4 minutes to fab

No more excuses, you all have time for exercise. If you're trying to tell me you don't have four- yes four- minutes to spare, you're lying. 

Developed by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata, Tabata is High Intensity Interval training. This means, you perform an exercise for as hard as you can (170%) for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds, then repeat for four minutes. Seems easy right? Not quite. After a couple of reps you'll understand. 

The Tabata method has been used by the Japanese Olympic Speed Skating team among other prominent athletes. Why? Science. 

The Study: 
Dr. Izumi Tabata performed a study involving PE Majors who were also Varsity college athletes. One group trained for an hour 5 days per week at moderate intensity (70%). The other group trained for 4 minutes 4 days per week alternating between high (170%) and low intensity for 20 and 10 seconds respectively. Although group one exercised for much longer, it was the second group that showed more improvement of the aerobic system. Even more convincing is the fact that the first group showed no improvement in their anaerobic system, which is necessary for competitive sports and for those non-athletes, fat burn. The second group showed a 28% increase in their anaerobic systems.  

Benefits of Tabata:

  • it's time efficient- perfect if you're short on time
  • it's fun- I'm not sure fun is the right word, but if you're the type of person who gets bored of doing the same ol' running thing, this will keep you engaged 
  • it's the best way to burn fat- since it engages the anaerobic system, you'll be able to get rid of stubborn fat faster. other methods such as running takes the body a long time to reach that point of burning fat, where as interval training allows your body to burn fat almost instantly 
  • you'll burn calories by doing absolutely nothing- you'll never have to feel guilty about lounging out in the sun all day or sitting on the couch all day because guess what? even after your workout you'll still burn calories! this is because your metabolism is fired up and ready to rock n' roll 
  • you'll build mental toughness- not gonna lie, it's gonna get tough. probably the first couple of times, you'll want to quit or not give it your all. but it's always important to challenge yourself and reach new limits which can only be achieved through the proper mentality 
  • you'll improve both your aerobic and anaerobic systems- killin two birds with the same stone- love it
  • it'll keep your body guessing- your body will never know what's coming next because it's constantly alternating between intensities, which means you won't be stuck in a workout rut 
Other Tips: 
  • don't push yourself too hard, too soon or you'll end up getting hurt or just being really really sore the next day. trust the process
  • warm up before! if you don't you won't be able to fully push yourself to your limits which is the whole point of this exercise. i'd recommend aiming for a 5-10 minute warm up
  • instead of just doing 4 minutes of tabata training, aim for 4 sets of it so you exercise for a total of 16 minutes (not counting the warm up). in the original study, athletes were literally pushed to the point of exhaustion. i'm assuming you won't reach that in your practice so for optimum results, do 4 sets of the 4 minute training 
  • have a timer with you whether it be your phone, or a stopwatch 

The beauty of Tabata is that you choose which exercises you want to use! If your looking to sculpt sexy abs, mix ab exercises with some cardio. If your looking for leaner legs, do lunges and leg lifts. If you were to do 4 sets of 4 minute- exercises, there's two ways to do it. 1) do a single exercise for 4 minutes, alternating 20 seconds of high intensity followed by 10 seconds of rest then switch to exercise two, three, and four and do each of those for 4 minutes each the same way or 2) do exercise one for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, do exercise 2 for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat until finished. This sounds so confusing, I know, but it's not! It's easier with an example: 

Option one: 
  • Lunges- 20 seconds lunges, 10 seconds rest for 4 minutes
  • Jumping Jacks- 10 seconds jumping jacks, 10 seconds rest for 4 minutes
  • Crunches- 20 seconds crunches, 10 seconds rest for 4 minutes
  • Sprints- 20 seconds sprinting (20 feet back and forth), 10 seconds rest for 4 minutes
                  =total of 16 minutes

Option two: 
  • Lunges- 20 seconds lunges, 10 seconds rest then move on to jumping jacks
  • Jumping Jacks- 20 seconds jumping jacks, 10 seconds rest then move on to crunches
  • Crunches- 20 seconds crunches, 10 seconds rest then move on to sprints
  • Sprints- 20 seconds sprinting (20 feet back and forth), 10 seconds rest then move to lunges

               = total of 16 minutes

*note you can use any exercises you want! 


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