The 4-Minute Fat-Loss Workout

Shred It with Obi: The Ultimate 4-Minute Fat-Loss Workout

From the WebMD Archives

By Obi Obadike

Who really enjoys spending hours and hours doing long bouts of cardio in the gym? What if I told you that you could achieve a killer high-intensity cardio workout in just four minutes flat -- and that when you were done, you would feel like you'd trained for an hour? Well, the intense cardio workout I'm referring to is called Tabata, and it can be done in just four minutes. Tabata is one of the most popular and talked-about forms of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in the world right now. I call it the four-minute closer.

Tabata was founded by Japanese scientist Izumi Tabata and his colleagues, who conducted a study comparing moderate- and high-intensity training. For the study, the first group of athletes trained at moderate intensity for one hour, five days a week for six weeks. The second group of athletes trained at high intensity for four minutes, four days a week for six weeks. Their four minutes consisted of 20 seconds of all-out intense training (at 170 percent intensity), followed by 10 seconds of rest, followed by 20 seconds of intense training, and so on, until the four minutes were up. The results? Group one saw a 10-percent increase in their VO2 max (maximal oxygen uptake), but their anaerobic system did not improve at all. Meanwhile, group two's VO2 max increased 15 percent, and their ananerobic system increased by 28 percent.

Tabata improves athletic performance and glucose metabolism and acts as an excellent catalyst for fat burning. The excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) effect for Tabata occurs immediately after the workout, so you keep burning calories. Tabata's not easy at all, but it's a great way to push your body to its limit in just four minutes. It's the perfect workout to do if you don’t have much time, and it’s a great workout even if you do have time. You'll burn an incredible amount of calories and obtain a full-body aerobic and anaerobic workout.

Here's a killer four-minute Tabata workout that I do from time to time that you can try, too. I would advise that you do this workout twice a week, either Monday and Wednesday or Wednesday and Friday. Please remember that the 20 seconds should be done all-out in terms of intensity for you to really feel this four-minute Tabata workout.

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You can do this four-minute Tabata workout just once, or you can do it twice in the same day. If you really want an insane full-body workout, you can do it three times in the same day. I've personally done that; after the first four minutes, I rest a couple of minutes and then I start again.

Monday 4-Minute Tabata Workout

20 seconds of Mountain Climbers; 10 seconds rest

20 seconds of High Knees; 10 seconds rest

20 seconds of Burpees; 10 seconds rest

20 seconds of Squat Upper-Cuts; 10 seconds rest

20 seconds of Mountain Climbers; 10 seconds rest

20 seconds of High Knees; 10 seconds rest

20 seconds of Burpees; 10 seconds rest

20 seconds of Squat Upper-Cuts; 10 seconds rest

Wednesday 4-Minute Tabata Workout

20 seconds of Suicides; 10 seconds rest

20 seconds of Quick Feet; 10 seconds rest

20 seconds of Power Squats; 10 seconds rest

20 seconds of Squat Speed Bag; 10 seconds rest

20 seconds of Suicides; 10 seconds rest (When doing suicides, have two cones about 5 feet apart and run back and forth from one cone to the next.)

20 seconds of Quick Feet; 10 seconds rest

20 seconds of Power Squats; 10 seconds rest

20 seconds of Squat Speed Bag; 10 seconds rest

WebMD Feature from Turner Broadcasting System
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