If you are looking for a killer workout in a short period of time, look no further than a Tabata interval workout. These workouts are focused, intense, and effective. They have the potential to build muscle quickly because they force you to push your body past its limits, requiring it to build more muscle in response to the strains put on it.
If you're unfamiliar with Tabata intervals, they work like this: you perform one exercise at a time at maximum intensity for 20 seconds, and follow the work period with a 10-second rest period. You then repeat the workout and rest period 7 more times, for a total of eight intervals. That will take you exactly 4 minutes, and it's vital that you stay disciplined with the timing.
A complete workout will consist of either 3 or 4 exercises for most people. Full-body or compound exercises work best with this type of workout, and it's generally recommended that each exercise focus on a different discipline. For example, one exercise could focus on upper body strength, another on core strength, another on abdominal strength, and another on full-body strength. Due to the nature of the interval, you will also get a heavy duty aerobic and anaerobic workout.
To come up with a workout that fits your level of fitness, choose one exercise from each of the below categories and "stack" them on top of one another. Just remember to workout at maximum intensity. It does you no good to choose an easy exercise!
Upper Body Strength
- Muscle ups
Lower Body Strength
- Back squats
- Front Squats
- Reverse lunges
- Box jumps
- Medicine ball slams
- Kettleball swings
Tabata exercises are incredibly intense and effective. Try them out for yourself, and try to work them into your weekly workout routine, starting with just two sessions per week. As you get stronger and fitter, you can move up to three or four sessions, but always remember to give your muscles time to recover. Without recovery, you will not gain the mass you're diligently working to get.