Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A four minute workout? and a Running Divas tank winner

The first time I heard about Tabata workouts I was skeptical.  You work out for four minutes and are supposed to get great VO2 gains?  Four minutes.  Are you kidding me?  I tried one and was wiped when I was done.

Supposedly Tabata is the single most effective form of interval training and at four minutes the shortest.  However those four minutes are not easy and when you are done you should feel done. It is very intense.  20 seconds of hard training followed by 10 seconds of rest.  Repeat seven more times.  Done.  Are you skeptical?  I know I was when I first heard about it.  In order to get the most out of it you have to go all out for those 20 seconds.  Try to catch your breath again for the next ten and them WHAM back at it.   Another key component to getting the most out of it is to use your large muscle groups when doing it.
Dr. Tabata discovered that this kind of interval training produces much better results than aerobic training. This included building as much muscular endurance as forty five minutes of normal cardio training. In fact in the study the subjects increased their anaerobic capacity by over a quarter as well a substantial increase in their aerobic fitness. Something to keep in mind was that the the subjects were as fit as race horses before they started the trial, so the improvements were remarkable. source


Tabata is a great example of how quality can be better than quantity. Tabata can be used with running.  20 seconds all out sprint, ten seconds rest.  Do it on the track, up hills, on the beach anywhere.There is a great article on Tabata sprints HERE on Mark's Daily Apple.  I always feel like I have to run for at least 30 minutes to get any benefits from it, but apparently I am wrong.  Not only that but these would be perfect for days I have to work.  I don't usually run on days I work, but I could easily fit in a round on Tabata sprints before I pick up the kids or even after since I could probably do them in my driveway. 

Here is something I found on Pinterest. It is an example of a Tabata workout.  I tried it out except I substituted jump lunges for jumping jacks to make it harder.  Jumping jacks seemed kind of a wussy move to me. I also did dynamic squats instead of squat thrust. 
I did it pushing as hard as I could and was pretty wiped when I was done. I love BodyRock because they are short workouts and easy to squeeze in, but this Tabata sounds even easier to fit in if I can survive the four minutes. The workouts should feel hard and if you don't feel wiped at the end, then you should have pushed harder.  The perfect busy working mom's workout.  I know it is no substitute for getting the mileage in either but adding one in once a week after work just might give me an extra boost I think.

To me they still aren't as satisfying as a nice 6 mile run, but if it is all I can get in then it is better than nothing.  At least I can feel wiped when I am done and know that I did get in a workout that is beneficial to my goals.


Tabata workouts can be conducted with body-weight exercises such as…
  • Pushups
  • Pull-ups
  • Sprints
  • Jump lunges
  • Burpees
  • Sit-ups
  • Stationary bike or elliptical trainer
…or with weighted movement:
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Thrusters
  • Squats
  • Cleans
Another great benefit of Tabata (a form of high intensity interval training) is that it can boost your metabolic rate.  Which this time of year is a huge benefit!

and the lucky winner of the Running Divas tank is...


who turns out to be! 

Congrats Maggie!  Send me your info and I will get it sent off to you!  

Have you ever done any Tabata  style workouts?  
Do you like them or hate them?
Are you skeptical of a four minute workout too?
Any Tabata tips or workouts to share?

27 comments:

  1. I'd like to hear how you make out with the 4 min workout.... I'm a bit skeptical but, have heard the short but intense theory before.

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  2. It's hard to believe, but you make a good argument…and, like you said, it would be really good for days when you're pressed for time or if you're traveling and don't have access to any equipment or place to run - you could do it in your hotel room!

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  3. It sounds like a good one to include in the down times when I'm not following a training program. Or, like you said, on days where there is just too much to do something longer. I will keep this one in my back pocket.

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  4. I've never heard of this, but I guess it's worth trying on a few days!

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  5. I've seen this before, and I think if you REALLY push yourself it can work. But I'm not sure if I can trust myself to work that hard for the 20 second intervals!

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  6. i am so glad you posted about this. i suddenly see tabata everywhere but have been skeptical myself. i kinda want to try the workout you posted tonight just to see what i think. but like Vanessa said...i have to trust myself to ACTUALLY push for those 20 seconds!

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  7. Don't underestimate the power of a jumping jack! when done a little lower (knees bent, rather than straight) and very quickly AKA: quick jacks, they are a super workout!

    *Susan

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  8. to susan above me ...ever since motherhood if I do a jumping jack I pee my pants - true story!

    Christy, I have never done one of those workouts but I have done interval training, which is what that seems to be. I completely agree sometimes I'd feel more wiped out doing less, faster :P

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  9. That workout seems intense. I am sure it works as long as you are consistant.

    Congrats to the giveaway winner!!

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  10. YES - i have been doing the video that has been floating around Pinterest. I still feel "bad" that it's only 4 minutes, but I am definitely panting when it's done!

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  11. I incorporate tabata into tons of my workouts however, for more than one cycle. one class i do is actually an HOUR of tabata drills.
    can you say dead in a pile of your own sweat when we are done.

    it is very effective training however, the claim on that PINTERST picture that the 4 mins burns the equal amt of cals as a 40-60 min run is false :) but the rest is on target

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  12. Congrats to your winner!

    Tabata is something I have been reading a lot about lately and it is an interesting cocept. I am going to try it in January when I am allowed to work out more strenuoulsy again.

    I bet your Gymboss would work well with this.

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  13. I need to try this on the bike trainer.

    I have done the crossfit style workouts, and always feel a great workout and like I can't move for days. I am in a weird run/race/rest cycle right now, so I don't really feel like I can add in anything extra, but once I get through the next 2 weeks, I am going to mix it up for a bit before starting my next marathon training cycle. Should be interesting.

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  14. I've been hearing about this Tabata thing for the past couple weeks. I haven't tried it, but it sound interesting! Maybe I'll give it a shot...

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  15. We did one of these workouts in my Crossfit class a couple of weeks ago. We got on a treadmill, cranked the incline up to 12 and set the speed for our 5k pace. It was really tough, but I enjoyed it. I'm going to have to try it more often.

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  16. Sounds like a good workout, especially on days when you have a gazillion things to do. Better to have a quick workout than none at all, right?

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  17. I had never heard of the Tabata workout, but I love Jose Tabata of the Pittsburgh Pirates, so maybe I'll give it a shot. Seriously, I will look into it ... I love good tips from Great runners - which you are! So off to check it out! Thanks.

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  18. Hmmm I am skeptical but so intrigued - it sounds tough! I think I need to try it! Thanks for the info.

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  19. Oh I love this...Ima gonna try it ASAP!

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  20. I've never heard of this. Wow. Way to make the most of your time though! That's some time management there. :)

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  21. This is really interesting! So just doing it for 4 minutes? Or a couple repeats. I may have to give this a try.

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  22. okay you have peaked my interest, i am going to have to check it out!

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  23. Congratulations Maggie!

    I've heard of Tabata on another blog in the last week and it sounds really interesting. Thanks for more info!

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  24. 4 minutes? This sounds great! I will have to check it out!

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  25. TABATA! TABATA! TABATA!!!! My all time favourite and the workouts I post every week. I am in LOVE with it. There have been studies that show that 6 minutes of Tabata cycling intervals are as effective- VO2 Max wise- as 2 HOURS of endurance riding!!! Craziness. Love love love love it.

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  26. Wow how did I miss this? Where should I send my info?

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  27. Nevermind, found your email address! :) Thanks!

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