24 Apr 2018

What Is Tabata?

Fitness and workout advice

Looking to add a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) program to your usual routine? Your search ends here with Tabata!

If you’re hoping Tabata is an exotic new cake out of Italy or Japan, you’ll be rather disappointed. However, Tabata will burn the aforementioned cake off very quickly if such a cake actually existed.

What is Tabata?

While Tabata isn’t a delectable new sweet, it’s still short and sweet; frantically short and sweet high energy interval training of great intensity and definitely not for the faint-hearted. It’s about as intense as a workout can get, consisting of eight rounds of ultra-high-intensity exercises in specific 20-seconds on, 10-seconds-off interval. Each exercise lasts only four minutes. But be assured that these would be the longest four minutes you have ever endured!

How does Tabata actually work? Let’s delve a little deeper and see if this hyperactive new craze is worth adding to your fitness repertoire.

The History of Tabata

Tabata Training was a result of research conducted by Japanese scientist Izumi Tabata and his research team from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo.

Tabata and his team conducted research on two groups of athletes. One group trained at a normal, moderate intensity for an hour five times a week. The other group went through rigorous training for exactly four-minutes-and-twenty seconds (with ten seconds of rest between each set) in four blocks four times a week.

Conclusion: Does Tabata work?

According to Dr. Tabata’s research conclusions, Tabata training certainly works. Over the six weeks, the first group, with their moderate intensity workout routine had increased their aerobic (cardiovascular) fitness but the second group showed far better results. In addition to an increased aerobic system, their anaerobic system was increased by 28 percent.

In fitness terms, that’s a big figure! In your terms, that’s a big figure reduced in ridiculously fast time or a smaller figure toned equally fast.

In conclusion, this high-intensity interval training is highly impactful on both the aerobic and anaerobic systems.

How to do Tabata training? 

The key to Tabata training is to complete each set of 8 as one block with 10 second rests and then rest for one full minute before embarking on your next set of 8. Find out how you can perfect your gym routine with our five tips!

Want to try out Tabata training for yourself? Here’s the 20-minute workout protocol from the ACE Tabata study -

Round 1
High knees
Plank punches
Jumping jacks
Side skaters

Round 2
Jump rope
High/low boat
Line jumps
Push-ups

Round 3
Burpees
Russian twists
Squats
Lunges

Round 4
Mountain climbers
Push-ups
Split squats
Box jumps

How many calories does Tabata burn?

According to research from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), Tabata can burn up to 15 calories per minute. The 16 subjects who were part of their study burned between 240 and 360 kcals during the workout.

Make sure you’re fit

Or at least fairly fit. Tabata isn’t for someone dabbling in fitness for the first time. To be safe, check with your doctor first and ask your personal trainer if Tabata is for you.

Interested in teaching Tabata as a qualified Personal Trainer? Our Complete Personal Trainer^ Program or the SIS30315 Certificate III in Fitness – Group Exercise Instructor course would be perfect for you! Enquire now to speak to one of our Careers Advisors for more information!

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