TABATA CARDIO: A DIFFERENT WAY TO FINISH A WORKOUT

I don’t know about you but I like to find a fun and challenging way to finish a workout, regardless of what muscle I’m training. Last week I was running short on time while training back but wanted to get my Tabata cardio in before moving on with my day. If you’re not familiar, Tabata training was made famous by Dr. Isuzu Tabata from Japan. He found taking challenging bodyweight exercises and performing them in High Intensity Interval Training fashion made for an intense cardio workout that improved conditioning in athletes. The protocol is performing the exercise for 20 seconds, resting for 10 seconds, and repeating that pattern for at least four minutes. Many trainers today will work to add different exercises and rounds to the workout for sessions that last 12, 16, and in some cases over 20 minutes.

Since I was short on time, I tried to finish my workout by performing straight arm pulldowns in Tabata fashion. I would finish my weight training and get my cardio in at the same time. The workout went like this.

  • Straight Arm Pulldowns for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds rest.
  • Straight Arm Pulldowns for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds rest.
  • Straight Arm Pulldowns for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds rest.
  • Straight Arm Pulldowns for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds rest.
  • Straight Arm Pulldowns for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds rest.
  • Straight Arm Pulldowns for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds rest.
  • Straight Arm Pulldowns for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds rest.
  • Straight Arm Pulldowns for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds rest.

Four minutes later I was tapped out. I started this by using 80 pounds on the stack and finished with 60 because I had to drop the pin a few times to keep proper form and cadence (I pulled in for one second, held the weight for a second, and lowered the weight at two seconds followed by a one second stretch before performing the next rep).

I was instantly hooked and found several ways to incorporate this plan into each of my workouts. Here are a few exercises I found that the Tabata Finisher works on. Just don’t set a goal of reps to perform. The goal is to do this in four minutes.

  • Back – Straight Arm Pulldowns, Seated Rows, Low Back Extension
  • Chest – Cable Crossovers, Machine Press, Pushups
  • Shoulders – Front Raise, Lateral Raise, Upright Rows
  • Biceps – Standing Dumbbell Curl, Lying Cable Curl, Machine Curls
  • Triceps – Dumbbell Kickbacks, Rope Pressdowns, Machine Dips
  • Abs – Crunches, Reverse Crunches, Standing Twist
  • Quads – Leg Press, Leg Extension
  • Hamstrings – Seated, Standing, or Lying Leg Curls
  • Calves – Any calf exercise. Can’t go wrong.

If you’re an advanced trainer, you can even consider doing this with each exercise in the workout. I would suggest working your way up to that point though. If you give this a shot, let me know how it works for you by commenting at the bottom of this page.

About the Author

roger rockridgeRoger “ROCK” Lockridge is a writer whose work has been seen all over the world. He is most known as a writer for Iron Man Magazine and Bodybuilding.com. In 2009, he was named Bodybuilding.com Male Writer of the Year which along with the Female award is the highest award for writers in the bodybuilding/fitness world.

Roger is also known for his work against child abuse and domestic violence and he was featured as a part of the domestic violence documentary “30” as the only child survivor and the only male survivor in the film.

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