Tabatta

Tabata training is a form of interval training invented by Izumi Tabata in the 1990′s. This specific protocol of interval training involves performing 20 second intervals of all-out intensity, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This cycle is repeated 8 times, making the entire interval workout last only 4 minutes. The short duration of this workout, coupled with the positive effects that its followers experience, are likely the main reasons for the Tabata method’s rising popularity.

In a 1996 study, published in the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Tabata and his colleagues found that 7-8 bouts of ultra-intense (170% VO2max) cycling with 10 seconds of rest between each bout, 5 days per week for 6 weeks, resulted in in both aerobic and anaerobic energy system improvements. In comparison, a training regime involving 6 weeks of moderate intensity endurance training (70% of VO2max, 60 minutes per day, 5 days per week) resulted in improvements in aerobic capacity, but not in anaerobic capacity. The high intensity interval regime not only improved both energy systems, the aerobic improvement was larger for the Tabata-style group than the moderate intensity group.

Tabata training has been used mostly by athletes, but is quickly gaining popularity among the general population. The most commonly performed Tabata workouts involve running (or rather, sprinting) on a grassy field or a running track, either indoors or outdoors. Because of the intensity (high speed and/or incline) required, performing Tabata sprints on a treadmill would be difficult to perform properly and would likely be dangerous. Tabata-style workouts can be done in a variety of ways, such as on an exercise bike, in a pool, and even using a cross trainer or elliptical machine. More recently, it has been adapted into almost any type of circuit training (i.e. push-ups, bur-pees, squat jumps, etc.), as long as the exercise that you’re doing requires you to “give it your all” for those 20 seconds.

Although it might seem tempting to replace all of your workouts with Tabata training, that might not be the best idea. A varied approach to your fitness is always ideal. Also, due to the exhausting nature of Tabata workouts, it is generally recommended to ease into it slowly, by performing extended warm-ups and by starting with one Tabata workout per week, and slowly graduating to two or three.

Tabata training has been used mostly by athletes, but is quickly gaining popularity among the general population. The most commonly performed Tabata workouts involve running (or rather, sprinting) on a grassy field or a running track, either indoors or outdoors. Because of the intensity (high speed and/or incline) required, performing Tabata sprints on a treadmill would be difficult to perform properly and would likely be dangerous. Tabata-style workouts can be done in a variety of ways, such as on an exercise bike, in a pool, and even using a cross trainer or elliptical machine. More recently, it has been adapted into almost any type of circuit training (i.e. push-ups, bur-pees, squat jumps, etc.), as long as the exercise that you’re doing requires you to “give it your all” for those 20 seconds.

Although it might seem tempting to replace all of your workouts with Tabata training, that might not be the best idea. A varied approach to your fitness is always ideal. Also, due to the exhausting nature of Tabata workouts, it is generally recommended to ease into it slowly, by performing extended warm-ups and by starting with one Tabata workout per week, and slowly graduating to two or three.

Some examples of Tabata workouts are:
5 minutes: warm up
4 minutes: 8 cycles of 20 seconds sprinting, 10 seconds rest
5 minutes: cool down

5 minutes: warm up
push-ups for 20 seconds, 10 seconds rest
push-ups for 20 seconds, 10 seconds rest
skipping for 20 seconds, 10 seconds rest
skipping for 20 seconds, 10 seconds rest
bur-pees for 20 seconds, 10 seconds rest
bur-pees for 20 seconds, 10 seconds rest
plank for 20 seconds, 10 seconds rest
plank for 20 seconds, 10 seconds rest
5 minutes: cool down

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