Tabata Regatta

Last night’s workout was not hard on my shoulder, and it’s feeling a lot better. I have to make sure I give it a few weeks to get stronger, and not assume that just because it feels better that I can ignore it. It’s hard to remember to do the strengthening exercises at home, but they will pay off and I have to make time for them.
Last night was a Tabata workout, where you go 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, go 20, rest 10, until 8 sets are completed. We did 8 sets in a row of each of three exercises: air squat, kettlebell swing (16 kg), and push-ups. We wrote down the number of reps for each interval. Between each group of 8 sets, we rested for at least a few minutes. So we did all 8 sets of squats in a row, rested five minutes, did all the KB swings, rested several minutes, and then did all the push-ups.
Like last time we did Tabata drills, I went bananas on the squats (several sets of 23 and 22, with my lowest score 19 for the last set) and struggled through everything else. Last time my low score on squats was 16, so I guess I had a little more stamina last night. For the squats, if nothing else.
The KB swings almost pulled me down flat on my face, I was so tired. (And I wasn’t swinging it overhead like the guy in the linked video!) Going as fast as possible for 20 seconds, on something strenuous, and doing it 8 times with only a few seconds rest in between, is so hard that by the end I felt like I was moving through molasses. With KB swings you descend into a squat position briefly for each swing, so with that coming right after the air squats, I felt barely able to walk afterwards.
On the push-ups, because I can normally do two sets of 10 before I break the sets any smaller, I decided to shoot for 8 push-ups per 20-second set. I managed three sets of 8, then did 7, 6, 5, 5, and 5. I don’t know why I was surprised. Maybe because I’d overestimated how much I could recover in the 10-second rest periods, which in reality was very little.
After that we did some (non-Tabata) bent-over rows with an empty bar and worked up to a small amount of weight on the bar. We didn’t try to go heavy, thank goodness. The position feels awkward to me, and it’s hard to pull the bar up “explosively” toward my chest. The idea is to really yank it, as if it’s a heavy weight and you’re trying to give it some momentum. It’s supposed to hit you in the rib cage, which means really tightening the back to pull the shoulder blades in far enough to pull the bar that high. Dave told us to start with a completely tightened back and lats as if doing a pull-up; in fact, this seems to be a non-hanging version of the pull-up, which was perfect for me and my tender shoulder. So I was pulling the bar up to touch my rib cage and feeling pretty good about it, when Dave walked by and said, “Hit yourself! Hit yourself harder!” I almost started laughing. I don’t think I’d ever been told to hit myself harder before.
Today my lower back is so stiff and tired from the KB swings, and my legs are too from the squats. It’s amazing how much of an effect 8 sets of 20 seconds of work can have. It’s fun to imagine how much stronger my back could get if I get to do KB swings more often.