- Want to increase your aerobic fitness levels with the minimum investment of time?
- Trying to increase your anaerobic capacity without spending hours in the gym?
- Want to increase your VO2 max?
Awesome…Enter the world of Tabata Training!
How to get started with Tabata Training
The world Tabata might sound like some Greek olive spread you put on your bread but it’s a form of HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training). Most of the times multi-joint body weight exercises are performed in this type of training making it more convenient and flexible to our lifestyle. Sometimes people also incorporate this into their strength training routine thereby making their sessions into CrossFit sessions. We already have many types of training in the industry today helping us to reach our Fitness Goals. What makes TABATA Training special is that it requires as little as 4 minutes to finish a workout and to keep track of your time, a stop watch or a Tabata timer app is beneficial. (hence the name, The 4 minute workout or The 4 minute miracle workout). Since it is a form of HIIT, it burns your calories for the next 24 hours.
A brief History of TABATA Training…
Tabata training was born after Japanese scientist Izumi Tabata and his colleagues compared the results of moderate intensity training and HIIT. The study evaluated two groups of speed-skating athletes. The first group trained on ergonomic cycles at moderate intensity for one hour, five days per week, for a total of six weeks. The second group completed four-minute, high-intensity workouts on ergonomic cycles four days per week for a total of six weeks. The second group completed its four minutes of work by doing eight intervals of all-out training, and then resting 10 seconds.
The scientists’ results concluded that the athletes who performed high-intensity training saw increases in aerobic and anaerobic system capacities; whereas the moderate-intensity group did not improve anaerobic performance. The Tabata training method was formed by modelling workouts after the second group.
Enough said…So, what the heck is Tabata Training?
As mentioned earlier, it is a form of HIIT. The basic structure of Tabata Training program looks like:
- Workout with your Highest Intensity possible for 20 seconds
- Rest for 10 seconds
- Repeat 8 times
Total workout duration for each cycle – (20 + 10) * 8 = 240 seconds = 4 minutes
- If you are just starting out, finish only one cycle and if you are currently working out with other types of training, incorporate it into it on every alternate day as High-Intensity exercises needs some extra rest to recover.
- If you have some experience with Interval Training, finish 2 cycles. After each cycle, take a minute rest. So total workout time ( excluding pre-workout warm up -10 minutes and post workout stretching- 5-10 minutes)- 10 minutes
- If you are an advanced athlete, finish 3-4 cycles, taking a minute of rest after each cycle. So total workout time ( excluding pre-workout warm up -10 minutes and post workout stretching- 5-10 minutes)- 15-20 minutes
At first, it might sound like very easy, but be prepared because these 4 minutes are going to feel like the longest 4 minutes in your life. No matter how experienced you are, you are going to feel the burn at the end of each cycle. You need to push yourself really hard during those 20 seconds to get the desired results. And for the choice of exercises, you can do pretty much anything from sprints to burpees to deadlifts. From what I have seen so far after training many people with Tabata style, incorporating multi-joint movements have proven to be more beneficial.
In performing the same exercise for 8 rounds sounds boring to you, you can try up to 8 different exercises. My personal advice is to include minimum 2 and maximum 4 exercises as sometimes the clients would get overwhelmed and confused looking at the numbers given the short amount of workout time and rest periods. If you are jump roping, then stick to it throughout the cycle. The main thing to remember when choosing the exercises is that it is more beneficial to include exercises which affect multiple muscle groups.
Some of the exercises that can be included (in no particular order) are as follows:
- Mountain Climbers
- Jump squats
- Jump Rope
- Bench Press
- Clean and Press
- Climbing Stairs
- Sit ups
- Push ups
- Pull ups
- Bicep curls
- Tricep dips
- Air punches
If you are just starting out with this type of training, it is perfectly normal to feel soreness. However, with few days of training your body will adjust to the change and intensity levels. It’s not just training alone, Nutrition plays a huge role if you want to see real results. In fact, you will do more harm than good if your diet is not on par with the required standards. Again, do fall into the trap of all the crazy weight loss and fitness fad diets. Just stick to the basics. Include all the basic nutrients hydrate yourself and get enough sleep.
First Tabata Workout
To get the authentic Tabata experience—and results—you could start by going back to the original template designed by the founder used for his experiment. Hop on a spin bike similar to what was used in the studies from the late 1990s, warm up for 10 minutes, and then crank it during each 20-second interval. If you can stomach it and your cycle offers it, increase the resistance.
If you’d like to step out from the bike, we have a huge compilation of Tabata Workouts suitable for all types of people as each and ever workout has been experimented several times on different people before getting them into public and can even be included into your current training regimen.
Stick around FitMonk for the most up to date information and proven workouts for real results and much more.
To Your Health and Fitness,