Rich Butkevic December 28, 2011 TWEET COMMENTS 4

The Fabulous 4 (Minutes) - Page 2

He eventually hit the jackpot with an unorthodox program, in which participants performed speed skating interval training for 20 seconds at a time alternated with 10-second rest intervals for eight sets—a total of four minutes of training. He compared the results with a more common training regimen of 60 minutes of traditional steady state endurance training.

Participants who used Tabata's interval technique for six weeks improved their maximum aerobic capacity by 14 percent, compared to 10 percent for the participants training for an extra 56 minutes.

The real gem was that this training also improved anaerobic capacity simultaneously by 28 percent, while the 60-minute group experienced no increase at all!

What does all this mean in English? Tabata training can improve the results of your cardio training by almost 50 percent according to Tabata's study.

If that isn't enough, the kicker is that during those short four minutes, you can actually build muscle at the same time—despite burning calories.

The method is so effective that Alex Koch, Ph.D., an assistant professor of exercise science at Missouri's Truman State University, says, "The `Tabata protocol'—which sounds like it could be a tantric sex act or a secret martial art—deserves its reputation."

The Quick and Dirty

Tabata training is downright simple. As previously mentioned, you perform eight 20-second interval sets, with 10 seconds of rest in between each set.

What's an interval? It a short burst of intense activity, in our case, a sprint. Warm up for five to 10 minutes at an easy pace. Then, hold on tight, because the next four minutes will be brutal.

Take off in a full-blown sprint, like someone is chasing you, for 20 seconds. Then rest for 10 seconds, then sprint again for 20 seconds. Do eight sets. Perform the routine over relatively flat terrain, or even a treadmill, because the key is speed.

The Rest of the Story

Start by doing a weekly Tabata session, and see how quickly you improve. If you're really hard core, you can even do a Tabata session after your regular run.


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