Have you ever heard the saying, “in some cases less is more?” We know this to be true in some aspects of our lives, but the average person does not often attribute this old adage to exercise. The assumption being the longer your workout the more productive your workout must be. However, four minutes of high intensity Tabata training can be significantly more productive than an hour of moderate exercise. Tabata training is a form a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) was first identified by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata along with his team of researchers at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports located in Tokyo, Japan. Dr. Tabata’s research compared two groups of athletes. Group1 who trained at moderate intensity for an hour, and Group 2 who trained using the Tabata HIIT method for only four minutes per day. Group 2 showed much more increase in their aerobic system , and increased their anaerobic system by 28 percent more than Group 1. This shows that just four minutes of high intensity Tabata training has greater impact on both the aerobic and anaerobic systems than an entire hour of moderate exercise. Now that what I call getting it done quick. There are also indications that consistent practice of the Tabata HIIT may result in an increase in naturally occurring testosterone levels.
The Tabata Interval Cycle
Each exercise in a given Tabata workout may last only four minutes, but it’s sure to bring the pain. The structure of the program is as follows:
- Perform chosen exercise at maximum capacity for 20 seconds;
- Rest for 10 seconds;
- Complete 8 rounds in a total of 4 minutes.
Recommended exercises are ones that work your large muscle groups such as air-squats, push-ups, burpees, and kettle bells.
An example of a Tabata workout looks like this:
- Push-ups (4 minutes)
- Air Squats (4 minutes)
- Burpees (4 minutes)
- Double Arm Swing with a Kettle Bell (4 minutes)