The Front Squat Tabata

I have signed myself up to compete in the Danish Crossfit Open, which is being held on the 23 of this month. Therefore I have not been super active writing blog-posts, as work and training has claimed almost all of my time. But I am still getting lots of ideas, as to what I could write about, both thoughts, tips and advices. So this lapse in updates, is in no way a sign of me signing off.

Today I will give a few tips on one of the best HIIT exercises available. My guess is that most people have heard of Tabata in one way or the other. If not I will give a very short summary.

The basics

The Tabata protocol is a product of Professor Izumi Tabata’s research. He put some Olympic Speedskaters on a training protocol consisting of something as simple as 4 minutes workout(3min 50sec) 4 times a week, and as wikipedia explains it:

 …obtained gains similar to a group of athletes who did steady state (70% VO2max) training 5 times per week. The steady state group had a higher VO2max at the end (from 52 to 57 ml/kg/min), but the Tabata group had started lower and gained more overall (from 48 to 55 ml/kg/min). Also, only the Tabata group had gained anaerobic capacity benefits.

The 4 minute workout consists of 8×20 sec. absolutely all-out work intervals, and 8×10 sec. rest. So 20 sec. work 10 sec. rest for 8 rounds and a total of 4 minutes.

How to implement

The key to unlocking the full potential of this protocol, is selecting either one or a selection of exercises that enable you to go absolutely all-out. I have seen lots of really stupid Tabata workouts, where people use it with exercises that does not activate enough muscles, or are to technical to reap the full benefits. You should NOT be able to do anything once you are finished. If you can do two Tabata’s in a row, then the first just was not hard enough.

The Front Squat Tabata

One of the best ways to implement the Tabata protocol is doing frontsquats. I have done them freestanding with some success, but actually this is a exercise, where you can get good results, from using the hated smith machine. Doing them in the smith, enables you to rack and unrack much quicker and not worry about balance or anything else.

Before starting I would recommend that you test a few times, to find the optimal stance for your feet. You will most likely feel like you lean a bit backwards, when fully extended at the top, but this makes the bottom position much better. Experiment, and once you have found the optimal stance, then make some marks on the floor, in order for you to quickly reposition your feet if you, during the sets, have to move them to catch your breath and relieve some uncomfort – which I suspect will be needed.

How much weight you should put on of course totally depends on your strength. I would aim for something that gives around 15-17 reps, on the first 20 sec round.

Then this is basicly it. I would recommend using a timer-app of some kind, that beeps for every rest- and work-set. But of course it is possible to do this, by only looking at a watch.

I will later share a few other good ways to implement the Tabata protocol, but this is by my opinion the absolute best.

Have fun – atleast afterwards, they are no fun doing – but they will give you a cardiovascular hit like no other. Implement them on a regular basis and be prepared to see the fat peel of and your overall fitness level skyrocket.

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