Used by elite athletes in Olympic-level sports, Tabata training is a form of HIIT training that Izumi Tabata developed at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Japan in the early 1990s. and his team studied groups of people doing moderate- and high-intensity exercise. They found that short bursts of high-intensity training were better for building muscle and burning fat than longer bursts of moderate-intensity activity. The result was a form of high-intensity interval training called Tabata, with shorter exercises and rest periods.
We did some research and spoke with Izumi Tabata, as well as an exercise specialist, to find out what the training is all about.
What is Tabata Training?
“Tabata training is a unique form of HIIT because of its structured intervals of 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest in a four-round cycle,” says John Solle, Noom Trainer, personal trainer and fitness specialist. corrective exercises.
“A traditional Tabata workout is a 20-minute workout consisting of four sets of an 8-set interval of 20 seconds of exercise and 10 seconds of rest totaling four minutes of exercise. There is one minute of rest between the series for recovery.”
Name (opens in a new tab) Trainer John Solle is a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist. He is also a certified nutrition coach. He works with a wide range of clients to help them achieve their personal health goals, whether it’s losing weight or improving athletic performance.
Although much shorter in duration than regular moderate-intensity exercise, research has shown that Tabata increases overall fitness in the same way. For example, in a 2013 study published in PLoS One (opens in a new tab)people who did an intense four-minute burst on treadmills at 90% of their maximum heart rate, three times a week, increased their cardiorespiratory fitness by 10%.
So how does Tabata training differ from HIIT? HIIT is generally less rigid in terms of training structure. Bursts of energetic activity can last from 10 to 60 seconds, while periods of rest can also vary. While Tabata allows complete rest for 10 seconds, HIIT can use low to moderate intensity exercises as a form of rest.
The Benefits of Tabata Training
The American College of Sports Medicine (opens in a new tab) (ACSM) states that any form of HIIT can improve aerobic and anaerobic fitness, lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular fitness, and help with overall body composition. It may also increase insulin sensitivity (which helps muscles use glucose as fuel for energy) and lower your cholesterol.
A Review of Tabata Training by ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal (opens in a new tab)also points out that Tabata training increases the body’s ability to burn fat, even at rest, because the body uses insulin more efficiently to fuel the muscles.
Plus, it doesn’t require gym equipment. You can use your own body to provide resistance in the form of burpees, squats, lunges, push-ups, and crunches. Moreover, it is an effective way to train.
So what does Tabata’s creator, Dr. Izumi Tabata, have to say about it? “Tabata training is scientifically proven to be one of the most effective exercises for improving aerobic and anaerobic energy release systems,” he told us. “Authentic Tabata training is comprehensive.”
Izumi (Joseph) Tabata (田畑泉) is a highly respected health and exercise scientist, who is often credited with creating the “Tabata” exercise regimen. He was educated in Japan and Norway and studied for a year at Washington University in St. Louis, before graduating from Ritsumeikan University. He has also worked at the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Japan and with the Japanese speed skating team. During his career, he contributed to several influential research articles and changed the dialogue around exercise.
The Disadvantages of Tabata Training
“Tabata training is a tough workout that requires a certain level of base fitness,” says Solle. “As it is so difficult, it will take a good deal of mental toughness and energy to complete. Additionally, all high-intensity workouts carry a risk of injury which should be assessed before starting any new regimen.”
If you’re unsure of your base fitness level, it may be worth talking to a personal trainer to find out if you’re ready for Tabata training before you take the plunge.
“Tabata training is safe for most people,” says Solle. “However, if you are pregnant or have heart disease, high blood pressure, injuries, or other health conditions, you should consult your doctor before engaging in any type of HIIT like Tabata.”
To reduce the risk of injury, the Cleveland Clinic (opens in a new tab) advises starting with just one or two four-minute rounds to see how you fare with their intensity, then adding more as your fitness improves.
15 Minute Tabata Practice
Solely has designed two sample Tabata routines for Live Science, each lasting 15 minutes. The former uses a single exercise and no gym equipment, while the latter adds a bit of variety to the exercises and requires kettlebells or similar weights.
Tabata also offers a more general Tabata routine to follow and recommends doing it twice a week for six weeks to see improvements in both aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
“The recommended length of Tabata training is 20 minutes,” says Solle. “But it can be shortened by reducing the number of turns or cycles.” Solle also advises starting with a 15-20 minute warm-up of cycling, walking or jogging “to help prepare the body and mind for training.”
Example 1 exercise routine:
- Burpees: 8 sets of 20 seconds with 10 seconds of rest, totaling four minutes, with one minute of rest between rounds. Three rounds would equal 15 minutes.
Sample Exercise Routine 2:
- Mountaineers: 8 sets of 20 seconds with 10 seconds rest, totaling four minutes.
- One minute rest
- Squat Jumps: 8 sets of 20 seconds with 10 seconds rest, totaling four minutes
- One minute rest
- Kettlebell Swings: 8 sets of 20 seconds with 10 seconds rest, totaling four minutes
- One minute rest
Dr. Izumi Tabata’s Simple Workout:
- Dr. Tabata recommends warming up for five minutes either by cycling or using a variety of body-weighting exercises, such as push-ups or burpees.
- 8 workouts of 20 seconds, performing as many bodyweight weight-bearing exercises as possible within 20 seconds, interrupted by 10 seconds of total rest.
- Five minutes of cooling exercises with stretching.
This article is not intended to offer medical advice and readers should consult their doctor or health care professional before adopting any diet or exercise regimen.