But Jason is scrappier and uses in-the-moment decision making and flurries of brutal strikes. This requires even greater endurance and quick thinking.

To that end, I think a Jason Todd training program should focus a LOT on strength endurance and cardio. He should be sprinting, throwing medicine balls, swinging kettlebells and Bulgarian bags, etc. These tools are also ideal for creating the kind of functional strength that we’re looking for: tougher hands, greater rotational strength, greater stabilisation.

Kickthrough

Other exercises I’ll be including in the workout include rope climbing, kickthroughs, burpees, sprinting. The exercises are organised in a circuit, making this an example of “high intensity functional training.” Think of this like a gauntlet of challenges that you are taking your body through. 

There’s an important distinction with all these exercises: you must aim to attack the movement. Grant pointed the difference out to me as it applies to martial arts training. He said that the key thing to remember when training for hand speed against a bag, is to try and be fast. That sounds obvious, but so few people train with the kind of intent and ferocity they need to actually see changes.

Calisthenics

That said, I’m also throwing in a few slower core exercises, like the L-Sit and handstand to build core stability and control. Jason Todd did start off as a Robin, after all. 

In general, training calisthenics is a great fit for a Red Hood workout. That’s because it will allow us to develop a high strength-to-weight-ratio. Max strength certainly translates to improved performance (jump height, running speed, etc.) but it’s less useful when it comes at the cost of massively increased weight. We want to build as much power and control as possible, while limiting the increased weight. And, again, this makes more sense a Red Hood workout – seeing as Jason is smaller and less tank-like than Batman. This will keep him light, fast, and deadly.

Red Hood Handstand

We’ will therefore be including a combination of advanced calisthenics with gymnastic movements. Things like handstand practice, dragon flag, etc. This will build more intermuscular coordination and proprioception for a more effective expression of strength.

Skills Training

As I said right at the top, this channel represents a journey as I’ve tried to learn what really makes all the difference in performance. And the truth is that what you do at the gym is only a very small part of that.

Learning skills and taking on new practices is what will really make a HUGE difference. As we know, Jason Todd is also a highly trained martial artist, an amazing acrobat, and so much more.

Shadow Box Training Red Hood

If you want to perform the same, then I HIGHLY recommend that you combine this high intensity functional training routine with a number of skills. In particular, attending a martial arts class one or two days of the week (or training alone if that’s not an option), practicing parkour or rock climbing, and maybe learning a skill like juggling, will make a huge difference to your overall performance. Even less obviously connected options like dance, gymnastics, or swimming.

Martial arts is the top pick as it will teach you to generate power from your body, while developing balance, core strength, and mobility – especially in the hips. 

If you like the idea of performing like Red Hood, then you NEED to be doing some kind of martial arts and learning how to climb walls and roll. 

Chain Punches

Is this useful for us here in the real-world? Well, actually, yeah! Rolling can save you from injuries, martial arts will make you a better mover and develop balance and flexibility, climbing could save your life… This is just as important if not MORE important than lifting heavy weight. And yet it seems to be the furthest thing from anyone’s mind who is trying to make themselves more physically capable.

Now, of course, one of the key skills that you might be interested in if your aim is to truly imitate Jason Todd, would be marksmanship. The Red Hood does not shy away from using firearms to take down his opponents, which is frankly more realistic. As I said at the top of this video, this is very much outside of my wheelhouse. What I can tell you, though, is that this kind of training actually has a number of other benefits. It teaches you to be calm and focussed, even under stress. It teaches physical discipline, as you need to maintain a composed stance. It improves hand-eye coordination. And it teaches decision-making.

Brooding Red Hood Workout

The good news is that we can train for similar benefits without needing to invest in an actual weapon. 

Brain Training

The aim, then, is to train the brain in a way that teaches tactical decision making and focus under extreme stress., We are looking at a few things in particular, then. One is psychomotor vigilance. This is the ability to continue operating at a very high level, even when physically and mentally fatigued. This is a huge factor to consider for special forces, high level athletes, and others. In MMA, a fight is often lost once the fighter becomes sluggish or zones out.

Training psychomotor vigilance can be achieved by training with cognitively-tasking activities at the point where you are already feeling fatigued and exhausted. We can incorporate this into our high intensity functional training training by using brain training tasks during recovery between rounds. This is where things like juggling can come in useful, which is also great for training working memory and sports vision. Sports vision is essentially your ability to take in lots of information and then keep it in your mind’s eye. This might mean being aware of where multiple targets are located in a given scenario, as you are moving. 

Alternatively, you can invest in more expensive and high tech solutions, such as the various light-based reflex trainers. Either way, performing these challenges while fatigued between bouts will help you to stay sharpest when you need to be.

A bonus of software-based cognitive training is that it incorporates action-inhibition. This means not only reacting to signals but also inhibiting that reaction when you need to. If you’ve ever played slapsies and been slapped because you raised your hand early… you’ll understand this concept.

Reflex Training

This is crucially important, as in a high-stress situation, the equivalent would be knowing when to hold fire when faced with a hostage, for example. In one study, professional athletes showed improved performance on a Stop Signal Task (study). This kind of training has also been shown to potentially reduce civilian casualties when performed by military personnel (study).

But again, this becomes much more difficult when extremely fatigued, or when under stress. In fact, psychomotor vigilance is often measured by the number of false positives during these stop/go tasks. This highlights the amount of mental energy involved in action inhibition.

Interestingly, meditation has also been shown to enhance psychomotor vigilance. We can end our sessions with a bout of meditation, therefore. 

The Hooded Box Test

Another cool test used to test these traits is the “hooded box test.” The hooded box test is used by some organisations to place the trainee under extreme stress and then challenge their ability to strategise and respond. In this case, they are placed in a room with a hood over their head (thematically appropriate) to completely obscure their vision. The hood is then removed to reveal a unique scenario – whether it be a combat scenario requiring precise aim and target prioritisation, or whether it be an old lady asking for the time. 

This tests and develops tactical decision making, action inhibition, and situational awareness, along with high-performance and psychomotor vigilance during high-stress scenarios. 

Reflex Training

While most of us can’t replicate this in our own solo training, we can do something similar in martial arts practice, or borrow some of the same principles to apply elsewhere. We can also try subjecting ourselves to stressful situations and trying to keep our physiological responses under control. Things like sky diving, bungee jumping… even stand-up comedy. The aim is to acclimatise the body to operating under extreme stress.

This way, we have developed some similar skills to those we might experience through training firearms. 

The Program

The following is a high-intensity functional training circuit. Perform this three times or more using maximum effort and intensity. Break for 30 minutes between each station and immediately follow the final drill (sprints) with the brain training. This can mean juggling, it can mean using reaction lights, or it can mean playing chess. Anything that tests your cognitive abilities under stress. 

Writing Red Hood Workout

After all three rounds have been completed, there are some static holds to finish with, followed by mobility stretches, and a meditation.

There is also a calisthenics section. This can be performed either on the same day, immediately following the circuit, or on separate days. Perform on separate days if you want to progress more rapidly with calisthenics. But note that this program is not designed to learn advanced skills – only to gain some of the physical traits associated with calisthenics. 

Finally, remember that the “supplementary” skills training is AS integral to this training as the workouts themselves. The workouts are designed to facilitate other practices, such as martial arts, archery, and rock climbing. 

A one-week split might look like this:

Monday: High Intensity Functional Training Circuit, Mobility Routine and Meditation

Tuesday: Calisthenics, Mobility Routine and Meditation, Archery

Wednesday: Martial Arts Training, Juggling

Thursday: High Intensity Functional Training Circuit, Mobility Routine and Meditation

Friday: Calisthenics, Mobility Routine and Meditation, Martial Arts Training

Saturday: High Intensity Functional Training Circuit, Calisthenics, Mobility Routine and Meditation 

Sunday: Rock Climbing, Parkour

Keep in mind that this program is not periodised and is not scalable to different ability levels. If you want to apply this to your own training, you will need to adapt it to suit your available time, equipment, and skill.

One Arm Push Up Red Hood

If you want a complete training program that has similar goals, check out my program SuperFunctional Training 2.0.

The Raging Knight Routine 

WARM UP

Jump Rope 2 Minutes

Kettlebell Halos 2 Minutes

Knee Circles 30 Seconds

Glute Bridge 30 Seconds

High Kicks 1 Minute

Shadow Boxing (Light) 2 Minutes

***

High Intensity Functional Training Circuit

Complete 3 Times

Kettlebell Swings: 2 Minutes (Heavy as you can go)

30 Second Rest

Rope Climb/Tactical Pull Ups: 1 Minute (Arms only)

30 Second Rest

Heavy Bag Work: 90 Seconds

30 Second Rest

Med Ball Slam: 2 Minutes

30 Second Rest

Kettlebell Jump Squats: 1 Minute

30 Second Rest

Rotational Med Ball Slam: 2 Minutes

30 Second Rest

Sprint: 1 Minute

1 MINUTE REACTION TRAINING/JUGGLING

****

Calisthenics Routine

Complete Immediately Following or on Alternating Days

Handstand Practice 2 Minutes

2 Minute Rest

V-Sit Max Hold x 2 

2 Minute Rest

Dead Hang Max Hold x 2

2 Minute Rest

Dragon Flags 3 x Failure

10 MINUTE BODYSCAN MEDITATION

***

Mobility Cool-Down

Cossack Squats

30 Seconds Each Side

Back Bridge 

1 Minute

Dead Hang 

1 Minute

Pancake Stretches

1 Minute Each Side

10 MINUTE BODYSCAN MEDITATION

Closing Thoughts

The above workout might seemingly lack much in terms of strength development. But the truth is that it can help you to develop more of the speed, explosiveness, endurance, and ferocity that actually translates into performance.

Batman is the tank. Red Hood can’t match him for pure strength. But as Grant has demonstrated, power really comes from technique. While endurance and psychology are what will often determine the outcome of a contest.

This is something that is recognised throughout the world’s militaries and special operations units. Rather than focussing on bodybuilding or powerlifting, these groups focus, instead, on mental toughness, endurance, and technique. That is true for the US and UK military, it’s true for Navy Seals… it’s was even true for the likes of the Spartan warriors.

How to train with brutal intensity like Red Hood.

One organisation I looked into while researching this article was the French National Gendarmerie Intervention Group – or GIGN. This organisation special operations unit focusses on counter-terrorism and hostage rescue, utilising a combination of marksmanship, tactical decision-making, psychological preparation, and more. Operatives learn mental toughness and are challenged to develop decision making skills under pressure.

In short, if you are interested in being a bad-ass warrior, like Jason Todd, focussing purely on heavy lifts is barking up the wrong tree.

It’s when we combine both those things, that we get Batman. 

But that’s a story for another time…

About Adam Sinicki

Adam Sinicki, AKA The Bioneer, is a writer, personal trainer, author, entrepreneur, and web developer. I've been writing about health, psychology, and fitness for the past 10+ years and have a fascination with the limits of human performance. When I'm not running my online businesses or training, I love sandwiches, computer games, comics, and hanging out with my family.

One Comment

  1. Josh Poole says:

    Next you should make a Guts workout from Berserk. It would be awesome to have one. Definitely an interesting character with a phenomenal physique

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