Exercise and Fitness: Try Tabatas!

Tabatas seems to be the new buzzword in fitness circles these days. Put in the simplest of terms, Tabatas is 20 seconds of exercise at 100% intensity, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This cycle is repeated for a duration of four minutes. You should start your session with a 5 minute warm-up and follow your session with a 5 minute cool down.

What are the benefits of Tabatas?

Tabatas improves both your aerobic and anaerobic capacity. Pure cardio only improves aerobic capacity. When your anaerobic capacity is improved you can train at higher intensity levels for a longer period of time. This increases your calorie burn during AND after your workout. You create an oxygen deficit while you do Tabatas that HAS to be replenished after you’re done. The harder you work out, the harder you breathe and the higher your heart rate goes. As a result, it takes more time (and calories) to get things back to normal. Cool science eh?

The really nice thing about Tabatas is you can get a great workout in a very short period of time. You wouldn’t want to do this type of workout every day. It’s recommended that you take part in Tabatas once or twice a week tops. When planning your workout, use exercises that involve large muscle groups.

Time for the disclaimer: You should always check with your doctor before starting a work out program like Tabatas to make sure you are healthy enough for intense exercise. Ok, that’s out of the way…

When I tried Tabatas for the first time, I decided to do “Tabatas light”. I did 15 seconds at 100% intensity and rested for 15 seconds. I did six minutes at this intensity level. My plan is to work up to the real deal.

A traditional tabatas is 20 seconds as hard as you can go with 10 seconds of rest.

Here’s the workout:

Squats: 15 seconds Rest: 15 seconds
Push-ups: 15 seconds Rest: 15 seconds
Crunches: 15 seconds Rest: 15 seconds
(these were “criss cross” Elbow to opposite knee)
Mountain Climbers: 15 seconds Rest: 15 seconds

I did three sets of the above. The total time for the workout was 16 minutes, including my warm-up and cool down.

Here’s the cool tech tools that enhanced my workout:

i-Pad 3 with the following apps

Bit-timer: You can set your work time, your rest time and how many times you want it to repeat. An audible beep counts down to start each exercise round.

Songza: I used the “Drop-a-beat” workout playlist.

Give it a try! (see disclaimer) Then let me know how it goes by sending me a comment.

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Author: Sue Kauffman

Health and PE teacher in Central PA. Exercise, fitness and nutrition junkie. Married, two teen girls (pulling out hair daily). Love to ballroom dance. Beachbody customer and coach. e-mail me at suek11@embarqmail.com