8 August 2012
Okay, this is a post where I sing the praises of tabata.
What is tabata?
In a nutshell, it’s high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Tabata specifically calls for 20 seconds of explosive effort followed by 10 seconds of rest for eight cycles (four minutes).
Studies have shown that it burns fat more effectively, lowers insulin resistance, and improves glucose tolerance (if that sounds like NBD to you, read this book).
It’s also over in a heartbeat! Although I promise, it will feel like forever.
You’ll feel like you got an amazing workout, yet only four minutes have passed! But you will get an amazing workout if you do tabata correctly. In those four minutes, you can actually make more fitness gains than running for an hour on the treadmill.
What kind of exercises can I do tabata-style?
Almost any! At CrossFit the other night, we did tabata squats, tabata flutter kicks, tabata sprints, and tabata planks. You can pick almost any exercise and turn it into a high-intensity tabata workout.
Things to keep in mind:
- The idea is to see how consistent you can be during all eight cycles. If you’re doing 40 squats during the first 20-second interval, but only 10 during the seventh 20-second interval, you’re not being consistent. You want to make sure you’re pushing for consistency in power output.
- That said, the 20 seconds should be TOUGH. It should feel almost impossible for you to keep going after 20 seconds if you’re working hard enough.
Here’s a good tabata workout* from tabatatraining.org you can try to get you started:
- Push-ups for intervals 1 and 3
- Body-Weight Squats for intervals 2 and 4
- Medicine Ball Slams for intervals 5 and 7
- Sprinting or jumping rope for intervals 6 and 8
*For more advanced exercisers, do each of these exercises for 8 cycles (a total of 16 minutes).
I’m sure tabata isn’t new to most of you, but if you actually do it correctly and regularly, you’ll feel the difference in your fitness pretty quickly!