Those of you who are familiar with Crossfit will agree with me that it is the best exercise program in the world to date. Because it is scalable, it works well for elite athletes as well as regular people who want to improve their physical conditioning (beginners should start slowly and carefully, however).
To the best of my knowledge, Crossfit is based, in part, on Dr. Izumi Tabata’s shocking findings of how short intense exercise mixed with short rest intervals produces huge improvements in anaerobic capacity and VO2Max. Here is a good article on how the Tabata method works.
Tabata Anything – Four Minutes of Pain to Gain
By John Harker
The Tabata workout is a high-intensity training regimen that produces remarkable results. A Tabata workout is an interval training cycle of 20 seconds of maximum intensity exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated without pause 8 times for a total of four minutes. In a group context, you can keep score by counting how many lifts/jumps/whatever you do in each of the 20 second rounds. The round with the smallest number is your score.
Credit for this simple and powerful training method belongs to its namesake, Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan. Their groundbreaking 1996 study, published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, provided documented evidence concerning the dramatic physiological benefits of high-intensity intermittent training. After just 6 weeks of testing, Dr. Tabata noted a 28% increase in anaerobic capacity in his subjects, along with a 14% increase in their ability to consume oxygen (V02Max). These results were witnessed in already physically fit athletes. The conclusion was that just four minutes of Tabata interval training could do more to boost aerobic and anaerobic capacity than an hour of endurance exercise.