Four grueling minutes and you are done. It sounds like some T.V. infomercial advertising a workout machine promising to make you ride a bike like Marcel Kittel for only $19.95. But hear me out. After a little research and testing I’ve decided that this run has its place my training schedule, and maybe even yours. So here’s the gist:
In 1996, Japanese speed skating coach Izumi Tabata was looking for a way to edge out his team’s competitors. After a ton of testing, he ended up with an interval session in which his athletes gave an all out effort for twenty seconds, then rested for ten seconds, for a total of four minutes.
20 Seconds All Out –> 10 Second Rest –>Repeat 4x–> Stop
But here’s what caught my attention:
Skaters who used this four minute interval session for six weeks improved their maximum aerobic capacity by 14 percent. Skaters that did not use this interval workout, and instead replaced it with an hour of steady endurance training only improved by 10 percent.
Ever since, runners and other athletes have been incorporating this into their schedules. But because I haven’t personally tested my VO2 max to verify these results, I incorporate Tabata into my training in a way that pretty much minimizes any substantial risks.
How I Use Tabata:
I often have those days where I know I need to get a good run in, but I either don’t have much time, or I’m just a little low on the will to give a good faith effort for a normal workout. But c’mon, even if you are low on motivation for one day, you can give it all you’ve got for four minutes right?
Lately, I complete a Tabata workout about once a week when I inevitably find myself short on time or motivation. Maybe my V02 max is improving by 14%, maybe not. But heck, it’s a four minutes, what do I have to loose. It’s way better than foregoing a run altogether.
So next time you don’t have the time or requisite motivation for your scheduled run, give this four minute monster a go. You wont regret it!
If you don’t miss scheduled workouts very often try tacking Tabata onto the end of your normal run.
Either way, we’d love to hear about your experience with this workout!