How to perform the tabata training
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How to perform the tabata training


Tabata training has become extremely popular, since the publishing article of Dr. Tabata in 1996. This eBook will explain: What is the Tabata training, What are the best exercises to practice, How to incorporate Tabata protocol in your training regimen ( For martial arts, Triathlon, endurance sports, Fitness and lose weight, How to schedule)



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How to perform the tabata training How to perform the tabata training Document Transcript

  • How to Perform the Tabata Training? A comprehensive handbook to exercise the Tabata protocol safely and efficiently Author: Cédric Beltrame Email: Blog: Sources and references are quoted in the text. Images are from Google images or personal. Disclaimer: The information provided in this book is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. This book is not meant to be used, nor should it be used, to diagnose or treat any medical condition. For diagnosis or treatment of any medical problem, consult your own physician. The publisher and author are not responsible for any specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision and are not liable for any damages or negative consequences from any treatment, action, application or preparation, to any person reading or following the information in this book. References are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute endorsement of any websites or other sources. Readers should be aware that the websites listed in this book may change. 1
  • Introduction a. Why this eBook? Tabata training has become extremely popular, since the publishing article of Dr. Tabata in 1996. You can find a lot of articles on internet, magazines for fitness, videos on youtube. However, who really practice Tabata training efficiently, regularly and with results? This eBook will explain: - What is the Tabata training? - What are the best exercises to practice? - How to incorporate Tabata protocol in your training regimen For martial arts Triathlon & endurance sports Fitness & lose weight - How to schedule b. Some definitions to understand the Tabata training Before talking about Tabata training, you need to have some basic understanding about some definitions. i. Interval training Interval training is a type of physical training that involves bursts of high intensity work. This high intensity work is alternated with periods of rest or low activity, the eponymous intervals. A workout session that involves repeated short, fast-paced bouts of exercise separated by short rest intervals.… 2
  • This a combination of high intensity exercise followed by a period of low intensity activity (rarely complete rest). Check this additional link: ii. HIIT This type of exercise aims to focus on cardio training. High Intensity Interval Training is based on alternate of short, extremely intense intervals with recovery intervals. The ratio between effort and recovery is usually 1:2 (ie you recover twice the time of intense effort). Recovery period can be total rest, or continuing the exercise with low intensity. For example, if you perform sprints, the recovery period can be done by running very slowly. A HIIT session lasts for 10-30 minutes. Above, it’s hard to maintain a sufficient intensity, and it becomes more “interval training”. Some extreme HIIT, like TABATA, can be performed in just 4 minutes, with a ratio 2:1 (twice the time for intense exercise compared to rest intervals). For instance, you can sprint two series of 5 prints, at 85-90% of your maximum speed, for 30 s. In between intervals, you can rest by walking 30s to 60s. This type of sessions is supposed to be exhausting, therefore at the end of the interval bouts you should be out of breath and your heart should pump hard. Because of its intensity, for beginners, a progressive and adaptive period must be carefully scheduled. You need at least 3 or 4 sessions to adjust the intensity of efforts and the duration of bouts. Compared to continuous endurance training, it is proven that HIIT or HIIE (High Intensity Intermittent Exercise) improve performance and improve capacity of the muscles to burn extra fat. (source: So, basically, the difference between interval training and HIIT is that the intensity is higher and the recovery period ratio is smaller. If you do 10x400m running at 90% intensity (VO2max) with 1mn rest, it’s interval training. If you do 8x100m running at 150% intensity (VO2max) with less than 30s rest, it’s HIIT. 3
  • iii. EPOC After cardiovascular exercise or weight training, the body continues to need oxygen at a higher rate than before the exercise began. This sustained oxygen consumption is known as “Excess Postexercise Oxygen Consumption” (EPOC). Originally referred to as an oxygen debt, this postexercise state was first hypothesized by A.V. Hill and H. Lupton in 1922. Hill and Lupton theorized that the body needs to replace the oxygen used by working muscles during mild to intense bouts of exercise. More recently, researchers have used the term EPOC to describe the several different events that occur as the body restores itself to homeostasis, or rest. During EPOC the body is restoring itself to its pre-exercise state, and thus is consuming oxygen at an elevated rate. This means that energy is also being expanded at an elevated rate. (source: In recovery, oxygen (EPOC) is used in the processes that restore the body to a resting state and adapt it to the exercise just performed. These include: hormone balancing, replenishment of fuel stores, cellular repair, innervation and anabolism. EPOC is accompanied by an elevated consumption of fuel. In response to exercise, fat stores are broken down and free fatty acids (FFA) are released into the blood. In recovery, the direct oxidation of free fatty acids as fuel and the energy consuming re-conversion of FFA's back into fat stores both take place. (source: iv. VO2max VO2 max (also maximal oxygen consumption, maximal oxygen uptake, peak oxygen uptake or aerobic capacity) is the maximum capacity of an individual's body to transport and use oxygen during incremental exercise, which reflects the physical fitness of the individual. (source: Vo2 Max - maximum oxygen uptake (Engine Size - how big is the engine?) This is the ability of the circulatory system to transport oxygen and of the muscular system to extract and use oxygen. Vo2 max is an excellent indicator of aerobic fitness, but a poor predictor of performance within a homogenous group of athletes. 4
  • MAX VO2 functionally represents the maximum amount of oxygen that can be removed from circulating blood and used by the working tissues during a specified period. World class endurance athletes generally have high readings. Maximum Oxygen Update (Max VO2) values for selected groups and individuals are as follows: General Population, Female, Aged 20-29: 35-43 ml/kg/min General Population, Male, Aged 20-29: 44-51 US College Track, Male: 57.4 College Students, Male: 44.6 Highest Recorded Female (Cross-Country Skier): 74 Highest Recorded Male (Cross-Country Skier): 94 (source: VO2 max is greatly limited by genetics, but still can be improved up to 20%, maybe 30% in extreme cases ( v. MAS or MAV Maximal Aerobic Velocity (MAV) or MAS (Speed) is the speed of movement at which one reaches 100% oxygen consumption (VO2max). Usually, you can sustain this pace for 4mn to 8mn. This is pretty easy to measure when you run, or cycle, or perform rowing. For weight circuit training or cardio strength resistance, it’s become harder to evaluate. However, with a portable heart monitor (type polar), you can have a good estimation of the intensity you are working out. 2) Tabata & al, study a. Source Citation Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max. 5
  • This study consists of two training experiments using a mechanically braked cycle ergometer. First, the effect of 6 wk of moderate-intensity endurance training (intensity: 70% of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), 60 min.d-1, 5 d.wk-1) on the anaerobic capacity (the maximal accumulated oxygen deficit) and VO2max was evaluated. After the training, the anaerobic capacity did not increase significantly (P > 0.10), while VO2max increased from 53 +/- 5 min-1 to 58 +/- 3 (P < 0.01) (mean +/- SD). Second, to quantify the effect of highintensity intermittent training on energy release, seven subjects performed an intermittent training exercise 5 d.wk-1 for 6 wk. The exhaustive intermittent training consisted of seven to eight sets of 20-s exercise at an intensity of about 170% of VO2max with a 10-s rest between each bout. After the training period, VO2max increased by 7, while the anaerobic capacity increased by 28%. 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. b. The results The Tabata group increases Vo2max of nearly 14% and anaerobic capacity by 28%. Remember, this is only 5 times a week 4mn of intense exercise for 6 weeks ! Only one session was altered…  What means a 9% increase in VO2max for the first group (standard endurance training)? In the study, with cycling 5 times a week one hour at 70% VO2max, average increase was 53 to 58 for VO2Max which is 9%. This is equivalent to a MAS from 53/3.5 to 58/3.5 (15,14 km/h to 16,57 km/h) For instance if you are a runner and we apply this VO2 max increase for some distances (theoretically, using the Maximum Aerobic Speed): - 10kms estimated time 46mn40s to 41mn36s, a 5mn cut off time! - 21.1 kms (half marathon) estimated time 1h44mn40sec with a MAS of 15,13km/h to 1h35mn30s, almost 10mn better! 6
  • With the Tabata training, the VO2max increases was recorded at 14% therefore you can easily understand that the time saved is even more impressive! Of course VO2max is not the only parameter to predict an endurance performance, but you got the idea. (I used this online calculator: ) and Needless to say 14% of VO2 max increase is huge; especially if we consider that the subjects had already a very good VO2max. Of course, VO2max only is not a sufficient predictor of performance, but if you have a correct nutrition plan, hydration and body maintenance, it is most likely than an increase in VO2max will bring better performance. Warning: The Tremblay group and Dr. Tabata, in his e-mail response to Richard Winett, emphasize this warning: "High-intensity exercise cannot be prescribed for individuals at risk for health problems or for obese people who are not used to exercise." (source: There is another study in 1997; giving some other details and comparing Tabata protocol with a 4-5 bouts of 30-s exercise at 200% Vo2max. (source: ) c. Explanations There are some parameters to consider. First, the exercise chosen was “a mechanically braked cycle ergometer”. We will see later if Tabata can be applied to other equipment or form of exercise. Then, people chosen had already a correct VO2max, they were active people. 7
  • Now, if we look at the exercises by itself, it’s 8 bouts of 20 seconds at 170% of VO2max with 10s rest between each bout. The two criteria are important here : the 2:1 ratio effort to exercise, and the very high intensity of effort. We will discuss later about what is Tabata or not, as some people just took the 20 s effort followed by 10s rest as Tabata..forgetting the gruelling 170% Vo2max effort! As a guideline, during the study, the pedaling speed was 90-rpm. Intensity was measured in Watts. For instance, a good cyclist could perform Tabata at 420-450 watts for each bout of intensity at 90-100 rpm.  Remember that to perform correctly the Tabata training, you need to combine the short bouts of efforts with even shorter bouts of rest, with a very high intensity of exercise! There were 5 sessions per week, identical, except one, “altered”, with 30mn at 70% VO2max and only 4 bouts of 20s /10s. We don’t have more details whether this unique altered session makes a great difference or not. In short: TABATA = 8 repetitions of (20 seconds of effort at 170% VO2max and 10s rest ) d. Articles / web There are a lot of articles on internet, summarizing the Tabata study and results. Here are some: Some interesting documents: : for sprinting 8
  • 3) What are the best exercises to practice a. Sprints Sprints present several advantages: everybody can run, required equipment is limited (sport shoes…) and you can probably practice almost everywhere, while travelling or close from your home. However, sprinting is a very tough exercise, especially for the required intensity. It is advised to find a flat ground, not too hard if possible (avoid roads). Soccer field or track field are ideal choices. Before starting your Tabata session, you can follow-up a classical warming-up. The most efficient warming-up for running is…running! Therefore, start to jog for 3mn, then for the remaining 2mn, add some short sprints of 5-6s to wake up your legs, at a limited intensity. Add 2-3 minutes of light stretching, to recover your breath, and to prepare your muscles. If you are running by a cold temperature, you can warm up longer. Then, you can start your Tabata session. One good idea is to run back and forth, between two marks, like trees, mileages on road, two rocks that you put on the ground etc… Using this trick, you will know the distance you need to cover during each interval bout. Else, with your energy fading, the last bouts might be shorter although you think you are pushing as harder at the beginning! Another tip is to use a timer, which will help you to run the 20s and to rest the 10s. Alternatively, you can find MP3 recorded with the Tabata training. If you have a partner who can shout at you the intervals, it’s also helpful! Gym boss is popular: 9
  • and it exist apps for smart phones also. Now you are ready! Check your departure mark and start to sprint the first 20s. Your timer or your MP3 will tell you when to stop. Record the point you have reached. Take a 10s break. And start to sprint again in the opposite direction to reach again your departure point! Repeat this 4 times and you’ll be done. Total will be 8 sprints of 20s. You might feel that the first 3-4 can be handled. But after 2mn, you start to be out of breath, and both your aerobic and anaerobic systems start to feel the pain. Rounds 5 and 6 are very hard. Maybe the hardest is round 7, because round 8 is the last so you know your torture is going to end soon! You can also running around the track and field and check the total distance covered after the 4mn. Which distance to cover? Well, it depends of your experience in sprinting and MAV (Maximum Aerobic Velocity), and fitness level. But for instance, if you MAV is 15,13 km/h and you run the 21.1 kms (half marathon) in 1h44mn40sec, 170% of VO2Max should be approximately 170% of MAV and therefore, the distance to cover will be around 140m. This is very challenging to perform in 20s, especially for the last bouts. But this is the secret of the Tabata training, very high intensity! 10
  • By experience, the distance you will cover will be less (“target”) than the theoretical one (“distance”). Don’t start too fast but try to keep the same distance at each interval. This way the average intensity could be 170%, with 2- bouts at 200%, and last 3-4 at only 150% for instance.  For your first attempts of Tabata training with sprints, you should target only 4 repetitions to get used to the intensity of the effort and to avoid injury. For the 2nd try, at least 48hours later, raise up to 6 repetitions. And finally, for the 3rd attempt, you should be able to complete the full cycle. With practice, both physical skills and experience will increase and you’ll perform more correctly. Example: my MVA is approximately 16.8km/h and for Tabata the distance covered is ~1000m instead of theoretical 1272m. After 6mn of warming up (average cardio=71%) the Tabata session is done at 89% average and 91% maximum. Another 6mn of cooling-down at 79% average. That’s it, 18mn of efforts with only 4mn intense, for a better result than one hour of classical endurance cardio! Check the appendix for more details on a real example! b. Treadmill with % Running on a treadmill could bring you the same benefits than sprinting. However, few tread mill can handle a speed corresponding at 170% of your Vo2max (remember this pre-requisite?). The trick is to incline the treadmill at a significant % (around 6% to 12% depending of your level) and to choose an appropriate speed. A good reference is to take your 10k speed and to use a 9% inclination, or your 21.1k average speed (half-marathon) for a 12% inclination. 11
  •  For safety purpose, practice with a partner, and/or wear the safety belt to attach to the treadmill. You will need to jump from the rolling stuff to put your two feet aside, for your 10s rest. Once again, practice first with 4 repetitions before trying the full Tabata training. In summary, to perform the Tabata on tread mill: - Practice with a partner - Attach the safety belt to the machine - Wear appropriate shoes, not slippery - Choose a proper speed and % - Check the 20s / 10 s on the treadmill watch, or use your timer, MP3, partner You can mix sprinting outdoor and treadmill. The protocol is slightly different, as you are running with a severe % on the treadmill. No need to say that running outside and choosing a hill is also a good choice! Check this video on youtube: c. Front squat This is probably one of the best exercises. If you don’t know how to squat, you should first train the regular technique and to have some experience. I would recommend between 4-6 sessions of squats, including some front squat. Ideally, a certified coach / fitness instructor can teach you the proper movement. Perform with a rack, so you can drop the bar for your 10s rest. Alternatively, perform a regular back squat (with bar behind the neck) with a smith machine or a rack. 12
  • But a “air squat”, ie just with your body weight, is largely enough! Especially if the squat is a movement you don’t master perfectly yet, you’ll get a perfect conditioning and preparation for front squat doing air squat. Trying to perform 15-20 repetitions for each of the 8 intervals of the Tabata. One important parameter to estimate is the weight to carry during the exercise for Tabata. As a rule of thumb, you should start with something less than 40% of your maximum. For instance, if you can make one repetition with 80 kgs for a front squat, try to perform the Tabata with something between 25-35 kgs. You can start! As for sprinting and treadmill, use a watch, MP3, or partner to follow the 20s/10s rhythm. Especially during the last repetitions, you will be so exhausted that you will hardly remember which repetition you are doing! d. Thruster This exercise is an excellent combination of work out for lower and upper body. It is recommended to use two barbells. Indeed, it’s more practical to drop them on the floor or on the bench close to you. If you are using a bar, it looks like the front squat (previous exercise). But once you stand up, you need also to develop the bar above your head, and then lower it down again on your shoulder, to execute again a squat. Needless to say, you must choose a lower weight than the front squat. As a rule of thumb, try to pick a weight which enables you to perform between 12 and 18 repetitions. Too heavy, and your shoulders will burn before the last repetitions. Too light, and you won’t be able to reach the 170 VO2Max intensity (remember?). 13
  • The advantage of this exercise is that, although you are using less weight, is that you can reach a very high intensity of efforts, because numerous muscles & joins are involved. The weight is light enough to prevent injury (with a correct form of execution).  Keep the back straight, don’t let the knees cave in, and align your knees with the direction of toes pointing. Ready to go for Tabata? You know the protocol. 8 bouts of 20s with the maximum of repetitions, and only 10s rest.  Record and track both the weight that you are using and the repetitions. It will help you to monitor your progress. There a lot of different options, like barbell complex, the “bear” etc… Start first by front squat and thrusters; it’s very efficient for Tabata training. e. Burpees Have you ever heard about this exercise? If not, you will enjoy it! It’s an exercise you can use in “jail”, or in a small hotel room, when you have a few alternatives for training. Check this definition, and see how many different variations exist: The one who are going to use for Tabata training is the Burpee push-up+ jump (“full body”). 1.Begin in a standing position. 2.Drop into a squat position with your hands on the ground. 3.Extend your feet back in one quick motion to assume the front plank position. 4.Perform one push-up 14
  • 4.Return to the squat position in one quick motion. 5.Return to an upright standing position while jumping as high as you can and extending your arms. And start again the cycle! This exercise requires very few equipment, can be done anywhere (we mentioned “jail” previously…) and is very suffocating! Plus, with the different variations, you will never get bored! Ready for Tabata? Once again, take your watch, timer, MP3 or partner to help you to perform the 8 cycles. Record and track your number of repetitions and try to improve regularly your best performance. f. This is not Tabata : pushups, abs. Remember to combine the 2:1 work out/rest for 8 series WITH the 170% maximal oxygen consumption Be careful! There is a lot of video on youtube or examples on the internet, where people are talking about the Tabata training. However, they pretend to use exercises as push-ups or abs to perform the Tabata. Remember to combine the 2:1 work out period / rest for 8 series WITH the 170% maximal oxygen consumption! Can you do with push-ups? Now, you don’t involve 15
  • enough muscles, same for Abs. To reach 170% of VO2MAX, it is most likely that you need to involve at least 2/3 of your muscles, and it sounds as if legs are compulsory in the schema! g. The ROM machine? I didn’t use it and I don’t know anyone who does. But they base their advertising on the Tabata training. 4) How to incorporate Tabata protocol in your training regimen a. Martial arts i. Taekwondo: mondolyo Taekwondo is very famous for its kicks, spinning, jumping etc. It was called “flying karate” before becoming more popular than Karate itself. The “Mondolyo Tchagi” is one of the best techniques for applying Tabata principles. To avoid vertigo, I strongly advised to change the direction of the spin at each kick, and adding a “step” to switch your legs. If a partner can handle the target for you, it’s a perfect choice because he will help you to monitor the time and to count the number of kicks you can execute. Be careful to warm up and to stretch enough before performing the kick. You need to have a certain level to master this kick and to fully benefit of the Tabata training. From my point of view (as a black belt 4th degree), I would advise to be at least red belt, or to have some experience in competition. Other alternatives might include pit tchagi right/left without stop and as fast possible, with a partner or a sandbag or equivalent. You can try also tuio duit dora tchagi (jumped horse kick). ii. Bear with barbell for MMA For MMA (Mixed Martials Arts), it is interesting to combine cardio and strength training. A “combo” with a barbell, like the “bear” might be a good choice. ( iii. Punching bag kicks+punches For contact sport, such a Thai Boxing, Full contact, French Savate etc… a work out with punching bag with provide an intense Tabata workout, especially with combination of punches and kicks. 16
  • iv. Jump rope This is an excellent exercise, required a limited space and involving lower and upper body muscles. To reach the 170% of VO2Max, you will probably need to jump with two feet at the same time, either with a very high speed or jumping high, or make a “double under” (the rope passes twice under your feet). A loaded handgrip might help to make the exercise harder as well. b. Endurance sports i. Running As we mentioned earlier, sprinting is one of the best exercise for Tabata. It might seem a paradox but sprinting will help you to improve your endurance. Tabata can be used as a time saver, and also to exercise different muscles fibers than the typical endurance sessions. Tabata will not replace steady endurance training for marathon for instance. It’s however an exercise you can include in your preparation schedule. As stated by Dr. Pat O’Shea: “Coaches and athletes need to understand however, that short-term intense interval training has very limited application to long-distance events such as marathon running and the Tour de France. Long distance endurance athletes need efficient "fat burning" bodies. Their muscles must be trained to utilize energy from free fatty acid oxidation while conserving the limited stores of glycogen which are necessary for nerve and brain function. (Nerves and the brain derive energy only from glycogen - not fat.)” . Some others think differently: “In the old days, before sports nutrition was taken seriously, athletes used to train to burn fats for energy. Compared to carbohydrate, our body's fat reserves are vast. Training the body to burn fats for energy is time consuming, as it involves lots of long, slow distance training. If you are short of time you must look for a different solution”. (Source: ii. Triathlon Triathlon is an endurance sport, but Tabata can be beneficial. Check this link: 17
  • “MacKenzie trains a number of triathletes and incorporates stationary-bike and treadmill Tabata sessions into the program of all who are willing to endure the suffering these workouts entail. An ultra-runner himself, MacKenzie credits his own twice-weekly Tabata sessions with enabling him to improve his performance on a training schedule averaging only 6.5 hours per week, and he says his triathlete clients have reported similar benefits.” More about MacKenzie and CrossFit Endurance: Another testimony from Lisa Barnes (USAT Level 1 coach and an Ironman athlete): However in her article, I don’t see the “Iron Man” training with biceps curls and triceps extension soliciting enough muscles to reach the Tabata intensity. In short, Tabata for triathlon can be highly beneficial, as a time saver, and practicing swimming, cycling or running. It’s no use to try the Tabata training before or after a long classic endurance session; you will need a couple of hours to recover and to benefit from the method. About swimming, it’s pretty difficult to manage exactly the 20s work /10 s rest, but you can try something approaching. For instance, if you can cover the 25m of lap pool in 18s (free style), taking only 10s rest before heading back should be sufficient. The last bouts will be probably done at a pace over the initial 20s, because of the exhaustion. Be careful; don’t be alone in the swim pool if you try such a high intensity. Safety first. May be the butterfly swim is a good option, especially if your technique is not perfect, you will spend a lot of energy and you will have a chance to reach the intensity required by Tabata training (remember, 170% of VO2max?). Check the appendix for a real example of Tabata training on cycle (Wattbike). c. Fitness & lose weight If your goal is to lose weight (fat), to gain muscles, to be athletic, to have a better shape, to feel more energetic, Tabata training is a good option. The results are amazing and it’s a time saver. The most appropriate exercise, if you can access to a gym, will be treadmill, cycling, thruster, 18
  • jumping box*, front squat. If you train at home, running outside or on hills, burpees, thruster with water bottle will be a good choice. *use 2 or 3 steppers, and perform jump, then go back to the floor, and start again. Be careful about stability and having proper sport shoes to amortize the choc on the floor. Excellent exercise, combining strength cardio and plyometric, but stay careful about your knees. If you can access to a CrossFit club, you will see that Tabata is a very popular regimen in their schedule. Lots of feed-back on tips on their website & forums: or more specifically In term of lose fat, a lot of studies tend to demonstrate that HIIT training is more efficient than regular, low intensity endurance exercises: -Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism. -High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss. Another very good training in HIIT, different from Tabata (10 x 4mn cycling at 90% VO2max): A 8s/12s for 20mn description and also confirming again than HIIT is better than aerobic: Losing fat means losing weight, therefore for running specifically, you can benefit from Tabata training to combine the improvement of VO2max and losing weight: 19
  • (source: , ) Be aware that genetics could be involved, whether you are respondent or not t this kind of HIIT training! Check this link from BBC : d. How to schedule This is important to know how to schedule your sessions of Tabata training and to adjust the periodicity with your actual training plan and objectives. i. During preparation period Using Tabata training to prepare the season makes sense. If you apply the 5 sessions a week, and you can gain 14% of VO2Max and 28% of anaerobic capacity like the sample people during the initial protocol, it’s a whooping result. However it’s probably very hard to be able to stick to the plan. Most of the positive results were gained during the first 4 weeks; therefore it might be sufficient, especially if you complete the protocol with classic training. In my case, for Triathlon preparation, I try to perform at least Tabata training at least once in a week, either by running, cycling or sometimes thruster. Choice of exercise matters. As we seen, if you are into martial arts or combat sports, using punching ball or jump rope is something already incorporated in your training regimen. If you are a triathlete, running, cycling and swimming are usual. The advantage of doing Tabata with weights, like front squat or thruster, can bring double benefit: working your muscles at a high intensity and cardio strength. 20
  • ii. Savy time If you plan 5mn of warming-up, 4mn for Tabata work out and 5mn of cooling down, it’s only 15mn and it’s more efficient than one hour of endurance training at 70% of VO2max (as per initial Tabata study). Therefore, it’s a perfect sessions to include in your schedule, at lunch time of after work, when time is scarce. Some people recommend to train in the morning, when still fasting, and burn more fat, but it will require a very high level of motivation to push you hard enough to reach the intensity required (remember, 170% of VO2Max?). 5) Conclusion To perform the Tabata training: 1. Pick-up an exercise (sprint, cycling, hills, treadmills, thruster, front squat, burpees) 2. Warm-up for 5mn at low intensity, with some accelerations at the end 3. Perform the Tabata : 8 bouts of 20s of efforts, with 10s rest intervals 4. Use a watch, smart phone with apps, MP3, or a partner to respect the protocol 5. Cool down for 5mn (total rest for 1mn or 2mn until you catch your breath and 2-3mn low intensity exercise). That’s it! Include 2 to 3 sessions per week, according to your regular training. For endurance sport, like triathlon, you can select running, cycling or swimming as it will also strengthen your usual routine. For martial arts and MMA, front squat or thruster are good choices, along punching ball or jumping rope. For fitness and lose control, any exercise practiced regularly will help you to burn calories. 21
  • 6) Going further Tabata is one protocol of regimen which is part of the family of HIIT or cardio strength training. It’s more than a trend, it’s a revolution and the Tabata training should give you good basis to going further: faster, stronger, leaner, healthier, happier! Here are some books, resources, websites that I recommend: This book emphasizes the HIIT type of training and there are some references to the Tabata protocol. Plus, it explains in clear words the added value of short but intense interval for overall heart conditioning. The xiser can be used for Tabata, and there are interesting documents to download, check this link: Research Library: 22
  • Appendix: Real Tabata running (on track): 1065m After 13'35mn of warming-up and some stretching, I tried a double Tabata on a track. It was a bit wet, and there were some people running, but it was manageable. First attempt I covered 1065m, with a max heart rate 91% and average 87% (for the 4mn). I took an active rest (walking) for 3 mn, with an average Heart rate of 68%. Second attempt I covered 965m, with 92% maximum heart rate and 85% average. Cooling down (back home) was around 18mn @ 77% heart rate average. Based on the calculations page 11 (of the eBook), with my MAS around 16.5-17km/h, the target distance to reach 170% of MAS should be 1248m. The distance I mention in the table that I think is reachable is 998m, or 1028m for a MAS of 17 km/h. Between first and second attempts, performance (distance covered) drops from 1065m to 965m which is approximately 10%. Between each bout, I don't stop brutally, I decelerate, I walk to catch my air and I start again for the next bout. I don't think this short period of decelerating, walking has a big impact on the total distance... probably 10 to 20m maximum. The heart rate is not very high compared for instance to a 5k time trial or interval training of 1000m. Is it good? I mean, it is better that the effort is very violent but the heart doesn't go too high and for too long? This is what coming next (EPOC) which matters to ameliorate the body performance (both aerobic & anaerobic?) 23
  • Appendix: Real example of Tabata on cycle Wattbike So there is the theory : 8 bouts of 20s at 170% of VO2 max with 10s rest for the Tabata protocol. On a Wattbike, I can do: - test of 3mn: ( Position 29 Name Age Sex Cedric Beltrame - test 30mn Club/University 37 Cedric Beltrame Nationality Distance Average Power Male - French 2368m 390 08/10/2011 37 Male - French 21505m 302 14/01/2012 52 When I train for intervals 3mn/3mn, I usually cycle at 320 Watts for the hard intervals. My power to weight ratio is 390/86=4.47 W/Kg. So what about for Tabata? The RPM is 90-100, level of resistance is 8-9 on the Wattbike, and intervals are cycled around this intensity: 460-440-420-400-400-380-380-390 = average of 408.75 watts I think it is very hard to apply a constant 170% of VO2max or equivalent. Watts avrg % VO2max duration watts @vo2max 390 120% 3 mn 325 302 92% 30 mn 328.26 320 100% 3x 3 mn 320 Based on the 3 mentioned training (max 3mn, max 30mn, 3x3 intervals) I evaluate my power output at Vo2max on the bike around 325 Watts. That will require 325*1.7 = 552.5 Watts for each interval! I'm far from it, with an average of 408.75 watts which is in this case roughly 125% of the power output at Vo2max. So although it is probably highly beneficial, it is a HIIT training rather than a pure Tabata. Unless my calculations are incorrect? 24 Date
  • About the author: Taekwondo black belt 4th degree (WTF); professional teacher in France First Contact Fighting black-belt and instructor; NASKA referee Triathlon (40 races) Sprint, Olympic, Ironman 70.3 distances (France, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia) Running 10K, Paris-Versailles, half-marathon, 30K, marathon Pull-ups: 28 in one attempt, 271 in 30mn Push-ups:105 in 2mn, 30 one arm (left or right) 3250m Cooper test Going up & down 52 floors in 15mn15s 25
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