Tabata is high intensity interval training inspired by Dr. Izumi Tabata. He is a Japanese researcher who used this protocol in his study on athletes in 1996 to observe an improvement in the performance of skaters. Dr. Izumi Tabata used a cycle for his study. All-out extreme intensity for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This cycle was repeated for 8 rounds or 4 minutes total. He found that this protocol improved both the aerobic and anaerobic systems of the athletes.


Today, we use "Tabata-inspired" examples in classes that deliver great benefits in a short period of time. It is a very advanced form of interval training and should be used carefully and with those who are conditioned. Tabata can be used in cardio interval and boot camp classes in many ways. You can pick two different exercises and alternate them for 8 rounds total (to alleviate boredom). Here are a few examples, and you can do rounds of cardio or even weighted exercises. (4 rounds of each exercise = 8 rounds or 4 minutes per Tabata):

  • Tabata 1: Squat Jumps and Lunge Jumps
  • Tabata 2: Burpees and Mountain Climbers
  • Tabata 3: Lateral Skates and Knee Tucks
  • Tabata 4: Air jacks and Sprints

Or, you could combine strength and cardio segments:

  • Tabata 1: Pushups and Burpees
  • Tabata 2: Squat/Overhead Press and Mountain Climbers
  • Tabata 3: Back Rows and Squat Jumps
  • Tabata 4: Lateral Lunges and Knee Tucks
  • The possibilities are endless. It's a great workout in a short period of time.

    Benefits of Tabata

    Tabata being a High Intensity Interval Training has several health benefits: 

    Short Workout Sessions

    This workout method has been marketed as the “4 minutes workout” because you just need 10 minutes to go through everything, including warm ups, cool downs and preparation.

    No Need to Buy Expensive Equipment

    Tabata training is possible at home, at the gym or basically wherever you want, all without having to invest much in equipment. You just really need comfortable clothes and a really good routine that matches the level you are at and where you work out.

    High Fat Burning

    Tabata workouts are going to always raise heart rate and metabolism in a really short period of time. Because of the really high intensity you are going at, the body has to work really hard. 
    Metabolism remains high hours after the workout and you basically end up burning fat so much faster than with other workout routines.
    If your main goal is to lose fat and you can use Tabata workouts, it is an option you will always want to take into account. The body just starts burning fat as soon as the routine is over in order to get back the energy it misses.

    Muscle Tissue Is Protecting

    Most cardio workouts are not recommended because they will make people lose muscle mass. 
    Tabata training is not like that. The muscle tissue is going to be protected because of the low workout times. This high intensity training method will put stress on your muscle but that only lets the body know that more muscle mass is necessary. You thus end up with a leaner body mass while fat disappears and you even get muscle mass gains.
    Tabata training is perfect for absolutely everyone, with the exception of those that cannot train because of heart problems. With this in mind, if you are looking for a really fast routine that will help you to burn fat and put on some muscle mass while you get stronger and faster. Tabata is the best option for you.