Tabatas are a type of high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. Let’s break that down. High-intensity means you give that exercise 100% of your effort, no holding back. Interval refers to the rest periods between each burst of high-intensity exercise. And training-well that means it’s a way to work out on a fairly regularly basis to achieve (in this case) intense fat loss and increasing muscle strength.
Types of Exercises for a Tabata Workout
The Tabata workout, or Tabata protocol, is not actually an exercise, it refers to the time intervals used. But you can use a variety of exercises for your Tabata workout. Body weight exercises include sprinting, pushups, burpees and squats. You can also use weights, just make sure they’re right next to you and ready to go-the intervals are quick! Just about any exercise that uses your whole body is ideal for Tabatas. However, it’s important to change up your exercises often so that your body doesn’t become used to one particular exercise and give you diminishing returns in fat loss and muscle gain.
The Intervals for a Tabata Workout
The basic outline of Tabatas is one or more types of exercise done in 20-second bursts. Each burst has a 10-second rest period in between. This is a 30-second cycle, and it’s repeated eight times. The entire Tabata exercise lasts four minutes. That’s it! For the sake of workout safety, warm up for at least two minutes beforehand with moderate-paced exercise. A cool-down period of two minutes afterwards is also recommended.
Tabatas were tested and refined by Dr Izumi Tabata, who reported that short bursts of intense effort with periods of rest in between produced better results in burning fat and muscle gain than longer periods of moderate exercise.
Because the Tabata protocol doesn’t take very long (8 minutes including warm up and cool down), far more people can incorporating them into their busy schedules. The variety of exercises that can be done mean that even those working around injuries or other problems with a certain type of exercise have options for working around them and still achieving muscle gain and fat loss. Tabatas rely on your current health and capabilities. What was 100% when you started doing them won’t be the same later, but you don’t need to purchase different equipment or get a different trainer or go to a new class when you advance. You just give it 100% every time, and you keep reaping the highest rewards.