Real Life Tabata Intervals

For those who have been under a rock, the Tabata Protocol is an interval training protocal that has been shown to produce unusually high increases in both aerobic and anaerobic capacity. The  actual protocal is 20 seconds all out followed by a 10 sec rest done for 8 work intervals. Unfortunately now any mix of 20/10 work to rest is now referred to as a Tabata. Just FYI, this is not the case. Tabatas were meant to be done on a bike and the sprint is all out. We did two sets of six on the AirDyne today as follows

Warm-up – Incline treadmill 10 min 3.5 mph 2-4-6-8% grade

6×20/10  Big Fan hitting level 10 on each sprint.  HR 166 after 6. Rest 1:10. Distance Covered 1 mi

6×20/10 Level 9 each time. HR 167

Give it a try.


7 Responses to “Real Life Tabata Intervals”

  1. I meant 8 sprints at 12…..10 would be my limit for 2 sets of 6 sprints. Thanks

  2. mboyle1959 Says:

    12 is tough. Depends on how fit you are I guess. I know I couldn’t finish that workout.

  3. This is really helpful. I’ve been unclear on the levels, I’m trying to work my way up to 6 sets at level 12, but maybe I’d be more efficient at level 10. Should I stick with 12 or drop down to 10?

  4. mboyle1959 Says:

    So true.

  5. mboyle1959 Says:

    We wanted to get more intervals in so went to 2 sets of 6. We are really doing it for hockey conditioning. Also, 8 is really hard.

  6. Tabata’s protocol is one set of 8 intervals as you mentioned, but in your workout you did two sets of 6 intervals. Why did you decide to modify the protocol?

    I see people doing Tabatas but rather than one set, they do one set of 8 intervals, rest, do one more set with a different movement, rest, then another set… Seems like a quick path to overtraining.


  7. Thanks, Mike.
    The Tabata Protocol is just method of HIIT and, as you said, it is specifically 20 sec work, 10 sec rest x8. I use it a lot with clients, not because it is miraculous, but because it is effective, short, and clients can wrap their minds around it (who can’t last 4 min?).
    Other HIIT protocols are variations on work to rest ratios and duration (# of rounds). These can all be very effective as well but I do hear people clumping them together as “Tabatas”. (Actually, I went to a presentation at a conference where the presenter did “Tabatas” that were 20 sec work, 20 sec rest?? Feels too much like their jumping on the bandwagon without really understanding what they’re talking about.

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