Tabata training when performed correctly is probably the most intense form of high intensity interval training. It is also highly effective and takes very little time.
Tabata training was discovered by and named after Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata following research undertaken by a team from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo.
Tabata and his team conducted research on two groups of athletes. One of these groups trained at a moderate intensity level, while the other group trained at a high-intensity level. The moderate intensity group worked out five days a week for a total of six weeks; each workout lasted an hour. The high-intensity group worked out four days a week for six weeks; each workout lasted four minutes and 20 seconds (with 10 seconds of rest in between each set).
The information gleaned from the results was as follows ; Group 1 had increased their aerobic system (cardiovascular), but showed little or no results for their anaerobic system (muscle). Group 2 showed much more increase in their aerobic system than Group 1, and increased their anaerobic system by 28 percent.
The results from these tests revealed that high-intensity interval training was shown to significantly impact both the aerobic and anaerobic systems.
The Tabata Training Program
Each Tabata training workout lasts a mere four minutes, but it’s likely to be one of the longest and torturous four minutes you’ve ever endured. I kid you not.
It is conducted as follows:
•Work out hard for 20 seconds
•Rest for 10 seconds
•Complete 8 rounds of above
In order to obtain the maximum benefit from this protocol it is important to go all out during the 20 sec work period i.e to push yourself as hard as you can for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. This means pushing yourself to your limit. This constitutes one set. You will complete eight sets of each exercise.
You can do virtually any exercise you wish however to maximise adaptation Tabata training needs to be performed with exercises which tax the entire system. This means isolation single joint exercises don’t qualify.
You can perform squats, push-ups, burpees or any other multi-joint exercise that works your large muscle groups.
Kettlebell ballistic movements such as swings and snatches are especially effective – readily lending themselves to the tabata protocol.
Below are some examples of Tabata training workouts utilising bodyweight only:
1.Push-ups (4 minutes)
2.Bodyweight Squats (4 minutes)
3.Burpees (4 minutes)
4.Mountain Climbers (4 minutes)
Tabata workouts are extremely taxing on the system and one all out 4 minute workout may well wipe you out. In fact initially you may well fail to complete a full 4 minute workout. If the exercise is performed loaded, for example with a heavy kettlebell you may not complete a full 8 rounds – such is the level of intensity when this protocol is followed correctly. My first attempts doing heavy kettlebell swings resulted in me only completing 4 rounds initially.
Tabata is a convenient workout if you’re short on time, or you want improve endurance, speed and overall physical conditioning.
Incorporate this type of workout into your fitness routine and it will produce tangible results in terms of improved strength and conditioning.
Give Tabata training a try, your body will thank you