In case you are wondering, Tabata is Japanese for “why can’t I feel my legs?!?!”  Okay, not really. Actually, it’s a short but intense bike interval workout, named after Izumi Tabata,  a Japanese physiologist. I actually discovered them a year or so ago in an article from Triathlete magazine.  I did a few and then forgot about them as I moved on to the excitement of outdoor cycling.  Now that it’s cold enough outside for your sweat to freeze before it hits the ground, the trainer is out again and so are the intervals.

I did some more tonight, and YOUCH they work you!  Only takes 9 minutes, and that counts a 5 minute easy spin warmup.  This is the gist of it:

  • 5 minutes easy spinning to warm up.
  • 6-8 reps as follows: 20 second all out sprint (that’s ALL OUT every time), 10 seconds passive rest, repeat.

I think I feel better afterwards if I spin down a bit.

I know it sounds easy, but TRY it.  I remember the first time I tried these. I hopped off my bike and my legs felt like they were made of Jello.  I’m going to experiment with the intervals again this season and gauge my progress.  The Triathlete Magazine article cites a study which claims substantial increases in both VO2 max (almost 15%) and aenerobic capacity (over 25%).