New Research Proves Super Short Workouts Work! 4-Minute Tabata Routine Beats That 7-Minute Workout

"The Exercise Doctor" Michele Olson, PhD, FACSM Presents New Research Proving the Effectiveness of 4-Minute Tabata Workouts!

Online PR News – 21-June-2013 – Montgomery, AL – New research from Michele Olson, PhD, FACSM, CSCS, Lead Research Investigator at the Scharff-Olson Human Performance Lab at Auburn University Montgomery shows that a four minute Tabata routine of jump squats burned a whopping 13.5 calories a minute AND DOUBLED the subjects’ metabolic rate for 30 minutes afterwards. You would have to do five times the minutes of typical cardio exercise to net out the same number of calories. Comparing Tabata to the popular 7-minute workout featured in the May/June issue of the American College of Sports Medicine's Health & Fitness Journal Olson says, “The 7-minute workout is an effective total body circuit and the authors appropriately endorse performing the circuit as many as two or three times in a row making it a 14 to 21 minute workout.” Tabata, though, SHOULD only be done once. It’s all-out approach is tops for cardio-metabolic conditioning. With 80% of Americans inactive, getting them to exercise for 20 to 30 minutes a day has proven to be a major stumbling block. An all out 4-minute Tabata session might be enough to get more time-strapped Americans on the fitness path. Much of the calorie burn resulting from her Tabata routine comes after the 4-minute workout. You would have to walk briskly for 15 minutes to burn off the same number of as calories during the 30 minutes of rest following Tabata!

According to Olson, psychological research also shows that individuals engaged in shorter, more interval-based workouts (which would include Tabata) have higher adherence rates than with those lasting 30 minutes or 45 minutes. Participants report that they enjoy the shorter workouts more. Olson found that high intensity interval workouts improve one’s mood even better than non-stop, moderate cardio.

“The fact of the matter is that eight out of 10 Americans are still not being sufficiently active to improve essential fitness. If we can encourage the inactive to go all-out for just four minutes at a time (building up from three to five times a week) they will reap improvements in cardiovascular fitness, improved blood lipids, stimulate the bones, and get a boost to their mood – which is apparently a huge key to getting higher rates of regular participation. We HAVE to get more adults moving! If research shows that 4-minutes of Tabata-style exercise is worth doing and that people are more likely to participate regularly in these short, yet intense, formats - we must step up and dispatch this information despite how unconventional 4 or 7-minute workouts sound. When the researchers found out that you could actually do just 10 minutes, it sounded almost wildly suspicious. Now it’s mainstream.”

Dr. Olson’s study was presented on May 31, 2013 at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) 60th annual conference. The ACSM is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world and the lead international authority on exercise.

Tabata training began in Japan as a training method used by Izumi Tabata with Olympic athletes. Tabata training involves a short four-minute bout of explosive interval moves done for 20 seconds for eight rounds with a 10-second break between each round. Compared to 30 minutes of regular, moderate cardio exercise, Dr. Tabata found that the 4-minute Tabata participants ended up with a higher improvement in aerobic fitness compared to the other study group despite doing JUST four minutes of exercise. With a metabolic cart, Olson decided to measure the calorie burn from a Tabata. Olson’s participants had their calorie burn measured before exercise, during a Tabata bout, and then for 30 minutes following the Tabata activity. Dr. Olson states, “This particular style of interval training has profound effects even on short-term, post-exercise metabolism and shows why and how this 4-minute format may be as good as it gets.”

Well-known for her research on Pilates, energy expenditure, and abdominal training, Michele Olson, PhD, FACSM, CSCS is a Professor of Exercise Science at Auburn University Montgomery and the Lead Research Investigator at the Scharff-Olson Kinesiology Lab. Her website is

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