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Tabata Testament

The American Council on Exercise asked a pointed question leading up to a 2013 study it sponsored in conjunction with researchers at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse: Is Tabata all it’s cracked up to be? (Tabata is the popular brief-but-brutal high-intensity-interval-training protocol that involves eight cycles of 20 seconds of all-out training effort alternated with 10 seconds of rest.) And after putting 16 fit men and women, ages 20 to 47, through a 20-minute workout consisting of four bouts of Tabata, the answer to the question was a resounding yes. During the training session, subjects reached on average 86 percent of max heart rate and 74 percent of VO2 max — numbers that ACE believes are sufficient for improving cardiovascular fitness and body composition (by burning body fat). The La Crosse workout consisted of the following Tabata-style circuits with one minute of rest between each:

Round 1:
2 sets high knees 
2 sets plank punches 
2 sets jumping jacks 
2 sets side skaters

Round 2:
2 sets jump rope
2 sets high/low boats
2 sets line jumps 
2 sets push-ups

Round 3:
2 sets burpees
2 sets Russian twists 
2 sets squats
2 sets lunges

Round 4:
2 sets mountain climbers
2 sets push-ups
2 sets split squats
2 sets box jumps

Each set entails doing as many reps as possible in 20 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest between sets. Each round lasts four minutes.