Yes, 4 minutes!!! You do need to warm up for 2 minutes and cool down for 2 minutes, but this 4 minute High Intensity Interval Training or (HITT) is guaranteed to boost your cardio vascular endurance and decrease your percentage body fat. If you are looking for a quick boost to your weekly routine then look no further!
I used to incorporate Tabata Intervals into the Cardio Interval classes that I taught at the University of Miami. I love them because they make an hour long class FLY BY! No we didn't do Tabata's the entire time, that would be unsafe, but I did use them intermittently throughout the class. Plus, I chose 4 different exercises, 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, and repeated them. This kept things interesting and exciting (yes, fitness is exciting to me). If you do both cardio and strength moves, you will be improving your cardiovascular and strength endurance. Always use proper form, and only go as fast as you can while maintaining proper form and being safe.
Please read the following articles to find out more, where Tabata Intervals began, and the research and science behind it all. Remember to always contact your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine. Drink plenty of fluids, warm-up, cool down and stretch your muscles with every workout.