Have you ever heard someone say “Tabata This” or “yeah I’m doing a Tabata WO!”?
As with so many forms of “training,” a method that can be incredibly useful is misunderstood by an athlete or community. Yes it is still exercise, and if movements are performed correctly it can still be beneficial, our aim at RE is to provide you with the knowledge and understanding to use all types of training properly and effectively for the greatest potential outcome.
So, when it comes to Tabata, the first question isn’t “What?”; it’s actually “Who?”
Izumi Tabata is the dean of the Ritsumeikan University Graduate School of Sport and Health Science. His name became famous in relation to the “Tabata Protocol”, one form of high-intensity interval training, although Dr. Tabata credits Olympic speed skating coach Irisawa Koichi with pioneering the technique.
Now for the what: The Tabata protocol is designed specifically to increase VO2Max in athletes who train regularly and have a solid base of both aerobic and strength training to lay a periodized foundation of high-intensity interval training upon.
Tabata is an exercise where you perform an activity to your very best ability for 20 seconds, then take 10 seconds to rest, and repeat for 8 rounds. This is all done in four minute block. You may do multiple blocks, with 2 min rest between each, not to exceed 5 total blocks. Thus, the training session would look like:
- 15 min warm up
- 3-5 blocks of 8x (20secs work/10sec rest), with 2:00min of rest between each block
- 10 -15 min cool down
The full workout (with warm up and cool down) comes to no more than an hour, with the actual “HARD” effort training time not to exceed 20 min. All training is either performed with body weight movements (eg. squats/push ups/sit ups) or practicing the sport in which the performance benefit is desired (e.g. running/cycling/skinning). For the desired VO2Max gain, the protocol needs to be practiced at a minimum of 1x per week for six weeks. When training in the gym or outside, measuring output parameters is a critical component to ensure the athlete pushes harder each subsequent week, and has numbers to achieve and drive the motivation for a hard effort (e.g. counting reps, watts, distance, etc).
The entire RE staff has not only been educated in Tabata protocols as far as format and formula, they have completed the six week protocol of training at least once and deeply understand the effects and coaching required for this type of training.