Tabata – The Perfect Fat-Burning Exercise for Even the Busiest Lifestyles

Got 10 minutes? You’ve got time for Tabata.

By: Ilyse Rogozenski

Your time is precious so spending endless hours exercising is just not in the cards. Luckily, there’s a workout designed for people like you who want something quick, yet effective. Tabata training has become one of the most popular forms of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and with good reason.

What is Tabata?

Tabata training was developed by Dr. Izumi Tabata in Tokyo. Its design is simple—you work at maximum effort for twenty seconds followed by a ten-second rest. Repeat this 20:10 cycle for a total of eight rounds. After the four minutes, your body should feel exhausted to the point that it can’t handle anymore. Because it requires a higher intensity and workload than traditional training, you are going to push yourself harder than ever due to the shorter work cycles and minimal rest.

What’s nice about Tabata, aside from its brevity, is that you can train like this with just about any exercise you want—from strength training to cardio. No time for a 5-mile run? Do a run. Can’t lift weights for an hour? Do Tabata strength with a compound exercise like thrusters or deadlifts.

It can also be a great finisher at the end of your workout whether you want to squeeze in some HIIT after you’re done lifting or want to turn your shoulders into toast with some Tabata overhead presses. The possibilities are endless!

Benefits of Tabata

Aside from the short amount of time it takes to be done, Tabata offers some pretty incredible benefits that you may not expect from a four-minute workout:

Reduces fat

Does it get better than that? Tabata training raises your BMR (basal metabolic rate) which is the rate at which your body burns energy while at rest. When your BMR is raised, so will the rate at which you burn fat.

Increases cardiovascular endurance

If you can get through Tabata sprints, burpees or jump squats, how much more manageable do you think steady-state cardio exercises will be for you? A lot more manageable since now you’re used to working at a greater intensity. Now your body is more efficient when you do your regular cardio training.

Putting Together a Tabata Workout

Great for beginners

The biggest problems people have when starting an exercise program is that they don’t have time or they don’t feel that they are physically ready for extended workouts. Tabata is the answer to both of these issues. For the time-restricted beginner, it takes four minutes at the very least. For the exerciser who has physical restrictions and can’t do a full workout, starting off slowly with a few four-minute cycles can get them started and hopefully on the path to where they eventually want to be.

If you want to try Tabata on your own, here are a few popular and highly effective exercises that will give you the intensity you want:

  • Burpees
  • Squat jumps
  • Thrusters
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Push ups
  • Squats
  • Battle ropes

And you don’t have to limit yourself to just one four-minute workout. While the goal of Tabata training is to push yourself to your max, you can certainly add in more Tabatas if it helps you reach your goals without risking an injury. You can try a strength Tabata after lifting and then go for a cardio one after that. Many gyms offer classes, so you’ll get 45-60 minutes of training.

Want to Try Tabata at Home?

Ready to add some Tabata to your fitness routine, but not quite ready for a full-on 60-minute class at the gym? FitOn can help by offering you some Tabata-based workouts that you can follow on your own whether you’re at the gym or at home. Some may call it a four-minute nightmare while some call it Tabata!