3 Four-Minute Workouts For Killer Calorie Burn

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by HAC Personal Trainer, Deb Goodge

I immediately became hooked on interval training after attending Mindy Mylrea’s Tabata Bootcamp training session at a Philadelphia conference in 2012. Later that year, I became a certified Tabata Bootcamp instructor, and I continue to utilize interval training with my PT clients today.

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Tabata is a type of high intensity interval training (HIIT) that uses short bursts of energy with even less recovery time. It is one form of exercise that delivers positive anabolic and cardiovascular effects on the body quickly. True tabata training is completed in 4 minutes. The format consists of 20 seconds of exercise with 10 seconds of recovery for 8 sets. However, getting the most out of your quick workout requires maximum effort; you must reach total fatigue at the end of the 4 minutes.

The workout was originally tested and developed in Japan by its namesake, Dr. Izumi Tabata, back in 1996 on speed skaters using stationary bikes as the cross-training method. The original study showed that a 4-minute workout was more effective than an hour of moderate cycling, and benefited both the anaerobic and aerobic energy systems. Tabata exercise also has an “afterburn” effect, where your body continues to burn calories for up to 24 hours after the workout ends. In addition, virtually any exercise, both in the gym and out, from sprinting to weight-lifting, can be used in this training style.

Since that conference in 2012, I have continued to be an instructor of HIIT training classes and use the tabata style of training with my clients. Adding tabata or interval training to your current workouts can be a great way to jump start your workout program and bring you to a higher level of fitness, especially if you are particularly limited on time. Here are a few of my favorite tabata interval workouts to get you started. Note that any of these movements can be modified to accommodate any fitness level.

Tabata-timer: 20 seconds of work / 10 seconds of active recovery for 8 cycles:

Workout #1: Body Weight

1. Split Squat Jumps

Perform two 30-second cycles: 20 seconds on; 10 seconds off

Start with your feet staggered. Keep your shoulders back and lowered away from your ears, chest lifted, and core tight. Sink down into a split squat and jump straight up as if you’re going to shoot a basketball. Repeat.

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2. Oblique Jacks

Perform two 30-second cycles: 20 seconds on; 10 seconds off

Start with your feet together and your arms extended out from your shoulders. Elbows should bend at 90 degree angles, almost like you’re giving the touchdown signal. Draw one knee up, rotating it externally from your hip. Crunch your torso to the same side, bringing your elbow and knee close together without touching. Quickly switch sides as you return your foot to the ground, lifting your opposite leg up and out as you crunch to the corresponding side. Repeat, alternating sides.

3. Football Drops

Perform two 30-second cycles: 20 seconds on; 10 seconds off

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms bent in front of you. Tap feet rapidly as if you’re running in place. Feet should barely leave the floor, and hands should remain bent out in front of you. Maintain this intensity for 4-6 seconds, then drop down to the floor into a push-up position, letting your abdomen meet the floor. Quickly push up with your arms and bring your feet towards your body to stand back up to the starting position. Repeat. To make it easier, drop to a push up or plank rather than all the way to the floor.

4. Bear Crawls

Perform two 30-second cycles: 20 seconds on; 10 seconds off

Crouch down on all 4’s with hands aligned under your shoulders and feet under your hips. Crawl forward, starting with your right hand and left foot and following with the left hand and the right foot. Only your hands and the balls of your feet should make contact with the floor; knees should remain raised as you crawl. Walk 4 steps forward then 4 steps back. Repeat.


Workout #2: Gliders

1. Plank jacks

Perform two 30-second cycles: 20 seconds on; 10 seconds off

Get in plank position, resting on either your hands or your elbows and looking down to align your head and neck with your back. Draw in your stomach towards your spine and maintaining a long back to engage your core. Place the ball of each foot on a gliding disc. With legs fully extended, slide discs apart and back together. Repeat. Increase intensity by increasing the speed of the motion.

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2. Spiderman planks

Perform two 30-second cycles: 20 seconds on; 10 seconds off

Place your feet on top of the gliders, resting on either your hands or your elbows and looking down to align your head and neck with your back. Start with feet together and engage the core and upper body. Draw the right knee toward the right elbow, swinging your leg out to the right side. Return to center and swing the left knee out and forward toward the left elbow. Repeat, alternating sides.

3. Plank knee tuck arounds

Perform two 30-second cycles: 20 seconds on; 10 seconds off

Place your feet on top of the gliders and hold your body in a high plank position. Start with the feet together and engage the core and upper body. Draw both knees into chest, then swing legs out and away from each other, forming semi-circles leading back to start position. Repeat. Make it easier by drawing in and swinging out only one knee at a time, alternating legs.

4. Rotational planks

Perform two 30-second cycles: 20 seconds on; 10 seconds off

Place your feet on top of the gliders, resting on either your hands or your elbows. Start with the feet hip-distance apart and engage the core and upper body. Draw the right knee toward the left elbow and extend right foot out to the left side, twisting your hips  towards the receiving side. Return to center and perform the same motion on the opposite side. Repeat, alternating sides.


Workout #3: Resistance

1. Sumo squat jumps

Perform two 30-second cycles: 20 seconds on; 10 seconds off

Hold kettlebell or dumbbell in your hands. Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart and toes turned out. Keeping your back straight, lower down into a squat, bending the knees and pushing hips back. Explode vertically up off the ground. Land back in the sumo squat position. Repeat.

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2. Kettlebell swing

Perform two 30-second cycles: 20 seconds on; 10 seconds off

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with kettlebell about a foot in front of you on the ground. Bend at the waist and hinge down to grab the kettlebell handle with both hands. Your torso should be nearly parallel to the ground. Pull your shoulders down and back and brace your core. Lift the kettlebell off the ground and allow it to swing between your legs, bending the knees slightly as it swings backward. Keep your back flat and neck straight. Forcefully drive your hips forward to propel the kettlebell into the air up to shoulder height. You should be able to control the kettlebell without pulling it up.

3. Squat snatch

Perform two 30-second cycles: 20 seconds on; 10 seconds off

Stand with your feet roughly shoulder width apart. Keep your knees slightly bent and your chest up, holding a plate or dumbbell in each hand just slightly in front of your hips. In one explosive motion, hop forward into a 1/2 squat, raising both arms forward and above the head with a slight bend at the elbow. Walk or jump back, return to starting position, and repeat.

2. Superman lat pull

Perform two 30-second cycles: 20 seconds on; 10 seconds off

With a dumbbell in each hand, lie chest-down on the floor. Position arms at a slight bend out in front with dumbbells aligned with the shoulders. In one motion, lift chest, feet, and hands off the floor by flexing back and glutes. Pull dumbbells back to align with the ears, keeping hands level with the body by bringing shoulder blades together. Extend arms back out and lower chest, feet, and hands back to the ground. Repeat.

 


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