HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is becoming increasingly popular. The idea of building strength while burning fat and building cardio has caused more people to implement HIIT training workouts. Often people only consider running long distances or doing some sort of steady state cardio for more than 30 minutes, but they are NOTHING compared to true HIIT training workouts. True HIIT involves anywhere from 30-60 seconds of max effort work with a rest period 2-3 times the length of the "work" period, then repeat for a max of 20 minutes.If you are able to repeat an exercise for more than 60 seconds, it is not max effort and won't give you the desired effects. It is a true way to maintain muscle and still get the extreme cardio workouts you want to make those aerobic gains as well.
The Tabata Method is a HIIT workout method that is anything but easy. Remember seven minutes in heaven?...well this is more like 4 minutes of hell. Well at least that’s how you’ll feel if and when you complete the 4 minutes. The technique is simple enough to understand and the results are incredible. The Tabata Method (named after Izumi Tabata, the researcher who developed it), when used properly, is shown to increase both aerobic and anaerobic pathways effectively.
The method is simple:
- 20 seconds of work
- 10 seconds of rest
Repeat 7 more times totaling 4 minutes. There are so many exercises out there that you can do using this method, the thing is choosing the right exercise. You want to stick with exercises that are whole body or use the larger muscles of the bodies. For example, biceps curls using Tabata is no bueno. Here are some of the exercises I like to do implementing the Tabata Method:
With front squats, the load of the weight is going to be on the anterior chain of the body. Depending on a person's comfort level, hands can be crossed in front of the bar as extra safety or in the ending position of a power clean. The weight should be resting on the anterior deltoid regardless of the grip position, and the elbows should be raised to prevent the weight from falling forward. When using it as the exercise for the Tabata Method, you want to shoot for not even racking the weight during the 10 second rest.
Collectively I call these exercises loaded swings, because when done properly, you will mimic a hinging, swinging motion, loading with as much weight as you can while maintaining proper technique. The biggest thing about doing loaded swings is making sure that you are continuing with the hinging motion and not just bending at the waist and rounding out your back. Maintain that stiff straight back and make sure your continuing to move your hips back and keeping the weight on your hells while your chest is coming down.
There are so many different battle rope variations, but the key for using battle ropes for the Tabata Method is to try as hard as you can to keep the rope movement reaching the base holding the rope from the first rep to the last. Keep those ropes in your hand as you take the 10 second rest, and move on the the next work period. You've got to keep moving those ropes moving until they feel like they each weigh as much as you do.
Whether you are pushing or pulling, you've got to put as much weight on the sled as you can push. You really have to make sure that you are keeping a stiff back so as not to arch your back. Remember that as you are going, keep driving those legs, those legs will keep that sled moving, you need a huge burst to get it going, but as long as you keep those legs working you are going to keep that sled's momentum continuing. And while you are driving that sled, no matter what motion, you've got to keep pushing from the second you get the cue to the second you can take a break.
LOADED CARRIES (FARMER’S WALKS, SUITCASE CARRIES, ETC.)
Loaded carries are great workout finishers. Picking up a weight that is as heavy as you can carry and walk without waddling. Loaded carries take very little skill, it's more about not dropping the weight on yourself. Using a loaded carry as an exercise for the Tabata Method, you're better off sticking with farmer's walks and suitcase carries more for safety than anything since you are carrying the weights by your side, you just have to keep walking forward if you drop the weights. For loaded carries you don't have to worry as much about tempo either because you will only move as fast as you can without waddling. You want to shoot for maintaining the grip even throughout the 10 seconds or only readjusting quickly before the next work period. For these exercise, again, you want to pick up a weight as heavy as you can walk with without waddling. And while you are working on strength by carryingheavy weight around, the effort you are putting in carrying and walking is going to give you that extreme cardio workout and you'll be gasping for air like someone has you in a rear naked chokehold.
EXTREME CARDIO WORKOUTS
As you're dripping sweat, reaching for air that just doesn't seem to be there, you'll realize, your extreme cardio workouts are nothing like this, and yet the results you'll achieve are undeniable. Despite the fact you feel like you are about to die for a brief instant, the moment later, people are asking how they can be like you. You've got to push yourself to really reap the most benefits and utilize this method to its fullest.
Like I said, for the exercises involving loaded weight (like the front squats), to really get the full effect, you’ve got to pick the right weight. Let’s use the front squat as an example. The “true” way of using this method with the front squats is choosing a method that you are only able to do 6-8 reps per set (meaning through the 20 seconds, you complete 6-8 reps). But even if you choose a weight that you can do 20 reps on the first set, as long as it gets progressively harder that by the time you get to the last minute and a half you are only able to complete 6-8 reps, you’ll get the same results. You DON’T want to choose a weight that after the last set you feel like you can keep going, in that case, stop being a wuss and crank that weight up!
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