Sunday, July 5, 2015

30 Minutes to Train

     You have only 30 minutes to hit the gym and train. You have been training. You are no novice. Your schedule has changed and this is what you have. 30 minutes.
     By now, you have most likely heard about High Intensity Training, High Intensity Interval Training, or even Tabata Drills. You may have heard about them, but what are they? Are they just fads or do they really work? In short, yes. These training techniques do work and they work very well. Let's go through the science behind them and then look over some routines to get you started.
     Most of us train to lose fat, get stronger, leaner, and to perform better physically. With the goal of cardiovascular training covering most of these, we can probably accomplish this by focusing on nutrition and weight training. Although, High Intensity Training (HIT), High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and Tabata Drills have proven to be far more effective and efficient in achieving these goals.
     Dr. Izumi Tabata, a researcher at the College of Sport and Health Science, developed the theory behind HIT and HIIT. He is clearly the one for whom Tabata Drills are named.
     Intensity may be defined as that percentage of instant capability to do an exercise. HIT differs greatly from the training methodology which has held for decades. That being, the 3 sets of 10 repetitions to achieve muscle failure.
     The principles of HIT are
  1. Exercise that is as intense and strenuous as possible while maintaining proper form
  2. Completed during a short duration
  3. Low frequency of workouts, not more than 3 per week
     When doing this, you need to focus on the quality of the movement while going to muscular failure, not the overall number of repetitions.

     These training methods have been proven to have an increased effect on burning fat stores. These techniques increase your metabolic rate during the training event; however, unlike jogging and other traditional aerobic exercises, HIT/HIIT/Tabata increase your metabolism for up to 48 hours after your session. So, for 1 to 2 days after your Tabata time, you are still burning fat stores at an accelerated rate. When your body repairs all that muscle, your resting metabolism will remain at a higher rate due to the lean mass. How cool is that?
     The Tabata protocol consists of 20 seconds of maximum intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated continuously 8 cycles. This training was done 3 times a week for 8 weeks. After which, studies show the anaerobic capacity was increased by 28%, while the VO2 max was increased by 14% (Tabata at al.,1996).
     Study results prove that even 15 minutes of HIT/HIIT is more effective at burning fat than 60 minutes of jogging. Research conducted at the University of Montreal showed that even a 15 second interval of intensive workout is optimal for increasing maximum oxygen capacity in patients with coronary artery disease (Guiraud et al., 2010).
     Are HIT/HIIT/Tabata Drills a fad? No. They really work and they are here. Grit your teeth. Knuckle down. Do them. Three times a week. 30 minutes each session. That's it. First, let's go over some important points to keep in mind
Keep training until muscle failure (sometimes even longer) to stimulate the new muscle growth
Design a short and concise training program
Recovery period differs from person to person, if you don’t see the results, it is possible that you are overtrained
Nutritional requirements are going to increase. Eat high quality proteins, complex carbs, and drink plenty of fluids
This training is not meant for the novices, patients with cardiovascular problems and other risk factors
Sessions should not last longer than 10-20 minutes for an 8 week cycle
High insanity cardio in more appropriate than high intensity cardio

     In practice this is very effective and adaptable. It can be carried out at running track, in nature, in water, in the gym (treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical, jumping rope, punching bag, weights, and many other training aids).
     Warm up and cool down cannot be under stated. Nor can talking to your doctor first. Seriously, this level of exercise is going to put massive strain on your cardiovascular system, your skeletal structure, and your muscles and ligaments. If you have not talked to your physician about this yet you need to talk to your psychiatrist because, dude, yer nuts. Seriously, talk to your doctor BEFORE you try this.

Here is a short list of exercises to try:
  • Mountain Climbers/Dips/Pull-Ups/Russian Twists
  • Bodybuilders/Bicycle Crunch
  • Push-ups/Pull-Ups/Squats/Bicycle Crunches/ 8 times for a full 16 minute Tabata cycle

Exercises included in the 20-minute Tabata workout. Try this 3 times per week for 8 weeks.

Segment 1
Segment 2
High Knees
Side Lunge
Segment 3
Segment 4
Bicycle Crunches
Butt Kickers
Jump Lunges
Mountain Climbers

     As you can see, these have been put together in groups that are suitable for Tabata workouts. Whichever exercise you choose, your choices should use a large number of muscles to get maximum benefit. Think compound exercises, compound muscle groups, and you should do fine.
     Here is a longer list of exercises that you can use as a jumping off point to designing your own HIT/HIIT/Tabata Drills workout:
  1. Burpee: Start standing, then crouch to a low squat position with the hands on the floor. Then, kick feet back to a plank, then down into the bottom of a push-up. Push off the ground and quickly return to the squat position. Last step? Jump up as high as possible before squatting down again and jumping back into the next push-up. Add a pull-up and you have just about hit everything, head to toe! This is what I call a Bodybuilder.
  2. Jump squat: Stand with the feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward. Sit back into a squat (hips below parallel, please!) then drive the whole body up through the heels, shifting weight onto the balls of the feet as you lift off. Be sure to land on the balls of the feet and immediately bend the knees into a full squat. Make sure the knees aren’t wobbling side to side while squatting or landing from a jump.
  3. Lunge jump: Start standing with the feet together and lunge the right foot forward, bending the knee about 90-degrees and keeping the torso vertical. Then, jump straight up, and while in the air, switch legs and land in a lunge with the left foot forward.
  4. Dumbbell front squat: Hold a dumbbell at the sternum (the center of the chest) and do a basic front squat. Place feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, hips stacked over knees, knees over ankles. Inhale and unlock the hips, bringing them back as the knees begin to bend. Keep the chest and shoulders upright, and continue until the hips are slightly less than 90 degrees from the ground. On the way back up, engage the core and drive through the heels to return to standing.
  5. Kettlebell swing: Stand up straight, with feet a bit wider than hip-distance apart. Grab hold of the kettlebell with both hands, keeping the palms face down and arms in front of the body. Keep the knees slightly bent and drive the hips and bell back (it’s not a squat, so the knees shouldn’t have to bend that much), lowering the body just a bit to an athletic stance. In one fluid motion, explosively drive the hips forward while swinging the kettlebell, engaging the glutes and core.
  6. Push-up: Get into a plank position with hands planted a little bit wider than shoulder width apart. Keep the elbows close to the body throughout the movement. Ground the toes into the floor and engage the abs and back so the body is neutral. Lower the body in one straight line until the chest touches the floor. Keeping the core engaged, exhale, and push back to the start position.
  7. Overhead neutral grip press: Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart core tight. Raise the dumbbell, kettlebell, or barbell up to the shoulders with palms facing each other and the elbows below the wrists. Press the weights upward until the arms are fully extended overhead, and then lower back to the shoulders.
  8. Sprints: To get extra speedy, make sure form fits function. Hold the correct posture, with eyes up, chest tall, shoulders relaxed, and arms swinging up and down with the elbows at 45-degree angles.
  9. Stationary bike or rower: Hopping on the bike for a quick spin is pretty self-explanatory, but the indoor rower is a bit trickier. First, strap feet into the foot stretchers, sit up tall, and grab the handle. Roll forward until legs are completely bent and arms are reaching forward. From this starting position (called the “catch”), explosively drive the legs back. When the legs are nearly extended, swing the torso back and pull the arms in so the handle is almost touching the rib cage. From here (aka the “finish”) recover by stretching the arms straight out, returning the upper body to a straight, vertical position, and bending the legs back to the catch.
  10. Russian twist: Sit on the floor with the knees bent and feet together and lifted a few inches off the floor. With the back at a 45-degree angle from the ground, move the arms from one side to another in a twisting motion. Go super slow, twisting the shoulders completely from side to side. Or, try bicycle crunches as an alterntive.
  11. Ski abs: Start in pushup position with hands under the shoulders and core engaged. Jump the feet to the left side of the body, as close to the upper torso as possible. Jump the legs back to a straight plank position and repeat on the right side.

     Please, tell me how it works for you. If there is anything you want to know more about, just let me know.

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