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The days of the 90-minute workout are going the way of the dodo. Get fitter faster using this timed, interval-style lifting protocol.

We are, as ever, a society bent on instant gratification. We'd sooner pay $12.95 to have our new iPad cover overnighted than to go another day without this pithy indulgence. Once content to spend hours toiling away in the gym, even stalwart, old school bodybuilder-types have begun looking for shorter routes to better physiques. Our time, after all, is our most precious commodity and we want every second of it to be productive.

Enter Tabata Training. This technique, when applied correctly, can help you build strength, size and endurance, all while drastically altering your body just four minutes per set. Adding to the "sounds too good to be true" aura of Tabata is the fact that you can achieve these results using lighter weights than you would on a normal training day.

Tabata Training is named after Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata who discovered that speed skaters who performed at near max intensity for eight, 20-second segments - resting for 10 seconds after each interval - improved their power and endurance. Take those benefits over to the weight room and you have more reps with heavier weight. Combined, these two benefits can help you to get bigger and drop more fat.

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The basic cadence for a Tabata set would involve performing controlled reps on one exercise for 20 seconds, then resting for 10 - eight times. That's four minutes per set including the rest. It's akin to performing any other kind of extended set, only with a protocol that has proven returns.

Exactly how your body will react to Tabata Training is largely dependent upon your weight selection. If you go too heavy, the sets will be primarily anaerobic, making it more of a calculated spin on rest-pause training. If you go too light, it will tax your aerobic system to a greater extent, providing less of a punch on strength and hypertrophy. Your best bet is to select a weight that will provide the best of both worlds. To do this, choose a weight that allows you to complete around 12-15 reps on your first segment of work. As the set wears on and the volume piles up, your rep totals in each segment will begin to diminish. It's not uncommon on some exercises to manage as few as six reps by the eighth and final segment.

As a first foray into Tabata Training, we recommend this simple arms routine. For each exercise listed, select a weight that allows you to complete 12-15 reps on your first 20-second segment of work. Track the total number of reps you are able to do. Each workout, strive to increase your rep total or weight load. You can use this as a stand-alone routine to get used to this type of training or, if you're into the abuse, as finisher after your normal arms routine.

Standing dumbbell curl
Lying triceps extension
Hammer curl
Bench dip

Don't be a clock watcher. Pick up your own official Tabata timer at