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Tabata Training - The fastest way to fitness and fat loss

TabataTabata interval training is the single most effective type of high intensity interval training, its also the most intense by far, and surprisingly its the shortest in duration, it only last for four minutes... but those four minutes produce remarkable effects.

Lose Fat, Get Fit in four minutes

Tabata training 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 the subjects were as fit as race horses before they started the trial, so the improvements were remarkable.

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

The Tabata Workout

tabata training graph

The full Tabata 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 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.

This workout music is built in the form of tabatas, so you don't need a watch or anything to keep time. Just listen to the prompts and your workout will follow automatically.

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.

 

Other Discussions

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

tabata = muscle gains, fat loss, and explosiveness? 
If I train like this will i gain muscle, lose fat, and become more explosive? I am training to become a better boxer.

Tabata Interval Question 
When doing Tabata intervals is it important to maintain the same weight throughout the entire exercise or is decreasing the weight okay to maintain speed? …

Ms Péta K.. 
I have Resistance bands, and have seen videos using Tabata, but nothing is mention regarding frequency. Fit 77 year old, paddle kayaks for miles, still …

Spin instructor 
What would be an effective way to incorporate this into my cycling class.

Session time 
Hi i want to lose about a stone and have just started Tabbata training, I work out at home and am doing fast running on the spot then fast jumping jacks …

How long will it take? 
I'm a 33 year old female, 5'1 and 130 pounds. I have an apple shaped body which means i carry most of my weight in my midsection. I want to lose 30 pounds …

Tabata Training on a stationary bike 
When looking into Tabata training. I found an article and You Tube video that says you can use a stationary bike for the training which is to be for 4 …

Non-equipment method? 
Hello,I just want to know if there is a method to accomplish all the things the tabata does(including the afterburn)without using any weights or equipment. …

I Love this form of training!!! 
I try to do this 3 times a week but usually end up doing it 2 times. I try to do 6-8 "sets" of the 4 minutes. I do other forms of exercise cardio & weights …

A list of exercises? 
Where can I get a list or demonstration of different exercises to do... similar to the clip you did on the marylin dennis show?

60 days to 25lb weight loss 
Im 35 and i weight 143, my height is 5'1. My goal is to lose 25lbs as soon as possible. I workout alot but i never see the results i'm looking for. Id …

Any clues on how many calories are burnt 
Anybody got a rough guide of calories burnt? Want to put it in my exercise tracker and can't find an answer- know it depends on my weight (235lb) and what …

Tabata w/ jumping rope?  
This maybe a dumb question, but I'm starting out w/ this workout thing & don't know if I want to invest in home equipment or join a gym yet, so I bought …

Limited Time 
I have limited time due to a young family and work so having come across an article on Tabata it sounds just what I need. I am 48 about 12.5 stone in weight …

Very confused... 
I realize that everyone and their goals are different. For me, I am trying to lose about 50 lbs. That being said, I have a LOT of questions about Tabata, …

20 minutes or 4? 
i've read some of these, and i'm confused.. people are saying 5 min warmup, then 20 mins of tabata.. but others are saying it's only 4 minutes, so what's …

Burpees and Tabata 
Would burpees be a good choice to use for Tabata? I've tried doing them for a minute straight and it was HELL! I did it but was dead tired and they are …

Is this good for toning? 
I'm currently on a weight loss program, and have lost 57 lbs, but need to find a program that will help tone certain areas. Will Tabata training help with …

30 Days to lose 15lbs 
I am on a plan for 30 days, to lose approximately 15 lbs, and to tremendously tone my muscles while losing the weight. I am 47 and thinner than most (150), …

Question on HIIT 
Can I just do the sprinting once or twice a week with no workout on those days? Also I have no idea what to eat. I have done the hiit cardio for a week …

Cross trainer and Tabata 
Hi, is it possible to do Tabata on the cross trainer? Just follow the same method? Does it make it any less effective? How does this work with …

Ignorant gym instructor... 
I utilise the Tabata principle on either the stationery reclined bike - or sometimes the eliptical x-trainer - but usually the bike. I have been doing …

WOW 
I could NOT do 4 straight minutes of this insanity. I did 1 minute sessions, 4 times. Then I rinsed and repeated 3 times. The first time I did 1 minute, …

Tabata... 
Your article mentions that Tabata training shouldn't be done everyday, or else we're doing it wrong. But I thought Dr. Izumi made his subjects perform …

HIIT and Tabata 
i am very interested in this method of training. I have been observing the twenty minute workout, 30 seconds full effort followed by 90 seconds of recovery, …

Further info if possible 
I am very intrigued at this type of training, it sounds amazing. I am training in MMA and trying to get my fitness up. I have just started running but …

Once a week? 
Tabata once a week is good enough for a cardio workout? Or would you recommend tabata once a week with other forms of cardio as well?

is it possible to use this method if I have Herniated disk.... 
Hi I would like to know what kind of exercise I can use in this form of training since i suffer from L4L5 herniated disk and plantat fiscitis.

Tabata Training on the row machine.  
I was advised that a great method of Tabata training is on the rowing machine. Will this still work as well? Also I do this about 2-3 times a week …

RS 
I have a recumbent bike that I'd like to use for interval training. What do you recommend? I started at 20 min. and have worked up to 45 min., in 6 weeks. …

Am I doing 'too much'? 
I’ve been into fitness for a very long time, since my wrestling days in high school and college (when Nixon, Ford & Carter were in office…). My current …

Tennis stamina 
Hey i'm 15 years old and i just started playing tennis. My stamina really sucks i get winded just playing a few minutes. I'm not fat i'm actually quite …

Hi I am a Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer.  
I am getting ready to make some changes in my classes, Tabata Training looks like it would be a great way to take it up to another level. What are your …

I Need Some Help? 
Okay, so I am a 14 year old girl who would maybe kinda like to be a lot thinner. And fitter. Anyway, I got kinda confused reading this...do you …

Push ups? 
As a beginner, I'm wondering if doing push ups with Tabata is good starting point.

Muscle soreness what is normal 
I'm a 33 year old male and have been running for 15 years. Usually 5 miles 2 - 3 times per week. I'm lean everywhere, 80kgs and 5ft 9 ", apart from a …

How much weight could you lose with tabata in 3 weeks? 
How much weight do you think you could lose if you weigh 215, do Tabata 5 times a week with Mountain Climbers? thanks

Does a Bench Press use a large muscle group? 
I'm looking to start HIIT, and I have a free weight bench press, and I was just wondering if that would utilize a large muscle group.

Recovery drink suggestions 
If only doing a Tabata session, what would be a good post workout drink?

What do you need ? 
I have weights at home but what exactly do i need and also what do i have to do i am trying to get fit for rugby in September and need as much fitness …

Tabata without weights 
I've only just come across Tabata and all the articles I've just read mention using weights for Tabata training. I'm recovering from a broken elbow at …

Tabata and Crossfit 
Interesting. I've started hearing more of this and CrossFit lately. I'm curious why you wouldn't want to try and do something like 3 on, 1 off, combo when …

Tabata for one muscle group over the four minutes? 
In your discussion of Tabata you suggest using large muscle groups like chest or legs. Are you suggesting you only use chest (as an example) over the …

Help with workout 
At the moment, I am a 19 year old male weighing about 195 pounds with about 25 % body fat. I am looking to remain around the same weight or a bit less …

Fat loss? Not exactly... 
The ONLY thing Tabata method was proven to do is increase your anaerobic and aerobic capacity better than standard cardio for one hour. Also, the test …

Changing sprinting to cycling fast? 
Can we change sprint to cycling fast? This is due my problem at my knee. My knee is still under rehabilitation and I am advised not to put much pressure …

Weight training 
Would I be able to incorporate the principals of tabata training into my strength training program? I would assume tabata training is primarily used for …

4 mins? 
How does 4 min constitute a complete workout? I can see adding more weight training after you do this, or even before. Ending a weight training workout …

Using Larger Muscle Groups 
Ok, i am set to start doing Tabata but i was just wondering what you mean by using large muscle groups. Why does tabata training have little effect when …

How many Calories does Tabata burn 
This Tabata training looks hectic but i am keen, I am probably going to start and use this mainly for fat loss. The one thing i wanted to try and workout …

Tabata As Part of Marathon Training?  
As a distance runner preparing to do 26.2 #2, I wonder whether Tabata would really be beneficial? Yes, I am looking to increase my speed overall to qualify …

HIIT and Kettle Bells 
What's the best way to add Kettle Bells to the workout? I'd like to do a sprinting HIIT workout, but I need other exercises to balance things out. I …

Tabata Deadlift 
First pick a weight, 165lbs, 225lbs & 315lbs. The idea is to do as many reps of your chosen weight within the eight sets. Trust me this is way harder than …

burning fat in only 4 min? 
I've been taught that only after 30 min (at least) of aerobic excercise my methabolism starts burning fat. How does the tabata training respond to that? …

Tabata 
When you say "do as many reps as you can in the 20 seconds"does it also mean as fast as possible? I'm asking that because i was taught to do my reps slow …

Tabata is Addictive 
I started Tabata 2 weeks ago (I go to a class in the local gym) I really love the class I go twice a week, after my first class I couldn't walk for days …

Not sure this is for me. Not rated yet
I am 65, out of shape, obese, have problems with really sore feet, knees and balance ( can't stand without a cane ) is this for me? Also have fibromyalgia. …

How many Tabata sets should be done Not rated yet
When doing Tabata how many 8 min sets should be done in one setting?

8 sets or high intensity? Not rated yet
I used to intervals with sprinting, but now I can't keep up at all. So I was just wondering what would be better - going all out sprint for x number of …

77 year old female 6 months out of back surgery Not rated yet
My doc said I could resume exercise. I need to BURN FAT and BUILD MUSCLE! I am flexible and able to bend, touch toes (properly),and walk on treadmill, …

Tabata Not rated yet
No offense to the many readers here but .... If you are not already an elite athlete, there is NO WAY you are doing Tabata Intervals properly and not passing …

how long will it take to lose fat?  Not rated yet
im a 16 year old teen who has a flat stomach and is probably around 15% body fat. Im 6 foot/ 182cm and i weigh 171 pounds/ 78kg . im hoping to reach atleast …

Age and fitness levels Not rated yet
I am a 60 year old who sits on her bottom in front of a computer all day, but has a certain level of physical fitness. Spinning program x 2 a week. weights …

Cardio then a Tabata session? Not rated yet
I have just discovered Tabata training and can see the benefits and the versatility it offers. My question is, I have an hour of physical training at work …

Running benefits Not rated yet
Would this workout drop times on multiple mile runs?

How shall one plan the intensity according to his/her age? Not rated yet
I find tabata very effective , but it should be pointed out that the limitations of intensity is not quite clear for trainers. also the age matters them …

264 cals. burned in 25 mins. by Tabata Newbie Not rated yet
RE: Anybody got a rough guide of calories burnt? I did a 3 min. warmup, 3 Tabata rounds w/ 1 min. rest in between, and a 2 min. cool down for a total …

Tabata is intense and a mental challenge too Not rated yet
I'd like to add my experience with the Tabata seeing that so many people are asking how they should incorporate it. So this is just one person's use of …

BOSS/the most ripped kid n h.s. Not rated yet
Im a junior n highschool n i started tabata as a sophomore. It helps ALOT. Im the top ripped kid n h.s. N people think im on steroids. My only supplement …

Naurice Not rated yet
Im trying to lose weight to be more healthy, someone told me about tabata, and im just intrested to know what peouple do and how they find it?? All advice …

what is tabata? Not rated yet
A friend of mine suggested tabata to me and my husband. I go to the gym four times a week and usually do a high intensity workout. Either an hour of spin …

Tabata or HITT on an indoor cycling machine Not rated yet
Hello, I've been performing HITT and Tabata for along time now and I've seen results, my six pack is almost there, I am 44, my weight is 145 but I am …

Sprinting for tabata? Not rated yet
I want to do tabata as sprinting for 20 seconds and then doing a light jog for 10 seconds. Would this increase my fitness substantially? I need to get …

Marathon Runner Wants To Incorporate Tabata into Workouts... Not rated yet
So I've just completed four marathons over the spring, and my Achilles tendon is definitely saying take a break. I hate the elliptical machine and treadmill. …

LivH Not rated yet
I used to do Tabata intervals with a personal trainer. We did this with weights- lighter than the standard weight workout we were doing. We would do the …

Goddess of circuit training :) Not rated yet
I am a fitness supervisor and studio co ordinator . I teach a variation of classes and would love to incorporate Tabata Training in my time table. Do …

varying cardio. Not rated yet
I thought of mixing different cardio workouts in the week from monday to friday. I just want to know if its a good idea to do the 60 seconds HIIT workout …

Workout help Not rated yet
Hi everyone, I love Tabata training. Started doing it a few months ago after talking to one of the lads who is a pro MMA fighter. Currently I do …

Would this be considered HIIT? Not rated yet
I run stairs a few times a week and lift weights twice. I keep my lifting to compound joint exercises in a circuit fashion starting with moderate weights …

How many times? Not rated yet
I don't know if this has been asked before, but how many times would be a great to do this? I already work out three times a week in strength and powerlifting. …

Can Tabata training be inserted in between my circuit tranings? Not rated yet
I'm in a fat loss program right now called 1000 calorie challenge by Joel Marion and Arnel Ricafranca and am on my 9th week. On the week 6, i have lost …

Tabata felt great. Not rated yet
I am taking a cross fit boot camp workout class, and today we did a Tabata inspired workout. There were five stations: Push ups, burpies, Italian throws …

Too much?? Not rated yet
I do Tabata interval training with jump roping everyday after a 20 minute workout. Is that too much??

Is Tabata good for toning also? Not rated yet
My current exercise routine consists of an hour long workout twice a week (a bootcamp style class I go to). I also walk 4/5 hours a week. I like the sound …

Tabata training for BMX Racing Not rated yet
Can i use this form of training to improve the explosiveness of BMX racing? The race is Very fast and very short. I would like to improve my anaerobic …

First workout kicked my butt Not rated yet
I just did the workout on an elliptical machine on level 8, my lungs are still burning and every muscle is twitching. I cant wait till my next workout

Tabata and EPO Not rated yet
Does tabata increase epo levels?.if it does, then by how much?

Preparing for Tabata Not rated yet
Any advice for beginners who think they can't do Tabata,but want to prepare.

Heart rate during Tabata Not rated yet
Heart rate during Tabata Training - should I be aiming for a particular hear rate?

Doing Tabata Correctly Not rated yet
I just started doing tabata. I do a 5 min warm up of tabata intervals on my balance balls for my abs then I do my 4 min of workout on a mini trampoline …


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