New science behind HIIT keeps proving it’s one amazingly effective drill. Here’s exactly how to tap its potent benefits to transform your fitness.
If there’s ever been a workout that’s demonstrated to deliver fast, insane results, it’s high-intensity interval training like Tabata (go all out for 20 seconds, rest for 10, repeat eight times total) and other as-many-reps-as-possible routines. (Try this 15-minute AMRAP workout) And those benefits: increased cardio capacity, stronger muscles, lower blood pressure, and less body fat. The fitness gains are likely due to the heart’s enhanced pumping capacity, says Martin Gibala, Ph.D., the author of The One-Minute Workout.
Your heart has to not only gun it but also pump more blood per beat—a combo that makes it grow stronger, so you can go harder. As for the body-fat effect: It’s about more than just the calorie burn. High intensities also let loose a surge of fat-mobilizing hormones, freeing body fat to be used as workout fuel. (Use this trick to get even more out of your HIIT workouts.)
How much HIIT does it take to level up and also change your body composition? (And should you be doing Tabata training every day?) According to a new review of 65 HIIT studies in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, three times a week does it if you keep at it 12-plus weeks. Start your HIIT habit here. Try the Tabata session below from Insanity creator Shaun T. Here's how: Perform each move for 20 seconds (take note of whether you need to repeat on the opposite side), and rest for 10 seconds between each exercise. Repeat exercises as prescribed for a complete 4-minute Tabata workout.
Total Time: up to 15 minutes
1. Scissor-Stance Jack
Squat with feet wide, reaching right hand to left foot. Jump, crossing right foot in front of left and swinging bent arms by chest
Land in start with opposite arms. Continue alternating quickly for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat once.
2. Oblique Knee Tap
Start on floor in side plank on right forearm with left elbow bent out to side, palm facing feet.
Quickly alternate drawing left knee up to palm and then back to start for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.
3. Squat Lunge
Stand with feet at hip width, then squat, curling sts to chest to start. Jump into a reverse lunge with left leg back, both legs bent 90 degrees.
Jump back to starting squat. Switch sides; repeat. Continue alternating as quickly as you can for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat once.
4. Switch Kick Punch
Lie faceup with legs long and hands in fists at chest. Curl head and shoulders up and lift legs to hover above floor to start. Lift left leg straight up, punching right arm toward foot
Lower to start position. Switch sides; repeat. That’s 1 rep. Continue alternating sides as quickly as you can for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat once more. That’s your workout.