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Tabata Intervals without cycling

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  • Tabata Intervals without cycling

    I'm confused with the different Internet articles. Some say the benefit comes only if the study protocol is followed to the letter, other sites use the study to promote the benefits and then suggest several exercises that could be used. Has anyone gotten benefit using other exercises? I've started three weeks ago doing two handed swings with a 35lb kettle bell, 10 sets. I get 13 swings in 20 seconds. I'll do a round pre-weight lifting, a second round mid-workout and a third post workout. It has improved my back and shoulders, I'm sweaty at the end of the 5-minutes but it's a different dynamic than running sprint intervals and completely different than an hourlong easy to moderate effort run. Love to hear everyone's experiences.

  • #2
    I've actually never done tabata intervals on a bike, only with things like kettlebells or bodyweight stuff. They kick my ass pretty effectively! I don't think you have to do the intervals only with a bike--it seems sort of far fetched to me that you'd only get the metabolic benefits from pedalling and not from other activities.

    And yeah, they are exhausting but feel really good once they're done.
    “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

    Owly's Journal

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    • #3
      Strictly speaking the Tabata protocol only applies to a stationary bike, but I think you can apply it to a rowing machine (which I do), normal sprinting and maybe kettlebells (although I haven't tried these). However if you are capable of doing 3x sets of intervals alongside your regular workout then what you are doing is not Tabata (unless you are superman). Not to say that what you're doing isn't beneficial, but it is not Tabata so therefore the studies you've read have no relevance.

      edit to actually answer the question: I've been doing Tabata-style sprints on a rower approx 1-3 times a week (around other exercising) and I've noticed an enormous fitness improvement since doing it. Incredible really that such an improvement should come from less than 3 mins hard effort. "Less is more" is the whole point of all HIIT programs though so maybe it shouldn't be so surprising. The actual Tabata protocol is very strict (I don't think you're even supposed to do other exercising around it) but clearly following it to some extent will provide some benefit but not necessarily the maximum benefit.
      Last edited by zilog; 06-12-2012, 04:10 AM.

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      • #4
        i agree with zilog...tabata should knock you out, not be able to be done three times around lifting. i don't doubt that what you are doing is high intensity, and keep doing it if it's working for you, but a tabata workout is a whole workout in 4 minutes after which all you want to do is lie down on the floor and cry.

        to your original question, i don't think tabata has to be done on a bike. i think it's best and safest on a bike, but i've also done tabata burpees. rowing would also be a great way to do it. i know there is some divide on this, but i think there are only so many movements that lend themselves effectively to the tabata protocol: stationary biking, rowing, hill sprints (not flat sprints), burpees, maybe jump rope, maybe swimming, and maybe a couple of others. it has to be something that allows you to start with a lot of intensity and stop easily for that 10 second rest. even flat sprints or pedaling on a real bike require a lot of start up and slow down time, and i can't imagine any movement with weights or kettlebells having a great effect for that protocol. i think you're better off creating your own HIIT timings for something like that, maybe 1 minute on, 30 seconds rest, or something like that.
        http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread60178.html

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        • #5
          but a tabata workout is a whole workout in 4 minutes after which all you want to do is lie down on the floor and cry.
          This is a great description of Tabata IMO. The best (or worst!) thing about it is that it never gets any easier (as you get fitter you just go faster/harder) so it's always a great workout!

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          • #6
            Yeah, it's sort of like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer--it feels really good when you stop.
            “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

            Owly's Journal

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            • #7
              @pace2race you are doing interval training. While Tabita is a type of interval training but not all interval training is Tabita. If it is working for you great but I would suggest trying an all out 4 min Tabita session so you can feel the difference.
              Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
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              Don't forget to play!

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              • #8
                my experience is that I can only force myself to do one running tabata. not per workout, per MONTH, because I remember it so painfully. if it's not running, then I can do a burpee or other bodyweight tabata x 4, with appropriate rest in between. i do think there is a difference between an all-out forward movement tabata by running/swimming/cycling, and other types of tabatas by burpees or squats. that's not to say i disdain non-forward movement tabatas - i think they've done a hell of a lot for me, they're still hard as hell, and they can be optimized with the right balance of fast movement to use of bodyweight. OP, i suspect if you're doing any tabatas at all, as long as you are fucked at the end of the 4 minutes, you're doing something good for yourself. if you want to do more than one in one day, it probably means you still have reserves that could be tapped with a running tabata, but imho there's no need to give up the other kind. sacrificing the good for the perfect and all that... lot of that goes on round here, and not always for the better.

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                • #9
                  Just did a Tabata session (standard 8x20 with 10s rest in between) with swim sprints today. OMG. Couldn't hardly keep my head above water let alone pull myself out of the pool for 5-10 minutes after the protocol. When I finally did I got that all over body tingle and hot headedness you get right before puking and proceeded to heave up a bit of coffee (only thing I've had this morning). Then sat there for 15 minutes until I could drive home.

                  It may be a 4 minute session, but its at least 40 minutes out of my day when I hit that kind of intensity.

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                  • #10
                    I agree that a measure of a successful tabata is that it's all you can do. I think if you're doing three in a day, you aren't working hard enough in your work intervals. Your work intervals need to be you pushing as hard as you can go.

                    My favorite tabata is a jump rope tabata. I have a tabata timer app on my phone, and I do 8 x 20:10 of high-kneed running over the rope as fast as I can go. Full stop on the 10 second rests.

                    I've always understood that the most important part of the protocol is working as hard as possible during the :20 and stopping as completely as possible on the :10.

                    I think if you're doing them correctly, you shouldn't need more than 1 x week, nor should you really be up for more than 1 x week.
                    “If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea” -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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                    • #11
                      For those interested this is the original research abstract that we are basing this on:

                      "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 ml.kg-1 min-1 to 58 +/- 3 ml.kg-1.min-1 (P < 0.01) (mean +/- SD). Second, to quantify the effect of high-intensity 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 ml.kg-1.min-1, 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."

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                      • #12
                        I'll try it on the bike. I just can't get more than 13 swings off in 20 seconds with a 35lb kettle bell. I could go lighter and get a few more swings. The gym doesn't have a heavier KB. It has been great for my shoulders and low back. I'm breathing hard and sweating but i recover quick from them. I went right into ATG squats after doing 10 sets with the kettle bell 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest. I do sprints tomorrow and I could try them with running. I usually do 200 meters then a slow jog back 200 meters to recover before sprinting again. I think it's rewarding enough to keep working with it until I feel the right amount of afterglow.

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                        • #13
                          Did a 10 interval set over 5 minutes on the stationary bike after lifing weights this evening. The 5 minutes definitely went by faster and the legs were burning afterwards. Think I will keep playing with it after lift sessions to see how it adds to fitness.

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