How to boost your cardiovascular strength with a speedy Tabata workout

TOO BUSY TO GET to the gym? You can get an amazingly effective workout at home in less than 10 minutes when you do it the right way.

If you’re out of shape or haven’t exercised in some time, you’re probably not ready for this high-intensity workout. See your physician before starting a regular walking program and then progressing to calisthenics to build up a base of fitness before you go all out with Tabata training.

Tabata is a very short exercise session of just four minutes that’s extremely demanding. It involves 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest. You repeat that sequence seven more times for a total of four minutes of exercise.

And you’re done. Typically, however, people do several Tabata sequences in a row, resting for a minute between the four-minute sessions.

In a study at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, commissioned by the American Council on Exercise, researchers monitored 16 fit students’ heart rates and aerobic capacities (VO2max) during a 20-minute Tabata-style workout. They found that the exercisers burned an average of 15 calories per minute and reached breathing capacity levels required for improving cardio fitness and fat loss.

Other studies have shown that Tabata training boosts excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), a phenomenon in which your body continues to burn calories at an elevated rate long after you’ve stopped exercising.

Coaches for Japan’s Olympic speed skating team developed the training method in the 1990s. It became known as the “Tabata Protocol” when coach and researcher Izumi Tabata published research comparing the high-intensity method to moderate-intensity endurance exercise in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

The Japanese speed skaters worked out on stationary bicycles, but Tabata can be used for any type of cardio exercise, such as rope jumping, running, rowing or performing bodyweight exercises. The key to earning Tabata benefits is the level of exercise intensity, which is why it’s not for beginners.

Get into good shape and visit your physician for a checkup before starting any new exercise program, especially one using the Tabata Protocol.

When you’re ready, try this four-minute Tabata workout using simple calisthenics. The beauty of this workout is that it can be done at home without equipment in less than 10 minutes, so there are no excuses not to exercise even with your busy schedule. Sure, it’s really tough — which is why it’s so effective.

START WITH THREE MINUTES of jogging in place, rowing on a rowing machine or pedaling on a stationary bike to elevate your heart rate and warm up your muscles.

Then, use the interval chart and illustrations on these pages to customize a four-minute workout. After completing the high-intensity exercises, stop if you feel like you can’t do anything more.

Gradually build up your strength and endurance until you can do five rounds of four-minute Tabatas, resting a minute between rounds.


4 MOVES 4 MINUTES

• Jump Squat — 20 Seconds
• Rest — 10 Seconds
• Jump Squat — 20 Seconds
• Rest — 10 Seconds

• Plyometric Push-up — 20 Seconds
• Rest — 10 Seconds
• Plyometric Push-up — 20 Seconds
• Rest — 10 Seconds

• Mountain Climber — 20 Seconds
• Rest — 10 Seconds
• Mountain Climber — 20 Seconds
• Rest — 10 Seconds

• Burpee — 20 Seconds
• Rest — 10 Seconds
• Burpee — 20 Seconds
• Rest — 10 Seconds


Mountain Climber

Assume a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders and arms straight. Keeping your back straight, bring your right knee to your chest and quickly straighten it while bringing your left knee to your chest. Keep alternating leg pumps as fast as you can for 20 seconds, and then rest for 10 seconds. Do another set of mountain climbers.


Burpee

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees and lower your body until your hands are flat on the floor. Immediately jump your feet backward and straighten your legs until you are in an “up” push-up position. Quickly jump your feet back underneath you and stand explosively, swinging your arms up to propel yourself off the ground. Repeat as fast as you can for 20 seconds, and then rest for 10 seconds before doing a second set of burpees.


Plyometric Push-Up

Get into a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders, your arms straight and your back forming a straight line from your ankles to your head. Bend your arms to lower yourself until your chest is just above the floor, and then straighten your arms to explosively press yourself back into the starting position. Repeat as fast as you can using good form for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds and do another round of push-ups.


Jump Squat

Bend your knees and push your butt back as if sitting into a chair. When your thighs are parallel with the floor, swing your arms upward while explosively jumping so your feet leave the ground. As soon as they touch back down, bend your legs into another squat. Repeat jump squats as fast as you can for 20 seconds. Then rest for 10 seconds to catch your breath. Do another set of fast jump squats followed by a 10-second rest. That’s two intervals of one exercise in 60 seconds.


JEFF CSATARI is executive editor of Eat This, Not That! magazine.

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*