TURBO TABATA



Borrowing the 4-minute protocol from Professor Izumi Tabata’s study, Turbo Tabata creates a very intense, yet easy-to-teach class or session format, as Greg Sellar explains.

Whether or not it is Tabata in its truest form, Turbo Tabata creates a very intense, yet easy-to-teach class or session format. The content and delivery style ensure that it can be taught one-on-one, as a small group PT session, or in the studio. It can be modified for all fitness levels, requires no music experience and allows people to do the movement within the timeframes to the best of their ability. It’s a complete win-win scenario and is bang on-trend.

Background to Tabata

An early version of HIIT was based on a 1996 study by Professor Izumi Tabata et al, initially involving Olympic speed-skaters, using 20 seconds of ultra-intense exercise (at an intensity of about 170 per cent of VO2max) followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated continuously for four minutes (eight cycles).

The exercise was performed on a mechanically braked cycle ergometer. Tabata called this the IE1 protocol. In the original study, athletes using this method trained four times per week, plus another day of steady-state training, and obtained gains similar to a group of athletes who did steady state (70 per cent VO2max) training five times per week. The steady state group had a higher VO2max at the end (from 52 to 57 ml/kg/min), but the Tabata group had started lower and gained more overall (from 48 to 55 ml/kg/min). Additionally, only the Tabata group gained anaerobic capacity benefits.

Using the Tabata protocol for fitness

We need to be clear that Turbo Tabata only borrows the name and the 4-minute protocol from Professor Tabata’s IE1 protocol. Let’s not kid ourselves: for as high intensity as we might be able to make our 4-minute intervals, there’s no way we can work at 170 per cent of VO2 max in small group training or group exercise classes. It needs to be hard – but it’ll never be that hard. Also, if we can keep doing it for an hour, it’s not truly Tabata. So, as with most things in fitness, we’re changing the rules and making them suit our circumstances, but we need to be clear that what we’re doing is more ‘modified Tabata’ than anything else.

To get a taste of a Turbo Tabata workout, here are three sample complexes taken from a total of 10 used in each session.

COMPLEX 1: The beginning of the end (mobilisation)

Time Exercise Reps Notes

30 secs

Sit back (4) + hand walk fwd (4) + spinal extension (4) + hand walk bwd (4)

4

Start low on all fours walking fwd with knees staying off the ground

30 secs

Prone spinal rotations

4

Shoulders remain on the floor

30 secs

Half push up + shoulder retractions x 2 (4) + lower down (4)

2

Push from the ground up and keep the arms straight on the retractions

30 secs

Hip rotations x 4 + glute activation x 4

1R/1L

Make the circles as large as possible, opening up the hip joint, and isolate the glute to fire before the first Tabata

 

Repeat sequence x 3

 

 


After a couple more complexes it’s time to focus on the trusty dumbbells:

COMPLEX 4: Smart dumbbells (3D planes of motion)

Tabata Exercise Equipment Notes

1

Sagittal running man R

Dumbbells

Split stance R leg fwd; run the arms front-to-back

2

Sagittal fwd/bwd hops R

Dumbbells

Take one dumbbell overhead; small hops fwd/bwd R leg; move the dumbbell bwd/fwd opposite to the legs

3

Frontal driver R

Dumbbells

Step laterally to the R and return; take the dumbbell in the R hand cross-body and open it up from low to high as you step wide

4

Transverse cross-body driver

Dumbbells

Hold one dumbbell by the ends at chest height; twist the feet and push the dumbbell in the opposite direction

5

Repeat sequence 1-4 other side (L)

 

 


By the time we reach the penultimate complex, it’s all about you:

COMPLEX 9: Me, myself & I (bodyweight)

Tabata Exercise Equipment Notes

1

Jump thrus

N/A

From a low quad position, thread one leg out to 90° through the gap created; jump through to the other side

2

Donkey kicks

N/A

From a low quad position, kick the legs up as close as possible to the vertical position and return

3

Repeat sequence 3-8

 

 


If you're feeling exhausted just looking at these three complexes, watch Greg perform the full session's worth of Turbo Tabata complexes in the video above.


Greg Sellar
Greg is a Nike Master Trainer and recipient of the International Presenter of the Year Award from the International Fitness Showcase. He has instructor training and presenting experience in over 40 countries and is a member of the Global BOSU Development Team. He also works as a program developer for Total Gym and fitness fx and Master Trainer for brands including ShockWave, Fitness Industry Education and Physical Company.

Experience Greg’s in-depth fitness know-how and his intense dedication to getting results at FILEX 2014, where he’ll be presenting:

  • Athletic step training • A2Q
  • ShockWave - the most efficient total body workout in the world (team teach) • B2M
  • BOSU® double up, double down (with Julz Arney) • B3N
  • On the minute: training against the clock • B5H
  • BOSU® 3D XTREME (with Julz Arney & Amy Dixon) • C2N

For more information on Greg’s sessions check out www.filex.com.au where you can also register for the convention or the all-inclusive Gold Pass packages that include access to the essential PT Business or Business summits and breakfast events.