Tabata Training

August 31, 2022 3 min read

Tabata Training

Over the years, you have probably come into contact with countless workout styles that have been designed to help you achieve your fitness goals. Whether your aim be to lose weight, build muscle, increase your strength or improve flexibility, as long as you stick to the exercise program designed, they can help you attain your target.

Tabata training is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which includes exercises that are performed for four minutes. You may want to add the workout to your routine if you are looking for a new program.

What is the history of Tabata?

The Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata discovered Tabata training along with a team of National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo researchers.

The team used two groups of athletes to conduct their research; whilst the first group were trained at a moderate level of intensity, working out five days a week for six weeks, the second group trained at high-intensity four days a week for the same duration of six weeks. Each workout lasted for four minutes and 20 seconds and included a 10 second rest interval in between each set.

What were the results?

Whilst group 1 witnessed an increase in their aerobic (cardiovascular) system, they showed either little or no results for their anaerobic (muscle) system. In comparison, group 2 witnessed a much bigger increase in their aerobic system than group 1 as well as a 28% increase in their anaerobic system.

Thus, the results found that high-intensity interval training has a bigger effect on both anaerobic and aerobic systems.

What is the Tabata Program?

During a Tabata workout, each exercise only lasts for four minutes however it is likely to feel much longer. The program is structured as below:

  • 20 seconds of hard work where you push yourself as hard as you can 
  • 10 second rest
  • This is one set 
  • You then complete eight sets of each exercise

Any exercise that works your large muscle groups are recommended such as burpees, push up and squats, but you can include basically any exercise that you wish. Kettlebell exercises are particularly good to include.

A Tabata workout example:

  1. Mountain climbers (4 minutes) – you start with performing these for 20 seconds at a high intensity level, and then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this for the first exercise 8 times. Once you have completed the 8 sets, then rest for 1 minute before moving on to the next exercise.
  2. Burpees (4 minutes) Follow the same structure of 20 seconds work followed by a 10 second rest, 8 times. 
  3. Bodyweight squats (4 minutes)
  4. Push-ups (4 minutes)


Why should I include a Tabata workout into my routine?

If you want to improve your speed and endurance, add something new to your routine or even if you are short on time and just want to get a quick workout completed, Tabata is a great option. By incorporating a Tabata workout into your regular fitness programme, you can easily produce results.

What mistakes do most cyclists make when starting strength training?

  1. Including the wrong exercises – strength training is not about replacing cycling altogether, instead it should be used to fill the gaps and bring balance to the body. Due to this, there will be certain movements which will be more beneficial to cyclists whilst those which focus on the wrong areas would not provide any benefit 
  2. Doing too much too soon – we have all burnt out half way through attacking a climb at some point, the same feeling you experienced doing this occurs often with strength training. Your training can actually be hindered rather than helping you move closer to achieving your goals if you go in too hard, too fast. For example, there is no need to be completing high repetitions of squats with an unsustainable choice. 
  3. Setting unrealistic goals – being realistic about the amount of time you are willing to dedicate to strength training will mean you are more likely to stick to the regime as you incorporate it into your life. It is simply not necessary to be completing 7 sessions a week when starting a strength training program. Furthermore, choosing to do this will only increase the likelihood of burnout or even altogether dropping the program.

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