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Tabata Training

Want to blast fat fast? Get ready for four minutes of hell

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Tabata training was developed by Izumi Tabata, Ph.D., at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. It's a timed interval method that breaks up your sets and reps, and can help you burn lots more fat than during a standard workout. It requires only one exercise and four minutes.

HOW TO DO IT

  • 1.) Decide if you're going to lift (choose a compound exercise like the bench press, deadlift, or squat) or do cardio.
  • 2.) Do a five- to 10-minute warm-up on the stationary bike to get your blood flowing and muscles loose.
  • 3.) Do the first "set" of your exercise for 20 seconds. Don't worry about counting—just knock out as many reps as you can.
  • 4.) Rest for 10 seconds. Make sure to use good form, whether running or hitting the weights.
  • 5.) Repeat steps 3 and 4 for four minutes. That's it, you're done. Trust us, you won't be able to handle any more.

THINGS TO REMEMBER
— "You can transform virtually any cardio activity into a Tabata-style workout," says Rich Butkevic, a trainer and author of Four Minutes of Pain: The Ultimate Guide to Tabata Training.

— If you're lifting, pick a lighter weight than you're used to, since you'll fatigue quickly.

— As you advance, add more time but maintain the two-to-one work-to-rest ratio. Do more in each set than you did last time. But don't use Tabata training too often. Twice a week, tops.

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