Next up in my Favorite Fifteen are some modified Tabatas. You may be familiar with the Tabata protocol. One Tabata comprises eight 30-second rounds (four minutes total). Each round includes 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. So if you were to do Tabata pushups, you’d do 20 seconds of pushups, rest 10 seconds, 20 seconds of pushups, rest 10 seconds, and so on until the four minutes are up. Then you can move on to whatever you’ve planned to do next (e.g., squats, pull-ups, etc.).
Generally speaking, this sort of interval training is fantastic for developing stamina and for exhausting the muscles. But I like to keep things interesting and stay as fresh as possible; I find that I can net more work doing that. So I like to do what I call a Tabata Tandem (or even a Tabata Trio). That duo represents No’s 7a and 7b in my Favorite Fifteen. Read on for more.
Option 1 – The Tabata Tandem: 8 rounds of the following (8 minutes total): 20 seconds of pushups 10 seconds’ rest 20 seconds of squats 10 seconds’ rest
Option 2 – The Tabata Trio: 8 rounds of the following (12 minutes total): 20 seconds of pushups 10 seconds’ rest 20 seconds of squats 10 seconds’ rest 20 seconds of kettlebell swings (medium weight) 10 seconds’ rest
How I Do It
I go all out. I actually try to work nonstop for the full 20 seconds. That is the idea, but it’s tougher in later rounds.
This is a gasser. The Tabata is a interval training and demanding on the heart, but that’s good. In life, you more commonly have to go hard for short bursts than you have to go easy or medium for an hour. But while you’re getting stronger, don’t be afraid to pace yourself. For instance, if you’re trying this out for the first time, you may face failure on the pushups at 8 reps on round 5 when you could do 15 reps on rounds 1-3. That’s okay. My suggestion is to then shoot for 12 reps every round. You will end up doing more pushups overall that way.
Notice too, that this is basically a superset. Most of the pushups muscles are resting while the squats muscles are working. That’s intentional. You can change up the movements, but use some common sense: I would NOT suggest doing a Tabata tandem of squats and jump squats for 8 minutes. Or basic pushups and clapping pushups and pull-ups for 12 minutes. That’s nuts.
Some other suggestions for Tabata pairings might be…
pull-ups/squats jump squats/pushups split squats/bent over rows (with DB’s or KB’s) other pushing/pulling movements or plank/squat movements
So, give it a shot and tell us what you think!