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Four Minutes to Suck Wind

HumansLet’s face it – when it comes to time, there is NEVER enough of it.  Or at least, there never seems to be enough time to do the things you WANT to do.  Our days are filled with work, errands, housework, schlepping our kids (or our dogs) every which way – by the time we’re off the clock, how can we expect to fit in a workout?

Now, if we’re honest with ourselves, not every day is entirely time-sucking.  It may feel that way, but most of the time it just takes some creativity and a solid mental shift to allow ourselves the time for self care. The time is there, we just need to take it.

But what do you do on those occasions where an unexpected bump in the road completely decimates your schedule and leaves you with little more than a commercial break for that day’s training?

Enter the Tabata

Tabata training, named for the Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata, is a method of High Intensity Interval Training where you work out at full capacity for twenty seconds followed by ten seconds of rest or low intensity work, repeating the pattern eight times for a total of four minutes.


The intent is for you to perform those twenty seconds full out,  pushing the envelope of your anaerobic capacity (that’s the really un-fun kind of cardio where you feel like your lungs are burning and your teeth hurt).

If done correctly, those four minutes will be the longest of your life.

Take your Pick

As for what movements to choose – there’s really no limit.  That being said, I caution against using anything that’s highly technical (barbell movements) or complicated.  Stick to simple movement patterns so that you can really concentrate your effort on moving quickly.

Personally, I prefer to use only one movement per Tabata circuit – again, my goal is to work hard and if I’m trying to remember what comes next then my head won’t really be in the game.  So for me, things like treadmill sprints, kettlebell swings, double-unders, bike sprints, air squats, and plyo jumps top the list.

Four Minutes

:20/:10 x 8 = 4 minutes.  Just four.  Then stop.  Really.  Just stop.  If you’ve done it correctly, you won’t WANT to do another pass.  This is definitely a case where more is not better, it’s just more.  So resist the temptation to do more just because you think that four minutes can’t possible be enough.

The next time your meeting runs late, or you have a cranky toddler who refuses to nap – pull out your pencil, erase what you had planned for the day (because we should ALWAYS have a plan), and pop in a tabata circuit.

It will suck, but you’ll be a happy camper.


Want to get your Tabata on?  HumanX is giving away free gear every Tuesday thought March and a grand prize package on March 31st!  Just tag your post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #TotalTabata and @humanxgear for your chance to win!




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