Article by Darren Homan, Advanced Personal Trainer, Araneafit
On Wednesday evenings, 8pm every week, I get to teach a group of committed individuals this great high intensity cardio workout. Easily the most popular class I have ever taught and definitely brings the usual “love me before, hate me during and love me after” response.
Perhaps “high intensity” isn’t quite the right description. Maybe “Super high intensity” or “Super Cardio”. Super being more appropriate as while “High” intensity classes are great for increasing fitness levels and burning fat, the rate of increase in VO2 Max as a result of Tabata training is one of the highest ever reported, coupled with fat burning being greater when exercise is done over intervals and at the anaerobic level.
How does it work? Well, during the Tabata Super Circuit class, you will expend a great deal of energy. You need to exercise at maximum intensity for it to work. But unlike aerobic exercise, you continue to burn calories for HOURS after the workouts is over. This is due to pushing through the aerobic level and into the anaerobic, you’ve burnt off all of your bodies glycogen stores as fuel and your body needs to replace all of that energy. It does this by burning fat. However, as you’ve pushed your heart rate up past what is typically known as the “target heart rate”, you create so much metabolic disturbance that it take up to 2 days for your body to fully recover, with your body continuing to burn calories all during the rebuilding process.
Now, with the “How it works?” done, I’ll get down to the class itself. Simply put, Tabata Super Circuits is structured interval training of 20 seconds very high intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds low intensity exercise. Each exercise is maintained for 8 sets, equalling 4 minutes and with 2 minutes rest in between each 8 sets. The whole class is carried out to a fast paced soundtrack, think drum n bass kind of beat. This is vital to maintain the maximum intensity throughout the class.
The table below shows how the class is set out, starting with a 5 minute warm up and pre-stretch:
All of these exercises are designed to utilise each body part while maintaining a high level of cardio training. Starting the class with the side jumps really gets the heart racing, jumping from side to side at a fast pace for 20 secs, followed by light heel kicks, (kicking heels up behind to the buttocks). I favour the low intensity 10 second rest periods over complete rest as this maintains a high heart rate while allowing you to get your breath back, increasing the oxygen intake and preparing for the next 20 seconds.
So in summary, what I have developed with the “Araneafit Tabata super circuit” is a Super intensity cardio and fat burning workout that is popular, fun and brings great results. I do try to emphasise the fun aspect, this is not about beating people into submission and we have both beginners and advanced trainers along to every class. Listening to the clients and responding is essential in any class. Whether it be the music you use, the types of exercise or you in yourself and the way you teach. I try to entertain a little during the class, it seems to take the minds off the pain!