Note from Aloka: This is a guest post by Shekhar Rupelia from Fitternity.com – A one stop destination for your fitness needs. Tabata is great for city folks who are busy and have limited space. There is no limit as to what you can do with Tabata and this post tells you hows and the whys.
Tabata is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise strategy based on the work of the Japanese professor Dr. Izumi Tabata. This regime is based on Dr. Tabata’s 1996 study at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Japan.
The exercise seems very simple initially. First, you need to decide on one particular exercise, one which involves many muscles of the body. You could choose to be on an exercise cycle, do squats, jumping lunges, skipping rope or even swimming. Before actually starting the exercise, just make sure you do a gentle 10 minute warm-up. Next, you need to do the chosen exercise with maximum intensity for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. So you can either pedal as hard as possible on the exercise cycle, or aim to do as many squats or lunges in the 20 second window followed by catching your breath in the next 10 seconds. This completes one cycle.
To finish an entire Tabata workout, you should do 8 cycles, i.e. each Tabata workout lasts for 4 minutes. The rider here is that each of the 20 seconds of work-out window needs to be as intense as possible for your body, because that allows it to consume the highest amount of oxygen and use it to generate energy.
The most important aspect of the workout is to remember to push yourself extremely hard during the 20 second workout routines.
The Tabata workout has great short and long term benefits. In the short run, it is great to know that each 4 minute workout burns almost as many calories as an hour long jog would. In the long run, the workout builds the body’s capacity to consume oxygen, thereby making it a great aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Tabata also helps you lose fat, build stamina and gain strength. It is is believed to increase metabolism as well, essentially burning calories even after you’ve completed your training for the day.
A couple of tips for beginning Tabata: Initially, just pick up an exercise routine you’re most comfortable with. This can be as simple as running on the treadmill. You do not need to challenge yourself to do burpees as a part of your Tabata routine. You can later graduate to a combination of exercises in each of the 8 cycles, i.e. running, skipping rope, lunges etc.
Another tip is to either have someone keeping time for you or making sure you have a clock or stop watch handy. When you are putting in all your effort and focus into the routine, you will most probably lose track of time. It is also helpful to have a training partner, so that you can let each other know when to start and when to pause.
Photo credit: Marks Daily Apple