Walk into any boot camp-style class, and you’re likely to be hit with rounds of high-intensity interval training. And while there can be lots of variation, the principle is always the same: all-out effort followed by recovery.
But there’s one classic style worth adding to your repertoire if you haven’t tried it already: Tabata. The high-intensity interval training style was developed by Japanese professor Dr. Izumi Tabata to train Olympic speed skaters in the late 1990s. Today, the training style is applied to just about any move.
The system is easy to remember: 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest, and repeat. The short rest intervals force the body to keep moving before it actually recovers from the previous set—and that’s part of the reason why Tabata leads to significant aerobic and anaerobic gains.1 But there’s a catch: You have to push yourself—really push yourself all out.2 You won’t reap the strength and cardio benefits from leisurely going through the movements. But when performed correctly, there’s another benefit: the afterburn effect. That means you keep burning calories for hours after your quick workout has ended.3
With that in mind, Tabata typically isn’t a good idea for workout novices. Because you will be trying to squeeze in as many reps as possible, you’ll be moving fast—which can be an easy way to get injured if you’re not careful.
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Because this exercise strategy is more of a for…