The Best New Way to Do Your Standard Workout: Tabata
What it is: Think of the Tabata Protocol not so much as a fitness routine but more as a way to structure your sweat session: For four minutes, you alternate 20 seconds of intense effort with 10 seconds of rest. The idea comes from Japanese fitness researcher Izumi Tabata, who found while working with Olympic speed skaters that this short, grueling workout is surprisingly effective at building muscle and improving aerobic and anaerobic capacity. You can use this same format with any exercise: cycling, running, jumping rope, resistance training, dancing in your living room.
Why you should try it: A 4-minute Tabata-style workout of squat jumps burned 13.5 calories a minute and doubled calorie-burning potential for 30 minutes afterward, found Michele Olson, PhD, a professor of exercise science and a principal researcher at the Auburn University at Montgomery Kinesiology Laboratory. A new study from ACE found that by repeating a strength-building Tabata workout 4 times (for a total of 20 minutes), participants burned between 240 and 360 calories and built muscle from head to toe (here's the full routine).
Keep in mind: You literally need to make every second count, so make sure you're fit enough to work hard for those 20-second intervals.