Intense Tabata Interval Routines For Ultimate Conditioning
Instead of going for an hour-long run in the wet and cold. Cut your workout down to just 16 minutes with an intense Tabata routine to boost your conditioning.
Picture the scenario: It's cold, wet, windy and your gym membership just expired. You don't get paid for another fortnight and the thought of doing an hours worth of cardio in sub-zero temperatures is enough to bring you, a grown man, to tears. What if I told you there was a better way? A way to cut your workout down by 66%, but increase your anaerobic capacity by 28% in just six weeks. Try Tabata Intervals.
What are Tabata Intervals?
Most of you will probably be familiar with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) which is the principle of working out at maximum capacity in repeated short bursts. Think sprinters rather than marathon runners. HIIT will raise your metabolic rate long after the exercise session is completed and you'll continue to burn fat throughout the day. Studies have shown that this after-effect is far more effective for fat loss than a low intensity, continuous cardio routine such as jogging.
Tabata Intervals originated from a study by Dr Izumi Tabata into the effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max.
Enough with the science stuff, how do you perform Tabata Intervals?
Tabata Intervals consist of 20 seconds of maximum intensity exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This is then repeated 8 times - a total of 4 minutes. This begs the question: How effective can this routine be in just 4 minutes?
The answer is that Tabata Intervals are very effective in fat loss and anaerobic capacity. They also work well for athletes training in mixed martial arts, boxing and sports such as soccer and rugby which have short bursts of maximum exertion. The intervals can be applied to any form of exercise, the most obvious of which is simple and to the point interval sprinting. They also work well as part of a 'circuit' of 4 or 5 Tabata Intervals.
Sample Tabata Intervals
Tabata Intervals are brutal and should be performed no more than twice a week, allowing your muscles time to recover.
* Front Squats
* Rowing Sprints
* Jump Rope
Perform each exercise for a total of 4 minutes using the Tabata protocols. The total workout time for this is just 16 minutes and it can be done indoors (if you haven't got a rowing machine you can substitute it for any other exercise such as push ups)
For the front squats, you should use a light weight and hold the weight above your chest. You can put the weight back on the rack during your rest periods but be aware of the loading and unloading time so you don't rest longer than you should. Here's a video showing how to perform a Tabata front squat:
* Elliptical Trainer
* Kettlebell Swings
* Heavy Punch Bag Work
Same thing for this routine, 4 Tabata Interval sets totaling up to 16 minutes of exercise. In case you don't know what they are, here are videos for the Kettlebell Swings and Chinnies:
You can perform Tabata Intervals with a whole variety of different exercises to keep your routine fresh and interesting and they will be sure to offer you plenty of intensity to improve your conditioning.
To make sure you follow the times properly, you can use either of these MP3's on your iPod:
Timer with music - This has already been mixed in with some funky rap music.
Timer with no music - If LL Cool J isn't your cup of tea you can use this one to mix in your preferred choice of music.
If you've tried Tabata Intervals before, leave your comments on what you did, how you felt afterwards and whether they worked for you? If you have never tried them before, give the sample routines a go and drop us some feedback.