A Tabata Approach To Kettlebells & Bodyweight Training (guest post by Arnav Sarkar)

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Stop reading this article right now, and go do a slow 60 minutes walk on the treadmill! Okay I was just joking, ha ha. However till a few years ago this is what seriously was done for cardio and recommended by most “experts”. Now, I have nothing against walking as such, but when someone says that it is best for building aerobic fitness and to lose fat, I will suggest that you S-P-R-I-N-T away from that person.

Can shorter cardio training give better results? You bet, it WILL! No longer are trainees around the world slaves to the cardio machines for hours. Nowadays trainees spend their time much more intelligently in the gym and enjoy more free time away from the gym too. You may have heard of the very popular HIIT for greater fat loss and conditioning. It enjoys great popularity and for a good reason too, i.e. it works!

Here is a very popular form of HIIT that is great, and is probably the shortest too. It is called Tabata protocol training. It was discovered by Dr. Izumi Tabata and his team of researchers in Tokyo, Japan in 1996. After just 6 weeks of testing, Dr. Tabata noted a 28% increase in anaerobic capacity in his subjects, along with a 14% increase in their ability to consume oxygen (V02Max). These results were witnessed in already physically fit athletes. Yes, you read it right, the improvement was noticed in already fit athletes, and not some fat guy who hadn’t moved his body in the last 10 years.

Here is how the Tabata system works. You do an exercise let’s say the push ups for 20 seconds doing as many as you can. You then take a 10 seconds rest and repeat again for a total of 8 rounds. That would come to a total of 4 minutes only. The key is however to do as many reps as you can and go at it fast. Doing it in a slow and controlled manner will not work, you need to push yourself the fastest that you can during the 20 seconds.

In the original study Dr. Tabata had used an exercycle for the training. You can however use any exercise that uses a lot of muscle groups and is dynamic in nature. That would mean exercises like push ups, swings are good, but exercises like arm curls, Turkish sit ups are not great for Tabata protocols.

So how about mixing kettlebells and bodyweight training for Tabata? If you do then you will curse yourself when you do it, but admire yourself with the results later on. So let me share some sample routines that you can try.

Do the Tabata routines at the end of your strength workouts for best results. I would suggest that do them no more than 2 days a week, you don’t want to be doing them too often. Just a word of caution though, do not attempt Tabata protocol training if you are a beginner. You will be better off building up your fitness levels and then trying such high intensity work to be able to give your best. It might be a good idea to start with 15 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest in the beginning and then go onto the standard 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest.

Try these two Tabata intervals:

Option 1:

Interval 1

Kettlebell swings with right hand

Push ups

Do the first exercise for 20 seconds and then rest 10 seconds and move to the second exercise. Go back and forth between the two exercises for 4 minutes

Interval 2

Kettlebell swings with left hand

Bodyweight squats

Do the first exercise for 20 seconds and then rest 10 seconds and move to the second exercise. Go back and forth between the two exercises for 4 minutes

Option 2:

Interval 1

Kettlebell jerks with left hand

Mountain climbers

Do the first exercise for 20 seconds and then rest 10 seconds and move to the second exercise. Go back and forth between the two exercises for 4 minutes

Interval 2

Kettlebell jerks with right hand

Double kettlebell rows

Do the first exercise for 20 seconds and then rest 10 seconds and move to the second exercise. Go back and forth between the two exercises for 4 minutes

Want to learn some more cool bodyweight exercises to try Tabata training? Then check out Sincere’s excellent bodyweight training DVD, The Ultimate Bodyweight Conditioning for Strength & Fat Loss workshop DVD.

Arnav is a strength and conditioning coach based in India. Be sure to get a copy of his FREE ebook “Get Fit & Strong“. Click on this link for more details-http://sarkartraining.org/home.php . Be sure to check out his informative free online magazine at http://sarkartraining.blogspot.com/ .