Want a Good Workout? You Gotta Tabata!

Good Workout

Sometimes there’s just enough time for a workout. What if I told you that, in just eight minutes, you could see similar gains that are comparable to 60 minutes of steady-state exercise? You’d more than likely give it a chance to see what it’s all about!

Alright – here’s the story: Dr. Izumi Tabata, a physician and researcher from Japan, had a group of varsity athletes perform an interval training routine that had been previously used by the Japanese national speed skating team.

Tabata and his team conducted research on two groups of athletes. The first group trained at a moderate intensity level while the second group trained at a high-intensity level. The moderate intensity group worked out five days a week for a total of six weeks; each workout lasted one hour. The high-intensity group worked out four days a week for six weeks; each workout lasted four minutes and 20 seconds (with 10 seconds of rest in between each set).
The results; Group 1 had increased their aerobic system (cardiovascular), but showed little or no results for their anaerobic system (muscle). Group 2 showed much more increase in their aerobic system than Group 1, and increased their anaerobic system by 28 percent.

In conclusion, high-intensity interval training has more impact on both the aerobic and anaerobic systems.

This workout routine consisted of 20 seconds of maximum intensity work, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Those that performed this 20/10 routine (for 8 cycles) just 4 times a week saw gains in exercise capacity and also anaerobic power. In short, they could exercise longer and harder when compared to steady state exercise.

What does this mean for you? Simple – think about your current exercise routine. Let’s say you like to do some circuit training at the gym, but you want to make it harder, more intense, yet last a shorter period of time. This example, courtesy of Breaking Muscle, makes it simple to comprehend:

Tabata Workout Example:

1. Push-ups
2. Squats
3. Medicine Ball Slams
4. Jumping Rope

How to do it: Do 20 seconds of push-ups, then rest 10 seconds. Do 20 seconds of squats, then rest 10 seconds. 20 seconds of ball slams, and rest. 20 seconds of skipping rope, and rest. And then do that whole cycle again – eight more times.

This routine is based on timing, so it can incorporate any and all types of exercises that can be done for speed, safely and controlled. If you just want to run or bike, it’s even easier: sprint for 20, then walk or soft pedal for 10. Repeat 7 more times. That’s it.

Dan Gaz

Dan’s healthy lifestyle passion began as an undergraduate at Indiana University, where he competed on a successful Little 500 cycling team and earned both a BSc and MSc in the School’s Kinesiology program. His concentrations were exercise science and applied sport science. Dan is a Certified Exercise Physiologist through the ACSM, a Level 1 TRX Instructor, a Level 3 USA Cycling coach, and a Mayo Clinic Certified Wellness Coach.

Dan Gaz

About Dan Gaz

Dan’s healthy lifestyle passion began as an undergraduate at Indiana University, where he competed on a successful Little 500 cycling team and earned both a BSc and MSc in the School’s Kinesiology program. His concentrations were exercise science and applied sport science. Dan is a Certified Exercise Physiologist through the ACSM, a Level 1 TRX Instructor, a Level 3 USA Cycling coach, and a Mayo Clinic Certified Wellness Coach.

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