T Nation

The Tabata Method, How Often?


Regarding this 4 minutes of pain, how often during the week would it be recommended to perform this type of exercise?
I'd be willing to try 4 days a week.



If you can do it 4 times a week, you are either:

  1. Clark Kent

  2. Not doing Tabata correctly.


PS. Would you please post a link to a video clip of you doing the Tabata.


As with most things, try it out, and let us know how it goes.


LOL, you must be doing tabata barbell curls if you're able to do it 4 days out of a week. I seriously doubt you'll be able to do it with front squats, or thrusters for 4 days out of the week.


If you can do it 4x a week, I don't think you're hitting legs hard enough


^ this


The method used in the research was 20:10 for 7-9 rounds 4 days a week (170% V02Max during the 20 seconds on). The fifth day was slightly different, 30 mins 70 VO2max followed by a half tabata.


I did it for the first time last week and had planned on including it twice weekly.


Not going to happen.


(shhh! don't discourage the guy)

Come on man, 4 times a week, you can do it!


I've gone a six week stretch doing it once/week, that was plenty. Then again, if it's the only training you're doing, i could see 3-4 times a week.

That's only 12-16 minutes total :slight_smile:


Clearly I'm retarded.
I tried 25# dumbell thrusters and didn't go 2 minutes...
I think it's going to take a long time for me to recover from smoking.

But yeah, I think one GOOD set with a challenging weight a week should be sufficient.


in the past I've done it 2x a week, 3 sets each time for a total of 12 mins each workout.
Something like: front squats-push press-pullups or kettlebell swings-pushups-C2 rower.

Granted I've found that 3 tended to be overkill as my work capacity by the 3rd tabata was pretty shot, but 1 never seemed to be enough. An upper mixed with a lower would probably be ideal...


LOL, when I saw the 4 times a week, I thought, this should be funny.

But it's good you've seen the light. And believe me, it's only a little bit to do with you being a recovering smoker.

Tabata training is harcore stuff. I do it once a week with 30kg front squats.

If you do this for a while, try adding a Metabolic pairing session that Thibs wrote about instead of two Tabata sessions. At least you'll have some variation.



During the training camp for our university rowing team, we couldn't get out on the water because of high winds, so I had 45 candidates do a Tabata session doing Clean & Press with sandbags. Guys used 40 lb and girls used 22 lb. The guideline I use is if the total number of reps for the 8 sets exceeds 80 then the weight was too light. If the total is less than 40, then it was too heavy.

Some people never came back after that session and the rowers were basically fucked for the next 2 days. It probably wasn't very productive, but sometimes you have to do crazy stuff and push the limit. Especially in rowing. Rowing hurts and you have to learn to deal with pain. Greay confidence builder.



I did a tabata workout for the first time yesterday and planned to do it three times a week. Thats not going to happen! Waaaaaay too sore even in places I didn't even think I was working and getting sorer by the minute!


They were Olympic athletes though. Speed skaters no less. Already pretty fit you might say.

After Tabata sprints I feel like my lungs are desperately trying to explode out of my chest.


Didn't they use static bicycle machine?


"170% V02Max during the 20 seconds on"

This is where most people fail. 20s "all-out" is easy when you're so fatigued that "all-out" becomes a crawl. If you're not truely going "all-out" then you're not really doing Tabata.

Try it on a stationary bike in which you can measure Watts (most bikes can these days). Crank it up to a decent resistance and go all out for the first rep and then try to match the same wattage on the successive reps. I say if you drop off by more than 10% then stop the protocol.

So, you first crank out 300 watts for the first rep...
2nd rep: 290 watts
3rd rep: 290 watts
4rd rep 280 watts
5th rep 265 watts...you stop, your workout is done. Your next tabata workout you try to improve, ie: do more reps until you can do all 8 without dropping 10% in wattage.



4 times a week it's perfectly normal.If you can't do it 4 times a week you either just started your training or you in a very bad shape. Just don't do same shit,rotate exercises and you'll be alright.

Very good finisher. Say you do squats,push-ups,skipping rope and bag punching on a different days Great way to improve your conditioning. By the way when doctor Tabata was carrying out his study the control group was doing tabata 5 times a week.


^Deez Ones FTW.

This is why i stopped doing tabata on anything other than a bike or C2 Rower. If you can't concretely measure your intensity then you have no means of progress. If you are using other methods such as Front Squats or Squat + Press etc. then there are better methods out there id say.

for example research has shown that Goal-based intervals illicit better effort out puts than Time-based. So if you are using Squats then go for something like 16 reps then 20s break etc. Or do breathing pyramids/ladders or something similar. Tabata is semi-specific and hard to replicate in it's optimal fashion without bikes or C2's.