Tabata (And Why I Love It So…)

Posted: November 2, 2011 in Bootcamp, General Stuff
Tags: ,

Oh how I LOVE Tabata training! I love it in it’s simplicity. I love it for it’s predictability. Mostly, though, I love it for it’s results!

Tabata is a form of interval training. It is arranged in timed intervals of 20 seconds of hard work, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This is repeated eight times, for a total of 4 minutes of work. Confused? It plays out something like this…

– Do Basic Bicep Curls (20 seconds)
– Rest (10 seconds)

– Do Basic Squat (20 seconds)
– Rest (10 seconds)

Repeat this combination 4x. Total time will equal four minutes of work.

Another way to picture it is like this…

So that is what Tabata is, now why do I love it so?

Tabata forces the body to adapt to a stressful situation. You are putting your body through high-intensity movements for 20 seconds at a time. Twenty seconds does not seem like a long time, but I assure you, by that fourth interval, you will pushing yourself, both mentally and physically, through the rest of the set.

Between each set, you get ten whole seconds of rest. Yay to rest time!!!! As you progress on, that ten seconds will seem shorter and shorter. That twenty seconds of work will seem longer and longer. Your body is going to want to stop, but you will force it to press on, which initiates a change. By moving on and finishing that 4 minute interval, you are forcing your body to adapt. In turn you will be able to do more next time. At your next workout you will find that your muscles will be stronger and your endurance will have improved dramatically.

Tabata was discovered by Dr Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo.

Dr. Tabata discovered that this kind of interval training produces much better results than traditional aerobic training, ie treadmill running. This change included building as much muscular endurance as twice the amount of time of normal cardio training.

Picture your body as pot of water on the stove. You start your workout and you turn on the heat (per say). Tabata gets you to the “boiling point” quicker, and more efficiently than other methods of cardio work. Then you stay at that “boiling point” longer than you would as well. It will take you body a longer amount of time to get back to it’s resting temperature after a well-executed Tabata session. This means more calories are being burned long after the dumbbells are stacked and the workout mats have been rolled up.

As a group fitness instructor, I love using the Tabata Method in my class. I find that is effective in keeping a large class on track and focused on a common goal. It leaves no questions as to what is coming next. It also allows students to work at his or he own level, and progress at his or her own rate. In that 20 seconds, a seasoned exerciser may do 30 reps with weights, while someone who is new to exercising may do 15 reps without weights. A group fitness class almost always has the complete spectrum of capabilities to accommodate for. Tabata is a solid, predictable, and fun outline that will allow each participant to work at his or her own level.

After all, when the going gets tough and you feel like you can’t do one more squat, just think… It’s only 20 seconds! Anyone can do anything for 20 seconds!!!!

Happy training all!

  1. […] the 20 seconds on/10 seconds off format of Tabata! Read about that HERE. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  2. Tammy Barone says:

    I didn’t know what Tabata was at the beginning. Even though it kicks my butt, I love it!!

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