Tabata And Strength Training

Let’s talk a little about strength training. If you follow me then you know I incorporate it into my weekly workout routine. I do enjoy it mainly because it is a different kind of animal from running or cycling. It’s intense and specific … it’s hard work in a different way than cardio activities.

I have had the question come to me “what do you do, exactly?”

Yes, I do use weights most of the time (which is in about an hour workout) but I mix it up with runs of boxing ( ok, maybe I still need to get a little cardio in 😉 boxing is not only great cardio but it’s great for your core and upper body too. I remember when I first started a couple years ago… I could barely get through one song without being winded and ready to stop. Now I do 3 song segments… it’s work but I can slam it out. And hey, if you don’t have a bag, you can still do jabs and punches .

From that I move right into sets with my weights and then alternate to just body work ( trust me, using just your body IS strength training) I kinda move this way through the hour… boxing…weights…body work…

I know it’s been a good workout when I’m laid out on the floor breathing hard, sweaty, and can’t do one more rep.

Anyone can do something similar… there’s something called tabata.

Tabata is basically high interval training in a short amount of time.  Although most of my strength training days are an hour there are days I’m super crunched and do a hard hitting 30 minute workout.

But what if you could knock something out faster? And feel like you’ve had a serious workout ? Tabata is intense 4 minute rounds that promise to leave you feeling whipped.

It looks something like this:

  • Workout hard for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Complete eight rounds

You push yourself as hard as you can for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds until you complete eight sets.

Here’s where the creativity comes in… you can use any exercises you want =)

An example of a 20-minute Tabata workout looks like this:

  1. Push-ups
  2. Squats
  3. Rows
  4. Sit-ups

Start with push ups, do as many as you can in 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat for a total of 8 sets.  Once you finish all 8 sets rest for one minute and then move on to squats and follow same steps till you’re finished.

You can mix this up with any exercise you like following same pattern of work and rest.

Tabata is a great quick workout if you’re short on time or need to switch things up with what you’re doing… and it’s guaranteed to work you hard in a short time =)

30 Minute Workout

Can I publicly admit to moments of wanting to be lazy ? As in… think of a reason I might not wanna workout ?

I know… you’re left speechless right now haha….

Keeping my mantra in mind of “no excuses” to not workout loomed in my mind yesterday morning. ( you can read what “no excuses” really means to me in another post titled the same)

To me, it’s the semi-crappy thing of not having a “structured” training schedule. I do what I want and how I want. I get stuff done and usually try and mix my days up with cardio and strength training as well as rest days ( which are vitally important to the building of a better body =)

but some mornings waking up and knowing there’s nothing written in concrete makes it easier to talk yourself into something else…

like my mile long to-do list that loomed before me….. “Hey !” that negative little voice whispered in my head.. “it won’t matter if you skip today, you can do it tomorrow… what’s one day?”

“Shut up.” I growl at it….” go away….”

I’ve learned from past experience, workout or no, my junk still gets done.

I do know though that I can pack a lot into a 30 minute workout when I’m scrunched for some time. As much as I enjoy a good long sweat sesh, it’s not always necessary and a shorter one can be just as effective.

I certainly had 30 minutes in my morning. And hey…. so do you… and if you think you DON’T  have time in your day for yourself … you might wanna restructure things.

So with no further arguments from lil Ms. Negativity inside, I threw on “the gear” and prepared to get after it. I was kinda down for this challenge and wanted to really time myself to see what I could hammer out in my 30 minute block.

The goal…. end sweat drenched.

What did I do ? Ok, I won’t ever be one of those bloggers who tell you all my per mile splits,  reps done etc etc but I will shape out what my quick workout entailed to show that any average person can get it done and move on. The beauty? You make it what you want… which works splendidly for Ms Free Spirit me who doesn’t always want the same thing.

Ready ?

I allowed a few minutes to basically do some light stretches and shake things out…after all it was 7:30 in the morning and my body was still a bit tight from sleep mode.

I moved from stretching into using my lighter weights (15 lbs) for some easy upper body(modify to your needs) Curls, over head press, front lateral lifts and did 2 sets of 10 of each.

Hit the floor for some push ups (20) flipped over grabbed my small exercise ball ( goes under small of my back for crunches) this is not a full blown sit up but small tiny, tight and controlled movements (40) ( please don’t be doing old school sit ups!)

From that into bicycles, which l love ’cause it’s like running on my back haha… I just do those an entire song on my ipod… or till I’m squealing 😛 this is really good for those deep lower abs which are often the hardest and most stubborn to hit.

From those to oblique crunches (40)  then bridges, 3 sets of 15 reps center, then left and right leg

Finish off with about 30 butterfly situps.

Then the work starts,

Grab my 35 lb kettlebell.

3 sets of 8 reps single leg deadlift (my fav new move)

followed by 4 sets of 10 reps with kettlebell

deep squats, into deadlift, to kettlebell swing ( I just moved through that with maybe a minute rest between sets)

I’m not joking when I say I was breathing hard and sweating like crazy.

My final move? A plank… a 3 minute one was my goal if I hadn’t trashed my body out yet.

I allowed a couple minutes for my breathing and heart rate to settle before I hit the floor for that.

I had four minutes left of my 30 minute time block. If all went well, I’d finish with a minute to spare… assuming I could hold out that plank.

I started a new song on my ipod and hit floor.

If you do planks you know there comes a moment where you have to just  mentally key in on only your body and your breathing and think of nothing else. I find this to be the exact strategy I use in the midst of a super long run when I start getting tired.. that laser mental focus is soooo important.

Keeping perfect form is key in a plank… everything in you should be straight, strong and tight while you hold it. The song was over half way through I was feeling ok…. a little further in…. I start  telling myself to just sustain where I’m at.

Then it was like “OMG the song is almost over…I can be done when song ends! Don’t quit…”

I collapse looking at clock which had rolled past my 3 minute mark…yay…. leaving me with 1 minute left of my 30….. AND I was a drenched sweaty mess. Holding a plank will bring out sweat in you in no time flat haha

Mission Accomplished.

You’ve got 30 minutes in your day to do something productive…. you do.

What’s your fav go to quick workout ?