Whether you’re a serious fitness buff or just someone who wants to maintain an active lifestyle, we’re sure you have come across numerous workout routines all through the years, each one designed to help you fulfill your fitness goals.
You may want to build your endurance, shed weight, enhance your flexibility or build muscles, most exercise routines can help you attain these with equal parts commitment and hard work.
Now if you’ve hit a wall with your current routine and would like to shake things up, you should give Tabata a try. It is a training method that uses high-intensity interval (HIIT) training and features exercises that typically last four minutes.
The History of Tabata
Tabata originated from Japan where Dr. Izumi Tabata, who is a professor at the
Faculty of Sport and Health Science at Ritsumeikan University in Japan, as well as being the head coach of the Japanese speed skating team, sought to learn if short bursts of high intensity moves followed by short periods of rest, would bring improvements to the skaters’ performance. The results of Dr. Tabata’s study, which were published in the Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, were astounding. He found out that athletes that regularly used Tabata were able to enhance their VO2 max, which is the body's ability to use oxygen more effectively. This resulted in the speed skaters putting forth improved performances.
The Tabata Program
Each exercise in a Tabata workout usually lasts four minutes but you can expect nearly every second to be tough. A Tabata workout usually follows this structure:
- Go hard for 20 seconds
- Take a 10-second breather
- Repeat eight times
That’s it. You work as hard as you can for 20 seconds before taking a 10-second rest. You then repeat the cycle eight times. The reason why a Tabata workout works efficiently is because of the work-to-rest ratio. The 10 seconds of rest is barely enough for you to recover, which can help you build endurance and burn calories faster.
Tabata lets you use whatever exercise move you want. You can go do basic bodyweight exercises like push-ups, squats and burpees. Kettlebell exercises will also work well with the Tabata program. Take a look at this great example of a Tabata workout:
- Push-ups (4 minutes)
- Bodyweight Squats (4 minutes)
- Burpees (4 minutes)
- Mountain Climbers (4 minutes)
You can start by performing push-ups for 20 seconds with high intensity. Then, rest for 10 seconds before going back at it for another 20 seconds. Repeat this cycle eight times and once finished, rest for a minute.
Afterwards, you can then move on to doing squats using the same sequence of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. Once you complete eight rounds, you can again rest for one minute before moving on to doing burpees. After you complete the burpees portion, you can top it all off by doing eight rounds of the mountain climbers exercise.
If you want a little more challenge, here are some creative mish-mash of exercises that you can use:
1) Broad jump to fast feet
You start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees, send the hips back, making sure your chest is lifted. Engage your glutes and core before jumping forward with both feet, making sure to land as softly as possible. Once you land, lift your toes and bend your knees softy before taking small, quick steps backwards to your starting position.
2) Jump squat
Much like the exercise above, you start by standing with feet hip-width apart, toes parallel to one another. Make sure to engage your glutes and core before sending the hips back as you go down into a squat position. And then, you should explode up, getting both your feet off the ground. Land softly on your toes and go back to your deep squad.
3) Lunge chop
Begin this exercise in the lunge position with your right foot forward and left leg behind you with your knee bent. Clasp your hands in front of you and place most of your weight on your right foot. Engage your core and send your weight down as you bend the right knee and sweep your hands across your body to the outside area of your right leg.
With your abdominal muscles engaged as you rotate, jump up and switch legs in midair with your arms lifted over your head. Land with your left foot forward and quickly sink into a lunge, sweeping hands to the outside of your left leg.
Tabata is an efficient exercise and will work extremely well for those who don’t have much time. This is also a great alternative if you want to get out of a rut and want to bolster both your endurance and speed.
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