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    Coach Palfrey's Avatar
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    An Interesting Post About Tabata

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    Dan John just posted an article on T-Nation about the Tabata protocol in which he stresses the need for maximum intensity in each interval. Read the article here:
    T NATION | The Tabata Method, Perfected

    It's been my experience that a lot of people follow Tabata at too low an intensity. Comments?

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    TimR's Avatar
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    Nice article. I've got a gymboss timer with a tabata protocol timer on it, think I will give it a try today, front squats with a medicine ball. I toyed with tabata protocols a few years ago, did not stick with it.

    So you mention that in your experience people use to low an intensity. What is the correct way to gauge if the intensity level was sufficient? Puking into a waste basket a la crossfit?

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    I imagine it would be easy to slack off a little with each interval. Must focus on going hard for the duration.

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    According to the article, the intervals I do are far too long to follow the Tabata protocol, but in my experience of people in general not many will push themselves as hard as the protocol suggests. I think I push myself hard enough when I do outdoor sprints with my running coach (nickname Sarge) outdoors, but indoors on the treadmill I think that it is just impossible. I don't know how you could safely do Tabata with weights unless you had a very strong spotter, which sadly I don't have at the moment (I really miss having a weights partner! There is so much you just can't do for safety reasons on your own).

    When I do intervals each interval gets harder, I find it hard to reach my maximal heart rate (highest I have ever got it was on the 6th interval of run (at full speed) 400m jog 200m, 183bpm, I consider I have done well to get it to 180), and it generally takes me at least 4 intervals of sprinting at what I consider maximal intensity for at least 300m to hit 180 (if I am doing it on the treadmill, where I have the heart rate read out in front of me I run as fast as I can safely until I hit that, then walk, but running outside I am obviously not looking at my watch).
    I always get nauseous running intervals, but have never actually spewed yet! (BTW, it might not come across in this post, but I love intervals, lol)

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    iniQuity's Avatar
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    I agree with the bottom portion of NOT using tabata for specific muscle groups or using sprints as tabatas. You might be Usain Bolt if you can do an honest tabata sprint session. Shit, you might be Flash if you actually sprint just as hard on your first and sixth sprint.

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    PatrickF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iniQuity View Post
    Shit, you might be Flash if you actually sprint just as hard on your first and sixth sprint.
    The original protocol on a cycling trainer is 170% of VO2max power. That's hard but not an all out sprint. Typical numbers for non-competitive people are ~350-400W for VO2max (170% of that is ~650W) and ~1100-1400W for all out sprints. So the intervals are around half your all out sprint effort.

    That's really painful to do for eight 20s intervals, but not totally out of this world.

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    Tabata sprints (running) have been one of the best additions to my workout. And hardest.

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    Try it on a rowing ergometer. I dare you.

    I've been going on tabata runs once a week for a few months now, and I'm pretty happy with it. During the rest phase, should you be taking it down to a walk or a light jog? I usually sprint as hard as I can for that twenty seconds, then dial it down to a walk as quickly as possible. The nice thing about the rowing machine is that you can get down to a paddle in one stroke.
    Last edited by DSR84; 05-04-2011 at 06:01 AM.

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    great article. i never would have considered farmers walks a tabata style exercise...and i'm not entirely sure i buy it yet anyway. i'm not a huge fan of adding barbels or dumbells to an activity that is supposed to make you work so hard that after four minutes all you can do lie on the ground concentrate on not puking.
    i've only performed the tabata protocol with the exercise bike and burpees, mostly because i haven't found another exercise where i feel comfortable fitting that level of intensity into those time parameters (i've never tried kb swings, though...). i'm a big fan of sprinting intervals, and i usually want to throw up after them, but that's not tabata. it has nothing to do with keeping up the intensity for me--i work just as hard on my last sprint as my first, even if i've lost a step--but more that speeding up and slowing down when running doesn't count, so i would be cutting into either the work or the rest.

    i still like the question: can i do tabata every day? i'm not sure if it's possible, but i know for damn sure i don't to feel like that every day, and i know that i wouldn't be able to complete other exercises as well if i did tabata every day

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    iniQuity's Avatar
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    Personally I've been dabbling (and by dabbling I mean this is only my second week of doing this but plan to try it out all this month and going forward) in two sprint sessions a week. One is a traditional 10, 60 yard dashes with about 1-2 mins rest in between, closer to 2 mins to catch my breath, and another session where I only do 5 hill sprints (roughly a 30-40 yard dash) but with considerably less rest.

    The 10 dasher I do on a less steep but longer hill (conveniently right outside my door) when I finish teh sprint I walk forward about another 50 yards then walk back, by the time I reach my starting point if I'm still short of breath I wait it out a little longer. I read that longer rest results in better sprints, which results in becoming faster, etc. Please correct if wrong..

    the 5 dasher is on a steep but short hill, as soon as I reach the top I walk back to my starting position and go again. I can only manage 5 right now before I feel like puking. I'm not sure if it's the steepness, or the shorter rest, or both that contributes to how spent I feel, but I'm enjoying the mixing of the two. I also aim to keep it short and sweet for fear of over-training, but that might be an unreasonable fear that stems from reading about chronic cardio and all that. I'm still working on my conditioning though, as that improves I'll continue to push myself.

    I may eventually try to work up to 10 dashes in the steeper hill with less rest, but right now even 7 would make me share my dinner with the bushes.

    EDIT: I got a tire for hitting with a sledge hammer, I just thought that might be a decent Tabata since you can go hard but the weight is not too heavy where your reps would considerably suffer. I'll try it this weekend and get back to you guys.
    Last edited by iniQuity; 05-04-2011 at 06:10 AM.

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