Well, it’s a new year, and new class formats abound. Today, I’d like to explain the TABATA Interval training in a bit more detail, to remind you of key things to watch for, as you rock out that class.
CLASS FORMAT BASICS
Dr. Izumi Tabata, Ph. D of the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Japan tested and is credited for this high-intensity, interval-training format. The basic idea is to perform as many repetitions as you safely can, with good technique, for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest.
The workouts are for 6-8 cycles (aka rounds/sets) totaling 3-4 minutes to finish a workout period, called a “Tabata”. Notice that we use a very specific timer in class, to keep us on pace with the program.
With the proper combination of exercise choices, coaching, and good execution, you can expect VO2 Max increases (i.e. better cardio capacity), high-calorie expenditure, and overall accelerated fat loss compared to traditional group classes.
WHY TABATA TRAINING?
With previous class formats, we’ve kept our movements rhythmic and on-the-beat of the music. Despite the constantly changing use of equipment, and consistent progression/regression of exercises, there is an element of predictability in these classes that can lead to decreased results over time.
Introducing a much higher-intensity training protocol, coupled with the use of non-rhythmic exercise execution (typically leading to speed/power application) kicks up your workout intensity and effort in a way that our traditional conditioning classes could not achieve.
HOW DO I SUCCEED IN THESE CLASSES?
Here are my best tips for you:
1. Use the first 20-second cycle/set to gauge your level of ability. Going all out before you have the technique down can be a recipe for trouble.
- You’ll notice we also start the classes with a rhythmic warm-up, a sampling of the movements we will do, and a show of beginner to advanced options. These, coupled with the active stretching we do before class, will guarantee better execution and reduced chance of injury, particularly when we go all-out and perform the movements way above the beat.
2. Do as many reps as you can safely perform.
- I am there to demonstrate how fast you can go, but do be mindful of your pace. Always be in tune with your body.
- Movement quality is key to success in any class or training session. Without this, you can’t get to your goals.
3. The high-intensity classes factor in CRITICAL periods of rest/recovery — a must for your joints.
- You’ll notice that I don’t just give you reps to failure of the same movement. In fact, we alternate core stability/mobility moves in between cycles, to re-activate your core alignment, before proceeding on.
- This is for the sake of working out smart and hard … versus just hard.
4. Be cool about asking for options, if the exercises don’t work for you.
- I’m extremely open to feedback, and requests for exercise options.
- These classes will tend to attract the very fit, who want to kick their workouts up a notch, but they can be for everyone if you allow yourself the privilege of learning things you can do, given your own injuries or limitations. (Trust me, I had back surgery 5 months ago, so I am the first one to promote working out smart, and going for necessary changes)
See you in class!