This mash-up brings the best of fat burning and body sculpting together in one scientifically proven, crazy-fast workout.
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Tabata and pilates couldn’t be more different. The former is four minutes of pure, super high-intensity sweat (alternating 20 seconds of all-out effort with 10 seconds of rest), while the latter is a steady-paced series of core cinchers – many of which you do while you’re lying down. But they have one very important thing in common: They’re the absolute best at what they do. Nothing out-burns Tabata per minute, and nothing outfi rms pilates for abs, says Michele Olson, a professor of exercise science at Auburn University at Montgomery, Alabama, who has done years of research on both.
But it wasn’t until recently that a light bulb went on. What if you combined the two into a single, tothemax routine? “Mixing Tabata with pilates is the perfect way to squeeze the most calorie burning you can out of a cardio workout and also deeply strengthen, tighten, and sculpt individual muscles, especially in the core,” Michele says. With that, she created Tabatalates.
You’ll kick off the workout with a Tabata round made up of squat jumps – “I chose that exercise because it burns a whopping 12 calories per minute,” Michele says – and push-ups. Give those sets 110 per cent, and your metabolic rate will stay elevated straight through the slower half of the session.
“Plus, your muscles will have extra blood flow, which will allow them to receive the nutrients and oxygen they need to firm the most fibres,” Michele says. That’s key for the rest of the workout, which includes three topperforming pilates waist whittlers, one lower-body exercise, and one upper-body move to sculpt you from head to toe.
Repeat the entire sequence and, in just 20 minutes, you’ll burn 200 calories as well as earn a bonus afterburn of another 100 calories. “You would have to run for at least 30 minutes and clock off at least three miles to burn 300 calories,” Michele says. “And even if you did, you wouldn’t get as deep into your core muscles or net any afterburn.”
You need to work really hard for only four minutes to stoke your metabolism for hours.
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HOW IT WORKS Start with the warm-up. Do at least 2 to 3 sets of 20 reps of each of the following: high knee march, air jump rope, high knee lifts, jumping jacks. Next, do Part 1’s Tabata sequence before Part 2’s pilates ab exercises. You’ll finish up with Part 3, which includes one move for your lower body and one move for your upper body. Repeat once. Do this routine 3 or 4 days a week on alternate days.
TOTAL TIME Up to 15 minutes
YOU WILL NEED
1 SQUAT JUMP HEEL CLICK
[A] Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms by sides. Squat, bringing hands together at chest with arms pointed downwards. This is your starting position. [B] Jump as high as you can, scooping arms around and up so fingertips touch each other overhead while you bend legs out to sides to touch heels (arms and legs both form diamond shape). Land softly in starting position. Continue as quickly as you can for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. That’s 1 set.
[A] Start on floor in plank on palms. [B] Bend arms back at 45-degree angle to lower body towards floor until chest grazes floor. Push back up to starting position. Continue as quickly as you can for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. That’s 1 set.
This powerful combo will condition muscles from head to toe and improve your balance.
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Michele tapped into her nine years of pilates lab research to handpick the best ab firmers to pair with Tabata.
3 SCISSOR-LEGS HUNDRED
[shown] Lie face up on floor with arms by sides and legs long. Curl head, neck, and shoulders off floor. Let arms hover about 20cm above floor, and left leg about 10cm above floor, while extending right leg up. Point toes to start. Inhale through nose for 5 counts, forcefully pumping arms about 10cm downwards 5 times. Immediately switch legs. Exhale through mouth for 5 counts, pumping arms 5 times. That’s 1 set of 10 reps.
4 SINGLE-LEG TEASER
[shown] Lie face up on floor holding weight in each hand with arms by sides and legs bent with feet flat. Extend arms over chest with palms facing forward, and left leg out at a 45-degree angle (keep thighs pressed together); point toes and inhale to start. Without moving legs, exhale as you curl torso up off fl oor, pushing weights towards ceiling. Slowly lower to start.
Reps: 10 per side
5 SINGLE-LEG STRETCH
[shown] Lie face up on floor with arms by sides and legs long. Curl head, neck, and shoulders off floor, lift right leg to hover about 10cm above floor, then exhale as you pull bent left leg towards chest with left hand grabbing outside above left ankle and right hand grabbing inside of left knee. Inhale as you switch sides; repeat. That’s 1 rep. Continue alternating sides.
6 LUNGE LIFT
[A] Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding weight in each hand with arms by sides. Step left leg behind and across right leg, bending both legs 90 degrees to start. [B] Stand, shifting weight onto right leg as you lift left leg behind you at diagonal. Return to starting position.
Reps 20 per side
7 ROTATOR SPLIT PRESS
[A] Stand with feet together, holding weight in each hand with arms by sides. Bend arms 90 degrees wide to sides; palms will face backwards. Maintain 90-degree bend as you rotate palms forward and up. [B] Then jump right foot forward and left foot backwards as you press weights overhead. Reverse movement to return to starting position. Switch sides; repeat.