Are you strapped for time? Are you wanting a workout that will give you an insane afterburn that will keep you burning calories for hours after you finish? Then Tabata might be the right workout for you. Also known as The Tabata Protocol, it is similar to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), but slightly different because the rest and work periods are shorter. Done in only eight rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for a total of four minute. Japanese physician and researcher, Dr. Izumi Tabata designed the Tabata Protocol. Dr. Tabata ran two research groups, one did one hour of moderate intensity exercise five times per week for six weeks. The other research group did a high intensity Tabata style workout once a day for six weeks. The group who did the Tabata training, improved aerobic endurance and anaerobic fitness levels by 28% more than the first group. That’s a difference of 1800 mins spent working out for the first group and only 120 mins spent working out for the second group over the course of the six weeks. Can you say time efficiency?!
So, you’ve read the proof, and you want to know what else Tabata can do for you, well let me tell you. Tabata can burn up to 15 calories per minute when done properly, which in turn increases your metabolism and helps you burn fat. The trick is, your 20 second work period should be an all-out 100% effort by you and the 10 seconds rest is used to allow your body to recover. Tabata done properly, teaches your body to tolerate lactic acid (the burning feeling you feel in your muscles while working out) and increases the threshold for anaerobic exercises, allowing your body to do more. When you increase your threshold for anaerobic (without oxygen) capacity, you are also increasing your aerobic (with oxygen) capacity (think all out sprints vs jogging). Another great thing about using Tabata for a workout, is that you don’t need a lot of equipment or space. You can do a lot of your workouts with just body weight exercises, so no gym membership is even required.
How do you do it? Below I have included a short Tabata workout to try out. I recommend using a dynamic warm up before beginning your exercises, which I have also included. A dynamic warm up will help you warm up muscles, lube up your joints and provide a moderate stretch while doing so, helping prevent injury. Usually Tabata exercises are focused on larger muscle groups and aerobic or anaerobic exercises. For smaller muscle groups, you can alternate the rounds to keep from overworking one small muscle group.