Tabata workouts can and probably should be incorporated into a bodybuilding training plan, especially for the core. It's not so much a workout in itself but a style of training.
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High intensity interval training is not new to the fitness and bodybuilding world, and neither is it to this site. That's exactly what a Tabata workout brings, a mixture of high intensity interval training, usually stretching, aerobics, core or mobility work combined with strength, with short bursts of rest.
Usually 20 seconds on and 10 seconds rest if you want to work it hard. If you want to really push it turn it into a giant set. If you think 40 seconds of work isn't hard, try that for 40-80 seconds of hard isometric holds, moving from one exercise to another, over 4-6 sets .
You'll be screaming for the end.
Plus you can be finished a brutal workout in 10 minutes.
I like to use Tabata style workouts when working the core. As i have long since stepped away from crunches and sit ups after being plaqued by back problems, I need an exercise that is great for toughening up the core and stabilizing the spine.
That's exactly what shoulder taps provide. I hold them for 20 secs and then rest for 10 seconds before moving on to the next exercise, it could be an isometric plank hold, or a side plank hold for instance, and i would hold this for 20 seconds and take 10 rest.
Here's what shoulder taps look like, you see lots of boxers and MMA guys do them, but they are getting really popular in gyms everywhere, with PT's springing them on their clients.
You can use the tabata style of training in just about any weights or aerobic circuit, by applying the timing principle. Or you can do it with traditional tabata style exercises like kettlebell swings, lunges, rowing, sprinting, the horrendous burpee and push-ups.
You can combine it with any series of exercise that offer fast or intense contractions of the muscle fibers for a few seconds, at a high rate of speed. Think isometric planks, plank holds, shoulder taps, modified push-up holds.
Over a few workouts your body adapts to the physical stress by generating extra amounts of cellular energy (also known as free-energy) in order to counter the stress. This extra cellular energy is usually stored in the muscles as additional potential energy. The extra cellular energy is released when the muscles are fully contracted, at full potential, for a short period of time.
Tabata workouts require a high degree of discipline and attention to detail. You need to have the right mindset for such an intense workout. It's not for everyone. Anyone who is overweight or suffers from chronic back pain, should wait until the condition is stabilized before introducing high intensity interval training. You can start at a lower pace and ramp it up when you feel safe to do so. Choose more of a low intensity approach.
Tabata workouts can be performed as stand-alone exercises, using only your legs. Or, they can be performed with another workout such as the rowing machine, elliptical trainer, or treadmill. Some machines, such as the rowing machine, allow you to perform a traditional Tabata style workout without the use of your legs at all.
This is called a mini-Tabata workout. You may even find that you can perform a traditional Tabata style workout while lying down, on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
The great thing about interval type training (Tabata style) is that it can be done just about anywhere. If you are at home, you can set up your Tabata workout and perform it at the kitchen table while drinking a cup of coffee.
If you are on the road, no need to get dressed and set up your workout gym as you will simply need to bring along a notebook and pen to jot down your exercise regimen. Then just keep that notebook with you as you go from place to place, and you will never forget your workout plan.
With high intensity workouts, you will rapidly build up both your endurance and your strength levels. The increased cardiovascular efficiency will help you burn more calories and lose weight quickly. Along with the increased muscle mass, you will also begin to feel more energetic and strong during your Tabata routines.
As your muscle cells regenerate, your entire circulatory system will become more efficient, allowing your body to burn more fat. By performing high intensity intervals of Tabata training, your body will become leaner and toned, and your metabolism will even increase, resulting in even more fat burning.
If you want to increase your progress try to vary your breaks between ten and fifteen seconds. This will help you maintain intensity levels throughout your entire routine. Also, try to increase the distance and speed of your intervals; however, keep in mind that there should be enough rest so you perform the routine with good form to avoid any injuries.