Completing Tabatas as a "sprinter"

Hey guys about to start my first FasCat plan this week and I’m stoked. One question though, I’m reading through my plan and the infamous Tabatas are described as “full gas for 20 seconds, 10 seconds easy, repeat x times”. The specific output listed is 170% of my ftp, but the direction is that these are FULL GAS efforts if I don’t have a powermeter (which is the case unfortunately).
My FTP is somewhere around 180-200w, but my sprint is anywhere from 900-1200w depending on how many reps I’m doing.
My question is, should I keep the efforts FULL GAS which will probably put me around 800-1000 for the whole set of tabatas, or should I try to hold it to what would be around 340w?
Again, no powermeter so I do have to go on feel, though I’m pretty dang familiar with what a 340-400w effort feels like on a normal day vs. my full on sprint effort.
Thanks guys, looking forward to getting faster.

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Full gas as long as you complete all the efforts over 170%. Don’t want to be below or you will not get the physiological adaptation you are training.


Also trust me, 170% will be FULL GAS :muscle:


@FRANK @Jake
Thanks guys! Appreciate the clarification! Time to get to the grindstone!

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“Cry in the DoJo to Laugh on the Battlefield” :100:


Clearly tabatas are my weak point. My last few reps of a set I’m not reaching my 170% by a fair margin. And I’m fully gassed. Been having to do mine on the trainer so maybe it’s better/“easier” to do on the road, but any tips? I’m keeping cadence up above 100. Alternating standing/seated. Maybe, it’s just “try harder?” :hot_face:

So based on your comment I’m not getting this full physiological adaptation and so is this just a waste for me to do these? Or just keep trying each week and eventually I’ll get there… thanks

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Oh gawd, do them out on the road - they are too difficult indoors, the 20 seconds literally ticks backwards.

Also double check that your FTP is set properly since the 170% is based off of that. If its set TOO high the 170% is physiologically impossible.

But keep the :hammer: down with these and keep trying - they are the most difficult workout there is but the return on your investment :money_with_wings: is large

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On the road. Got it. Also, if anything my FTP is set too low cause I’m able to hold Sweet Spot, VO2s, threshold work, endurance, etc, higher than what the workout is scheduled. But Tabatas… I can’t get it, which is why I say they are my weakest point. Granted, I’m doing them indoors, so maybe next week will be better as long as we don’t get more snow/rain in Colorado! Thanks for the tip.

Yeah indoor power will be less. But also don’t over think these. Can’t look at your power meter really. Just go as hard as you can. Full Gas! As we say.


I am curious where the 170% of FTP recommendation stems from referenced in this article:

According to this quote in an article authored by Tabata the intensity used in the research protocol was 170% of Vo2 max:

“in the original and authentic Tabata training protocol, the exercise intensity is constant (i.e., 170% V O2max) from the first to the last session of the exercise”

If I apply these to my own values I get the following:

170% FTP (267) = 454 watts
170% Vo2 max (325; lab measured wattage) = 552 watts

That’s over a 20% difference which I can tell you from experience is huge for these efforts and yes as you said above:

Can you provide further insight and guidance on the effort for these intervals? When doing these intervals should I perhaps aim for a power between the two values?