It’s Time to Add Tabata Training To Your Workout Routine

January 13, 2021

It’s no secret that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is all the rage. And why not? These short workouts offer the same health benefits as a moderate intensity workout that’s twice as long.

If you’re pressed for time, tabata is a form of HIIT training that’s even quicker and produces the same fat-burning, muscle-strengthening effects. The Tabata protocol is named after Dr. Izumi Tabata, a Japanese sports medicine researcher who conducted a ground-breaking study. Dr. Tabata found that four-minute HIIT workouts done five times a week created dramatic results for elite athletes. 

The beauty of Tabata training, however, is that it’s not just for top-level athletes. It’s for everyone. So are the benefits, such as improved endurance and anaerobic capacity. There’s lots of versatility, so let’s take a look at how to make Tabata work for you.

Minimal time = maximal health benefits

CA personal trainer Elyn Thomas is a huge fan of embracing Tabata intervals. She gave us a run-down on exactly how it works.

Elyn Thomas

CA trainer Elyn Thomas

“These are a super-short version of HIIT workouts that get your heart rate up and blood flowing. You alternate between 20-second intervals of giving it your all, and 10-second intervals of rest for eight total rounds and four minutes total,” says Thomas. “This ratio actually makes them more intense than HIIT workouts, given that exerting 100% effort when you’re ‘on.’”

Put simply, this means eight rounds of 20 seconds of work at maximum effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest.

The maximum effort piece is especially important. Generally, you’ll want to do Tabata at a higher intensity than a traditional HIIT workout. And because Tabata is an intense form of HIIT, it produces a powerful EPOC effect. EPOC stands for excess-post-exercise oxygen consumption. That means you’re boosting your metabolism, increasing your energy levels and strengthening the cardio system,

If weight loss is your goal, you’re also burning fat and calories. Generally, Tabata workouts tend to burn off 15 calories a minute.

The very short rest intervals in HIIT don’t really allow you enough time to completely recover. That’s the secret to building endurance and getting stronger!

Keep it fresh & exciting with Tabata

In a workout rut? Now is your perfect chance to try something new. These workouts go fast, so there’s no time to get bored!

Since you’re only investing four minutes, you can choose almost any exercise to make Tabata work for you. You can do bodyweight moves, strength training, burpees, walk or sprint. There’s plenty of bodyweight exercises that will get your heart rate up when done at high-intensity. 

It’s also worth a mention that you can go for more than just four minutes if your schedule allows, to see even more benefits.

“Tabatas can be composed of anything: squats, jumping jacks, high knees, lunges, pushups. The beauty of it is that you can choose workouts that you actually like, and then tailor your tabata to release some endorphins during that afternoon slump,” says Thomas. “Plus, no matter how busy your workday is, most of us can find four minutes to spare.”

Get your Tabata on

CA’s three state-of-the-art fitness centers provide the perfect space for Tabata training. Members can enjoy a wide range of equipment to choose from, plus plenty of room for socially distanced workouts. Learn more on our website!

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