Tabata Workout Example:

  1. Push Ups
  2. Squats
  3. Medicine Ball Slams
  4. Jumping Rope

How to do it: Do 20 seconds of push ups, then rest 10 seconds. Do 20 seconds of squats, then rest 10 seconds. 20 seconds of ball slams, and rest. 20 seconds of skipping rope, and rest. And then do that whole cycle again – eight more times.

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This would bring you to a total of approximately 16 minutes. Once you get the hang of things, you could create two or three different Tabata routines with up to twelve different exercises and run through two different routines a session. With a five to eight minute warm up and cool down, you’ve got an effective workout. Those 20 second intervals may not seem very difficult but at your maximum capacity, those 20 seconds will seem like the longest 20 seconds of your life.

Warm up properly with dynamic exercises as opposed to static stretches. Be prepared to sweat! It’s effective, as Dr. Tabata’s study showed, and ultimately improves endurance. It teaches your body to tolerate lactic acid. When you train in a high-intensity zone, your threshold becomes higher. It also keeps your metabolism running on high gear. One of the greatest benefits of anaerobic training is that your body keeps burning fat for 24 hours after your workout. So the amount of fat that can be burned using Tabata training is what draws many people to using it. As a weight loss tactic, Tabata is a great tool.

Cautions About Tabata Training:

  • Tabata training is not for beginners. Tabata training is best for advanced exercisers who are comfortable with high-intensity exercise. The intensity accumulates, peaking near the end. It’s easy for the intensity to become too challenging if you’re not used to this type of training.
  • If you go all out during the high intensity intervals, the 4-minute cycle will feel like the longest, most uncomfortable 4 minutes of your life. It may be too intense for some people.
  • There is always a greater risk of injury when you’re doing high-impact, high-intensity exercise. Minimize that risk by ensuring you’re fit enough for this type of training. This would include working your way up to the intensity and duration. Also make sure you completely warm up before you start into your Tabata routine.
  • Four minutes of the same exercise, even with rests in between, can get monotonous and quickly fatigue your muscles. This can cause your form (and motivation) to suffer if you aren’t mentally prepared!

Here is a list of exercises to try:

  • Mountain climber
  • Burpees
  • Sit ups
  • Pull ups
  • Squats
  • Crunches
  • Bicep curls
  • Triceps dips
  • Sprints
  • Stairs
  • Shoulder Press
  • Flys
  • Leg raises
  • Calf raises
  • Bench press
  • Deadlifts

Whichever exercise you choose, your choices should use a large number of muscles to get maximum benefit. It is normal to feel some soreness during the first week of Tabata training. However, your body will adjust and you will only feel slight to moderate soreness after the beginning.

Make sure to add a sound nutritional program into your Tabata routine for the best and fastest results possible if losing weight is your goal. Nutrition is an important component of stay fit and being active. If you have poor nutrition, then your fitness goals will not be achieved. You will also not have the energy needed to workout at this level and intensity.