A Beginner’s Guide To Tabata Workouts

A Beginner’s Guide To Tabata Workouts

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If you have any interest in the health and fitness space, you’ve probably heard of Tabata training. It’s a concept that has been thrown around and has recently gained a lot of traction.

What is Tabata training?

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Consistency is key when trying to lose weight.

Developed by Japanese Dr. Izumi Tabata, creator of the “Tabata Protocol,” Tabata training is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). It was formulated in the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo.

Tabata workouts usually consist of alternating maximum-effort 20-second exercises, followed by 10-second stages of rest, repeated multiple times across four minutes. It’s designed to really push practitioners to their max capacity, almost to the point of exhaustion, in just a short amount of time. You could say it takes HIIT one step up a notch.

Many experts claim the effects and benefits of Tabata training are real, and highly effective.

Typically, Tabata training features just one simple exercise, but fitness experts have combined many different strength and aerobic exercises together using various muscle groups, creating a circuit training routine. To put it plainly, Tabata training brings together a greater workload of movements which are more intense and stimulate a greater range of muscle groups than traditional strength or cardio exercises. It also uses a significantly less amount of time, just like HIIT.

Tabata training basically enables you to push past your lactate threshold, and if anyone has ever experienced trying to move with lots of lactic acid buildup in their muscles, they will tell you it’s extremely hard to do so.

In a recent study, Tabata training participants averaged around 86 percent of their max heart rate and 74 percent of their VO2 max. This, of course, is a simple way of saying they were definitely pushed to their limit.

Obviously, this sort of workout brings about a host of different health and mental benefits. Here are some of the benefits of Tabata training.

Eliminate Fat Stores

Just like HIIT, Tabata training is intense and will surely require every ounce of strength in your body. Don’t expect it to be easy, as it’s going to place a lot of stress on your body and really push you to your limits.

Tabata training helps eliminate fat stores in your body by increasing your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR. This is the rate at which your body expends energy at a state of rest, in order to keep vital organs functioning and strong. The more you perform Tabata workouts, the higher your BMR rises, and in turn, your body will burn fat continuously for fuel.

Just 20 minutes of a Tabata workout burns over 15 calories per minute. That’s a pretty good rate, especially if you have a very tough weight loss goal. Another recent study discovered that performing a Tabata-style exercise burned for four minutes burned more calories per minute than doing traditional cardio exercises, say on a treadmill.

Furthermore, Tabata workouts have been found to improve bone mass density, increase metabolism, even after you’re done for the day.


Increase Endurance

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ONE Superstar Amir Khan from the EVOLVE Fight Team working out at Evolve MMA (Far East Square).

Of course, the more stress you put on your body, the more athletic and fit you become because your body’s aerobic and anaerobic capacity improve tenfold. Your body becomes efficient with how it consumes oxygen, especially during exercise, as well as optimizing the consumption of calories.

Just one Tabata workout session performed at high intensity four times a week can vastly improve aerobic and anaerobic capacity by a large margin. What this means is you’ll become a well-trained athlete in no time, and will experience strength and cardio boosts in all physical activities.


Maximize the Efficiency of Your Workouts

Another benefit people gain from training in Tabata-style workouts is becoming more efficient with their movements. Coupled with the fact that Tabata workouts aren’t really time-consuming, that makes for one less excuse as to why you’re not working out.

Tabata workouts are intense and highly-effective. Most important of all, they are safe to perform under controlled environments. Because they focus on simple, compound movements, anybody can do them, at any fitness level. And with just a few weeks of consistent training, the human body experiences a drastic transformation.


Why is Tabata training so effective?

The science behind Tabata workouts is very much similar to HIIT and borrows a lot of its principles from the very popular routine, the difference being in Tabata’s 20/10 format, which is draining to your aerobic and anaerobic energy levels. What results is greatly improved cardio fitness.

Tabata workouts force practitioners to operate at full capacity, with very little recovery period in between. As you can imagine, this style of workout is extremely intense, and will surely bring about the best in you physically.

You’ll constantly be working at maximum capacity, making use of every ounce of energy in your body.


Sample Tabata Workout

Remember, four-minute timeframe. This roughly equates to eight, 20-second high-intensity workouts, traditionally consisting of a single exercise, with 10 seconds of rest in between. That’s one Tabata circuit.

One example is doing 20 seconds of push-ups, eight sets, taking 10 seconds of rest in between sets. That comprises one 4-minute circuit. Some fitness buffs like to mix in two or three different exercises to create a circuit training routine. For example, alternating between push-ups and jumping jacks.

The 10 seconds of rest is what really gets you. It allows your body to rest just enough to bring your heart rate down ever so slightly, before jacking it back up again. It’s taxing on both the mind and body, but really brings about great physical transformation and athletic improvement.

The great thing about Tabata workouts is that you can do them at home. All you need is an open space, and you’re good to go.

Rolling Strong combines scientific exercises and routines specifically geared towards grappling.

Phil Daru is a performance coach for over 200 Elite Level Fighters in all aspects of combat sports.
Learn a comprehensive approach that covers everything from proper warmups to exercises designed to improve your guard!