Day: April 27, 2012

Train Smarter, Not Longer

Out of all the excuses we use to avoid going to the gym one ranks above them all. It’s no secret that our lives are getting busier and busier and unfortunately this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down. So the question is where can we find time to fit in that hour of exercise 4-5 days a week? What if I told you that you didn’t need an hour, or 45 minutes, or even 30 minutes for that matter? What if 4 minutes could be enough? Dr. Izumi Tabata challenges the traditional format of a workout with a specific variation of interval training designed for maximum output in a minimum amount of time.

Dr. Tabata performed a study in 1996 involving seven subjects who were put through 6 weeks of training with 5 workouts each week. Each workout consisted of a 5 minute warm-up followed by what is now known as the Tabata Training System. This system involves 20 seconds of work at maximum capacity followed by 10 seconds of rest repeated 6-8 times. In this study the control group performed a more traditionally accepted method of cardio which involved challenging the individual to complete exhaustion in 30 minutes. What Dr. Tabata found was nothing short of incredible. The Tabata Training group out performed the control group even when the total amount of exercise was only 4 minutes compared to the 30.

Why does this work? The overload principle states that training adaptations come about when the body is subjected to unaccustomed stress. The specific adaptation depends on the nature of the overload imposed. In other words, specific exercise overload brings about specific training effects. Traditionally people have geared training towards either aerobic or anaerobic conditioning. However with the Tabata Training protocol both aerobic and anaerobic can be overloaded. This Method also takes into consideration the mental aspect of working at maximum capacity. For the average individual it is nearly impossible to achieve maximum output for anything over 60 seconds. This becomes increasingly more difficult if we take into consideration the addition of multiple sets. Part of why Dr. Tabata’s training method is so effective is that it allows the individual to achieve maximum output, while at the same time, requiring minimal rest.

It is important to note that this training system is not recommended for an untrained individual. As with starting any exercise regimen, it is crucial to start off slow and gradually work your way up to ensure that you will stay injury free. It is recommended that before you begin using the Tabata Training Method you start with 1-3 sets and slowly work your way up to the full 8 sets. This method also shouldn’t be applied to exercises like box jumps or other high impact exercises due to the added risk of injury.

If you would like to know more about Tabata Training, please contact Personal Fitness Trainer Will Paton.