mardi 5 janvier 2010

4-minute workout

Just read about a new workout method called “Tabata” (in the G&M).

In a half-hour, at home, I could warm up, do eight Tabata intervals, and shower. Sounds like a good New Year’s resolution to me…

Tabata, a type of high-intensity interval training that was originally developed for Japan's Olympic speed-skating team, is fast gaining popularity as a high-speed new-mom workout. The Tabata method is used most widely by elite athletes. But Tabata has recently taken off among women looking to get back into postpartum shape.

Named after Izumi Tabata, a former researcher at Japan's National Institute of Fitness and Sports, the compressed workout has a simple format: Do an exercise (such as push-ups or jumping rope) for 20 seconds at full intensity, and then take a 10-second break. Repeat seven times, varying exercises, for a total workout of four minutes.

Tabata training is effective, despite its brevity, because the body continues to burn calories at a high rate during the recovery period, says Martin Gibala, chair of the department of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton. In a study published last year in the Journal of Physiology, Prof. Gibala and his research team found that participants who did high-intensity interval training for just 1 1/2 hours total each week enjoyed the same physical benefits as those who did 4 1/2 hours of endurance training on a stationary bike. Both groups had similar levels of muscle development and lipid oxidation (which improves endurance and reduces the risk of developing obesity and diabetes). "You can get away with less time and see many of the same adaptations we associate with endurance training," Prof. Gibala says.

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