I’ve been discussing Tabata training with a few clients but thought I’d try to reach a wider audience. And yes, I realize this might sound like I’m conducting a lecture class, but stick with me.

First the history lesson. Tabata was founded by Izumi Tabata in Japan. He conducted research on two groups of athletes. One group trained at a moderately intense level of workout (70% intensity) for 5 days a week for 6 weeks with each training session lasting an hour. The second group worked for 4 days a week for 6 weeks but with each session lasting 4 minutes with 20 seconds of intense training (170% intensity ) and a 10 second rest between rounds of training (i.e. 8 sessions of training).

The test.  After 6 weeks of training, the first group significantly increased their aerobic (cardiovascular) system but had little or no gain in their anaerobic (muscular) system. The second group increased their aerobic system much more than group one BUT ALSO increased their anaerobic system by 28%.

The Conclusion.  High intensity interval training not only has much more impact on the cardiovascular system but impacts the muscular system as well.

So you may be asking, “what does this mean to me”? Most people I talk with say there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done including extra workouts. The great thing about Tabata is it’s only 4 MINUTES and surely you can find that amount of time in your 24 hour day. Also, when the heat returns to Houston (like in a couple of weeks!), this is a great way to get your cardio indoors. It’s also perfect for people who travel but don’t want to go to the hotel gym. All you need is body weight, a towel (you will sweat) and water. In addition, since you don’t want to be looking at the second hand on your watch during your workout, you can Google (what did we do before Google?) “Tabata timer” and be directed to a website with a timer that will prompt you for the 4 minutes.

Examples of exercises that can be used with the Tabata method are: jump lunges or squats, pushups, burpees, jump rope (or pretend you have a rope), etc.

For those of you who might need some more suggestions in designing a program to use outside the studio (and even for those who don’t), you’ve got to know by now that this workout is coming your way in a couple of weeks!!  (But for your whole workout, not just 4 minutes.)