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Tabata! 20 minutes to change your life!

Bicep CurlIf you do not know what Tabata is I’ll let you know.  Tabata was founded in Japan by Izumi Tabata. He conducted tests on two groups of athletes; comparing moderate high intensity training with high intensity interval training. Olympic athletes have used this method, as well as movie stars like Kyra Sedgwick.  It’s simple and easy really, and you can do whatever exercises you want to do!

The results were that the athletes training in high intensity interval training improved their aerobic systems as well as their anaerobic system. The athletes who did the moderate high intensity training only improved their aerobic system and had little to no increase in their anaerobic system.  Keep in mind, this is ATHLETES, this is not a beginner training program. 

Now how do you design your own Tabata  workout?  You need to pick 4 exercises that you will be doing full on for 20 seconds, rest 10 and repeat a total of 8 cycles or 4 minutes.  Then rest one minute. Start exercise 2 and repeat the 20 full on and 10 rest cycle 8 times. Rest one minute.  Continue this sequence with the last 2 exercises.  If you can only make 2 exercises to start, that can be your starting place, work into doing all 4 in one 20 minute workout.  Make sure everything is ready and that you have all the necessary tools. Make sure to warm up properly before and stretch or else you’ll pull a muscle during the session. Finally, after you’re done the Tabata training, do a cool down (this can be a light jog in place, light skipping and biking) and stretch. Make sure that your body gets proper rest and nutrition if you want to see the results you want.

You will also need to have some sort of journal, spreadsheet or list saying what exercises you used for your Tabata and how heavy the weight was that you used (if you’re doing exercises that require weights). It is recommended to have a journal so that you can see if you are getting stronger.  Each exercise will have 8 lines to track the reps in each set that you do.  You will be trying to beat what you did in the total number of reps.

Second, make sure to have a timer with you. If you are exercising in doors and are near a computer, you can use a timer. If you are outside, you can download a Tabata app or a mp3 Tabata. Also be sure to have proper attire as well and have a water bottle and towel with you to refresh you between rounds.

Here’s an idea for a simple Tabata program.  Exercise one is stationary bike, pedal full on for 20 seconds, rest no pedaling for 10 seconds.  Repeat 8 cycles total then rest one minute. Exercise 2, push ups – bent knee, military or wall – 20 seconds on, rest 10. Repeat for your total of 8 cycles or 4 minute.  Rest one minute.  Now you’re at 10 minutes. Exercise 3, prisoner squats with the hands behind the head, same timing cycle. Last exercise 4 Double leg jackknives – feet to the ceiling and reach up with both hands to touch the toes. 20 seconds full on and 10 seconds rest for 8 cycles or 4 minutes.  Rest and stretch to end!

It will be a challenging yet simple way to intensify your workouts, blast fat, increase cardiovascular and muscle endurance and try something new!

About Janelle Baldwin

Janelle Baldwin is a physical therapist assistant (PTA) and lead fitness trainer for Agnesian HealthCare’s on-site fitness center, called the ZONE. She is a certified weight trainer (CWT), a strength and conditioning specialist (STS) and a certified strength and conditioning instructor (CSCI). Her 15 years of professional experience ranges from home care and work hardening/conditioning with the Agnesian HealthCare Sports, Spine & Work Center for many years to her role as a certified personal trainer; teaching fitness classes for which she is trained and certified for and maintaining the on-site fitness facility.

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