This just in from IDEA Fit – “Tabata Training – The Hottest Trend in Hard-Core Cardio”. Tabata or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is basically about taking an exercise, such as sprinting or push-ups, and performing that exercise all out for a burst of 20-30 seconds, recovering for 10 seconds, and repeating this 8 times. The key to getting the full benefits of this approach is the “high-intensity” part. That is, you have to push yourself to work those 20 seconds at max effort (85% MHR,or RPE of 15). About a month ago, I set up a Tabata segment for my bootcamp class. We started with V-situps, moved to Push-ups, Prisoner Squats and ended with Tricep Dips. So each move followed a 20 second work and 10 second rest pattern, for 8 sets with a 60 second transition to the next exercise (W20/R10/T60). After watching my bootcamp class tackle Tabata, I ran myself through various other interval workouts, and discovered I really liked this approach because…
- Having the ability to adjust both the interval time and the exercises you do means people of all fitness levels can do this. For instance, you could start with jogging in place for 15 seconds and giving yourself 10 seconds or more recovery before repeating. Once you can handle that, increase the work time to 20 seconds and keep the rest period at 10 seconds. Then progress the work time to 30 seconds, or change the exercise to something more challenging like Jumping Jacks or Squat Jumps.
- No fancy equipment is needed. Your wrist watch or room clock should suffice for timing your intervals. But I have to admit, I love using the free HIIT and Tabata timers you can download on your SmartPhone. They are all very simple to set up, and once you hit start, you just listen for the whistle to blow!
Still looking for a tamer introduction to the world of intervals? I suggest you get moving to your favorite songs. This is one of the best ways to learn to run, but can apply to other movements as well. Grab your mini music player and start walking, briskly, to the first song or two. When the next tune starts, take it up to an easy jog for the duration of that song. When the songs ends, return to your brisk walk for the length of the next song. If your breathing rate has recovered, jog again for the next song. Keep repeating this pattern. Your favorite songs will make the experience more enjoyable and the time goes by quickly. This is the technique I used to develop my ability to run, and I still leverage it today. I just try to pick up my pace and hold it for 2-3 songs now before returning to a jog. And since most songs have a run time between 3 and 4 minutes, you don’t need any other timer, and you can easily estimate your total workout time based on how many songs you’ve heard.
So don’t fear the hottest trend in high intensity… embrace it as a way to bring variety to your exercise program and build intensity appropriate for you, over time.