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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tabata Intervals - Better Than An Hour On the Elliptical

20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest.  Perform 8 rounds of this interval.

That doesn't sound very hard Mike.  That's only 4 minutes of working out!  How hard can it really be?
Here's the catch.  You can't pace yourself through the 20 seconds.  You must perform a given exercise at 100% intensity during the 20 seconds.  You can perform this interval with just about any exercise.  I have done pushups, pullups, situps, squats, running, rowing and burpees using this interval.  It is very hard, but well worth the effort.

Here's an example of me doing Tabata squats with a mile run directly after.

Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max
This study shows the effectiveness of the Tabata interval.  One group performed long bouts of moderate intensity exercise (slow running, elliptical, stair master... What most people waste time doing in the gym).  The other group performed Tabata intervals on a stationary bike (4 minutes of work, 5 times a week).

Moderate Intensity Exercise:  VO2max (long distance capacity) increased by about 5ml/kg/min.  Anarobic capacity (short distance power) did not increase at all.
Tabata Interval:  VO2max increased by about 7ml/kg/min.  Anarobic capacity increased by 28%.

So what can we take from this?  Stop wasting your time strolling along on the elliptical, or jogging for an hour every day.  Spend 4 minutes a day working as hard as you can.  Your workouts will be much shorter and you will get much better results!

Give it a try and let me know how you did!


I agree and I'm a big running fan. I have found all those miles I use to log didnt do much compared to doing shorter, more quality, runs. I do intervals like this a lot (longer times though). Usually total hard running is only about 10 minutes but I'm running just as fast as I've been since leaving college.

We did this workout on Monday Sept 19th, it was the hardest that I've done by far. When you put 100% into something you will see results, I've noticed that this workout alone has toned and tighten more than a weeks worth of "normal" workouts. Now on Thursday I'm still feeling the soreness like it was the first day of my journey to become fit all over again. Keep kicking my butt Mike!

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