The Tabata workout is the newest trend in fitness circles and based on accounts from people who’ve tempted fate with the weight loss regimen, it could be a good alternative to other workouts.
Depending on what your health goals are, the Tabata workout could be the perfect regimen to help you achieve progressive weight loss. According to Active.com, Tabata, named after its creator, Japanese scientist Dr Izumi Tabata, is a strict cardio routine that involves a series of high-intensity exercises performed within four minutes and 20 seconds.
Tabata workout: Here’s how it works
ADVISORY: Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription.
There is no formal guideline to follow with this regimen. The one cardinal rule is: every Tabata set must last for a period of four minutes and 20 seconds. How this workout is divvied up is up to the trainer.
However, Dr Tabata’s recommendation is to break up each set into eight rounds where:
- you perform an exercise for 20 seconds; and
- rest for 10 seconds.
This would constitute a single round. Add seven more and you would have completed a four-minute and 20-second Tabata set.
There is no limit to the rotations you can implement in your exercises. For example, a workout that includes four sets of push-ups, sit-ups, burpees and squats can be rotated with star jumps, planks and two other exercises the next day.
An example of a Tabata workout is:
- Squats (eight rounds performed in four minutes)
- Push-ups (eight rounds performed in four minutes)
- Burpees (eight rounds performed in four minutes)
- Mountain climbers (eight rounds performed in four minutes)
To fit this regimen into a 20-minute workout session, add one-minute breaks between sets.
What are the benefits of Tabata workout?
This high-intensity interval regimen is the perfect option for working professionals who hardly have time to commit towards achieving their fitness goals.
Moreover, it is much easier to start your fitness journey with a workout that yields positive results without the requirement of expensive equipment and gym membership fees.
The benefits of Dr Tabata’s workout are supported by a research study he conducted with the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan.
A team of athletes was broken up into two groups, where one would train at a moderate intensity level for five days a week, while the high-intensity group performed the Tabata workout for four days a week.
The groups were expected to adhere to their respective regimens for six weeks and in the end, the first group showed an increase in cardiovascular endurance but not much development in muscle strength. The ‘Tabata’ group, on the other hand, not only displayed marked improvements in their aerobic system, but also saw a 28% increase in muscle strength.
Precautions to take before getting started
If a run on the treadmill is a nightmarish experience for beginners, then the Tabata workout may not be a suitable option to try out. Sure, the workout can be as short as four minutes and 20 seconds long but each second feels like an eternity.
Moreover, this is a cardio workout involving short bursts of high-intensity training and while its benefits include muscle gains, metabolism boosts and aerobic fitness levels, it can pose a health risk if you are diabetic or have heart-related problems.
Therefore, it’s crucial to take these precautions before you commit to a Tabata workout:
- We can’t stress this enough, consult a physician before you make any health or training changes to your routine.
- Warm-up adequately.
- Take enough rest days. Committing too much on a high-intensity workout can have a devastating impact on your muscle tissue.
- Start off slow: Beginners are advised to start off with two or three classes every week.