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Old 08-30-2007, 09:17 AM   #1
Gant Grimes
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12 week Tabata project

Iím going to spend the next 12 weeks doing a little Tabata experiment. I wonít call it research because Tabataís already done that, Iím not taking physiological measurements, thereís no control, and Iím not an elite athlete. That said, Iím going into it with the expectation that it will improve my scores in relevant benchmark tests and have a positive effect on my overall performance.

Construction: Pullups, pushups and squats following the original Tabata protocol (20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, until the intervals are complete. In this case, I am using SIX rounds.

I plan to do these every Wednesday (following a run-centric workout on Tuesday). These are done ďall-out.Ē I will start each round and go until I burn out, pass out, or run out of time. Every fourth Wednesday I will do Cindy instead of the Tabata workout.

Measurements: I am recording the numbers for each round. I am also charting the total, high, low, delta (high-low), average, and standard deviation. I will chart and graph these each week.

Assumptions and reasoning: Tabata intervals are best performed with bodyweight movements that can be executed at high speed. Iím using six rounds because many of the subjects in Tabataís research could not even complete the seventh round. Given the measurements Iím taking, I think six rounds will give me more meaningful statistics. I also picked exercises that I can do for the prescribed time period.

Benchmarking: Iím going to do Cindy in place of the intervals every fourth week. I will do three of these cycles for a total of 12 weeks. I believe Cindy is a good benchmark for this exercise because it uses the component movements and it tests speed and muscular endurance (not to mention the lactate threshold). Angie could be used as well, but I'm not doing situps for speed since the 150 GHD situp disaster a few weeks ago.

Expectations: Obviously I expect all the raw numbers (reps per round, total, high, low) to improve, which will also increase the average. Improvements in the high number represent an increase in speed, while improvements in the low number represent an increase in muscular endurance.
I donít know whether the difference between the high and low numbers will improve (shrink) or not. Ideally, the standard deviation would shrink and there would be more of a linear (vs. exponential) decline, meaning I could do the same work from beginning to end. However, I think the Tabata protocol will stick it to me and my work will decline regardless.

Tabata intervals are supposed to increase speed and endurance, so I expect my Cindy scores to improve even though I donít do the volume in Tabatas that I do in Cindy. Iím also curious to see what my Tabata scores are the week after doing Cindy.

Beginning stats: M/5í10/205/32 (33 by the time this is over)
Started CrossFit late 2/2007 after 7 year layoff from weight training
Cindy:
070821: 19 + 5 pullups
070812: *14 + pulls/push + 1 squat [20 pound vest]
070720: 17 + 5 pullups
070318: 13 (half of the pull-ups done w/resistance band)
Angie
070402: 23:25

Again, this is UN-scientific, but thereís been enough talk about Tabata intervals lately to merit a little self-study. Iíll update once a week.
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Old 08-30-2007, 09:26 AM   #2
Gant Grimes
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Re: 12 week Tabata project

Week 1 070829

PULLUPS

Round Number
1 14
2 12
3 8
4 7
5 6
6 7

Total 54
Avg 9.00
High 14
Low 6
Diff 8
SD 3.22


Notes:
Pullups are overhand kipping pullups with chin fully over the bar.
wk 1: pullups felt the same after round 3. The increase from rd 5 to rd 6 was due to timing more than exhaustion. The last two rounds didn't hurt as bad as rds 3 and 4.

*****

PUSHUPS

Round Number
1 21
2 15
3 9
4 7
5 5
6 5

Total 62
Avg 10.33
High 21
Low 5
Diff 16
SD 6.41

Notes:
Pushups are done with perfect form (elbow at 90), chest to floor. Pushups are counted from bottom to bottom. Rest is done on the floor.
wk 1: substantial tricep cramping by round 3. Starting at round 3, pushups were all singles after the 10 second mark.

*****

SQUATS

Round Number
1 19
2 15
3 13
4 11
5 12
6 12

Total 82
Avg 13.67
High 19
Low 11
Diff 8
SD 2.94

Notes:
Squats are done on a medicine ball, bottom to bottom. Rest periods are in the down position on the medicine ball.
wk 1: legs cramped in round 3. Narrowed stance slightly and turned ankles in helped with cramping. The last two rounds didn't hurt as bad as rds 3 and 4.

*****

Graphs
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:50 AM   #3
Ben Kaminski
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Re: 12 week Tabata project

Nice idea, it will be interesting to see your results over time.
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Old 08-31-2007, 12:51 AM   #4
Jason Lopez-Ota
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Re: 12 week Tabata project

Great idea! I have a suggestion. I think you should test your max pullups, pushups, and squats. Checking out the difference in those would be good so you could recommend this program to people that want to increase their reps in BW exercises using this program.
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Old 08-31-2007, 06:51 AM   #5
Gant Grimes
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Re: 12 week Tabata project

Good point, Jason. I'll test those today.
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Old 09-04-2007, 10:17 AM   #6
Mike Peiman
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Re: 12 week Tabata project

Great project, I'm very interested to watch your results. Testing for max reps is an excellent addition.

I'm inclined to formulate a similar structure as I've been thinking of putting together a sport conditioning regimen specific to snowboarding, being a long-time rider and instructor. Only 10 or 11 weeks until Whistler opens!
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Old 09-05-2007, 07:28 AM   #7
Gant Grimes
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Re: 12 week Tabata project

from 700901

Max
pullups: 21
pushups: 37 in 60 seconds
squats: 61 in 90 seconds

I did these last Friday. I was still sore from the Wednesday Tabata work, even after a rest day. I don't know what PT standards are, so I cut it off to keep the measure meaningful (i.e. I could've done another minute of pushups, doing 1 every 5 seconds, but that wouldn't have given me better information).
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Old 09-05-2007, 07:38 AM   #8
Gant Grimes
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Re: 12 week Tabata project

Week 2

PULLUPS

70829 70905
Wk 1 Wk 2
Round
1 14 15
2 12 13
3 8 8
4 7 8
5 6 7
6 7 7

Total 54 58
Avg 9.00 9.67
High 14 15
Low 6 7
Diff 8 8
SD 3.22 3.44


Notes:
Pullups are overhand kipping pullups with chin fully over the bar.
wk 1: pullups felt the same after round 3. The increase from rd 5 to rd 6 was due to timing more than exhaustion. The last two rounds didn't hurt as bad as rds 3 and 4.
wk 2: 6 am workout was early, especially after noon "Nancy" the previous day. Made a .67 rep improvement from top to bottom, which simply moves the entire graph up.

***

PUSHUPS

70829 70905
Wk 1 Wk 2
Round
1 21 24
2 15 19
3 9 11
4 7 9
5 5 8
6 5 8

Total 62 79
Avg 10.33 13.17
High 21 24
Low 5 8
Diff 16 16
SD 6.41 6.74

Notes:
Pushups are done with perfect form (elbow at 90), chest to floor. Pushups are counted from bottom to bottom. Rest is done on the floor.
wk 1: substantial tricep cramping by round 3. Starting at round 3, pushups were all singles after the 10 second mark.
wk 2: 6 am workout was early, especially after noon "Nancy" the previous day. Improved by almost 3 reps per round.
Graphically, the improvement looked the same as pullups. Soreness/cramping set in on third round.

***

SQUATS

70829 70905
Wk 1 Wk 2
Round
1 19 19
2 15 15
3 13 14
4 11 13
5 12 13
6 12 13

Total 82 87
Avg 13.67 14.50
High 19 19
Low 11 13
Diff 8 6
SD 2.94 2.35

Notes:
Squats are done on a medicine ball, bottom to bottom. Rest periods are in the down position on the medicine ball.
wk 1: legs cramped in round 3. Narrowed stance slightly and turned ankles in helped with cramping. The last two rounds didn't hurt as bad as rds 3 and 4.
wk 2: 6 am workout was early, and I didn't stretch out that much. My legs hurt like hell from "Nancy" yesterday, and cramping might have been a factor.
Graphically, this played out like I initially predicted, although I would've liked to have squeezed out a couple more reps early on.

***

GRAPHS
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Old 09-14-2007, 08:01 AM   #9
Gant Grimes
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Re: 12 week Tabata project

WEEK 3

Three weeks into the project, I've completed one-third of the Tabata work (every fourth week is a test--Cindy). The data is obviously incomplete, but the early returns show some interesting trends. I'll discuss each exercise, starting with the graph (the best illustration for this type of work), and then touch on the statistics.

Pullups: First off, the 3rd week is incomplete. I went into it nursing a couple ripped calluses from the pullup/deadlift workout. I made it through the first two rounds before ripping a dime-sized chunk out of my right hand. I taped it up and restarted four minutes later. Surprisingly, I got the same score for my first round (16) as I did four minutes ago. This suggests that one can make an almost complete recovery (regarding ability to hit your high number) after doing only two Tabata rounds. There's no way in hell I could've hit the high number after six rounds, no matter how much I rested. This reinforces the concept that you must perform all rounds to get the benefit.

Graphically, it's almost the same for three weeks, an initial linear decline that smooths into a the low number. The max number of pullups is limited by my kipping form. This probably isn't going to improve by more than 1-2 reps. I suspect that as my conditioning improves, the initial linear decline will be less drastic, and it will smooth into a higher low number. The total and average reps will go up, the standard deviation should decrease, the high number will stay roughly the same, and the low number should improve.

Pushups: This is exciting. There are three (almost) identical graphs that have simply shifted up the Y-axis. This means speed and endurance have increased at the same time. The last two rounds were the same (8) in week 3 as in week 2, and round 4 was close. This might be a baseline low number after reaching the lactate threshold; or it may be the result of greater volume in the early rounds. This bears watching.

Obviously, there is a physical limit to how fast one can do pushups, and I should be on pace to hit that in the next micro-cycle. Hopefully the graph will smooth out after that, similar to the pullups, rather than improve at the high end and taper into the same baseline.

Squats: This is the most interesting. I think the data suggests that I am close to my max squatting potential. There was little dropoff between the first and fourth round of squats. I wasn't very tired, either. There was a gradual taper in the last two rounds, and I had to take one break per round to shake the legs out.

This graph is approaching a straight line with a possible shift up 2-5 reps in the next few weeks.

***

This data shows that one can obviously make improvements within the protocol itself. I will test Cindy next week to see how it translates into functional improvement (assuming Cindy is a good measurement).

***

PULLUPS

070829 070905 070913
Wk 1 Wk 2 Wk3
Round
1 14 15 16
2 12 13 13
3 8 8 8
4 7 8 8
5 6 7 x
6 7 7 x

Total 54 58 45
Avg 9.00 9.67 11.25
High 14 15 16
Low 6 7 8
Diff 8 8 8
SD 3.22 3.44 3.95

Notes:
Pullups are overhand kipping pullups with chin fully over the bar.
wk 1: pullups felt the same after round 3. The increase from rd 5 to rd 6 was due to timing more than exhaustion. The last two rounds didn't hurt as bad as rds 3 and 4.
wk 2: 6 am workout was early, especially after noon "Nancy" the previous day. Made a .67 rep improvement from top to bottom, which simply moves the entire graph up.
wk 3: waited to do this one because of ripped calluses from Tuesday. Got through two rounds and ripped a huge one in my right hand
Rested about four minutes, changed my grip and started again. Got through four rounds and ripped one in my left hand. Hung it up after that.
***

PUSHUPS

070829 070905 070911
Wk 1 Wk 2 Wk3
Round
1 21 24 26
2 15 19 22
3 9 11 14
4 7 9 10
5 5 8 8
6 5 8 8

Total 62 79 88
Avg 10.33 13.17 14.67
High 21 24 26
Low 5 8 8
Diff 16 16 18
SD 6.41 6.74 7.66

Notes:
Pushups are done with perfect form (elbow at 90), chest to floor. Pushups are counted from bottom to bottom. Rest is done on the floor.
wk 1: substantial tricep cramping by round 3. Starting at round 3, pushups were all singles after the 10 second mark.
wk 2: 6 am workout was early, especially after noon "Nancy" the previous day. Improved by almost 3 reps per round.
Graphically, the improvement looked the same as pullups. Soreness/cramping set in on third round.
wk 3: did these on Tues night. Little interference from day before. Blew through first two rounds. Hit wall third round. Ground down
to standstill as in wks 1 and 2.

***

SQUATS

070829 070905 070911
Wk 1 Wk 2 Wk3
Round
1 19 19 21
2 15 15 20
3 13 14 20
4 11 13 19
5 12 13 16
6 12 13 15

Total 82 87 111
Avg 13.67 14.50 18.50
High 19 19 21
Low 11 13 15
Diff 8 6 6
SD 2.94 2.35 2.43

Notes:
Squats are done on a medicine ball, bottom to bottom. Rest periods are in the down position on the medicine ball.
wk 1: legs cramped in round 3. Narrowed stance slightly and turned ankles in helped with cramping. The last two rounds didn't hurt as bad as rds 3 and 4.
wk 2: 6 am workout was early, and I didn't stretch out that much. My legs hurt like hell from "Nancy" yesterday, and cramping might have been a factor.
Graphically, this played out like I initially predicted, although I would've liked to have squeezed out a couple more reps early on.
wk 3: did these on Tues. night. Interesting results. Wasn't particularly tired when I ran out of time. Little dropoff in first four rounds. Legs cramped
a little on rounds 5 and 6.

***

Graphs Attached
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Last edited by Gant Grimes : 09-14-2007 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 09-14-2007, 08:28 PM   #10
James R. Climer
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Re: 12 week Tabata project

I just read this for the first time tonight...
...very interesting.
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