Want a quick workout that kicks your booty and gets you results soon? Meet the Tabata Method -- my favorite workout modality for improved power, strength and stability! Proceed with caution and always know your limits, because this workout is quite ballistic!
Think very quick movements for periods of time lasting for 20 seconds followed by 10-second recoveries in between sets. Izumi Tabata was the founder and creator of Tabata.
The Method used two groups when it was first studied. In short, group one was assigned moderate-intensity exercises (such as jogging, skipping, swimming) at 70 percent of their maximum heart rate (220 - age - resting heart rate x 70 percent + resting heart rate) an hour a day, five days a week for a total of six weeks.
The second group was assigned to train four days a week for a total of six weeks at a high intensity (170-percent: yes, 170 percent, which is 100-percent harder than the first group) each training day lasting four minutes total. There was a significant improvement in this training group's aerobic system, more so than the other group, with a 28-percent increase. Anaerobic fitness also improved significantly.
Conclusion: 170-percent output is significantly more effective, even if the workout is for a significantly shorter period of time. From this study, the Tabata Method was born. For only four minutes a day, you can achieve vast results.
The culprit is you still have to be careful because the workout includes short bursts of energy. So if you have any injuries, you must consult your doctor first. If you are just tight and these exercises are too hard to do, then simply go at a slower pace than what Tabata originally outlined. Remember, this is your body. Do not destroy it! You can repair it, but you can't replace it.
Be sure you warm-up first!
Get a clock/timer: Set it for 20 seconds in the work zone, with a 10-second recovery. There is a phone app called UltraTimer. It has the Tabata timewatch on it.
Location: At home or virtually anywhere.
The Exercises: Each group will go through four exercises in a superset fashion and each group should be repeated a second time through to equal eight total sets or four minutes each group. This workout consists of eight total minutes if you do both Group One and Group Two.
Starting in a plank position, with your chest in alignment with your hands, alternate your knees quickly between right and left to each elbow. Right to right and left to left while engaging your core muscles and keeping the shoulders down away from the ears.
Starting with your feet hip distanced apart, feet slightly turned out, align your knees with your ankles and sit your hips back. Explode upwards into a jump from squat position and be careful that you land in alignment.
Starting on a single leg, find your stability and then hop over to the other food and perform a mini single leg squat. Go from foot to foot as fast as you can without compromising stability on the single leg.
Starting in a plank (the top of a pushup position), bring your right foot forward, followed by your left and lift to stand. Place your hands on the ground and step back into a plank position.
Plank Side Kicks:
Starting in a plank with your knees slightly bent, rotate your body to the right balancing on the left hand and right foot and kick your left leg through from under your body. Switch sides. Add a hop to the movement to speed it up. Keep movements precise for safety.
Squat to Standing Kicks:
Hands in front of your face, transfer from foot to foot while kicking the opposite foot in the air. Before kicking your foot, be sure to stabilize through the standing foot, bending the opposite leg and then kicking the foot directly in front with full control over your kicks. Avoid overextending your knees and stay in control over your kick to avoid injuring yourself.
Make sure you always stretch after training!
Photo Credit: Ron Smith