Tabata training is a well-known, popular, and hugely challenging form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Created by a Japanese scientist named Dr. Izumi Tabata (from which the exercise clearly gets its name), the basic Tabata workout involves 8 rounds of 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest.
Of course, 8 rounds sounds like a lot, but a quick look at the math shows that a full Tabata workout should only take you 4 minutes.
Yup. 4 minutes.
Don’t let the short duration fool you. If done correctly, a Tabata workout should feel super challenging. Those 20-second bouts of all-out-effort should honestly be performed at your highest possible capacity. By the time you’re done with this quick and dirty routine, you’ll be glad it’s only about as long as whatever song you listen to for inspiration!
Have 4 Minutes To Spare at the End of Your Next Workout? Then Do That Tabata!
You may be wondering if it’s actually possible to get a good and effective workout in less time than it takes you to shower in the morning. But like other forms of HIIT, Tabata training protocols have been shown in scientific research to help people burn fat and increase their endurance and fitness more efficiently compared to other types of exercise.
For maximal effectiveness, do your Tabata training at the end of your workout. This way, you’ll finish your session strong with an elevated heart rate, which can help raise your metabolism and prolong your body’s fat-burning efficiency, up to a few hours following your training session.
Keep in mind that saving your Tabata workout for the end of your session is also beneficial for safety reasons, too. Because it’s such a high-intensity movement, doing Tabata prior to lifting weights, for instance, could tax the small stabilizing muscles around your joints that you need to be functioning properly in order to maintain good form.
The most important thing to note when ending your workout with Tabata is to do the exercises with bodyweight only. You may be used to doing kettlebell swings at 40 lbs, but after a killer leg workout, your muscles may not be up to baring so much weight at such a high intensity. End your workout with a bang… but safely with just your bodyweight.
5 Ways to Tackle Your Tabata Workout
A great thing about Tabata is that you can do it with almost any exercise (assuming that you can perform it correctly at a high intensity and while breathing heavily). Here are 5 movements to test out using the Tabata protocol:
– Squats (with no added weight)
– Running Sprints
– Kettlebell Swings (lighter weight than you’d normally do)
– Flutter Kicks
The list is endless! Got another favorite move to feature during a Tabata workout? Let us know about it in the comments below!