Thursday, 29 September 2011

Tabata Protocol

I recently received some great news; a photo-shoot has come about in Southampton in about 15 days time. I’m really excited about it and now seems a good a time as any to post some of the training methods I use to achieve that lean, ripped look many desire.
I don’t do cardio. Yes, I refuse to become one of those hamsters on the treadmills. By cardio I mean that boring, mundane work you do in the gym on the treadmills and bikes etc. Instead I use alternatives such as battling rope drills, agility work, prowler sprints and sled drags. To me it’s much more exciting, functional, challenging and its nice to get out of the gym and into a different environment.  There really is nothing like the feeling of being outside working out with your heart racing and the sun beating down on your back.
Due to the way I eat and train I keep my body fat around 8-10% all year round,  I’ve gone off this ‘on season-off season’ type routine where you’d be in shape for a few months then turn into Mr Blobby for the remainder of the year. Keeping in relatively good shape all year round is perfect because if any photo-shoots come about I can just make a few tweaks to my training and diet over the last two weeks and be ready.
The Tabata protocol is a research proven interval training method, the brain child of Professor Izumi Tabata. It consists of 20 seconds of all out high intensity work followed by a 10 second rest period, and then repeat this pattern for a total of 4 minutes (or 8 rounds). You would then rest for 60-90 seconds and repeat the entire pattern 3-5 times for a total of 12-20 minutes. It doesn’t sound much, but if you really push the intensity during the 20 second work periods like your supposed to, it will kill you! It’s something that I’m going to be adding into my training 1-2 mornings a week in conjunction with my 4 strength training workouts.   
I normally pick two different exercises that I alternate between. This is to prevent the fatigue on one exercise kicking in to quickly. It also means that you can change up your workouts each time, preventing boredom. Here are some of my favourite exercises:
·         Battling rope drills
·         Ketllebell swings
·         Jump squats
·         Mountain climbers
·         Sledge hammer tyre strikes
·         Skipping
·         Medicine ball slams
·         Punch bag
There are hundreds more, but those are just some of my favourites. For todays session I picked:
A. Battling rope drills
B. kettlebell jump squats

Written down, the workout would look like this:
20 seconds – battling rope drills
10 seconds rest
20 seconds – kettlebell jump squats
10 seconds rest
20 seconds – battling rope drills
10 seconds rest
20 seconds – kettlebell jump squats
10 seconds rest
20 seconds – battling rope drills
10 seconds rest
20 seconds – kettlebell jump squats
10 seconds rest
20 seconds – battling rope drills
10 seconds rest
20 seconds – kettlebell jump squats
10 seconds rest
(Rest 60-90 seconds then repeat)

I then repeated that pattern 3 times for a total of 12 minutes. After that I was a trembling, sweating, fatigued mess on the floor. But remember those painful 12 minutes equal a lifetime of pride!...