Are you one of those people who claim that you do not have time in your busy schedule to exercise? Have you used that lame excuse, I mean excuse, before? Boy (or girl) do I have a treat for you today! It's called Tabata training and it is HIIT training (high intensity interval training) that can be done in only 4 minutes. Sounds too good to be true, right? Wait just a second. So you're telling me I could get fit by working out just 4 minutes per day 3 days per week? Well technically yes! But first, perhaps you should see what this circuit workout routine entails.
What is Tabata Training
Tabata training is a form of HIIT training that was developed by Japanese Professor Izumi Tabata. This training regimen uses 20 seconds of super intense work followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated continuously for 8 cycles. Now, in regards to a cardiovascular workout, 10 seconds of rest does NOT mean you stop completely. It simply means you go slowly for 10 seconds following the 20 seconds of going as fast as you can go. Make sense? Not including warm up and cool down, Tabata training takes only 4 minutes to complete (you can do the math yourself). One great thing about this amazing workout is that it can be used for both cardiovascular exercise and strength resistance training!
How to Use Tabata Training for Cardiovascular Exercise
Although this training method can be used in both cardiovascular exercise and strength resistance training, I will use cardiovascular exercise for illustration purposes, and an exercise bike for the cardio machine. To do Tabata training on an exercise bike, simply alternate between 20 seconds of super fast cycling followed by 10 seconds of slow cycling. Easy right? Let me further explain. Say the max speed you can go on the exercise bike is 7 mph. To complete a training session, you would therefore try your absolute hardest to cycle at a speed of 7 mph for 20 seconds nonstop followed by 10 seconds at a slow pace. The only catch is you have to do that cycle 8 times total! Wow!
How to Use Tabata Training for Strength Training
This type of HIIT training can also be used in strength resistance training. Say for example you want to do the workout using pushups as the exercise. To do this, complete as many pushups as you can in 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds. Complete the alternating cycle 8 times total and you are finished! However, if you really want to spice up the workout add a different exercise for each 20/10 second interval. For example, perform as many pushups as you can in 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest. Then, instead of doing pushups again, perform as many bodyweight squats as you can for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest. Then perform as many pullups as you can for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest. Got it? Good! If you manage to complete 8 total intervals of alternating between 20 seconds of maximum intensity exercise and 10 seconds of rest, pat yourself on the back. You have completed a Tabata training workout!
How to Monitor Progress during Tabata Training
Fortunately, it is very easy to monitor your progress to when doing Tabata training. For cardiovascular exercise, monitor your progress by calculating either total distance covered or max speed. For example, if you are using an exercise bike for your Tabata training session, record the total distance traveled (typically calculated in miles or kilometers). Another way to monitor progress is by recording max speed. For example, say your max speed on an exercise bike during a Tabata training session is 7 mph. Record this speed and on the next workout see if you exceed that speed during one of the 20 second intervals. Get it?
For strength training, the easiest way to monitor your progress during Tabata training is to record the total amount of repetitions completed during the 20 second intervals. Now, this may be difficult since you only have 10 seconds of rest to record the repetitions so you better write fast! After the interval training workout is completed, add up all of completed repetitions and record the total. As you become physically fit, you will be able to complete more and more total repetitions each workout.
As you can see, this interval training workout is freakin awesome. Here is a recap of what was discussed:
1. Tabata training consists of 20 seconds of maximum intensity work followed by 10 seconds of rest.
2. Tabata training can be used for both cardiovascular exercise and strength training.
3. In regards to cardiovascular exercise, 10 seconds of rest does not mean to completely stop; it simply means to continue at a slow pace for 10 seconds.
4. In regards to strength training exercises, such as pushups and squats, 10 seconds of rest means just that. For 10 seconds you stop the exercise completely.
5. To monitor progress during cardiovascular exercise, record either distance covered or max speed.
6. To monitor progress during strength training exercises, record the total amount of repetitions completed over the course of the Tabata training workout.
7. Perform Tabata training 1 to 3 times per week (after consulting your doctor).
As always, consult your doctor before beginning any type of exercise regimen. You should not do HIIT training if you have any serious prior injuries or a debilitating medical condition.