High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great staple to kick your exercise program up a notch. These quick, intense workouts are fantastic for burning fat and calories, revving up your metabolism, and giving long-lasting benefits well after your session is over.
Plus, they're the perfect option for when you're pressed for time. You can get in and get out in as little as 5-10 minutes—as long as you're willing to exert yourself.
If you're not sure where to start with your HIIT journey, or if you're looking for a new way to incorporate more intensity into your training, consider the Tabata method. Named after the Japanese physician who first designed it, this workout is fast, hard, and endlessly variable. Do these in the gym, in your hotel room, in your backyard...you get the idea!
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The Big To-Do About Tabata
Tabata is a favorite HIIT variation for athletes from all areas and ability levels. Here's how to do it:
- Perform a given movement as fast as you can for 20 seconds.
- Rest for 10 seconds.
- Repeat this 20:10 cycle 8 times.
- Total working time: 4 grueling but awesome minutes.
Don't let its’ simplicity fool you - when you push yourself as hard as you can, you'll be glad there's only 8 rounds!
Pro tip: be sure to keep a stopwatch or clock handy, and consider having a way to quickly keep track of your rounds so you don't lose count.
Try These: 10 Tabata Moves for Home or the Gym
Tabata workouts can be performed with just about any type of movement you're comfortable with: cardio, lifting, gymnastics, etc. Check out these 10 movements that we find especially challenging:
- Wall balls
- Dumbbell push presses
- Hollow holds
- Wind Sprints
- Ring Rows
- Mountain climbers
- Box jumps or step-ups
- Spin bike sprints
If you're feeling extra energetic, try double Tabatas or cluster Tabatas. To do a double Tabata, perform 1 full Tabata with one movement, then immediately perform another Tabata using a different movement.
To do a cluster Tabata, perform multiple full Tabatas with approximately 2-4 minutes of rest between each complete cycle.