Today I thought I’d write about one of my favourite ways to get in a quick cardio session, Tabata workouts. Some days when I really don’t feel like treadmill intervals or just want to mix things up I like to throw in one of these workouts. I guess MetaFit or LesMills’ Grit classes are pretty similar if you prefer to group exercise.
So what is Tabata? It’s a high intensity interval training method where you go all out for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and repeat 4 or 8 times and this counts as one Tabata. It’s originator was a Japanese researcher, Dr. Izumi Tabata, who used it to improve the anaerobic and aerobic performance of ice skaters.
How do you go about ‘doing’ a Tabata? I use an app, called Tabata Pro, free from the app store. It lets you set how many cycles you want to do and how many Tabatas, I usually do 8 cycles and 4 Tabatas, which adds up to a 16 minute workout. Before I do my cycle I write out a plan of what I want to do, so when it’s counting down to the next cycle I can spend my time catching my breath, not panicking that I haven’t thought out what to do next. An example of my workout would be:
Tabata 1: Burpees and sit ups. So this would be 20 seconds all out doing burpees, 10 seconds rest, 20 seconds doing as many sit up as possible 10 seconds rest, burpees, sit ups, burpees, sit ups, burpees, sit ups = Tabata 1 complete!
Tabata 2:Step ups and push ups
Tabata 3: Running on the spot and plank
Tabata 4: Jumping jacks and leg raises
Mixing up the cardio with a strength move really works for me, it makes the cardio feel less exhausting! By the end of this I’m absolutely dripping with sweat and the best bit, it’s such a short amount of time.
Below is a screen shot of the app I use, you’ll see it’s coloured yellow, green and red. Yellow for the 10 second prep, green for doing the exercise and red for rest. This is a great feature if you want to use it in a busy gym as you can see the colours and can still keep track if you cant hear the app counting you down.
The exercises above are just an example of what I do, I like to mix it up every time, that way it stays fresh and I never do the exact same workout twice. Some other things you can to your workout would be:
Squat and hold (or pulse), pulsing lunges, mountain climbers, in-out stepping, hip thrusters, squat jumps, v-ups, bicycles, skaters, skipping rope, the list is almost endless!
Have you tried Tabata workouts? Love them or hate them?