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Tabata Training: Your Guide

Tabata Training: Short and Sweet

Tabata was developed in Japan and founded by a scientist called Izumi Tabata. Professor Tabata conducted tests on two groups of athletes’ comparing moderate high intensity training with high intensity intermittent training. The results he came across were extremely significant and this type of training has recently become very popular.
Izumi Tabata

A closer look into the study showed how one group of athletes trained at a moderate intensity (~70%) for five days a week for a total of six weeks with each training session lasting an hour and another group of similar ability trained at high intensity for four days a week at the same total of six weeks however with each session lasting only 4 minutes, 20 seconds of intense training (170%) and 10 seconds of rest; repeating this 8 times equalling to a total time of 4 minutes. The results were astonishing and found how group one had only a significant increase in their aerobic system with no difference within their anaerobic system; and how group two not only found a much more significant improvement in their aerobic systems (more than group one’s) but their anaerobic systems also increased by 28% overall.

These results were outstanding and proved that high intensity intermittent training has more of an impact on both the aerobic and anaerobic systems.

Izumi Tabata first started researching such high intense intermittent training whilst working with the Japanese speed skating team and their head coach, Mr Irisawa Koichi. Izumi analyzed the effectiveness of Irisawa training regime that involved a rotation of short burst of maximum effort followed by short periods of rest. The current regime consists of repetitions of 20 seconds of very high intense work, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This means that, excluding warming up and cooling down, the exercise can be completed in only 4 minutes, when repeated 8 times, of which is more than enough to make even the fittest person exhausted.

Generally, before researching, there were two types of exercises, low-intensity exercises for longer periods of time that improved endurance, and exercises such as sprints that improve the ability to sprint, but have no effect on aerobics or endurance. Therefore, in contrast, the Tabata Protocol draws on the advantages of each and is seen to improve the aerobic and anaerobic capacities.

Why improve anaerobic metabolism when I want to build muscle?

Originally I thought this type of training was just for speed skaters or other highly motivated athletes because it is very painful and tiring. However, Izumi Tabata found that there were groups of people interested in building muscle and therefore doing short high-intensity exercises that trained their muscle, but not those exercises that improved their aerobic training. When this regime came along, they began to realize they could train both at the same time. Moreover, this exercise takes just a few minutes.

Make Yourself  Quote - Fitness-Fan.co.uk | Tabata TrainingTabata Workout Examples:

Leg Training and Fat Burning:

Box Jumps – 20 Seconds

  • Rest – 10 Seconds
  • Repeat 8 times – Total of 4 Minutes

Chest/Core Training:

Medicine Ball Press-ups – 20 Seconds

  • Rest – 10 Seconds
  • Repeat 8 times – Total of 4 Minutes

Sprint Training:

Treadmill Sprints (try increasing the incline as well as the speed ~ 17.0kmph @ 8.0 incline) 20 Seconds

  • Rest 10 Seconds
  • Repeat 8 times – Total of 4 Minutes

Leg Training:

Squats (12 rep max weight) – 20 Seconds

  • Rest – 10 Seconds
  • Repeat 8 times – Total of 4 Minutes

Triceps/Arms Training:

Tricep Dips (Weighted if on bench – Non Weighted if using dip bars) – 20 Seconds

  • Rest – 10 Seconds
  • Repeat 8 times – Total of 4 Minutes

Remember when attempting these types of workouts; adjust to suit your individual ability and fitness levels.

This post was written by Hayley (@HayleyMadigan)