Dr. Izumi Tabata is a Japanese scientist who came up with the method of training called tabata. Tabata is a form of high intensity interval training. This specific style of training consists of choosing four exercises that target large muscle groups or involve the entire body. You begin with one exercise and perform it for 20 seconds at your maximum ability, then rest for 10 seconds. The same exercise and times are repeated for a total of 8 sets. Then, you move on to the next exercise and perform it for 8 rounds of 20 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest in between, and so on for the other exercises you selected.
In total, tabata style workouts take only 4 minutes for each exercise, so you can complete an intense workout in just 16 minutes! Most exercises that are done in tabata target large muscle groups for maximum effect. Some exercises may include burpees, squat jumps, lunge jumps, kettle bell swings, medicine ball slams, mountain climbers, sprints, pushups, tricep dips, and various core exercises.
The benefits of this type of training are that it improves both aerobic and anaerobic capacity. So the cardiovascular system, which requires oxygen to function, improves, AND the anaerobic energy systems are targeted too. Therefore, muscles are trained and strengthened as well. Most types of exercise don’t hit both systems as hard as tabata.
These benefits are what lead to fat burning and muscle building. Additionally, this type of training leads to an increased metabolism, so even after you finish your tabata training, your body continues to burn higher levels of calories for a longer period of time. That’s an added bonus to the improvements and calorie burning you’re already working for!
The only drawbacks to tabata are if you have certain heart issues or very high blood pressure. Because tabata elevates your heart rate, and keeps it elevated for so long with minimal rest between the full body exertions you are performing, your heart cannot recover entirely.
Additionally, if you have problems with your joints this type of workout might not be the best. These high bursts of intense full body exercises might put a little too much stress on your joints and cause irritation if done for so many repetitions.
There is one more important thing to note about tabata. Tabata is HARD. It is not for the weak of heart. It will feel like the longest, most uncomfortable four (up to sixteen if you do the whole workout ;)…) minutes of your life. Your muscles will fatigue. You will be out of breath. But don’t let that deter you from trying this awesome, effective training method because it WILL get you results!
Here is a sample Home Workout Tabata program to try: