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Episode 94: Rethink Tabata Follow-up

Video Highlights

- Intelligent "cardio" training.
- Integrating other movements with your "cardio" training.
- Effective and efficient training.

Hello Z-Health Community, Doctor Cobb back with you.

This is going to be a very quick video because we just have a little bonus that came out way.

Max Shank, I referred to you guys not too long ago, his new book, Ultimate Athleticism, fantastic book.

He actually wrote an article related to a blog I sent out to you about a month ago called Rethinking the Tabata Protocol. That was a really cool little video that we did.

We got some excellent feedback on it as well so there are some neat comments you can go read. Max took the information from that blog, he liked it, he went and implemented it in his own training. He liked the results so much that he created a very brief instructional article to go along with it, so we’re just sending it out to you because I found it really good, I found it really useful, and i thought you might enjoy it as well.

I’ve included the article below, give it a quick read, and give it a try.

If you have any questions about that let us know, thanks.


The Ultimate Finisher by Max Shank

I listened to/read an awesome post by Dr. Cobb in November called “Rethinking The Tabata Protocol.” Doc and I share the same vision of being as efficient as possible with training and my first thought when I heard this was, “this is awesome, how can I best use this extra time?”

If you haven’t seen it, you should definitely go check it out now: https://zhealtheducation.com/episode-76-rethinking-the-tabata-protocol/

The quick version is basically this: If you do 30 seconds of 100% effort cardio type movement (bike, rower, sprint) followed by 4 minutes of rest you can get double the endurance benefits of doing other endurance training.

I think the Airdyne bike is the perfect implement for this, it’s hard to match the sustainable high level of intensity while being extremely low risk.

When it comes to a training session, we usually want to put explosive movements first, then strength movements, and save endurance training for last. Of course we should be splicing in and sandwiching that with mobility work.

So let’s suppose that I got in a good training session, now it’s time for endurance at the end. We can use this 4 minutes of rest for other things that are going to benefit us as much as possible without messing with the heart rate too much.

The things that seem to fit nicely with this, after a little bit of experimentation are the following.

  • Grip work
  • Mobility
  • Accessory Arm Training
  • Core Training

These are in order from easiest to implement to most difficult and the reason I choose to do them toward the end of the session is that they will often impair the rest of the training if done early on.

Grip Work: As we’ve learned, the hands are ranked extremely high by our brains. Just look at a picture of the motor homunculus man representation and it is obvious. Training your grip, wrists, and forearms is going to, in short, help you move better, prep you to lift heavier things. If it wasn’t important, your brain wouldn’t dedicate so much real estate to it.

Mobility: When I travel and teach other personal trainers I always ask, “Do people come in to their first session to stiff, or too flexible?” 99 times out of 100 it is the former. Our lifestyles are currently geared toward stiffness and being sedentary. Using some or all of this 4:00 for mobility work is going to pay off huge dividends.

Accessory Arm Training: This could go along the same lines as grip training, but has slightly higher potential to create some fatigue. Giving the arms some direct attention through different variations of curls, or triceps extensions can be beneficial for improving the condition of the connective tissue and reducing the likelihood of injury. Plus there is a good chance that you’ll get bigger guns.

Core Training: The nice part about using the airdyne bike for this is that it really leaves a lot of the body unpunished. By using the bike which is very well controlled, we get to use those 4:00 of rest more efficiently. Hanging leg raises for low repetitions have worked the best here, but anything longer duration or more difficult has not fit in very well. The hanging is also a nice little grip challenge, so you could do a single arm hang with a leg raise for a couple reps if it is within your wheelhouse. The spinal decompression you get from hanging is also nice between bike sprints.

I’m always a fan of being as efficient and effective as possible. I see this endurance and accessory couplet following what Dr Cobb suggested in his article above as the best possible way to finish a session and get the absolute most out of it.

Better every day,




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