Tabata sprints? I tried those. Those are impossible.
20 seconds of sprinting followed by 10 seconds of rest…for 4 entire minutes? No way.[/quote]
He said a Russian weightlifting group adopted the tabata thing to bring squats up and that to do one correctly you have to reach 170% of something and if your doing it right sprinting you probably won’t ever get through all eight rounds.
He said it was originally done on a bike but our gym has none[/quote]
It’s 170% VO2 max. In gross oversimplification this refers to the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during intense effort. It is measured in millilitres of oxygen used per kilogram of bodyweight per minute. Everyone’s VO2 max is different and it is largely genetic.
It will be a good indicator of maximum potential aerobic endurance.
The original Tabata study did use stationary bicycles with closely regulated intensity and resistance. In other words the participants were required to maintain a set rate of pedal strokes per minute at a set resistance on the bike for all the intervals. One group trained at a steady 70% VO2 max (moderate intensity) for 60min./day 5 x/wk over 6 weeks. The other group did 20 sec at 170% VO2 max (high intensity) for 20 seconds then rested 10 seconds and repeated for a total of 8 sets or 4 minutes also 5 x/wk over 6 weeks.
You will almost certainly not hit that intensity for eight rounds of consecutive 20sec sprints with only 10 sec rest between. Tabata is a buzzword that has almost lost all meaning. However it sounds cool, vaguely mystical and samurai-like so people assume that if they do something, anything balls out for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds and repeat they will be doing Tabata and therefor they will be awesome. What happens though is that the actual intensity of their max efforts drops off rapidly in terms of actual intensity with each round due to fatigue because they cannot recover properly with such short rest periods.
In sprinting terms, let’s say you can run 150 metres in 20 seconds at 170% VO2 max. you would need to get 150 metres consistently for all 8 sets to be getting the same intensity. Intensity and effort are not the same. If you are trying like hell in you third round of 8, but you only make it say 110m in 20 seconds (which is likely) you are no longer running at the same intensity. By the fifth round you will be even slower and so on until you are probably barely jogging for 7 and 8.
I could be wrong, but that’s how I interpreted the original study when I read it.
Its my understanding that intensity is independant of actual work output and more related to heart rate. For example if you for whatever reason are only walking on a treadmill at 2.5 miles per hour, but you heart rate is 180, this is still a very intense exercise.
Theorizing why tabata intervals may allow someone to remain at 170% of their vo2 max while performing less work could have something to do with the previous oxygen debt as a result of the previous sprints. If someone sprints to the point where they are needing to consume that much oxygen (lets just say they are at 170% their vo2 max) in the 10 seconds off this value doesn’t drop to 0 again, they are still sucking enough wind where they are very close to this number. As a result of being fatigued, and still at a huge percentage of their vo2 max upon the start of the next sprint same ammount of work isn’t required to get back to the levels of oxygen consumption illicted by the previous effort.
As spmeone else said, these ARE possible, and a heart rate moniter is likely the best way to make sure that the right level of intensity is being maintained.