Gaby's Lockdown Workouts - Tabata

December 14, 2021

Gaby's Lockdown Workouts - Tabata

Some people love exercising, others just want to get it over with. But what if you could get it done in 10 minutes twice a week? A lot of scientific evidence points to the value of short high intensity workouts. These can create the triggers and hormonal shifts for the body to carry on doing the good work of building muscle tone and fitness, losing fat etc., long after you arrived at the pub, or Annabel’s. It’s like the body just needs the intense unmistakeable signal rather than a long drawn out slog.

Taken a step further, apparently, those that can visualise with intense focus can get the effects by imagining their workout without lifting a finger. The body carries on the physical after-effects as if it really happened. Let me know if that works for you!

Tabata is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, with exercises that last just four minutes with a one-minute break in between. The purist version of this discipline will have you seeing stars, throwing up, or at least feeling nauseous. So you may wonder why anyone would intentionally inflict this on themselves.
Because as little as 4 minutes (or one "Tabata") can increase your aerobic and anaerobic capacity, resting metabolic rate, and can help burn more fat and get you looking leaner than a traditional hour-long aerobic workout, e.g. running on the treadmill.

Professor Izumi Tabata developed this ultra-intense protocol for the 1996 Olympic speed skaters. Research was conducted on two groups of athletes. Half training normally and the other half at high intensity interval training 4 times a week for 6 weeks. The results - the HIIT group showed much more increase in their aerobic system and increased their anaerobic system by 28 percent.
To do a Tabata, choose a cardio activity and go as hard as you can for 20 seconds. Follow that with 10 seconds of rest and repeat seven more times. By the end of the 4 minutes you’ll feel like you're going to die. But gentler versions still have their value.

• Play full-out for 20 seconds

• Rest for 10 seconds

• Repeat for 8 rounds

You can do pretty much any exercise you wish; running, cycling, squats, push-ups, burpees or any other exercise that works your large muscle groups. Kettlebell exercises also work well. The secret to getting all the benefits is the level of intensity.

10 - 20 min Tabata workout
I love a bodyweight workout and this one hits upper and lower body, core and gets your heartrate up! You will need a stopwatch / timer
The following exercises can be done for 2 mins each, 20 secs on 10 secs rest for a 10 mins workout, or 4 mins for a 20 min workout. We’ll start with Mountain Climbers. Do them for 20 seconds at a high-intensity. Rest for 10 seconds, and then repeat for 20 seconds. Once you complete eight sets of 20-second mountain-climbers, rest for one minute.
Then move on to the press-ups.

1. Mountain climbers – 4 minutes

These exercises warm up the whole body. Start in a high plank position, hands below shoulders, body in a straight line, (neck in line with the body), core engaged. Draw right knee in towards chest, return it to start position, repeat with the left leg and continue alternating. To make this more challenging, speed it up.

2. Press ups – 4 minutes

A great exercise for the upper body and core. For beginners start on all fours position, intermediate, on hands and outstretched knees, and advanced, full press up position. Hand position is slightly wider than shoulders and directly under them. Keep body in a straight line, core engaged, inhale as you slowly bend your elbows and lower yourself towards the floor, exhale as you press back up. Repeat.

3. Squats – 4 minutes

A great exercise for strengthening muscles in the legs and glutes. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip distance, feet either facing forwards or turned out, but make sure knees follow same line as toes. Keep chest up and shoulders back, drive your hips backwards, bend at knees as if going into a seated position, stop when knees are at a 90⁰ angle, then press up through heels back up to start position.

To make this a more advanced and challenging exercise, do these as jump squats. Squat down, and as you press back up jump up off the ground, landing softly and straight back into a squat, ensuring you bend knees as you land.

4. Walk outs – 4 minutes

A full body movement of a plank variation and a press up. Begin with feet hip width, bend from hips keeping back flat, reaching for the ground just in front of you. Place palms on the floor, shifting weight into the hands and walking hands forwards until you are in a press up position. At this point you can do a press up (or two), or just walk hands back to feet, keeping back neutral, stand back up to start position. Repeat.
A few tips:

1. The Tabata method works across many exercises. Start with one you’re comfortable with, maybe running on the treadmill.

2. Set a timer, maybe on your phone so you don’t have to guess 20 seconds when you’re about to pass out.

3. Have a mantra that you can repeat in rhythm with your movements. It can take your focus away from the excruciating pain. 

And remember, as you get fitter it doesn’t get easier. It’s full out maximum effort every session.

Gaby Van Clarke

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