Tabata Workouts 101

Tabata is a Japanese form of exercise that promotes high intensity interval workouts to achieve the best fitness, strength and endurance. Founder Izumi Tabata conducted tests on athletes and found that athletes who completed high intensity interval training, were able to improve their aerobic and their anaerobic systems. In other words, very fast workouts such as those found in the Tabata fitness method, are the best way to quickly burn calories, convert fat to muscle and improve your overall physical fitness. The athletes who did not use the Tabata training method worked out at moderate levels of intensity for longer periods of time, and did improve their aerobic levels but saw no change in their anaerobic levels.

Before you start your Tabata training, make sure you are physically well enough to do intensive workouts and fast exercises. If you’re unsure about whether this would be right for you, talk to your doctor or health expert. Make sure you are dressed appropriately in comfortable clothing and that you have a timer and plenty of water. You can download Tabata apps on your smart phone that will help you track your time and your exercise.

One of the things I like best about Tabata workouts, is that you get to design your own set of exercises depending on what you are trying to improve about your body. You can focus on fat burning exercises or stick to simple exercises. I like to focus on exercises for belly fat, so most of my fast workouts include rapid sit-ups and abdominal crunches. Other fast workouts might contain intervals including:

  • Push-ups
  • Sprinting
  • Squats
  • Jumping rope
  • Lifting hand weights
  • Leg lunges

Your Tabata workout should last four minutes total. Those four minutes will include 20 second intervals of incredibly intense and fast exercises, followed by 10 seconds of rest. While a four minute workout might seem like a breeze, the intensity of those 20 second intervals will make it challenging and worth the effort. Tabata training is meant to challenge you mentally as well as physically for overall improved health.

Once you have your exercises planned out and your timer set, give those 4 minutes of Tabata training your all. Include some simple exercises in order to keep you strong throughout the interval. The purpose of Tabata training is to work out hard enough to sweat and feel your muscles working, but not so hard that you are unable to complete the four minutes of fast exercises.

You should expect to feel sore after these fast Tabata workouts. The number of times per week that you do Tabata training is up to you depending on your level of fitness. If you have not done Tabata yet, you should give it a try. Even if it doesn’t work for you as a primary exercise regimen, it might be something to incorporate into your regular fitness schedule. I know that when I do it, I feel like I worked out hard, and I gain a huge sense of accomplishment. I cannot do the Insanity workouts or the other trendy workout plans, but I can give everything I’ve got to fast workouts like Tabata that take only four minutes.