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Tip of the week tip: The 14-minute fat burner

Tipps der Woche Tipp: Der 14 Minuten Fettvernichter

Terrible Tabata

This is a four-minute training session consisting of 20 seconds of very high-intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. The original six-week study compared the effects of this method to a traditional 60-minute aerobic workout. The results surprised a lot of people.

The four-minute group performed a Tabata program four days a week (a total of 16 minutes per week) plus a 30-minute cardio training session at the same intensity. The total training duration was 95 minutes per week, as each interval training session was preceded by 10 minutes of warm-up training. The aerobic group performed five 60-minute training sessions per week (totaling 300 minutes per week).

The result? The aerobic group showed less than 10% improvement in aerobic capacity and no improvement in anaerobic capacity. The Tabata group showed a 14% improvement in aerobic capacity and a 28% improvement in anaerobic capacity, which took the wind out of the sails of proponents of long, slow cardio workouts with consistent intensity.

How does this workout work?

Use an Airdyne Bike, an Assault Airbike, a spinning bike or any other form of cycle ergometer. You'll love the Airdyne Bike because it integrates the upper body into the workout and gives you increasing resistance - the faster you pedal, the greater the resistance.

  1. Set the timer to 14 minutes: 10 minutes at the same intensity to warm up and then 4 minutes for the sprint intervals.
  2. Once you start the intervals, make sure you pedal as fast as you can for 20 seconds. The original study was conducted at 170% of VO2 max, which requires a substantial effort.
  3. Pause for 10 seconds and then start the next 20 second sprint.
  4. Complete 8 laps for a total of 4 minutes.

Think of it as 20 seconds of exercise and 10 seconds of rest. Repeat the whole thing eight times. If four minutes of Tabata isn't the hardest thing you've ever done, you're doing it wrong.

Tip: Don't do straight sets

Want to rev up your nervous system and stay strong from set to set? Then try this method

By Charles Poliquin


Serious exercisers always talk about the endocrine system, the muscular system and the cardiovascular system, but they rarely talk about the neurological system. This is a big mistake. Neural regeneration is often ignored.

How most people train

99 out of 100 exercisers perform multiple sets of a particular exercise in a row, also known as straight sets. For example, they will perform a set of bench presses, followed by another set of bench presses, followed by another set of bench presses. In between sets, they will "recover" while pretending to pull a loose thread out of their socks as they go through the playlist on their phone.

Scientific research tells us that they could recover much better by performing a set for an antagonist muscle group between sets.

A better way: antagonistic training

Here's how it works: Perform a set of dumbbell bench presses, a set of barbell rows for your latissimus in between, and then the next set of dumbbell bench presses. (And then alternate back and forth between the two exercises until you have performed the desired number of sets). You will notice a smaller decrease in strength from set to set compared to straight sets.

No one is sure why, but it certainly has something to do with the neurological system. That's why I started using the "A1" and "A2" division of my workouts, which has since been adopted by many others. Unfortunately, many trainers who use it don't understand why they are using it, or if they do understand it, they rarely explain it to their clients.

Other examples of antagonistic pairings of muscle groups:

  • Bicep curl and tricep press
  • Leg extensions and leg curls
  • Overhead press and pull-ups

Tip: Perform pulldown crunches for abs

This could be the best exercise you've never tried.

By John Meadows


Well-defined abs are common in bodybuilding circles, but few people have a truly toned "vacuum waist" - a waist that looks like a brick wall. Fortunately, there is one exercise that develops this look better than any other.

Pulldown crunches

  1. Sit on a lat pulldown machine and grasp the bar overhead as if you were doing lat pulldowns.
  2. Breathe in very deeply and pull your stomach in as hard as you can. Try to press your abdominal muscles against your spine.
  3. Next, exhale all the air as you perform a downward crunch movement. Tighten your abdominal muscles really hard and try to really 'cramp' them. Hold the bottom position for 1 to 2 seconds and consciously tighten your abs hard. It's only a small movement, but if you do it right, your abs will burn like fire.
  4. Do sets of 10 to 12 repetitions as often as you like.

This exercise is excellent for getting control of your abs.

Tip: The "healthy" practice that makes you chubby

It won't make you slim and it's not really healthy. And it definitely doesn't detoxify anything.

From TC Luoma


The unhealthy health fad

I can't watch it anymore. Chubby-cheeked women everywhere with rolls of insulin-resistant fat on their hips are lining up at some juice bar, palavering about how well detoxed their livers will be, how their chubby bodies will suddenly be Wonder Woman slim, and how Adele songs will magically blast from the iCloud as soon as they walk into a room when their juice fast is over.

Listen, juice fasting will detox absolutely nothing and it won't make you slim either - and it's not even as healthy as it's always claimed to be.

The detox myth

Somehow, people with no more scientific knowledge than a brown trout have started to believe that their bodies need to be detoxified and that this can be achieved through juice fasting. It's a nice idea, but there are absolutely no scientific facts to support this in any way.

That being said, your liver and kidneys were perfectly designed to do this on their own.

The health myth

These naïve people believe that juice fasting allows the body to absorb nutrients better. They think that all the unprocessed fiber in whole fruit will interfere with the digestive process. That's probably why a good percentage of these women haven't been to the bathroom since the last full moon.

Humans have evolved to process fiber throughout our evolutionary history. This is why we have bacteria in our intestines. Apart from that, fiber is essential for health - and as already mentioned, also for bowel movements

The "juice fasting will make you slim" myth

Fruit and vegetables contain comparatively few calories, right? So what's the difference between eating whole fruits and whole vegetables and drinking their juices? Well, there is a big difference. You might eat one or at most two apples, oranges or mangoes at a time, but would you eat four, five or more? That's exactly what happens when you drink juice (one piece of fruit might make a quarter cup of juice).

Secondly, all the fiber is pulverized by the blades of the blender (or even completely removed in the case of pressed juice). This means that there is nothing left to slow down absorption. Blood sugar levels rise rapidly and the same applies to insulin levels. Insulin inhibits the breakdown of fats. In addition, if you juice fast often enough, your body will eventually become insulin resistant - and that's the first step on the road to type II diabetes.

Last but not least, the definition of a good diet includes protein and fat - not just finely chopped fruit and vegetable carbohydrates.


  • If your diet is suboptimal, you may be able to have an occasional juice to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. However, it would be better to eat whole fruits and vegetables.
  • If possible, add a scoop or two of protein to your juice to slow down absorption and make the finished product a little more of a nutritionally acceptable meal.
  • Never try to detox using a juice cleanse. It's just completely ridiculous.

Tip: Stop worrying about this "toxic" chemical

No need to panic. This dreaded compound won't turn you into a ballerina. Here's the real story.

By TC Luoma


BPA: Safe or not?

Avoid canned food. Don't drink from plastic containers. And for God's sake, don't hold that plastic phone up to your face. They all contain bisphenol A (BPA), the estrogen-mimicking chemical that can affect your brain, testicles and fetal prostate and possibly raise blood pressure.

Well, as it turns out, all of this advice, which I admit to spreading myself, is quite wrong. BPA won't feminize men and it won't do any of those other horrible things either. Honestly, it's pretty harmless.

The birth of a "monster"

People started freaking out a few years ago when it was reported that BPA is a powerful estrogen-mimicking compound and that it's in about 70% of all food can linings, as well as water bottles, medicine boxes, CDs, and pretty much anything made of plastic.

Unfortunately, hardly anyone has taken the time to look at the fine print of the research. Yes, BPA binds to the estrogen receptor and is indeed found in many plastic containers, but it binds poorly to the receptors.

Oestradiol binds perfectly to the oestrogen receptor. Its binding capacity is 1:1, whereas BPA has a binding capacity of 10,000:1. This means that for every 10,000 BPA molecules in your bloodstream, only one will bind to an oestrogen receptor.

Compare this to the soy isoflavone genistein, which has an estrogen binding ratio of 250:1. The irony is that genistein - which is naturally found in soy proteins - is sold as a healthy supplement that can supposedly treat prostate and breast cancer and fight heart disease.

If genistein - a powerful estrogen-mimicking product - is a "health supplement," why is BPA, which has a much weaker estrogen effect, somehow toxic?

More reasons not to fear BPA

  1. The original study that led to the fear of BPA used doses far higher than what the average person is exposed to on a daily basis.
  2. Even if BPA were a problem, the liver would break it down and prevent it from docking to estrogen receptors.
  3. BPA is excreted in urine or bile acid 5 to 7 hours after consumption.

It's a good idea to avoid unnecessary chemicals of any kind, but let's focus on the chemicals that are truly problematic. BPA is not one of them.

Tip: Perform this instead of shrugs (shoulder raises) for a stronger trapezius

An exercise combined with a specific technique can be the key to increased trapezius strength and mass.

By Chris Colucci


Ask most exercisers where their trapezius is and they'll point to mountains of muscle between their neck and shoulders. But that's kind of like saying that the U.S. makes up the entire North American continent. It's only partly true.

The trapezius starts at the base of the skull, runs across the upper and middle back and runs laterally to the shoulder blades. To get a better mental picture of this, imagine the following: If the trapezius were on the front of your body, it would start near your mouth, run along your neck and down over both front shoulder muscle heads, covering most of your pecs and part of your upper abs.

And you think that simple barbell shoulder raises (shrugs) are enough to train a muscle of this size? Wrong. A muscle that covers such a large area and crosses several joints can never be trained efficiently with just one exercise.

Since the trapezius crosses the upper back and shoulder blades, it must be trained with a horizontal movement - and not just with shoulder raises, which primarily train the upper part of the trapezius.

And since the main function of the shoulder blade joint is to stabilize the upper body and control posture, training specifically for this purpose is the best way to achieve strength and health of this joint, which is often the basis for training for muscle mass.

Train face pulls

One of the best ways to achieve this level of stability is to train the lower trapezius with paused repetitions, longer contractions or an overall increase in time under tension. For the next few weeks, start each back and shoulder workout with 2 to 3 sets of face pulls of 8 to 10 repetitions.

To really get the most out of this exercise, the top pulley of the cable pull should be at eye level or slightly higher so that the direction of movement is slightly downward, which will further minimize upper trapezius involvement.

Exaggerate the movement of the shoulder blades during the extension and hold each maximum contraction for 3 to 5 seconds. This makes this exercise particularly efficient at building static strength, endurance and stability.

And don't be surprised if that underlying shoulder pain you've been trying to ignore disappears thanks to a stronger and healthier upper back.


Terrible Tabata

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