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The 4 Minute Workout: Tabata Sprints

November 18, 2009

Have you have ever found yourself saying something resembling the following:  “I just don’t have any time to work out anymore.  I’m just way too busy.”  Well, I have some incredible news for you!  All you need is just 4 minutes per day to satisfy your body’s essential requirement for exercise!  Yes, I’m serious, and this flips the excuse of not having enough time right on its head.  This type of intensified training I’m talking about is called Tabata interval training.

Quite simple and effective, a Tabata session consists of twenty seconds of maximum output, followed by ten seconds of rest, repeated eight times consecutively for a total of four minutes. And, you can use any exercise (running, rowing, cycling, burpees, jump rope, squats, etc.)!  Doing Tabata sprints is perhaps the most rewarding – and physically taxing – way to spend those four minutes. (Refer to my previous post on sprinting)


The credit for this simple and powerful training method belongs to its namesake, Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan.  Their groundbreaking 1996 study, published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, provided documented evidence concerning the dramatic physiological benefits of high-intensity, intermittent training. After just 6 weeks of testing, Dr. Tabata noted  that just four minutes of Tabata interval training could do more to boost aerobic and anaerobic capacity than an hour of endurance exercise.

Translation:  You don’t need to drudge out 45 minutes of chronic cardio training to burn calories and gain fitness. In fact, this research tells us that you will benefit far more from short, intense bouts of exercise, such as a tabata session than any long slow painful cardio session. Say WOW!

Two of the best parts of this training are that there is no equipment necessary and you can do this anywhere at anytime.  All you might need is a GymBoss interval timer so you can keep true to the clock while you add up your repetitions.  You can get pretty creative with this training, since you can use almost any exercise you can think of such as  pushups, pullups, squats, lunges etc.  If you’re feeling extra frisky, you can even do more than one tabata session in your workout.  Go crazy!

So guess what?  No excuses. Go get some!

Your health coach,

Dr. Ryan Hewitt

Check out Funk Roberts doing some Tabata (His pushups are a little short on the range of motion but not bad)

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 5, 2010 5:40 pm

    This is an awesome post, I hope you don’t mind I’ve taken the liberty of linking to it from my blog. Cheers!

  2. drhewitt permalink*
    January 9, 2010 9:46 pm

    Thanks Kevin! You are more than welcome to link this to your blog or any others. Be well.

  3. December 30, 2010 8:35 pm

    This workout sure is difficult. I thought I’d be able to do five sets of four minutes, plus a one minute plank straight afterward, but it is an absolute killer. The sweat was starting to pour off me after two minutes. This workout is intense, but I love intense. I would rather spend twenty minutes at the gym than an hour on the boring elliptical trainer. I managed to do two sets. I trained at level 10 on the stationary bike and during my 20 second cycles I increased the rpm to 110-115. Those ten seconds go so quickly. I’m going to carve a sculpted body with this simple but intense workout. I love it!


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