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Kris Crowley 07-09-2005 05:08 PM

I read "tabata" this and "tabata" that a lot, but I have NO idea what the heck that is.

I'm not savvy enough to do a search thing, yet, so any help I can get from y'all would be very helpful.



David Wood 07-09-2005 05:43 PM

Uh, Kris?

Seriously, the "search thing" is pretty easy . . . click on the link called "search" at the top of the page. Put in text string you want to learn more about. Read the results.

The search funcion at the top of this page will search only the message boards. There's also a Google-powered search function on the home page of CrossFit that will search ALL of CrossFit (including the WODs, and the comments on them).

But, I agree, if you just put "Tabata" into either of those, you'd get so many references you'd likely be a bit overwhelmed.

So, briefly: the "Tabata" protocol is simply a prescription of an exercise sequence; specifically 20 seconds of work + 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times. The 20 seconds of work should be done as furiously, all out effort as possible . . . MAX effort, every time. You should be as close to exhaustion as possible at the end.

You can apply the Tabata protocol to (almost) any movement, although some work better than others. (Generally, big movements with lots of muscle mass involved work best.) Squats work great, so do thrusters. Squat thrusts work OK, although they don't seem to work that well for me. Rowing intervals on the C2 work great.

Tabatas are named after a Japanese exercise physiologist who studied different exercise work/rest intervals and concluded that this sequence (20 on / 10 off) was just about the most effective. He originally applied it to the Japanese Olympic speed skaters.

You can read more in lots of various threads, including this one:


The post by Jon Barba is particularly illuminating . .

Stephen Solano 07-09-2005 07:06 PM


David is right, you can almost any topic to think of regarding fitness (and more) and you'll find very interesting information. Just have to read through the threads. The people here have helped me a lot with their post. They have links to sites that I didn't know existed.

My wife thinks Tabata is over-working one day and being sore the next...

Good luck, Stephen.

Hone Watson 07-10-2005 07:08 PM

One critical aspect of the tabata protocol that is often overlooked is the importance of gradual increased intensity.

In the original experiments it was not specifically 8 repeats. It was between 6 - 9 repeats.

The athletes being tested, had the stationary biked they used set at an intensity level that only allowed them to complete between 6 - 9. When they could consistantly complete 9, the resistance of the bike was increased so that they could only complete 6 minimum.

And then they went through this pattern again. So they were able to have consistant gradual increases in intensity.

Jim Butts 07-13-2005 08:32 AM


Don't forget Lynne Pitts' Official CrossFit FAQ, at the top of the list of 'Friends of Crossfit' on the right hand column of the main page. Absolutely FULL of useful information for beginners, including, second only to 'What's the WOD?', 'What's a Tabata?'. Happy hunting and, in the case of tabatas, happy hurtin'!

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