This workout has 5 parts. Each part is 4 minutes long and if you do all of them back to back, it will give you 20 minutes of really intensive cardio. This workout is based on Tabat protocol which means that I am using intervals of 20 seconds of intense work and and 10 seconds of rest. This is not written in stone, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different intervals. For a beginner 15 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest would be more appropriate. If you are looking for something really brutal, than try 25 seconds of intense work and 5 seconds rest. I wouldn’t even want to try that If you do, please make a video of yourself because I’d have to see it.
I am using a timer from gymboss which makes this workout much easier for me, because it keeps track of each interval and lets me know with vibration and beep when to start and when to take a break. It resets automatically for each cycle and you can also set it up for desired number of cycles. It’s the best timer I have ever used for my workouts.
The first exercise in this workout is the hardest – high knees with jump rope. You can make it a little easier on yourself and do this exercise without the skipping rope, however you will still hate me and Dr. Tabata as well
If you do the whole 20 minute workout, it is not necessary to do weight training on the same day, unless you are a complete fitness nut – worse than me If you want to do cardio and weight training on the same day and safe some time, then do just this exercise for really intensive 4 minutes as your cardio. Izumi Tabata found out that 20 seconds of maximum effort followed by 10 seconds of rest repeated for 8 cycles, gives you the same benefits as 40 minutes or more of moderate, steady pace cardio. So you can spend 4 minutes of complete brutality or 40+ minutes drooling with boredom on the elliptical machine – your choice.
If you are a beginner, you can start with just one exercise for 4 minutes, and once you are able to go through all of the 8 rounds, you can progress to two exercises at once and be adding more exercises to this workout as you are getting fitter and stronger. Once you will be able to go through the entire 20 minute workout, you can always increase the challenge by simply going for more intensity in each interval.
Don’t do this type of workout every day. Cycle your training and vary the intensity and volume of your workouts.
Read my response in fitness F.A.Q’s to your question: How often should I exercise?
This type of workout is not appropriate for anyone suffering from heart disease or any type of major health problem. That said, enjoy the torture.