Tabata training is an intense HIIT workout consisting of 20 seconds sprint and 10 second rests, repeated 8 times. Tabata was created in the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo where fit speed skaters improved there aerobic(14.5%) and anaerobic fitness (28%) in 6 weeks.
Lets get to the Tabata workout and the Tabata MP3
Tabata Workout (4 Minutes)
|8 sets||20 secs||10 secs|
Tabata workouts are the single most effective type of HIIT…it’s also the *most intense exercise* by far…….I’m talking nausea, giddiness, sucking air like you might pass out and having to hold yourself up intense….
If you are going to try it I would recommend going light with the weights until you find your range, there’s a good chance you will underestimate this workout and be begging people around you to help you off the floor.
Tabata Workout Intervals follow this structure:
Rest for 10 seconds.
Repeat this eight times.
The secret to making this effective is in your sprint interval. You have to go all out, so do as many reps as you can in the 20 seconds, put it down for 10, then pick it up again and go hell for leather for another 20 seconds.
I would suggest getting some sort of Tabata timer like a watch where you can see exactly where you are in the workout, you don’t want to have to think too much, all of your concentration will be on the exercise.
Listen…This is not for everybody. Some people just love spending hours in the gym. If you are up for the challenge though, you will have finished your full workout before the other guys in the gym get half way through their warm up.
Let me ask a question though…
If you are committed to changing your body, would you not at least try something with proven great results?
Of course you would!
The biggest mistake that most people make when starting Tabata training is that they choose the wrong exercise.
That is why I want you to use the same Tabata exercise that the original Tabata training experiment used…a spin bike, or even a stationary bike.
Why a spin bike?
– Its a simple movement (less chance of injury)
– You can engage large amounts of muscle (your thighs) in high effort exercise (you can turn the resistance right up)
Unsurprisingly, this will give you the best results.
If you are interested in replicating what the researchers did in the Tabata workout study, the details are below.
Here is how the workout was done in the research
This study consists of training experiments using a mechanically braked cycle ergometer.
If you’re looking to replicate this you would need a watt bike or spin bike.
The participants exercised four days a week.
Three of these days was that the Tabata workout, they were encouraged to to complete 7 to 8 sets.
When their cycling revolutions per minute dropped below 85 the exercise was stopped, they were done.
If they managed to do more than nine sets the resistance was increased by 11 Watts.
The Tabata interval sets were done at the VO2 max of 170%.
On the fourth day they cycle for 30 minutes at 70% of VO2 max, then completed four sets of the high intensity interval training workout.
The participants did this for a period of six weeks, they then compared this with results of athletes who exercised at 70% of their VO2 max for 60 minutes a day (moderate intensity), five days a week.
We’ll look at some of the results below.
Here Are The Results From The Tabata Workouts Research
The Tabata protocol 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 aerobic training.
This included building more muscular endurance than you would doing sixty minutes of normal cardio training.
In fact in the study the subjects increased their anaerobic capacity by over a quarter as well a substantial increase in their aerobic fitness.
Summary of research
- Tabata training improves aerobic training.
- Aerobic training does not change anaerobic capacity
- Intensity determines the improvement in your anaerobic capacity
Improvements in aerobic fitness
So both groups improve their aerobic fitness during this training. The steady-state group improve their VO2 max by five, while the HIIT group improved this by seven.
9.62% increase in aerobic fitness for the steady state cardio group
To put this into context, what this experiment showed is that four minutes of interval training was 40% more effective at improving fitness and 60 minutes of steady-state cardio.
Aerobic training does not change anaerobic capacity
The athletes in the interval training group improved the anaerobic capacity by 28%. The athletes who did the moderate intensity cardio had no improvement whatsoever the anaerobic capacity. This showed that the anaerobic system was not taxed at all during steady-state cardio.
Intensity Determines Improvement
In another experiment (Medbo and Burgers) respondents only got a 16% increase in anaerobic improvements. There were two distinct differences in this experiment
The high intensity intervals were 2 min long, in the Tabata workout they were 20 seconds.
The athletes needed to run at a level which they considered ‘hard’, the Tabata athletes ran until at a rate that exhausted them.
In the Medbo and Burgers research, the athletes didn’t tax the anaerobic system nearly as hard as they did in the Tabata workouts. It seems that all the benefits you get from Tabata are in pushing it over the lip of comfortable and into the pain.
The researches on the Tabata indicated that at the end of most of the workouts the athletes oxygen consumption was at their maximal aerobic capacity. Think about that! They were at 100% of their fitness level.