First, let me just say that I LOVE using this style of training for myself and my clients. It’s highly effective and short in duration. The results are really amazing, so you should give it a shot!
Tabata is a type of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), that follows a specific time sequence of 20 seconds of all out effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest, for a total of 4 minutes (8 rounds). It’s a really awesome way to use your time wisely, with your workouts. Not only does it take minimal time (as little as 4 minutes), but it’s a very effective way to boost your metabolism for the rest of the day, build lean muscle, and increase your cardio capacity (by up to 23%!). Here is a more detailed article By JJ Virgin, about the vast benefits from training this way. It’s important to note, that not every workout needs to include Tabata or HIIT style training. A reasonable goal would be to include it 2-3 days per week, at varying amounts per workout.
Tabata works by increasing your heart rate, higher than your usual workouts (like jogging for 30 min or going on the elliptical), for a short burst of time, but then following it with a rest period of 10 seconds. This 10 seconds is just enough time to recover enough to “burst” again at that high level. It might feel like you are dying at the moment, but the whole thing is over in just 4 minutes total. After that, you should rest for a minute or two. You can choose at that point, to do a different set of tabata, or do something else entirely different. It can be thrown into a strength training routine at the beginning, middle and end, or maybe just at the end. Even doing one set for 4 minutes, has highly beneficial effects on your hormone levels, muscle tissues, and heart! If you just don’t have time for a real workout, add some of these sets in throughout the day! You can do them anywhere, and you won’t even get sweaty if it’s just 4 mins at a time!
Below, are some ideas of exercises you can do with the Tabata time sequence. You can either alternate between two similar exercises, or you can stick to one exercise for the 8 sets.
- Alternating sets will focus more on reaching your cardio capacity (your going to be very out of breath)
- Repeating the same exercise will focus more on reaching muscular fatigue (barely able to continue). You may need to modify the exercise along the way, as you fatigue (for example, starting the set with normal pushups but shifting to your knees when you aren’t able to do consecutive reps)
Depending on the exercise you select, you may very well hit both of these focuses!
1. Plank jack
3. Squat press (you can use water bottles or a loaded backpack, if you’re at home)
4. Mountain climbers
5. Jumping jacks
6. High knees
These are just a few examples. You can pick any full body exercise, but you will want to use a lighter weight than you would usually use.
Happy Tabata-ing! Let me know how you do!