Swing Tabata-bata, Swing!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Another BIG Competition Day tomorrow!  6 teams of 4 will be competing at the Summer Shakedown Series, including almost all of your coaches!  Come and get your chance to yell back at them for once!

Hip Prep
10 GHD situps
10 GHD hip extensions 

5 x 3 Back Squats, rest 90 seconds between sets

Notes:  Work up to approximately 85% of your 3 rep max and try to maintain the same weight for all sets.  Scale down from that weight as needed!

3 Rounds:
Row 500 meters
Run 400 meters

Cool down:
Calf Stretch, 1 min each
Stripper Pose, 1 min
Quad on the Wall, 1 min each 

You’ve all done it, you fear it and love it at the same time, you yearn for it to pop up on the site yet cringe when it does, you regret your decision during but are grateful for it after…I’m talking about the famous Tabata Protocol!  20 seconds of maximum effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for a total of 8 rounds; it’s a brutal workout that’s only 4 minutes long, torturing you with the longest 20 seconds and shortest 10 seconds of your life.

This workout is one of my favorites and pops up quite a bit at our gym and at track night, so I wanted to explain the origins and benefits of this protocol.  In 1996 Dr. Izumi Tabata conducted an experiment on two groups of cyclist using a mechanically braked cycle ergometer.  The first group trained for 60 minutes at moderate intensity (70% of VO2 max) 5 days a week for 6 weeks while the second group trained using the Tabata Protocol mentioned above at high intensity (170% of VO2 max) 5 days a week for 6 weeks.  Changes in anaerobic capacity (the maximal accumulated oxygen deficit) and aerobic capacity (VO2 max) were recorded before and after for both groups.  The moderate intensity group saw increases in VO2 max with no increases in anaerobic capacity. In contrast, the high intensity group saw greater increases in VO2 max while also increasing anaerobic capacity at the same time.  From the abstract, “In conclusion, this study showed that moderate-intensity aerobic training that improves the maximal aerobic power does not change anaerobic capacity and that adequate high-intensity intermittent training may improve both anaerobic and aerobic energy supplying systems significantly, probably through imposing intensive stimuli on both systems.”

In other words, 4 minutes of high intensity exercises shows greater gains in both the aerobic AND anaerobic pathways than 1 hour of moderate intensity exercise.  That is why Tabata is so efficient; it gets greater results in less time than traditional exercise.  In the gym we use it for a lot of movements, but I believe that the best use of the protocol comes from endurance exercises (swim, bike, run, row, jump rope) due to an important criteria: INTENSITY.  A Tabata, and the original experiment from which it was coined, is an all-out, full sprint.  Even though it is only 4 minutes long, at the end you should be done for the day, unable physically and unwilling mentally to exert any more energy.

 Besides taxing both energy pathways, high intensity exercise also increases your resting metabolic rate for up to 24 hours post workout, and is one of the most efficient ways to burn fat.  So next time you see Tabata in the gym or at the track, get ready and take it seriously. If done properly, with high intensity, the results can be astounding.

Tabata, I., et al.  Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max.  Medicine and Science in Sports and Medicine, 1996 Oct;28(10):1327-30.


Tabata Timer from Beach Fitness.  A great online Tabata timer that you can adjust for Tabata This! and other Tabata intervals.  Also has songs you can download that have been edited 20 sec on, 10 sec off to listen to instead of timing yourself.

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