What are Tabata Exercises?

by Kilo on December 9, 2010

Other than being difficult (not saying that is necessarily a good thing), Tabata is kind of a fun word to say. I’ve seen lots of Tabata workouts in the Crossfit Gym where I teach kettlebell classes. I’ve seen a lot of people turn green.

During a Dan John strength training workshop he told stories about grown men puking and quivering after failing to get through a tabata workout with the 16 kg kettlebells, or 50 pounds on a barbell. I tried it once. He wasn’t lying. It made me sick and I was no longer interested, but perhaps my delicate constitution will never yield championship results.

So, what is a Tabata?

You pick an exercise. You do that exercise for as many reps as you can in 20 seconds. Then you rest for 10 seconds. Then you start again, hitting as many reps as possible–be it squat, deadlift, bench, pushups, whatever–for another 20 seconds. Then you rest again for 10. Repeat for 8 rounds or until you die, whichever comes first. If you were doing Tabata squats, that would be the only exercise you would do during these rounds.

This is of those situations where I can watch someone do the workout, say “wow, that looks hard,” and still not want anything to do with it. But don’t take it from me. Take it from the awesomely named Funk Roberts.

Oh, and if you’re going to do Tabatas, I would recommend using a Gymboss, just like Funk!

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