Running short on time but looking for something to do that adds to your fitness regime? Need to shake it up a little?
Most people have heard of Tabata, but maybe don't fully know what it is or how to implement it. Or, wonder if it's really all it's purported to be.
What is Tabata?
Tabata originated with the Japanese Olympic Speed Skating Team, and was developed by head coach Irisawa Koichi for his skaters. It consisted of eight rounds of 20 seconds each of intense work, followed by 10 seconds of rest, for a total of a four-minute workout.
A training coach, Izumi Tabata, was asked to analyze the effectiveness of the short but grueling workout. A six week, 1996 study found a 28 percent increase in anaerobic capacity, plus a 14 percent increase in VO2 max.
Originally the Tabata study was done on a bicycle, but people are now using the 20-second/10-second format with almost anything.
So how effective is Tabata?
During a recent study, researchers discovered that it's possible to work every muscle group, in a short time frame and get a decent workout in, that will improve cardiovascular conditioning and get you in shape. If you're already in decent shape, you can maintain your conditioning.
Results for heart rate and VO2 max, met/exceeded the established industry guidelines for improving cardio fitness and modifying body composition. Results for calorie expenditure for improving health and facilitating weight loss met established guidelines as well.
With the intensity of a Tabata workout though, the average non-exerciser should be very careful. Before people attempt a Tabata protocol they should have a pretty decent level of fitness. Consult with your health professional prior to undertaking a new fitness regime, and seek guidance from a fitness professional if you're unsure of how to safely get started.
Tabata-style workouts should only be done 2-3 times/week, with 48-72 hours rest between each session. It’s the intensity that gets you into shape, not the four minutes.
Short-burst, high-intensity training is the real deal.
Adapted from ACE ProSource "Is Tabata All It's Cracked Up To Be?"