The Tabata Workout

Four Minutes long, Eight Sets of Fat Burning Intensity

The Tabata workout is the routine Olympic speed skaters used to ramp up their already phenomenal fitness…..and its only four minutes long.  Its one brutal way to get a dream body by exercising 12 minutes a week.

No……that isn’t a mistype.


Tabata workouts are the single most effective type of hiit…it’s also the most intense by far…….I’m talking nausea, giddiness, sucking air like you might pass out and having to hold yourself up intense….

…Still here?

Ok, lets continue then (Don’t say you weren’t warned…)

Surprisingly its the shortest in duration, it only last for four minutes... but those four minutes produce remarkable effects.

The Tabata workout 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 as much muscular endurance as forty five 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.

Something to keep in mind was that the subjects were as fit as race horses before they started the trial, so the improvements were remarkable.

This makes it a very versatile program, you can use tabata for weight loss as well most improving performance in most aerobic and anaerobic sport.


The full Tabata training program is four minutes long, it will probably feel like the longest four minutes of your life.

If you are going to try it I would recommend going light with the weights until you find your range, theres 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:

  • Push hard for 20 seconds
  • 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.

You can also try using an mp3 interval workout like these to add structure to your workout.

Choosing Exercises

You can do Tabata exercise with sprints, but it is far more adaptable than other forms of interval training. You can use exercises such as the front squat or push press if you are in the gym. Kettle bells work exceptionally well. Basically, anything that you can put a large load on your biggest muscle groups. Be sure to use your large muscle groups otherwise you will get very little of the benefit.

(Note – make sure you are doing a front squat and not a standard squat, you will want to put the bar down!)

This is not a daily workout, if you can do this every day you are doing it wrong. Some people try it once a week but most end up doing Tabata once or twice a month. None the less, it produces remarkable results for those brave enough to use it.


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