The Complete Guide To Tabata Training
Looking to get buffed out this new year? Then you need an intense fitness workout. Fitness, no doubt, is one broad aspect of health that involves numerous workout styles can help you achieve your fitness goals. Over the years, workout styles have evolved through the constant mixing and matching of various exercises, to create the perfect workout routine for multiple body types and strength limits. And if you want to increase your strength and flexibility, the Tabata Training program is one you should definitely try out.
Tabata is one workout form you can include in your routine if you’re searching for something new. It is a high-intensity interval training system that lasts for up to four minutes, comprising different kinds of exercises that you can add to your overall fitness regime. Whatever your goals are, be it to increase your strength, improve flexibility, lose weight, or build muscle, this fitness program can help you attain them, together with a high level of discipline and consistency from you. But first, let’s dive into this exercise, to find out what exactly it is and its benefits, along with a few training programs you can try out.
What Is Tabata Training?
Tabata training, as stated earlier, comprises many exercises that last four minutes. This workout program was discovered by Dr Izumi Tabata, together with a team from Tokyo’s National Institute of Fitness and Sports. With their research aim being to discover the impact of high-intensity training on aerobic and anaerobic systems, they experimented with two sets of athletes.
During their experiment, a high-intensity level was assigned to one group with the second taking on a more moderate intensity level. The workout for both groups lasted for four minutes and 20 seconds, with each set having a 10-second break. The groups worked out for a total of six weeks, with the high-intensity group working out four days in a week. The moderate intensity group, however, was assigned five days every week for the entire duration of the experiment.
As per the results of the research, there was an increase in the aerobic system of the first group as opposed to the second group, with a 28 per cent increase in their anaerobic system. The group that undertook a moderate intensity training session realised an increase in their cardiovascular system, with only a small results for their muscles system. This led Dr Tabata and his team to conclude that, undertaking high-intensity interval training will affect both the anaerobic and aerobic system and their functions.
Benefits Of Tabata Training
Tabata training offers a variety of benefits to individuals, depending on their series of exercise and their ultimate fitness goals. The mixing and matching of different activities at high-intensity intervals can have a positive influence on your body and all its functions, from the second you begin to hours after your session has ended.
- It Protects your muscle tissue
While you train using cardio, your hard earned muscle tissues are continually being cut into. This isn’t the case with the Tabata strategy. Thanks to the short duration of this workout program, the probability of you eating away any muscle tissue is reduced. During the series of exercises, stress is placed on your muscle tissue, which results in the ratio of your lean body mass to body fat increasing. The Tabata strategy can help boost your muscle tissue, provided your selected exercises to help maximise the muscle mass worked.
- Melts Away Fat
The ultimate goal of any Tabata workout is to increase your heart rate and metabolism. During exercise such as cardio, your body is only able to burn fat when it reaches a particular zone, and this may take a while. For the Tabata workout, your body tends to work itself harder to keep up with the high level of intensity you’re doing, and this will cause an increase in your metabolism both during and after your workout. A higher metabolism means that even when you’re inactive your body can burn fat, which is not the case with cardio exercises. If you want to place your body in its fat burning zone from the very beginning of your training until many hours after, then the Tabata workout is ideal for you.
- Time-Saving Exercise
Everyone has four to eight minutes to spare, no matter how busy we believe we are. With the Tabata training, you get to undertake a high-intensity full body workout that saves you time for other activities. The best part is, this form of exercise doesn’t require a gym subscription! It can be done in the comfort of your home with some bands, dumbbells and body weights.
- Limits the Aging Process
Research has discovered that partaking in high-intensity workouts can help prevent the different diseases associated with ageing such as Alzheimer’s and Type 2 diabetes. The intervals of such workout programs such as Tabata training triggers the production of mitochondria in your blood cells, a component of our system that our body is unable to produce as we age. Mitochondria are responsible for the protection of our system against ageing diseases, which is why its production is essential to our overall health.
- Increase in our Aerobic & Anaerobic Capacities
The aerobic capacity of our bodies is the maximum oxygen uptake our bodies can tolerate, while anaerobic capacity merely is the maximum amount of energy our body produces in the absence of oxygen. These two capacities are increased with every Tabata session we partake in. This results in increased stamina and higher energy levels, as well as increased resistance to continuous effort and strain.
- Helps you Build a Healthier Heart
The anaerobic zone is one area most people aren’t used to experiencing, especially since it’s an area of difficult breathing, where many individuals feel their heart attempting to jump out of their chest. The primary motivation for partaking in any extreme sport is to obtain ultimate results. Tabata training helps you work twice as hard in any activity you enjoy, be it cycling or jogging, without a change or increase in your pace.
- Offers Better Athlete Conditioning
The initial purpose of Tabata was to increase the activity of athletes, but with time this form of training was customised to suit everyone. Besides this, the benefits of Tabata for athletes remain strong. The practice of Tabata can significantly increase the input of athletes, resultantly increasing their level of performance. Not only does this exercise program increase stamina and improve conditioning required for high-intensity sports, but Tabata also helps protect the muscle mass of all athletes.
- It Can Be Done Anywhere
All exercise requires for HIIT, such as jump roping, running, rowing and biking can be done without the use of any equipment. There is some exercise included in the Tabata program that is meant to get your heart rate up quickly, and these include fast feet, high knees and plyometric exercises such as jumping lunges. It’s been discovered that the effects of HIIT exercises can be reduced significantly when done with equipment such as dumbbells. The focus of the Tabata training is not to push the limits of your muscles, but rather your heart.
- Tabata Can Be Done Anywhere
You can do your series of exercises with your dog, in a boat, any anywhere else! The concept of Tabata as a workout program is straightforward, making it easy to do in any location, no matter the space constraints or time you have available. If you’re on vacation on a boat, you can still grab your trainers and get in your daily four to eight minutes of HIIT.
What Does The Tabata Program Entail?
The Tabata workout program may appear simple on paper being a series of exercises for only four minutes, but the actual execution may feel like a lifetime. This HIIT workout has a straightforward structure which involves three main basic moves;
- 20 seconds of hard exercise
- 10 seconds of rest
- Repeating this for a total of 8 rounds
A single set requires you to push yourself as hard as you possibly can for twenty seconds, before taking a 10-second breather. Doing this a total of eight times will be equivalent to four minutes of a full Tabata workout. The Tabata workout is considered more like a formula by trainers, than a particular workout; thus, the possibilities of your exercise strategy are endless. The series of exercises that make up your four minutes are purely up to you or your trainer. It can comprise of push-ups, squats, burpees and any other muscle-working training, such as the kettlebell. Some of the classic Tabata moves that any beginner can quickly start with are;
To do a perfect squat that doesn’t cause harm to your back, you must bend your hips back, giving your knees a chance to lean forward. Be sure to keep your knees pointed towards the direction of your feet, and keep your back straight. When going down, make sure your thighs are parallel to the floor, before standing up to repeat the process.
Push-ups are done by lying face-down on the floor with your hands apart, slightly wider than the width of your shoulder. Extend your arms with your body straight to raise your body off the floor. Bend your arms with your body still straight, to lower yourself back down.
- Vertical Jump
These jumps are effortless to perform. You start with a squat position and jump as high as you can. Once you land, you sit once more and jump up again.
Burpees are also known as squat thrusts. The first step is to bend over and squat. Be sure to keep your hands wider than your shoulders while positioned firmly on the floor. Place your legs into a plank position by jumping while holding your upper body in place, and then stand up by dropping your legs back underneath you. You can do a little jump at the top instead of jumping up if you’re looking to increase the intensity of your burpee.
- Mountain Climbers
You start working towards performing a mountain climber by being in a push-up position. Be sure to keep your weight on both your hands and toes and bring one leg in until your knee is directly beneath your hip, to start the move. Reverse the position of your legs then, and extend the bent leg until it is straight and supported by your toe. After this, bring the other leg up and in.
Other types of exercises that can be included in your Tabata strategy include lunges, the kettlebell swing, sprints, dumbbell squats and rowing and running, among others. The possibilities are endless.
Training Workouts – Getting Started
For a typical Tabata training session, four main exercises are required. The four chosen exercises can be mixed and matched on different days for alternating effects on an individual’s body and also to offer some form of variety. Tabata is more about pushing yourself than it is about finishing on time thus, with every exercise, you’re advised to get as many reps as possible done within your first 20 seconds.
To begin with your training session, you start off with your very first exercise, at a high-intensity level for up to 20 seconds, using the next ten seconds as a rest period. The 10-second period should be quickly followed by another 20 seconds of the same exercise, with you pushing yourself to include more reps. Again, you are permitted to rest for ten seconds before going to your third, through to eight sets. It is important that you have a 10 second rest between the various sets, as this action helps your body recover briefly before undergoing another round of tough activity. After completing all eight sets of the first exercise, you get to rest for a full minute, before moving on to the next eight sets of the second exercise. This process is followed until all four exercises have been completed.
Various combinations have been formulated, tried and tested for the different fitness goals of individuals. There are Tabata strategy programs that concentrate on specific areas of the body, with typical examples found below;
Total Body Tabata Workouts
- Mountain climbers
- Kettlebell swing
Lower Body Tabata Workouts
- Bodyweight squat
- Jump squat
- Box Jumps
- Dumbbell or kettlebell goblet squats
Cardiovascular Tabata Workouts
- Jump rope
- Indoor Rower
- Stationary cycling
Upper Body Tabata Workouts
- Triceps Dip
3 Sample Workouts to Try Out
Besides specific Tabata workout programs, some new combinations have taken in over in most gyms and homes. These new moves can be incorporated easily into your workout session as a new challenge, a starting step to other exercises and they can also be used as a means to increase the overall intensity of your courses.
- Lateral Lunge to Knee Drive
With your feet apart, take a step with your left foot to your left hand side, while keeping your core engaged and your hips arched backwards. The next step is to lower your body into a lateral lunge, and this is done easily by bending your left leg while the right leg stays straight. Shift the weight of your body then to the right foot, and push off the left to enable you to bring it closer to your chest. Keep at it on the same side for the first set, changing sides during the following set.
2. Skater to Curtsy Lunge
The skater to curtsy lunge starts with both feet being together and both knees bent. With your knees hinged at the hips slightly, use your right foot to support your weight before leaping to the left side, pushing yourself as far as you can. Repeat this twice and after the third leap, land and place your right leg behind the left, getting into the curtsy squat position. Restart this exercise by balancing your weight on the left foot.
3. Mountain Climber to One Leg Push-up
To get into the mountain climber position, remember to be in a high plank position. To climb, drive your left knee toward your chest, and then switch sides swiftly. Keeping your arms bent at an angle, extend your right leg and descend into the push-up position without coming into contact with the ground. Maintain a hip-height level with your right leg, before returning to a high plank position. With your right foot back on the ground, start with the mountain climber once more but this time, begin with the right leg.
Perform each move meticulously, alternating 20 seconds of all-out effort with 10 seconds of rest. Continue the same movement, completing all eight rounds within the stipulated time. Follow through swiftly with the next move on the list, following the same directions. You should complete the entire list of steps in 24 minutes.
If you’re in need of a new way of doing things in the gym or an activity that is both fast and furious, Tabata training is your go-to exercise program. It never gets more comfortable, but you get better at it with every workout set. Each round of 20 seconds can feel like a lifetime and your resting seconds will fleet away in a flash, but the form of training will engage your entire body and challenge your system with an increased level of intensity. The trick to challenging yourself with Tabata training is to get a lot of moves done within the 20-second hardcore interval.