Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Four Minutes

And no, I'm not talking about the Madonna/Justin Timberlake number...I'm talking about when that's all the time you have to exercise! I've been doing some reading on Tabata workouts and finally tried it. All I can say is Wow! That is a helluva workout. It's a fat-burning beauty and a fitness-lover's dream.

Tabata was developed by Japanese researcher Izumi Tabata and it's methods are pretty simple (in theory that is). You take one exercise, for 20 seconds do as many reps as possible, rest for 10 seconds, and then repeat that circuit 7 more times. That's all there is to it. Sounds simple, right? Well it was pretty easy, until I reached about set 4 that is. All of a sudden 20 seconds felt like 20 minutes and that 10- second rest period felt like the blink of an eye. Don't plan on doing any Tabata work at your regular weights--unh uh, not gonna happen!

While you can pretty much Tabata with any exercise, it seems the most popular exercises for this is to do either front squats or 'thrusters' (a body squat while holding dumb bells to your chest and then thrusting the db's up over your head when coming up from the squat). I did thrusters and also did the jump rope. For the thrusters I did reps of 10,10,9,8 (I think I started with db's that were lighter than they should be, but that was okay for the first time); for the jumps I did 40 jumps per 20-sec interval. I attempted this little feat while waiting for my first client of the night--big mistake there. She walked in and I was literally dripping with sweat. All that for two 4-minute exercises.

I think I'm going to try Tabata twice a week to mix in with my lifting. Good change of pace for me. Take note though: Tabata is a more advanced type of interval work and is not for everyone. ALWAYS check with the good doc before starting anything new--particularly something as demanding as this. Now this was just a brief synopsis of what Tabata is--if you are new to working out or have health issues, this won't help you cut corners, chances are it'll have you laying face first on the floor; but if your game is on and you're looking for a new challenge, give it try. Just remember, tell someone where you're going when you do these--that way when you're late, they'll know where to find you. Enjoy!


Rachel said...

Thanks for the explanation. Was wondering what that was about. Basically all you did was squats and jump rope for 20 seconds at a time? Is it supposed to be strength training plus a cardio?
Found you via Twitter!

LindaM said...

Hi Rachel! Yes, you do the exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds and do the 'same' exercise for the entire four minutes. Tabata increases both your aerobic and anerobic capacities at the same time. It's an excellent fat burner. But, it has to done as stated, 20-10 and no deviations from that. That cycle gives you just enough of a rest/break to start up again (and like I said, by about set 4, you are truly feeling your hard work). Give it a shot, you'll see what I mean when I say how effective a workout it is.

Thanks for stopping in!