Super Short but Effective Cardio
|October 4, 2013||Posted by The Fit Scoop under Workouts|
I wrote an article this week about short and effective cardio workouts (I’ll post it on the Publications page once it gets published), and I thought I’d share what is probably the best time-efficient cardio workout: tabata intervals.
Tabata intervals are named after the lead researcher of a now famous study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. The study involved two experiments, one looking at the effects of 6 weeks of moderate-intensity training and one looking at the effects of 6 weeks of high-intensity interval training. The researchers found that performing high-intensity intervals resulted in greater improvements in aerobic* and anaerobic capacities** as compared to the moderate intensity training AND the training time was significantly shorter.
Better results in less time – what’s the catch??? Well, the catch is that the study participants performed the intervals at 170% of their VO2max – in other-words, you have to perform each interval ALL OUT. Admittedly, it takes a LOT of motivation to get yourself to work out at this effort level, and it certainly isn’t appropriate for beginners. However, Tabata workouts are great if you have been exercising regularly and are looking for a way to take your fitness to the next level while reducing your workout time. Give it a try!
Note: this is the exact workout from the study. The study participants performed the workout on stationary bicycles, but you can perform the workout with the cardio of your choice.
*Average aerobic capacity (V02max) improvement was 5 ml·kg-1·min-1 with the moderate-intensity cardio but 7 ml·kg-1·min-1 with the high-intensity intervals.
**Anaerobic capacity improved by 28% with the high-intensity intervals but did not improve with the moderate-intensity cardio.