I’d like to introduce you to a type of training that I highly rate, and give you the reasons why you should try it. I rate this method so highly that I even did a Tabata session today…first thing on a Sunday morning! Tabata first came to prominence in 1996 when Professor Izumi Tabata of Japan published a study showing the efficacy of these methods of training.
It is a form of High Intensity Interval Training (HITT), which lasts just 4 minutes and allegedly is as good as an hour of moderate jogging, an hour of moderate cycling, an hour of Zumba, or two hours of yoga!
So what’s there not to like about it? Well, you could say everything really! During these 4 minutes you push your heart rate up to a maximum and then basically tolerate the pain.
Tabata training involves you working for 20 seconds, followed by resting for 10 seconds. You then string together 8 of these cycles, and you have 4 minutes of flat-out exercise. And this is supposed to give you both aerobic and anaerobic exercise benefits.
The great thing about Tabata training is that you can design your own circuit with the exercises that you want to use. You can vary your circuits each time and develop 4 or 5 different ones that you like using. You can design some easier ones, and some which are more difficult.
It is important that you warm up well and perform some dynamic mobility and stretching exercises before you start. Make sure that everything is ready, that any equipment you’re going to use is in place, and that you have a list of exercises on a piece of paper so you don’t forget what’s next. When you’re in so much pain you may find you can’t think straight!
Here’s a Tabata circuit that you can try. Remember, perform the exercise for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then move to the next exercise. Keep doing this until you have worked down the whole list.
1. Backward lunge
3. Star jumps
5. Mountain climbers
7. Push press
8. Skater jumps
Pure Tabata training is only one circuit lasting 4 minutes. However, you can repeat the same Tabata circuit or do a different one following the first one, but by doing this the emphasis changes. You won’t be working as hard, but you will be working for longer. Both methods work so see what you like best!
One word of caution. Make sure that each exercise is performed well and with good technique. One of the problems of going “all out” is that the quality of exercise can be lost and you could be putting yourself at risk by not doing things right. Just be careful. Additionally, although this is a great post pregnancy exercise tool, this kind of exercise is certainly not recommended for the first 6 weeks after having a baby. Make sure you have properly healed, and that you have spent several months doing low level exercises to re-build your base fitness before going mad with Tabata.
Just a quick reminder, you’re not just burning calories throughout this 4 minute workout. You’re spiking your metabolism to keep burning calories throughout the day!
Finally, don’t forget that you have to psyche yourself up! You’ve got to give it your all, push yourself, and really dig deep because it’s gonna hurt! So get the music playing, get the stopwatch ready, and off you go!