Since I joined Tread Fitness earlier this year, high-intensity interval training has become my favorite type of workout. I still love my yoga practice for rest days, but there is something about just kicking your own ass and feeling that sweat drip down the sides of your face that is so satisfying to me. Enter one of my favorite types of HIIT workouts, Tabata (aka “The 4-Minute Miracle).
To start, the basic formula for Tabata workouts are 4 minutes of high intensity training, alternating between 20 seconds of max training, followed by a 10-second rest for a total of 6 to 8 rounds. The short intervals force the body to keep moving before it actually recovers from the previous set. So, to get the full benefit you need to go hard for those 20 second max intervals. I repeat! YOU HAVE TO PUSH YOURSELF! You will not see results or reap the benefits from leisurely going through the moves at 70 or 80%. Prepare for trembling muscles and a rapid heartbeat around reps 6-8, when the body reaches maximum oxygen intake.
Photography Cred: Melissa Fay Photography
Want to know the best part about Tabata? The afterburn effect. This means if you do your reps correctly and MAX out for those 20 seconds, you will keep burning calories for hours after your quick workout has ended. Just writing this gets me all excited! It hurts SO GOOD and you will feel amazing once the torture is over.
Here’s a little bit of history behind Tabata, which is pretty interesting. This type of training was discovered by a Japanese scientist and a team of researchers in Tokyo in the 70s. His objective was to see if athletes would benefit from a 20/10 session repeated 8 times. He took 2 groups and put them on an exercise program for 6 weeks. The first group did one hour of moderate-intensity exercise 5 times a week. The second group did high-intensity Tabata style training. That adds up to 1,800 minutes of training for the first group vs. 120 minutes of training for the Tabata group over a 6-week period. Results: The Tabata group improved both its aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels. The anaerobic fitness level increased by 28%.
You can do a Tabata interval with just about any exercise. For me, my favorite is sprinting on the treadmill. Whenever I feel like I am literally going to collapse, I just say to myself “I can do anything at max for 20 seconds. Literally anything.” And you can too! Don’t stop OR slow down! It’s 20 seconds…
Without further ado, here are a couple Tabata workouts to add into your typical gym workout:
Sprinting Tabata (my favorite) – You can either do this outside or on the treadmill. If you live in Dallas, you probably want to opt for treadmill unless you are interested in suffering from a heat stroke.
20-seconds MAX sprint – I know all treadmills are different, but you should most definitely be in the double digits for this one. Push yourself! Your body can handle it, it’s your mind you have to convince.
10 seconds Rest – Place your feet on the sidebars of the treadmill OR simply take it down to a fast walking pace.
20-seconds MAX row – Set your rower to about a 7 or so, then row as fast as you can for 20 seconds. Please be aware of your form! Most people don’t realize that your legs should be doing most of the work, not your arms. Read more about perfect rowing form here : http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/correct-your-rowing-form
10 seconds Rest
Battle Ropes Tabata
20-seconds MAX – Alternate reps between an alternating wave motion (up and down) on the battle ropes and a snake motion (take your arms in and out at the same time.)
10 seconds Rest
Try all three of these Tabata exercises for a total of 12 minutes, you’ll be surprised how much you can sweat under 15 minutes! And promise me one thing, make sure your form is perfect for the max intervals, okay?! This is super important!
I can’t wait to hear what y’all think of these Tabata exercises. Lastly, if you are seeing stars and sucking wind, then CONGRATS you are doing it correctly. Feel free to add these onto any of your workouts, you’ll love the added sweat bonus!