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In today’s “hurry up and get it done” mindset, the idea of a workout that can be accomplished in just four minutes may seem to good to be true. A four-minute exercise program that burns fat and results in weight loss is a dream come true for many. Curb your enthusiasm, as this is not for the faint of heart and requires intense bursts of activity! It is a method of exercising called high-intensity interval training or HIIT. The Tabata Training method consists of intervals that are completed within four minutes, alternating high intensity for 20 seconds followed by a 10 second rest period. This is repeated for eight rounds or cycles.

Tabata training originated out of studies conducted by Professor Izumi Tabata and his research team at Ritsumeikan University’s Sports, Health and Science Department in the late 1990’s. The primary goal of the study was to determine if lower intensity exercises, combined with short bursts of high-intensity exercise is better at increasing aerobic and anaerobic capacities when compared to one hour of endurance exercises. The study was conducted on two groups of athletes with one group training at a high intensity and the other at a moderate intensity. The moderate intensity group trained five days a week for six weeks where each training session lasted one hour. The high intensity group trained four days a week for six weeks also however instead of lasting one hour, their sessions were four minutes each, with 20 seconds at high intensity and a 10 second rest in between.

Group 1, the moderate intensity group, demonstrated a significant increase in their aerobic system (cardiovascular) but little benefit to their anaerobic system (muscle). Group 2, the high-intensity group, demonstrated a marked increase in both systems. Thus a method of exercising that produced amazing results was born and became known as the Tabata Protocol or simply Tabata Exercises. High-intensity interval training lowers insulin resistance levels which may benefit Type II diabetes patients.

Tabata Training in Freehold NJ was originally intended to be performed with one movement or exercise, however, many enthusiasts are changing up the number or types of exercises in one session. Some are even changing the number of repetitions or length at which point it no longer becomes the Tabata method. Some of the most popular choices of exercise used with this training method include boxing, jumping rope, cycling, rowing, running, lunges, burpees, among many others. A wide variety of equipment can be used when training including kettle bells, swiss balls, barbells, dumbbells, exercise bands or tubes, or your own body weight.

An example of an exercise for those new to Tabata workouts or just plain new to exercising is Prisoner squats. Prisoner squats are a classic exercise. They are easy to perform, require no extra equipment, and you can easily keep an eye on the time. Place your hands behind your head (do not pull on the neck) and keep the chest up and out. Press your heels into the floor and be sure to walk in between sets to help keep prevent lactic acid build up. Stationary bicycle sprints or rowing and jumping rope are good for beginners as well.

Fat is the fuel used by the aerobic system and elevated amounts of fat are consumed during this exercise regimen. The Tabata method is time efficient and keeps working for hours afterwards. When participating in any exercise program it is important to begin with an adequate warm-up of 5 – 10 minutes followed by a cool down of similar length.

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