What I've learned from Nishimura sensei's HIIT routine


In the last week we've had a look at Nishimura's HIIT session during our in-dojo training sessions. I've also trialled it at home.

The app I've been using is Eugene Sharafan's Tabata Timer app. It is simple and works well. It has 'work' and 'rest' sessions which you can adjust. When you open it, it has the Tabata format of 20s work followed by 10s rest. It also has the Tabata standard of 8 'cycles', i.e. how many different drills in the session. Nishimura s. has designed his with 9 drills or cycles., so you should change that to 9.  Then it lets you specify how many 'sets'. So how many times do you want to repeat the session of drills, and then how much rest do you want to have in between? 

After a bit more research, here are some extra things I've learned that you might like to keep in mind when you try it.

  • It is an excellent home training tool.
  • Be well hydrated in the hours before you do this workout, it will make it easier.
  • To be a 'true' Tabata interval session, you are expected to put in 100% effort during the 'work' sessions. This is hard for a lot of us because unless we train hard all the time, we're not really aware of how much '100%' is for us. It is always more than you think!
  • Nevertheless, whatever level you exercise during each work period is fine. You will get faster and use more energy the more you use this exercise format.
  • Aim for big, correct cuts in the suburi work periods, and short, sharp and fast footwork in the lower body work periods.
  • I found the footwork easier to do well and quickly if I did five small steps in each direction.
  • The left-right lunge suburi was definitely better for me if I didn't go down onto each knee. Doing an exercise that requires stabilisation and balance like that in order to avoid injury is not ideal if you feel like you are racing against the clock. That's why a smaller, safer and easier-to-achieve version is better in this context.
  • I tried doing three sets with 30s rest between each set. This made a very intense (but quite survivable!) 15 min workout. 
  • I recommend trying one session at a time at first. Then after a week or two, try three sessions in a row, perhaps with 60s of rest in between. The rest time disappears quickly!
I'm going to try this three times a week and see how it affects my overall fitness.

George McCall sensei has just posted an interesting article about solo-training on his blog kenshi247.


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