The current rage in fitness is the 4 minute workout. Initially, I heard of this many years ago. The ROM machine from Romfab would give people like Tom Cruise and Anthony Robbins a complete workout in 4 minutes. I called ROM and requested the video on this machine.
For $14,615, the ROM machine will do a complete lower body aerobic workout and also a separate upper body workout, each in 4 minutes. I immediately was attracted to the idea. I understand that there are places to try the ROM, although my health clubs do not have it.
Here's how to get the same results with the Rockit, hand weights and TIM.
From the ROM video, it seemed that I could duplicate the lower body workout with my Soloflex Rockit. The Rockit is designed specifically for doing leg exercises and in particular, the squat. The indepth description for the Rockit could be found at Soloflex. Suffice it to say that it can hold 600 lbs of resistance and more with different adjustments for seven different leg exercises.
I loaded the Rockit with 100 lbs of resistance and with the help of a timer; I set out to duplicate the workout of the ROM by doing as many squats as I could in 4 minutes. I lasted one minute the first time, 2 minutes the second time, and eventually I would be able to do the 4 minutes completely. I was exhausted!
I could understand the aerobic and anaerobic conditioning that this gave me and I liked it. I liked it so much that I would do this routine in the morning every other week. The workout exhausted me, however, it did not provide the simultaneous workout for both the lower and upper body that intrigued me. I wanted an all-body compound workout!
I then discovered that some personal trainers were using the Tabata Interval Method (TIM) to get to peak conditioning in 4 minutes. This intrigued me because of the short amount of time involved and its proven effectiveness with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) that has been around for years in the running circles.
What is the Tabata Interval Method (TIM)?
It's simple: take one exercise and perform it in the following manner:
1. For twenty seconds, do as many repetitions as possible.
2. Rest for ten seconds
3. Repeat seven more times for a total of 8 sets
Results: 240 Seconds of Pain
Compound Exercise: Squat and overhead weights
Now, I was inspired! I could apply the Tabata Method to the Rockit, with one variation. I learned that I could do a great Tabata exercise referred to as the "thruster." The thruster is one of the greatest lifts no one has ever heard of in the gym. Sit in the squat position on the Rockit, while holding one dumbbell in each hand resting on the lap. As you rise up, press the bells to the overhead lockout position and return to the original position in a quick, controlled motion. You can either press as you rise or use the momentum to help "kick" the bells overhead. I found that I could do a little bit of both in the 4 minutes. If possible, keep a count of the repetitions and log it down in the 10 second break because it's all a 4 minute blur and easy to forget the count for each set.
Compound Exercise: Squat and wood chopper's swing
Sit in the squat position on the Rockit, while holding one dumbbell in both hands in between the thighs. As you rise up, press the bell to the overhead lockout position as if about to chop wood and return to the original position in a quick, controlled motion. Again, you can either press as you rise or use the momentum to help "kick" the bells overhead.
Thrusters do things to your heart rate and breathing that is indescribable. Go light!
You will need a wall clock with a second hand or a timer (I have since ordered the GYM BOSS timer) during your 4 minutes of fun. Stop at 20 seconds, put the weights to the side, rest 10 seconds, log the amount of reps completed for that set, grab the weights and go again. I have a timer that audibly alerts me at each increment.
I first started out with 15 lb weights in each hand, and noticed that my count was in the range of 13 to 15 reps for the sets. I understand the ideal range of counts for each set should be in the 8 to 10 range, so for my next workout on the following day, I used 20 lb weights. Varied personal preferences may be regulated by the level of resistance in either the hand weights or the Rockit.
The hardest thing about this workout is staying focused towards the end of the 4 minutes. Staying with the weights ready in the hands seems to make those ten seconds seem like nothing at all!
I also recommend using a velcro belt to secure around the waist and to the Rockit. This way the core body will not move during the Tabata Thruster and it allows full use of the hands freely for thrusting the weights.
Why should you do this workout? The Tabata Thruster may be one of the single best "fat burning workout" known. It might only be four minutes, but you seem to keep sweating and breathing hard for a long, long time afterwards. Moreover, with the use of the Rockit, it has the proper method for squatting, injury free. The legs, arms, shoulders and core body receive a complete workout!
One other thing: Tabata truly teaches a person the mental focus needed to push past the pain and learn to reach completion, and may even help achieve your other athletic goals. It'll save you 14,000 bucks, too!
About the author
Rocky Romero is a Business owner and Business Coach and Entrepreneur. He is currently running marathons and staying in shape with strength training, using health clubs and the Soloflex Rockit.