Fit in 4 Minutes!

Sounds unbelievable? Read on and find out more about an exercise craze that has many fitness fiends raving.

A friend of mine who’s been a fitness trainer for many years told me she’s been doing a lot of Tabata training lately. It’s 4 to 8 minutes (depending on how many sets you do) of exercises that helps you burn fat fast. This sort of training is named after Dr. Izumi Tabata and involves four minutes of intense exercise performed for 20 seconds with 10-second intervals for rest. There is a variety of exercises you can include in Tabata training: push-ups, jump squats, cycling, and even sprints. The bottom line is to push yourself as hard as you possibly can during the 20 seconds on and then recover for a short 10 seconds in between sets.

Tabata training requires real effort and can be quite uncomfortable especially for less active folks. However, it’s an excellent way to boost your metabolism while also improving your aerobic and anaerobic cardio and muscular endurance. Doing it once or twice a week to spice up your workout regimen can do wonders for your motivation and bring optimal results.

Here’s an example of a Tabata set that you can do, thanks to Prevention.com:

squat-overhead-press
1. Squat with Overhead Pass

Targets: legs, butt, and shoulders

Stand with feet slightly more than hip-width apart, holding 1 weight in right hand directly in front of right shoulder, elbow bent. Lower into a squat, keeping knees behind toes and chest lifted, right elbow hovering a few inches above right knee (a). Straighten legs and extend arms overhead, passing dumbbell to left hand (b), and immediately lower into another squat, lowering weight and bringing left elbow a few inches above left knee (c). Continue alternating sides for 60 seconds.

squat-jack_1
2. Tabata Burst: Squat Jack

Targets: legs, butt, and shoulders

Stand with feet together and arms extended overhead, holding 1 weight horizontally with both hands (a). Jump feet out and lower into a squat, bending elbows and lowering weight to chest height (b). Straighten legs and jump feet back together, extending arms and weight overhead. Continue for 20 seconds.

push-up
3. Push-Up

Targets: arms, shoulders, and core

Start in push-up position, feet hip-width apart and hands slightly outside of shoulders (a). (Modify by keeping knees on floor.) Bend elbows, lowering body until chest nearly touches floor (b). Pause, then straighten arms to push body back to starting position. Continue for 60 seconds.

row-jump_0
4. Tabata Burst: Row Jump

Targets: thighs, butt, and upper back

Stand with feet together, holding 1 weight vertically at chest height, both hands grasping top end and elbows bent out to sides (a). Jump feet out and lower into a squat, straightening arms and lowering weight toward floor (b). Straighten legs and jump feet back together, raising weight to chest height, elbows bent out to sides. Continue for 20 seconds.

back-row-leg-tap
5. Back Row with Leg Tap

Targets: butt, back, and shoulders

Stand with left leg 1 to 2 feet in front of right leg, left knee slightly bent and right heel lifted. Lean forward slightly, keeping spine long, holding a weight in each hand beside left knee, with arms straight (a). Keeping core engaged, tap ball of right foot next to left foot, bending elbows straight back and pinching shoulder blades together while pulling weights up alongside torso (b). Tap right foot back and lower arms, returning to starting position. Continue for 30 seconds. Immediately repeat on opposite side for another 30 seconds, tapping left foot next to right foot.

squat-jack_0
6. Tabata Burst: Squat Jack

Targets: legs, butt, and shoulders

Stand with feet together and arms extended overhead, holding 1 weight horizontally with both hands (a). Jump feet out and lower into a squat, bending elbows and lowering weight to chest height (b). Straighten legs and jump feet back together, extending arms and weight overhead. Continue for 20 seconds.

chop-lunge
7. Chop Lunge

Targets: thighs, butt, shoulders, and core

Stand with right foot about 3 feet in front of left foot, holding 1 weight with both hands beside right inner thigh (a). Lower into a lunge, keeping right knee over ankle and left knee pointing straight down, while sweeping weight up and across body, ending with arms extended and weight over right shoulder (b). Straighten legs and lower weight to starting position. Continue for 30 seconds. Immediately repeat on opposite side for another 30 seconds.

row-jump_0

8. Tabata Burst: Row Jump

Targets: thighs, butt, and upper back

Stand with feet together, holding 1 weight vertically at chest height, both hands grasping top end and elbows bent out to sides (a). Jump feet out and lower into a squat, straightening arms and lowering weight toward floor (b). Straighten legs and jump feet back together, raising weight to chest height, elbows bent out to sides. Continue for 20 seconds.

pilates-double-leg-stretch

9. Pilates Double-Leg Stretch

Targets: core

Lie on back, hugging knees to chest, hands resting lightly on shins. Curl head, neck, and shoulders off floor (a). Keeping core engaged, straighten and lift legs about 45 degrees from floor while extending arms overhead next to ears (b). Pause, then pull knees back to chest while sweeping arms out to sides to return hands to shins. Continue for 60 seconds.

squat-jack_0

10. Tabata Burst: Squat Jack

Targets: legs, butt, and shoulders

Stand with feet together and arms extended overhead, holding 1 weight horizontally with both hands (a). Jump feet out and lower into a squat, bending elbows and lowering weight to chest height (b). Straighten legs and jump feet back together, extending arms and weight overhead. Continue for 20 seconds.

 

Remember to pace yourself according to what your body can do. If you’ve never done circuit training before, then you’ll want to go a little easy on your first Tabata go-around. Instead of doing 10 second intervals, maybe do 30-45 second breaks (or even 1 minute) in between each exercise. The key is to be able to work your body in ways that will help burn fat, boost your metabolism, and improve your muscular and cardio endurance, without causing injury. Your endurance and completion time will improve as you go along.

After your first set, you can opt for more targeted exercises depending on the muscle group you want to train for the day. You can do narrow-grip pushups if you want better shoulders and chest, high step-ups if you want nicer glutes, mountain climbers for firmer abs, etc.

Clearly, there is now no excuse for lack of time when it comes to working out. There are apps that give you 7 or 8-minute workouts while this one only needs 4 minutes of your time for each set. So get it done and thank yourself later.

 

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Got any questions? Would you like to share your fitness journey with us? Send us an email through toughgirlonline@gmail.com

 

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