You now know what Tabata is and why it is so effective. But, what, exactly, are the benefits of Tabata interval training? Here we’ll look at some of the main ones.
Four minutes of cardio-focused Tabata training gives your cardiovascular system a better workout than a whole hour of similar steady-state exercise. It’s ramping up what is required from the heart and the entire circulatory system—and when your body sees that something is required of it, it delivers.
What Is Anaerobic Conditioning
Because of the strain you put on your muscles doing those high-intensity bursts of activity, Tabata workouts are ideal for anaerobic conditioning.
Anaerobic exercise is defined as being short in duration, high in intensity that lasts anywhere from seconds to two minutes. Anaerobic literally means without oxygen where one is gasping for air during exercise.
Examples of anaerobic exercise are those that use fast twitch muscle fibers, and multiple muscle groups, like jumps, sprints, lunge jumps and mountain climbers.
During anaerobic activity the body is triggered to form lactic acid and this type of training is typically used to build strength, speed and muscle.
When you push your muscles to the limit, your body decides to build more to make the next time easier. Because of this, Tabata training is a good choice if you want to exchange a little extra fat for some lean muscle.
What About Fat Burning With Tabata
A high intensity Tabata workout can really burn a large amount of calories in a very short time, and, what’s more, it will put your metabolism in high gear for 12+ hours afterwards.
A recent study presented at the 2013 World Conference on Exercise showed that 4 minutes of basic squat jumps done according to the Tabata method burnt the same number of calories as 30 minutes of regular cardio exercise.
Increasing Stamina and Endurance In No Time
We’ve all heard the basic game plan for increasing stamina —do an activity, such as running, for as long as you feel you can do it, and then do it a little more. While this works, it’s long and tedious.
Tabata gives you the same results in almost no time, because pushing the limits doesn’t come half an hour or an hour after your workout begins, but approximately fifteen or eighteen seconds in.
Tabata Boosts Self-Confidence
Letting yourself be all you can be, even for only 20 seconds, can drastically improve your mood and boost your self-confidence.
There is nothing better than the feeling of accomplishment and pride in working through obstacles and unless you are an Olympic athlete, with Tabata there will be obstacles.
But, once you actually complete an entire 4 minute workout, begin to see changes in your body and fitness, you will feel extraordinary.
Tabata Requires Minimal Time
One of the greatest benefits of Tabata is that you can fit a 4 minute workout into your day no matter how busy you are. And, for those that do not particularly enjoy exercise and don’t want to spend an hour on a treadmill or elliptical machine this can be a good option.
But, keep in mind that that 4 minutes is in no way easy, it is brutal, it is very intense, but it is also highly effective.
Another benefit of the Tabata workout is the regularity with which you can schedule it. A trip to the gym or a regular workout using one of your favorite 40-minute exercise DVDs is good for you when you can do it, but, there are plenty of days you can’t schedule it in.
Think about it. Is there any other way you can spend that 4 minutes that offers anywhere near the same benefits to your personal health and well-being?
- No fancy equipment required…
- No fancy training required…
- No time required…
Is Tabata For You?
The idea of doing a routine that only takes 4 minutes is very tempting. But, is it for everyone? Is it for you?
The truth of the matter is that the 20 second intense intervals are brutal and that will put a lot of strain on the body. Some may not even be able to perform the specific Tabata moves for all the 160 seconds of the intensity portion, at least not without practice and building up to it.
For normal healthy people, it is not a bad amount of strain. In fact, it is just the right amount of strain to help stimulate your body into becoming better, stronger, more fit. But, if you have a physical condition that makes high-intensity exercise a no-go for you, you’re going to have to forego Tabata.
In general, to do Tabata successfully you need to be in good physical shape as this is considered an advanced level of training because of the extreme level of intensity.
If you have a condition that makes you worry about pushing yourself, talk with your doctor first. Explain the Tabata exercise you’d like to undertake, and get his go-ahead first. You need to be able to make yourself really go all out, and if you’re worried about something breaking or popping or going wrong, you’re not going to be able to do it.
What About If You Are Pregnant?
It might not be suitable, but, if you’re already active, you don’t need to skip Tabata entirely. Look for Tabata workouts that have been crafted especially for expectant moms. There are programs that have been customized for each trimester.
Check with your doctor regarding your own situation before you start any exercise regime. When pregnant, you do have to avoid doing so much exercise as to become utterly exhausted, and you have to make sure your body temperature doesn’t rise too much. Another important thing is to stay hydrated; drink before or after any kind of workout.
Can You Do Tabata If You Have Knee Problems?
If you’d like to do Tabata, but, are concerned because you have knee problems or can’t do high-impact sports, don’t worry; there are Tabata workout programs for you too.
You can have high intensity without having high impact —in fact, without having any impact at all. Cycling Tabata regimens (like the original), using a stationary exercise bikes, are one minimum-impact way of having a full-scale Tabata workout.
Finding the Motivation for Tabata Training
If you are just an average Jack the main difficulty you may have is really motivating yourself to high intensity during those 20 second interval periods of Tabata. The truth is that many people will not have the motivation it takes to get brutal and do intense moves. It may help if you find an exercise partner, someone who can encourage you to do your best.
Tabata Workout Routine DVD
Some people find it helpful to follow along with a Tabata workout exercise DVD; that way, you have some sort of meter stick, a beat you can follow along with, and an idea of how fast you want to be working so you can push yourself a little harder.
Working Up To It
The best way to get to Tabata is by working up to it, starting with less time, or doing the particular moves slower until you can actually do the whole routine all at once.
Give yourself the crutches you need. A Tabata workout is within your reach; there’s nothing here that healthy people can’t do.
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)