You have probably heard about Tabata but if you’re anything like me you may not know much about it. I first started reading about it a while back when I was looking for a fast workout I could get in before work.
Tabata is certainly a fast workout. Each workout is only four minutes long, although you can certainly do more than just one in a session. You might be pretty skeptical that you can get much from a four-minute workout but the research indicates that it is effective.
What is Tabata?
Tabata is a type of high-intensity interval training that focuses on short bursts of extreme effort. Each of these training bursts lasts for only 20 seconds. Follow that with 10 seconds of rest and repeat 8 times for a total of four minutes.
This is called the Tabata Protocol and was developed by Irisawa Koichi, Head Coach of the Japanese Olympic speed skating team. They used an intense 20-second interval training program to increase the VO2 Max capacity. Izumi Tabata, one of the training coaches, analyzed this training protocol and published a study. You can read the original study here.
What Does Tabata Mean?
Then name Tabata doesn’t mean or stand for anything. This workout protocol is named after Izumi Tabata who authored the study that started the whole craze.
What’s the Difference Between HIIT and Tabata?
This seems to be a common question. HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts alternate between high and low-intensity bursts. Tabata is a type of HIIT that follows a very specific training pattern.
Is 20 Minutes Enough?
Researching this article I saw this question a lot. It wasn’t always 20 minutes but the answer is the same. Of course, it is. In the original study elite athletes doing 4 minutes 4 times a week saw benefits. If you do at least that much you will see benefits as well.
You will see more benefits if you do more If you are having these kinds of questions I would recommend speaking with a personal trainer. They can help you to put together a plan that can achieve your goals.
If you are looking for a good 20 minute Tabata workout then I would recommend this one. It has a good variety of exercises so you don’t feel overworked and doesn’t require any special equipment.
How Often Should You Do Tabata?
Ultimately this is going to be up to you. Since it only takes 4 minutes and can be done with almost any exercise it is very easy to fit into your routine. The limiting factor will be your level of conditioning and how fast you recover.
The Tabata protocol was done 4 times a week with elite athletes in the original study. Odds are good that you aren’t an elite level athlete so some caution is warranted. Start slow and listen to your body. If you have any concerns at all talk with your health care provider.
How Many Calories Does a 4 Minute Tabata Workout Burn?
Ace Fitness did a study on the Tabata method that measured its effectiveness. In that study, they concluded that high-intensity Tabata workouts will burn around 15 calories a minute. When you combine that with a very strong EPOC effect these workouts are very good for burning calories and fat.
What is EPOC?
EPOC stands for excess-post-exercise oxygen consumption and if that answers your question you are much smarter than I am. That mouthful is a smart sciency way to describe the metabolism boost you get from exercise.
Pretty much any workout will produce some EPOC effect but HIIT workouts are the best at it. Since Tabata is a very intense form of HIIT it produces a very strong EPOC effect. That effect can increase the total calories burned by 6-15%.
6 Common Tabata Exercises
Tabata can be done with almost any exercise that can be done quickly and safely. You can use light weights but you will not want to do anything heavy. This is because you will be trying to rip out as many reps as possible. You will want to keep your form correct but with even moderate weight your risk of injury will be very high.
Some exercises are perfect but almost all of them can be used. Here are some of my favorites in no particular order. I probably do the high knee run, jumping jacks, and squat jumps the most often.
There are Plenty of Good Tabata Training Videos
- Get fitter, faster – tone, shape and build strength with the only Official TABATA workout endorsed by Professor Tabata himself.
- No Weights or equipment required. Modifiers included to accommodate any starting point.
- 13 dynamic, challenging workouts across 13 DVDs. Includes 3 levels that increase in intensity changing your movements and progressing naturally for maximum results.
- Also includes optimal nutrition and meal plan, workout calendars, fitness guide, Quick Start DVD and 5 Day Jump Start Plan.
- Elite Trainer PJ Stahl and high energy TABATA music and timers keep you motivated during your transformation.
- Shed fat, build lean muscle and tone your body in about 35 minutes a day with XTFMAX
- A 90 day program that includes 12 workouts on 12 DVDs, Nutrition Plan, Training Guide and Training Calendar
- XTFMAX sculpts muscles, builds strength and flexibility with fat-burning workouts designed to deliver results
- Each workout features modifications and levels from 1 (beginners) to 4 (advanced) so everybody can be challenged and successful while getting in the best shape of their lives
- Stephanie Oram will get you sweaty, keep you motivated, and deliver results while having fun doing so
- As seen on Comcast on Demand, this is your GREAT ABS Workout Plan!
- This intermediate to advanced level program includes kickboxing, HIIT cardio interval, core & strength training PLUS Tabata
- Contains over 80 minutes of actual workout time!
Is Tabata Good For Beginners?
Tabata is an excellent workout but it may not be appropriate for beginners. Because of the intensity, Tabata could be dangerous for anyone who isn’t in pretty decent shape.
I would strongly recommend taking a week or two to get your body used to exercise. Pick an exercise that you are very comfortable doing. Then warm-up and stretch before starting. I would recommend at least 5 minutes of warm-up to avoid injury and get your body prepared.
My first experience with Tabata I had been working out for a little while but I chose an exercise I hadn’t done in a long time. Let me tell you that 4 minutes of burpees is now my definition of hell.
Is Tabata Good For Strength?
Since Tabata workouts can involve pretty much any exercise you can absolutely use them for strength training. It is all in how you approach it. If you are wanting to increase strength use the appropriate exercise. For example lunges, squats, push-ups, or burpees are all excellent strength exercises for Tabata.
The most important thing about using Tabata for strength is that you chose an exercise that you can go 110% for the entire time. Remember that it is all about intensity so if you have to be able to really push or your not going to see many results.
Can I do Tabata At Home?
My favorite thing about Tabata is that it can be done almost anywhere. You have a lot of freedom in picking your workout so space is almost a total non-issue. Not only could you do it at home but you could do it in an empty elevator or airplane bathroom. I wouldn’t recommend it though.
Let Me Know If You Have Any Other Questions
Hopefully, I covered everything but if I left anything out or was unclear please let me know. I only recently started doing Tabata style workouts as part of my plan to get in the best shape of my life by my 45th birthday. I’ll be posting an update and I’ll let you know how it goes. I can tell you that I am glad that I already have a good post-workout routine in place because Tabata is intense!
Thanks For Reading!
As always I really appreciate that you have taken the time to read our blog. I hope that you found this information useful. I feel like I have been getting good results from Tabata and I hope you do as well. If this post was helpful I would really appreciate it if you could share it with your friends.