Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Four Minutes of Fun!

You say potato and I say Tabata.

Explanation: Aside from the "po-TAY-toe" vs. "po-TAH-toe" thing, the point of this post is to mention Mr. Tabata. I shall now parapharse from T-Nation, which is one of the best exercise websites out there.

Tabata (whose first name I do not actually know) was a Japanese researcher who discovered an interesting method of exercise where one could increase both anaerobic and aerobic pathways at the same time. It's one of those strange training programs that seems to fit across disciplines: it's excellent for bicyclists, speed skaters, Olympic lifters, or the person looking to lose fat quickly.

The Tabata method is quite simple. Pick an intense exercise. Some of the best with weights are barbell front squats and "thrusters", which are dumbbell squats with a military press at the end. Use a light weight. Then do as many repetitions as possible in 20 seconds. Rest 10 seconds, and repeat seven more times. That's it. Four minutes and you will be fried.

I am trying to get into shape so that I can actually do these things. Last night I did squats. Just squats: no weight, no thrusters or anything, and only I managed to do three minutes of this before my legs stopped functioning. A week ago, I could only do two minutes. Someday, I will do a full four minutes.

You can also do these with sprints, either on foot or on a bicycle, neither of which I have had the courage to try.

Special Blog Bonus: If you go to YouTube and search for "Pumping Iron 1/9", the entire movie is up there. Major fun.

Starting at about 3:00 into this clip is my favorite scene from the movie (from part 5/9). Arnold's lifting partner is killing himself on squats. Absolutely killing himself. He collapses in a heap and Arnold just steps over him to prep for his set.

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