Tabata: Pain!? = Gain! Horn?
09 Wednesday Dec 2009
Reader Jesse called my attention to another training program called Tabata. Let me quote from the first thing that a Google search turned up – an “Ezines @rticle” entitled “Tabata Anything – Four Minutes of Pain to Gain” by John Harker:
“The Tabata protocol is a high-intensity training regimen that produces remarkable results. A Tabata workout (also called a Tabata sequence) is an interval training cycle of 20 seconds of maximum intensity exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated without pause 8 times for a total of four minutes. In a group context, you can keep score by counting how many lifts/jumps/whatever you do in each of the 20 second rounds. The round with the smallest number is your score.”
I have been wondering what form this might take on the horn since Jesse’s comment, but an answer came to me last weekend: I played Shostakovich Sym. No. 5, and there it was: that blastissimo unison section on p. 2 ought to serve nicely as the 20-second high-intensity part of a Tabata training. 4 minutes of this 20 seconds on/10 seconds off routine should be a good way to build up strength, power, and muscle tone without overdoing it or causing injury. It might take some experimentation to decide if the 20/10 time allotments are optimal for horn players; it’s also possible that these numbers can and should vary from one person to the next. But they’re a good place to start.
This Shostakovich excerpt is also not the only one that could be used for this, either alone or in alternation with other excerpts. Tchaikovsky (e.g. Tchaik 4) is full of such spots, as is Strauss, Bruckner, Mahler, Wagner, and others. We would be pleased to hear from players experimenting with Tabata and various excerpts.