What is a Tabata workout?

Tabata is a form of training named after Professor Izumi Tabata, who researched the effects of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on aerobic and anaerobic fitness.

Tabata workouts are high-intensity workouts of 20 seconds followed by ten seconds of rest. Such a cycle is repeated eight times in succession, so that the total training time is four minutes.

This is an effective way to burn body fat, maintain muscle and make your body fit and flexible in a very short time. You only need four minutes, making this the best form of training for people with limited time.

The study of Professor Tabata

Professor Tabata divided a group of athletes in two smaller groups. One group trained five times a week for a long period of time at a moderate intensity. The other group did one long moderate-intensity workout per week, supplemented by four HIIT workouts.

The second group’s protocol included 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by a 10-second short rest, eight consecutive times. One of the conditions for the study was that the athletes had to train very intensively during the 20 seconds. Their heart rate was not allowed to go below 85 beats per minute.

The results of the study were astounding. After the study, the group of athletes who trained very intensively and for a very short time had an increased VO2 Max and, consequently, improved anaerobic fitness levels. And this in contrast to the athletes who completed prolonged aerobic training.

The Tabata training format

  • 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest.
  • Repeat this 8 times in a row.
  • A full Tabata takes 4 minutes.
  • So you have completed 8 exercises.
  • That can be 8 different exercises or the same exercise that you repeat several times.
  • The intention is to go quite intensively during the 20 seconds, according to your possibilities of course.
  • You can use fitness equipment or not, it doesn’t matter.

Advantages of Tabata:

  1. Tabata helps burn fat. This is due to the high intensity of the workouts. Even though you’ve only trained for four minutes, your body will continue to burn calories at a faster rate during the day at rest. Some studies indicate that your metabolism is boosted for up to 24 hours after a short intense training session. This is called the after-burn effect.
  2. It is efficient and time-saving. Tabata can save time and still be heavy. 
  3. Muscle retention. This intense workout helps maintain muscle and has been shown to increase metabolism. It’s the fat you want to melt, not the muscle.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Is Tabata and HIIT the same?
    • Tabata is a form of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). A Tabata is always 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest and this for four minutes. HIIT is a broader concept and can take several forms. The exercises are the same but more varied with times and number of rounds.
  2. Is Tabata good for weight loss?
    • Yes, of course. Your metabolism increases so that you continue to burn calories for up to 24 hours after your session.
  3. How many calories can you burn?
    • This depends on the intensity level and the type of exercises you choose. If you only include cardio exercises in your training schedule, such as burpees, you will burn more calories than slower or static exercises.
  4. Can you do Tabata every day?
    • Yes, but in a thoughtful way. This is possible by following our programming. This is because we program a different training stimulus every day and introduce a lot of variation. If you had to do the same exercises every day, you could overload your body.
  5. Is Tabata suitable for everyone?
    • Anyone can follow the Tabata training. There is no restriction on age or entry level. We recommend that you build up gradually. During the 20 seconds of work, do as many reps or lift as much weight as you can. Everyone can determine that for themselves and build it up slowly.


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