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Thursday, May 10, 2012

4 Minutes in Hell Never Felt So Good

Imagine a workout so short and so intense that in the amount of time it takes you to prepare a TV dinner (which I don't recommend consuming), you could have warmed up, worked out, and be cooling down. A workout so intense that your legs burn with the intensity of the sun and you can hardly raise your shoulders from your side because of that intense sensation of exhaustion and pride. The workout I'm talking about is a Tabata Interval workout.

What is it?
The Tabata Protocol is a specific formula that falls under the category of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Lets break down HIIT bit by bit. The 'HI' is for high intensity, this workout thrives when used by people who understand that you get what you work for. If you work as hard as possible, you will see the best results in the shortest amount of time. The 'IT' is for interval training, and this is where the rules of the system come from. A typical HIIT workout has a work period followed by a rest period. The two are cycled back and forth for a set number of rounds or until complete muscular failure.

It is a simple system that sounds so much easier than it really is. I'm going to walk you through my favorite version of this workout but please note that you should consult your physician before trying any new workout routines or lifestyle changes.

How do I do it?
The Tabata protocol goes through the process of designing our interval lengths for us, but we get to choose what workout we do. I do this at home where I do not have access to an exercise bike similar to that Dr. Tabata used in his original study. This means I have to improvise something that will push me to the brink without requiring any purchase. The exercise I have chosen is something I call the "Squat Thruster." This exercise is also known by a much more boring name, the dumbbell squat to front press (click that link for a video of how the exercise is performed). I use two water bottles filled with sand as improvised dumb bells (I don't recommend going above 5 lbs for your first workout). Once we understand what workout we will be doing and the proper way to do it, we can move forward to our warm-up.

The warm-up is important because without this crucial step, we are more prone to injuries, and incapable of performing at our true peak. I will do jumping jacks until I can feel the first bit of sweat appearing on my face. I follow this with a set of 5-10 push-ups and then some light stretching. My stretches will focus on the muscle I will be using the most during my Tabata workout (hips, hamstrings, shoulders, triceps).

Lets Do It!
Now that we're warm and limber it's time to begin. Use a clock or a smart phone app of your choice to time your workout because the timing of the intervals is of the utmost importance. In a Tabata workout we want to set our work interval to 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest. We will repeat this cycle 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. As you read this, you need to realize that the intensity of this workout should be of the highest variety. You need to struggle to fit as many reps of the squat thruster in to every 20 second interval. By the eighth round, you should be in pain and struggling to finish 10 reps in 20 seconds. If the intensity is right and you push to your limit, all the benefits of Tabata training will manifest within you. Some of the benefits you can look forward to are accelerated fat loss, increased lung volume, and a sweet endorphin rush. Good luck!

Final Notes!
Please remember to keep yourself well Hydrated! This is not a workout for the feint of heart! Make sure your body has the fuel to carry you through this! If you don't know exactly where to start, request your free wellness profile under "Contact Me" up top!

Visit my website for your **FREE** wellness evaluation!
Official Blog of Nutrition and Wellness Coach Daniel McGoldrick

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