Does Tabata Work?

six pack absYou may have heard some chatter about Tabata workouts. But what are they? Do they work? And how can you use them?

Back in the mid-1990s, Tabata workouts were created by coaches of the Japanese speed skating team. Based on research around high intensity interval training, Tabata workouts consist of eight, 20-second high intensity rounds followed by 10 seconds of rest. In total, the workout is just four minutes long.

Here’s what an example Tabata workout could look like:

  • 20 seconds push-ups
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds squat-jumps
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds plank
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds burpees
  • 10 seconds rest
  • Repeat x2

Short but intense, these four-minute, ultra-efficient workouts have become increasingly popular and widespread – especially in CrossFit and group exercise classes.

But does Tabata actually work?

The American Council on Exercise studied Tabata-style workouts and concluded that they meet or exceed established guidelines for improving cardiovascular fitness and modifying body composition. In terms of calorie burn, Tabata met guidelines for calorie expenditure for improving health and facilitating weight loss. In other words, Tabata workouts can provide some great benefits – especially for individuals with tight schedules.

So how can you use Tabata workouts?

If you don’t have a lot of time, doing a 4-minute Tabata workout is certainly better than nothing. Keep in mind, the idea is to crank up the intensity and power through the 20-second intervals. Even with just 4 minutes, you should feel significantly challenged.

If you want something more, many people perform 4 Tabata workouts in a row, with 1 minute of rest in between. In all, the workout will take just 20 minutes. And you’ll certainly feel it.

Personally, I like to use Tabata workouts as a finisher. In other words, I like putting a 4-minute Tabata workout at the end of my cardio and strength training program. If I worked my leg muscles, I might end the workout with a 4-minute Tabata workout that focuses on my lower body. It really can give your workout that extra oomph.

So, give it a spin. Try the above Tabata workout or put together your own routine.

P.S. Crunched for time and want to try a high intensity interval workout? Download Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout and get started right now.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.

Comments

  1. At my gym in Sweden we have Tabata classes. Each four minute segment is only one exercise- so, 20 seconds high knees, 10 seconds rest eight times. (Or if the exercise is super intense, we have two exercises per set.) usually it’s 7 sets, or a 45 minute class. Incredibly effective, in my opinion.

  2. Davey,
    is there any suggestions for Tabata workout at home?