On the 8th day he…

So, I live in America, I have 4 jobs, 5 kids, 1 wife, and am an avid motorcyclist; time is quite literally always a factor.  I know so many of my clients talk to me about not having the “time” to work out.  I get it, I do, but I also know if that if I don’t get my personal workout on (and inversely if you don’t get yours) your goals will be nearly impossible to meet.  So what do you do when you only have a few minutes?  You have to do something, but spinning your wheels just feels like a waste of time.

Let me introduce you to a good friend of mine. Tabata.  Tabata is so good, I believe it was created on the 8th day, when the good Lord was well rested, and had a great idea…

Okay so blasphemy aside, Tabata was actually developed by a man named Izumi Tabata, and it is widely considered to be one of the most wildly effective fat-burning workouts, and supra-areobic workouts on the planet.  The best part of Tabata; it is that unlike so many other specific workouts (Spartan, Savage, P90X, Insanity, etc).  Tabata isn’t a follow along, or a set movement workout, its actually a timing protocol for HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), and as such can be modified to be WHATEVER you need it to be, while never losing its core affectivity.  So let me break it down barney style:

Tabata works like this, 8 rounds of 20 seconds of HIGH intensity and 10 seconds of rest (4 minutes) Then rest for 1 minute (5 minutes)… repeated 4 times.  (YAAY 20 minutes).  Its that simple.  Truly.  Don’t complicate it.

But Kirk, that doesn’t tell me what I need to do?!

You’re right.  Do anything.  As long as its HARD.  As long as it SUCKS. As long as at the end of 20 seconds you NEED the 10 seconds to make the room stop spinning… then do anything you want.

00:20 – Pushups (FAST)
00:10 – rest
00:20 – Mountain climbers
00:10 – rest
00:20 – Burpees
00:10 – rest
00:20 – Pull-ups (if you can do 20 seconds of pull ups)
00:10 – rest
00:20 – squats (weighted or free standing – but FAST)
00:10 – rest
00:20 – modified barbell squat thruster (personal favorite for beginners)
00:10 – rest
00:20 – Supermans
00:10 – rest
00:20 – dumbell snatch
00:10 – rest.

Now, thats 4 minutes.  You COULD do the one I just laid out, but it would takes a fair amount of equipment and you’d have to hustle during your rest periods to set up the next round.  Which is great, but not for a beginner.  These are just examples of things that can be done.  But really ANYthing can be done, as long as its FAST.  HIGH INTENSITY.

Now, things to understand about the way I teach Tabata.  Tabata is about TIME not reps.  If you are doing pushups, and and 12 seconds you think you might die, or are stalling out mid rep.  It is WAAY better to drop to your knees and keep the speed and intensity up, rather than try to get one more good clean rep.  In this protocol, no one is counting reps, just that you KEPT WORKING for 20 seconds.

If you are doing kettlebell swings, or dumbbell snatches, or ANYTHING weighted, have the next weight down standing by, ready to grab if you need.  KEEP WORKING.  Make everything hurt.

So, Tabata can be SUPER simple.  Any single exercise done for all 20 minutes (or if you can’t handle that, just for 4 min, or 8).  Nothing wrong with starting at a half set if thats all you have.  Or 4 different exercises done for 4 min each.  Or, 4 min of abs, 4 min of legs, 4 min of back, 4 min of chest.  Its open format, it can work on ANYTHING you are woking on.  But the time protocol, the intensity will do things to your metabolic system that are just plain awesome.

Do a FULL 20 min Tabata 3 times a week, and you’ll be well on your way.  Or, if that is a little more intensity than you have, break it up.  Start your day off with 4 minutes, 4 more minutes at lunch, 4 more minutes before dinner.  Or something similar.

Let me help you set up a Tabata set perfect for you and your goals!


One Response to “On the 8th day he…”

  1. Kirk, I would love some recommendations. Because of cervicalgia/a facet injury I’m still pretty limited in what doctors allow me to do. I can’t do any jumping, running, heavy lifting, or anything that will jar my neck or head. What types of exercises would you recommend? I’ve mostly been walking on my treadmill with a steep incline, but would love some other suggestions because that is getting boring. Also finding it very hard to get to the gym with all kids home for the summer, and Kendall leaves for work about 5:35 in the morning (so no way am I going before he leaves), so things I could do at home would be best. Thanks!

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