I have been on a cardio kick lately and just wanted to report a badass workout using the Tabata Protocol on a stationary bike. I have posted on this before but this short 4 minute workout still manages to have my gasping for air and trying to keep my heart from beating out of my chest. With that said:
“High-intensity exercise is not recommended nor prescribed to individuals at risk for health problems or obese individuals not used to intense exercise.”
For the rest of you, this might just be the cardiovascular workout you are looking for. I have been tinkering around with this type of training for several months now using squats, sprinting, circuits, and bike training and although the workouts only last 4 minutes, my cardiovascular endurance and VO2max have greatly increased.
Maximal oxygen uptake, or VO2max, is generally regarded as the best single measure of cardiovascular fitness. As exercise increases and you near your maximum your body basically switches to anaerobic or “without oxygen” mode. This increase in your aerobic/anaerobic pathways is what gets you fit, increases your endurance and raises your metabolic rate.
Dr. Izumi Tabata’s studies revolved around interval training and finding a “perfect” interval ratio of work to rest to challenge both aerobic and anaerobic pathways. Without getting to in depth (nerdy), this basically causes your heart to pump every ounce of oxygen rich blood to the working muscles thus improving your VO2max and your overall fitness in less time than it takes to drink a coffee.
I recommend using a stationary or airdyne bike as you can quickly transition between the work and rest periods. My workout usually consists of a 5 minute warmup followed by 8 20sec work to 10sec rest intervals which equal a total of 4 minutes. You will have to play around with the resistance to find your level which should be almost unbearable by the 8th interval.
I use level 12 on the stationary bike for my work interval and drop it down to 6 for the rest. I do this at the end of a strength training workout or by itself because when I’m finished I don’t want to do anything else.
If your main goal is fat loss then this workout will also give you more time to focus on strength training which has been proven to be more effective for changing your metabolism and body composition.
Tabata and interval training has also been proven to be a more efficient way for endurance athletes to train rather than focusing on multiple long distance sessions per week.
The kicker is you actually have to “work”. And when I say work I mean give it every ounce you’ve got right up until the last second. Change doesn’t come easy…but its only 4 minutes. 🙂