Thursday, 5 April 2012

3) What are the best exercises to practice TABATA?a. Sprints

a.    Sprints

Sprints present several advantages: everybody can run, required equipment is limited (sport shoes…) and you can probably practice almost everywhere, while travelling or close from your home. However, sprinting is a very tough exercise, especially for the required intensity.

It is advised to find a flat ground, not too hard if possible (avoid roads). Soccer field or track field are ideal choices.

Before starting your Tabata session, you can follow-up a classical warming-up. The most efficient warming-up for running is…running! Therefore, start to jog for 3mn, then for the remaining 2mn, add some short sprints of 5-6s to wake up your legs, at a limited intensity. Add 2-3 minutes of light stretching, to recover your breath, and to prepare your muscles. If you are running by a cold temperature, you can warm up longer.

Then, you can start your Tabata session. One good idea is to run back and forth, between two marks, like trees, mileages on road, two rocks that you put on the ground etc… Using this trick, you will know the distance you need to cover during each interval bout. Else, with your energy fading, the last bouts might be shorter although you think you are pushing as harder at the beginning!

Another tip is to use a timer, which will help you to run the 20s and to rest the 10s. Alternatively, you can find MP3 recorded with the Tabata training. If you have a partner who can shout at you the intervals, it’s also helpful!

Gym boss is popular:

and it exist apps for smart phones also.

Now you are ready!

Check your departure mark and start to sprint the first 20s. Your timer or your MP3 will tell you when to stop. Record the point you have reached. Take a 10s break. And start to sprint again in the opposite direction to reach again your departure point!

Repeat this 4 times and you’ll be done. Total will be 8 sprints of 20s.

You might feel that the first 3-4 can be handled. But after 2mn, you start to be out of breath, and both your aerobic and anaerobic systems start to feel the pain. Rounds 5 and 6 are very hard. Maybe the hardest is round 7, because round 8 is the last so you know your torture is going to end soon!

You can also running around the track and field and check the total distance covered after the 4mn.

Which distance to cover? Well, it depends of your experience in sprinting and MAV (Maximum Aerobic Velocity), and fitness level.

But for instance, if you MAV is 15,13 km/h and you run the  21.1 kms (half marathon) in 1h44mn40sec, 170% of VO2Max should be approximately 170% of MAV and therefore, the distance to cover will be around 140m. This is very challenging to perform in 20s, especially for the last bouts. But this is the secret of the Tabata training, very high intensity!

 (check the ebook to see the Table!!)

By experience, the distance you will cover will be less (“target”) than the theoretical one (“distance”). Don’t start too fast but try to keep the same distance at each interval. This way the average intensity could be 170%, with 2- bouts at 200%, and last 3-4 at only 150% for instance.

I For your first attempts of Tabata training with sprints, you should target only 4 repetitions to get used to the intensity of the effort and to avoid injury. For the 2nd try, at least 48hours later, raise up to 6 repetitions. And finally, for the 3rd attempt, you should be able to complete the full cycle. With practice, both physical skills and experience will increase and you’ll perform more correctly.

Example: my MVA is approximately 16.8km/h and for Tabata the distance covered is ~1000m instead of theoretical 1272m. After 6mn of warming up (average cardio=71%) the Tabata session is done at 89% average and 91% maximum. Another 6mn of cooling-down at 79% average. That’s it, 18mn of efforts with only 4mn intense, for a better result than one hour of classical endurance cardio!

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