Tabata sets are the hallmark of high intensity training, if you haven’t put some steady work into Tabata sets then you are really missing out on a new level of conditioning. You don’t have to make this a complicated matter, from my experience you’ll reap the most benefits from Tabata’s with sprints and punch-outs on the heavy bag. There are a couple keys to this:
1) Make sure you are already in relatively decent shape, you don’t want to do these after coming off a layoff or when you just haven’t been putting in proper training. Don’t look at Tabata’s as a quick fix, they are most effective on top of a solid base
2) Be steady with Tabata’s, you’ll start to feel a serious change in your athleticism after about 2-3 weeks of them done every couple of days. Don’t burn out on these or spread them out too thin, 3 times a week is good.
One pain in the ass is having to look down at your watch to check the time, so below I’ve made a Tabata set timer for download (right click save target as), just put it on your MP3 player and go to town. Once you click start you have 5 seconds to get ready, the first bell is the first 20 seconds of high intensity, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This repeats itself for 10 sets, only 8 sets are required for a complete Tabata workout.