Tabata to Body repost 2011

What’s Tabata you ask???? Sounds like a crazy torture device or some greek dish right????  WRONG. Well, actually, it is kind of akin to a torture device (those of us who have experienced it can attest!). Tabata is named after Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan. Their groundbreaking 1996 study, published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, provided documented evidence concerning the dramatic physiological benefits of high-intensity intermittent training. After just 6 weeks of testing, Dr. Tabata noted a 28% increase in anaerobic capacity in his subjects, along with a 14% increase in their ability to consume oxygen (V02Max). These results were witnessed in already physically fit athletes. The conclusion was that just four minutes of Tabata interval training could do more to boost aerobic and anaerobic capacity than an hour of endurance exercise.


A Tabata workout can be performed with just about any exercise: sit-ups, pull ups, jump rope, thrusters (not the hip pumping gyro action you’re thinking of), squats (yeah especially when you rest at the bottom position), sprints, cycling, YOU NAME IT.  Work non-stop, full on for 20-second intervals, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat for a total of 8 cycles. You should be well into your target heart rate here- so don’t pace yourself. This whole workout lasts a total of 4 minutes… yep FOUR. Don’t let it fool you though, it’s four minutes of hell- especially when your doing tabata through a four exercise circuit (16 minutes), like we did today, as many reps as possible in each interval- 8 intervals of 20 seconds on 10 seconds rest for pull ups (count your reps-or count the lowest rep in the bunch of 8, I didn’t realize I was supposed to do that today, so we estimated based on my total), rest 1 minute- then on to push ups, rest one minute-sit ups, rest one minute-then squats. I don’t really understand the concept of counting the lowest number and then adding them up- seems to me like people would then pace themselves???? Anyone have an answer to that. I AM the google queen, so I could probably look it up, but I’m feelin’ SUPER lazy today.

Back to the FOUR minutes- You’ll be amazed at how intense just four minutes will feel. Still a skeptic??? (I took this straight from, they did such a good job of explaining) You may think you’re burning more calories doing “Cardio” type work outs (running, rowing, eliptical, cycling), but it’s what’s happening after the exercise period that’s most important (check post WOD recovery for more on this). The intense intervals in tabata training are so taxing to your body; that it can take up to 2 days to recover; meanwhile the typical “Fat-loss” calorie burning incurred by “Cardio workouts” ends when you stop moving. That equates to about an extra 48 hours of fat burning when doing high intensity interval training (HIIT)!!! Scientifically, these intervals lead to a huge EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) causing your body to burn calories to get back to normal.
Some of your goals are different (better power, long distance running with a faster pace, and/ or better work out times), but the studies found that this type of training not only builds your Aerobic capacity (Up to an increase in VO2max (maximum oxygen volume) of 14% in only 6 weeks) but your Anaerobic capacity as well (up 28%). What does this mean? More power, better endurance and better times!!! For you Long Distance Addicts, studies have also shown that excessive aerobic exercise can lead to muscle loss, testosterone degradation, and does not increase anaerobic capacity.

How much HiiT should you be doing? Kyle Glickman, Strength and Conditioning Coach and Nutritionist, says, “no more than 10 minutes of HIIT for the beginner athlete.” This means high interval for 20 seconds and rest for 40 seconds.
Want to learn more about Tabata and some tips on how to incorporate this type of training into your fitness routine? Click These links:

Interesting interval tabata workouts for the advanced athlete: