Tabata training introduction

Tabata training is named after Dr. Izumi Tabata the Japanese scientist that discovered findings to prove its efficacy, is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, featuring exercises that last four minutes. Dr. Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo conducted research on two groups of athletes. The control group trained for one hour at a moderate intensity level five days a week for six weeks, while the second group trained for four minutes and twenty second at a high-intensity level four days a week for six weeks. Dr. Tabata and his team discovered at the end of the trial that the high intensity group had an increased positive effect on their aerobic system than the control group, and also experienced significant benefits in their anaerobic system, while the moderate intensity trainers showed an increase in their aerobic system but no results on anaerobic health.

Learn to train Tabata

Learning to train Tabata style is fairly easy and can be done from the comfort of your home or even in a hotel room when traveling. There are a wide range of tabata-tailored playlists that can be found on YouTube and iTunes to help guide you through. To begin, find a playlist and start with the first exercise. You are to work out hard for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and continue performing the same exercise for eight rounds. On Tabata tailored tracks or playlists, a trainer voice guides you when to begin, pause, and begin again usually to popular music. The goal is to push yourself to your limit during the 20 second burst, then rest.

Tabata can change up your workouts

The great part about Tabata is no workout has to be the same and you can choose exercises that target different areas of the body. One day you may want to do squats, push-ups, jumping jacks, and burpees, and another lunges, bicep curls, mountain climbers, and sit-ups. Mix it up as you wish and do a few rounds if you have the energy. Below’s an example of a sequence that would last twenty minutes and target different areas of the body.

  • Push-ups (4 minutes)
  • Squats (4 minutes)
  • Sit-Ups (4 minutes)
  • Burpees (4 minutes)

Or you can try targeting various areas and alternating days. For example: one day you focus on leg workouts, another you focus on arms, or your core. Below’s a sequence to target the glutes and legs.

  • Lunges (4 minutes)
  • Jump Squats (4 minutes)
  • Mule Kicks (4 minutes)
  • Mountain Climbers (4 minutes)
  • Calf Raises (4 minutes)

Now that you get the gist of how to Tabata, have a great time finding a fun playlist of music, and your ready to get started!



Tabata I, Nishimura K, Kouzaki M, Hirai Y, Ogita F, Miyachi M, Yamamoto K.
Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training
on anaerobic capacity and VO2max. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1996 Oct;28(10):1327-30.
PubMed PMID: 8897392.



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