Daily Archives: June 27, 2013

A New Fad Approaches: The 4-Minute Workout

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A recent New York Times article sheds light on a new practice of minimalist workouts. The basic concept is to exercise at your maximum potential for very brief periods of time, and reap the benefits . . . not to mention be done with your workout in just minutes. The article suggests the following:
In a representative study from 2010, for instance, Canadian researchers showed that 10 one-minute intervals — essentially, 10 minutes of strenuous exercise braided with one-minute rest periods between — led to the same changes within muscle cells as about 90 minutes of moderate bike riding.
Tabata is based on the idea of high-intensity bursts workouts

Sounds like a pretty good deal right? 10 minutes of hard workout sure beats 90 minutes of moderate workout. To give you an idea of what the participants did during this research, “After briefly warming up, these volunteers ran on a treadmill at 90 percent of their maximal heart rate — a tiring pace” — Interval sprints!

Basically it was determined that 4 minutes of continuous strenuous activity was enough to improve endurance capacity by about 10% in ten weeks, which is a pretty impressive improvement for such little time investment. Seems like a pretty good idea.

But . . . I don’t like it, for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, this is not the safest way to work out. You are intentionally training at near-maximum heart rate capacity . . . and for people who are looking to cut corners and are most likely not in good shape, this is definitely not a safe way to dive into the exercise world