When creating a spin class profile there is nothing like adding in a set or two of Tabata's style drills to ramp up the energy and the overall sweat potential! A real tabata is an interval based workout that is just 20 seconds all out work (max Watt's, over clock VO2) where you would be pushing your "hardest" effort - followed by 10 seconds of recovery, repeated 8 times. If executed at this level you would work so hard that at the end of just 4 minutes you are wiped. Literally not able to continue. DONE.
The purpose and result of academic research was these 20 sec on/10 sec off workout parameters in speed skating increased aerobic capacity and anaerobic capacity simultaneously. As such it is often used a the "get fit quick" protocol. But please be careful with Tabatas because the fitness industry has a way of distorting solid protocols such as this one. It is hard to avoid the Tabata phenomena as it has held a place in nearly every "fitness" magazine recently.
What is rarely ever discussed in these articles is the true science behind the original protocol. Namely, athletes performing at up to 170% of VO2 max! I don't know many people capable of producing that effort even one time! People are confusing Tabata timing with Tabata effort. Two very different things. So lets keep it real!
The bottom line is that "true" tabata's are not realistic nor desirable in a full 45~60 min spin class riding profile. That is why I run what I call "modified" Tabata's in my riding profile that stay true to the 20 sec on -10 sec rest protocol - but with the effort levels dialled back. We stay true to very hard intervals for all 8 twenty seconds "all outs" with 10 seconds of stopping in between each one.
Personally, I tend to get my Rider to do modified power Tabatas with a heavier resistance (between 70-85% of their max using RPE scale) going all out at fast RPM (>90 RPM). I cue them to push through the uncomfortable feelings that should be felt in that 20 seconds burst. But we are not going anywhere near the incredibly uncomfortable feeling a true Tabata would elicit. We never do an entire class of Tabata and if I choose to do a harder one it will be towards the end.
Instructors and fans – have you ever heard a song and just said WOW – that’s an 4 minute tabata drill for my next workout or class! Below are the tune ideas you need that will blow you Riders away. Almost all are 4 min exactly for our purposes. Breath it in and out – 20/10 – which means intensity, speed and a willingness to push the edges 20 sec at a time for 8 big pushes. This is one of those killer Tabata duels of you vs machine! Those legs and lungs will burn – 20 sec at a time. I love Tabata's = instant classic in class .
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