When time is tight, it can be difficult to do your usual 30- to 60-minute workout. For those days, a Tabata-style workout may be the answer. Tabata is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that requires just four minutes to complete. In fact, research suggests this form of HIIT could actually be more effective than three, 30-minute sessions running on a treadmill for improving aerobic capacity.

Researchers organized 55 healthy, young male participants into three separate training groups for a 16-week workout program:

For the warm-up to each workout, the HITT-T group did a four-minute warm-up on the treadmill, the HIIT-WB group used the same body-weight exercises but moved at a much slower tempo for four minutes, and the MICT group gradually increased running tempo. 

At the end of the 16-week training protocols, each group had improved their fitness levels, which was measured by time to reach VT2 and the time to reach exhaustion. The HIIT-T group demonstrated better results than the HIIT-WB or MICT groups, supporting the idea that HIIT is a time-efficient workout solution. This is great news for those days when time can be a factor and a gym workout just isn’t feasible. In other words, when time gets tight, a four-minute Tabata workout may be sufficient for maintaining your current level of fitness.

Here are two options for applying this research to your own Tabata-style protocols:

The entire workout should take about 12 minutes because you should allow some time for a warm-up and cool-down with stretching for the involved muscles. For the warm-ups, follow the workout protocols from the research study outlined above.

Here are some general guidelines when performing the body-weight exercises:

While it’s always nice to have a long, stress-reducing workout session, there will be days when time really is a factor. For this reason, it’s nice to know that time-efficient Tabata-style workouts really do work and produce results.

Via: www.acefitness.org