Tabata Training... How to Run Like The Six Million Dollar Man

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hink you can't get an aerobic workout in 4 minutes?

Let Tabata Training show you how.

We Have The Technology... We Can Rebuild Him

One of my favorite TV shows growing up as a kid was The Six Million Dollar Man. The show starred Lee Majors as astronaut, Steve Austin, and in the opening sequence the viewer gets to see Mr. Austin's test-crash along with some nifty bionic surgery (our severely injured hero loses an arm; an eye; and both of his legs).

But there is good news.

Despite the gloomy beginning, the scientists in the lab-coats are able to rebuild him! This rebuild means our hero can now see amazing distances with his bionic eye; can lift car engines with his bionic arm; and can sprint as fast as a speeding locomotive with his bionic legs.


However there was ALWAYS this part in the show that invariably made me grin... it was the part where Steve ran in slow-motion to The Six Million Dollar Man theme tune. THIS part of the show was TV gold, and the memory - despite the passage of time - has refused to fade...

This TV sequence ALSO reminds me how it felt the first time I attempted Tabata training, and why - on beginning my final sprint repetition - I found myself running in slow-motion while humming the theme tune!

Photo courtesy of Hiro Sheridan

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Tabata Intervals Training

There is an old proverb which says 'good things come in small packages'. For a clear illustration of this truth, we need look no further than the following Tabata training benefits:

  • TIME-friendly
  • Increase AEROBIC endurance
  • Build ANAEROBIC tolerance
  • Boost METABOLISM - reduce fat!

But if this style of training is so efficient in delivering on its aerobic promise, why do so few people practice it?

The answer to this question lies in the training protocol's intensity.

Tabata Training Explained

Tabata training is a way of exercising the aerobic system in the briefest, most time-efficient manner possible. Indeed, when compared to the traditional method of aerobic training - a few hours per week spent pounding your gymnasium treadmill - this protocol delivers comparable gains in seconds...

To illustrate:

A typical Tabata Routine lasts 4 minutes.

That's 120 seconds compared to a treadmill session of half-an-hour!

For Tabata training origins, see View Abstract At

How Tabata Intervals Work

So just how do these intervals work their magic? These unique intervals work by training both the aerobic and anaerobic systems TOGETHER. This is achieved by enlisting adequate high-intensity intermittent training (intervals).

These high-intensity training intervals can be performed by sprinting, or rowing, or cycling (see routine below). However, what is KEY is the intervals' INTENSITY...

The required stimuli and resultant gains are ONLY achieved by following the regimen closely. Any less than a high-intensity effort WILL NOT WORK and will yield inferior results.

This high-intensity effort explains why, on your final sprint repetition, you feel like you are running in slow motion ;-)

Your Tabata Routine

For safety purposes, your Tabata routine should be performed by sprinting, or rowing, or cycling.

While some Tabata proponents encourage the use of free weights for the training of these intervals, there is a clear element of danger should you tire or fatigue; since poor exercise form leads to injury - or worse - please exercise caution along with your muscles!

A typical Tabata Workout consists of 20 seconds of high-intensity exercise bursts followed by 10 seconds of rest. This cycle is repeated 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. Although Dr. Tabata used a mechanically braked ergometer in his testing, this protocol works just as well when rowing, or cycling, or sprinting...

Tabata Workout

  • 20 seconds sprint
  • 10 seconds recovery
  • Repeat x 8

Hmm... it looks so easy, doesn't it?

However, those who have TRIED this aerobic regimen understand the reality is VERY different.

    Important: Tabata Intervals, when practiced CORRECTLY, deliver an INTENSE training experience. NOT for the faint-hearted, this regimen demands TOTAL EFFORT. Because of this, such a protocol should be approached with RESPECT and CARE.

    Do NOT let the program's brevity fool you into believing exercising this way is easy. Indeed, the opposite holds true, which means this regimen should ONLY be trained INFREQUENTLY due to the protocol's severity!

In Summary

Think you can't get an aerobic workout in 4 minutes?

Let Tabata training show you how.

Tell a Friend

Tabata Training to List of Aerobic Activities

Tabata Training to Muscle Building

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