What Is The Tabata Workout
Tabata is similar to high intensity interval training, HIIT, a type of physical training in which you put yourself through short bursts of extremely high intensity exercise followed by periods of rest.
The Tabata workout is actually much more intense than a session of HIIT and is very specific in the timing of intervals which yield a 4 minute total workout time.
Your body can only perform at its absolute best for a short time, and Tabata training takes this into account.
The 4 minutes are divided into 8 rounds, wherein you workout extremely hard for 20 seconds, take a 10 second rest, and do it 8 times over.
Does it sound easy? Unfortunately, it isn’t.
Tabata training is one of the most demanding exercise programs in existence, and while experts do not recommend it for beginners or those who are out of shape, it is definitely something to work towards. (Please see our disclaimer)
Discover The Interesting History Of Tabata>/h2>
The Tabata workout was developed by a man named Dr. Izumi Tabata, a Japanese scientist who was in charge of Japanese Olympic athlete training.
With a team of researchers, he looked at two different groups of athletes. Both groups used the same form of exercise —biking on a stationary exercise bike.
One group followed a traditional steady-state exercise program; they trained for five days a week, an hour each time. The other group followed a very intense interval training program. They worked out only four days a week, and each workout lasted only 4 minutes with highly intense 20 second intervals followed by 10 seconds of rest.
After six weeks the two groups were compared.
The group which had taken the traditional route had reasonable results for cardiovascular conditioning, but, the exercise had done nothing for their anaerobic system.
The second group, which had exercised less than five minute a day, had achieved much more cardiovascular conditioning (aerobic system) and their anaerobic capacity had increased by 28% percent.
What Does This Mean In Real Life?
It means that the ever so popular: “I don’t have the time to exercise regularly” is no longer an excuse for not being as fit as you should be. All you need is 4 minutes a day —4 minutes, and a little gumption. Tabata training can improve both your aerobic and anaerobic conditioning far more than hours of regular cardio or mid-intensity exercise.
Tabata training is not limited to a particular kind of exercise. The key is the way the exercise is organized: 20 seconds of maximum exertion followed by ten seconds of rest, just enough time to give your body what it needs to go to maximum again and do it eight times over.
During those 20 seconds of intense exercise you absolutely must push yourself to the limit —a mediocre effort, such as you are used to giving to your regular exercise routine won’t do it.
If you are disciplined, though, and can make yourself go extreme, Tabata training can give you a healthy, lean, well-conditioned body with hardly any daily time expenditure.
The Science Behind Tabata
Tabata workouts are a way to condense a full hour workout into 4 minutes and get more benefit than if you’d done the hour version.
Since Dr. Tabata’s study of the Olympic athletes many other studies have been done on the efficiency of Tabata training, and the bottom line is the same:
High intensity interval training using the Tabata method is an extremely efficient method of increasing fitness levels, improving athletic performance, increasing metabolism and burning fat.
What Is The Science Behind This Magical Tabata Protocol?
The science behind Tabata has to do with the way your body responds to stress. In laymen’s terms, your body will become fit in response to stresses that require more of it than it is comfortably able to give.
In a one hour moderate-intensity level exercise session, your cardiovascular system may be slightly stressed while your muscles are not at all.
This leads to a slight improvement in the fitness of the cardiovascular system over time and no change in the muscular system.
High intensity interval training, such as that recommended by the Tabata protocol, however, stresses both the aerobic and anaerobic systems intensely and that’s why both systems are stimulated to improve.
Since physical activity is generally limited by the ability of both aerobic and anaerobic systems to resynthesize ATP (Adenosine triphosphate is the usable form of chemical energy for muscular activity), what we are essentially talking about here as fitness levels is the ability of a system to resynthesize ATP.
During moderate intensity activity there isn’t much problem resynthesizing the ATP to meet the need. During 20 second Tabata high-intensity sessions, however, both aerobic and anaerobic systems are pushed to the limit, and they are both driven to become more fit, more able to release the energy required for extreme exertion.
That’s the science behind high intensity interval training and Tabata training in particular.
Do your own mini-experiment, try Tabata exercises for six weeks, and see what changes you observe in your own physique and physical ability. If you are consistent and do the Tabata regimen correctly, the results will be amazing and very significant.
The Tabata Training Guide Series
- Tabata Training Guide, 4 Minutes Is All It Takes Part 1
- Tabata Training Guide, Health And Other Benefits Of Tabata Workouts, Part 2
- (To be continued)