Around our house, we like to think that we're prepared for when the zombies attack, thanks to our fitness training and paleo diet. With Halloween...Read More
2010: A Tabata Odyssey
It looks remarkably like this…
Which should remind you of our favorite workout protocol: the tabata. Twenty seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of exquisite rest… eight times.
There are well-documented advantages to this kind of training, but if I’m honest about why I like tabata workouts, I’d have to admit it’s because they’re so nutty and so painful, they take me right around the other end of the spectrum to fun.
So here’s what I propose for January 1, 2010:
1. Get yourself ten slips of paper.
2. On five of them, write the names of exercises you like.
3. On five of them, write the names of exercises you don’t like or that need improvement.
4. Drop all the slips of paper in a hat.
5. Draw out four of them. No peeking!
6. That’s your workout! Those four exercises: 8 rounds each, 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off.
Here’s an example:
I like: pushups, situps, squats, box jumps, running sprints
I don’t like: pullups, thrusters, dips, supermans, sprawls
I throw them all in a hat, and I pull out: pushups, pullups, thrusters, box jumps
My workout then looks like this:
8 rounds, 20 seconds work/10 seconds rest: pushups
8 rounds, 20 seconds work/10 seconds rest: pullups
8 rounds, 20 seconds work/10 seconds rest: thrusters
8 rounds, 20 seconds work/10 seconds rest: box jumps
A few guidelines:
1. Be sure to do a solid warmup before you start. You might try three rounds of 10 squats, 10 pushups, and 10 rotations, followed by high knees, butt kicks, skipping, side shuffles, and a 400m run.
2. If you must, take a brief rest between each exercise – like, a minute, max – but between those eight rounds of an individual exercise, don’t waiver from the 10 seconds of rest. Keep moving during your sequence of eight. :20 on, :10 off, :20 on, :10 off, etc.
3. The exercises that work best for tabata are the ones that are generally comprised of only one movement (for example, NOT burpees or man-makers) and don’t require a ton of thinking about form (for example, I wouldn’t throw snatch into the mix). I’ve included a list of good options below to get you started.
4. Don’t go too heavy on the weight. Please. The idea is SAFE, controlled, effective full range of motion. Use manageable dumbbells and kettlebells that allow you to complete the movement correctly and move like you mean it.
5. There are two ways to keep score, if you’re into that kind of thing. (IF you want to keep score! Like there’s a CrossFitter out there that doesn’t keep time or count during a workout! Track your reps each round, then:
(a) count your lowest number on each round and that’s your score for that round… OR
(b) keep a tally of your total reps for the whole workout
If you use method (a), your lowest number on a round is your “score,” and the goal is to be as consistent as possible throughout the eight rounds.
If you use method (b), you get to say, “Dude! I did X-number of reps this morning. That’s way better than nursing a hangover!”
Decide which makes you feel more braggy and go with it.
Here’s a list of exercises that work well for tabata workouts:
wall ball shots
box jump/step ups
med ball slams
dumbbell/kettlebell push press
dumbbell/kettlebell overhead press
kettlebell/dumbbell sumo deadlift highpull
PVC pipe overhead squats
GOLD STAR BONUS for 2010: If you want to get really fancy, you can make this an 8-week benchmark workout and re-test yourself every two months. That means during the first week of March, May, July, September, and November, you do the same workout. No drawing new exercises! The ones you choose on January 1 are your companions throughout 2010… even if fate conspired against you and your random selections yielded only exercises you hate. By the end of 2010, those frenemies will be your BFFs!