The exercise world is constantly evolving with new ways to get fit. Most of these workouts focus on both aerobic and anaerobic activity.
Aerobic conditioning serves low- to moderate-intensity activity, while anaerobic conditioning improves maximally intensive activity. High-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, is a great way to work both of these systems, as well as burn calories. The Tabata protocol is a very effective type of high-intensity interval training.
Dr. Izumi Tabata of the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo conducted research on interval training. The six-week study consisted of one group exercising at moderate-intensity endurance training, while another group performed high-intensity intermittent training. Each group exercised five days at a specific intensity. The moderate-intensity group worked at 70 percent maximal aerobic capacity for 60 minutes. The high-intensity group performed eight intervals of 20 seconds activity/10 seconds rest. These individuals functioned at about 170 percent maximal aerobic capacity.
At the conclusion of the study, both groups increased in maximal oxygen uptake. However, it was the high-intensity group that experienced significant increases in anaerobic capacity.
Increases in anaerobic threshold — the level of exercise intensity at which lactic acid builds up in the body faster than it can be cleared away — allow the individual to perform at even higher intensity. This group also improved in aerobic capacity by about 14 percent. The data showed that the interval-training group made gains in both aerobic and anaerobic systems.
It is fairly simple to design a Tabata-based workout. Pick an exercise, such as sprints, and perform eight rounds of 20 seconds activity/10 seconds rest. This will take a total of four minutes. Repeat this format with different exercises for a full-body workout.
For example, a program could consist of squats, sprints, push-ups, crunches and jumping jacks all rolled into the Tabata format. This workout consisting of five exercises would take around 20 minutes (not including warm-up and cool down). Programs like these will encourage fat burn and increase strength, as well as build cardiovascular fitness.