What is Tabata Training?
Tabata training is a form of high intensity interval training (HIIT). However, the structure is somewhat different to a traditional, circuit-oriented HIIT workout. The structure of a tabata workout is as follows: you perform a specific exercise for 20 seconds at maximum intensity, followed by a 10 second rest; this is repeated 8 times, bringing the total time spend on this exercise to 4 minutes. After you take 1 minute rest, perform a different exercise in the same style as before. You can do as many exercises as you want, although doing 4 exercises takes the total time up to about 20 mins, which is ideal for a HIIT workout.
An example tabata workout could be as follows:
Mountain climbers – 20 secs work / 10 secs rest x 8
1 min rest
Starjumps – 20 secs work / 10 secs rest x 8
1 min rest
Pilates 100 – 20 secs work / 10 secs rest x 8
1 min rest
High knees – 20 secs work / 10 secs rest x 8
Which exercises work best?
The best exercises for tabata are ones which both work your cardiovascular system and are quick to perform, allowing you to perform lots of reps in the short 20 second work period. For example, an exercise such as box jumps is not particularly suitable for tabata, since too much time would be spend stepping down from the box, which wastes time. However, an exercise such as mountain climbers works much better, since you can work at maximum intensity for the full 20 seconds.
Why would you do it?
Just like other forms of HIIT workouts, tabata (when performed correctly and at a high intensity) can bring about many health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular fitness. The main benefit, however, is that HIIT workouts can burn many calories in a short amount of time.
What are some common mistakes made while doing tabata training?
The main mistake that people make when performing tabata is not working to a high enough intensity. Since the 20 second work period is relatively short, it is important to work at maximum effort for all of those 20 seconds. If you spend 5 seconds reaching maximum intensity, and another 5 seconds slowing down before your rest, then you are cutting your work period down to only 10 seconds, which is simply not enough to have any major benefits. Also, just like any form of training, proper form is needed to avoid injury.
Written by JOSH LAW
Rachel Law is a personal fitness trainer based in New Malden, Surrey. Qualifications: ActivIQ Level 3 Personal Training; Burrell Education Pregnancy Exercise Prescription; Burrell Education Advanced Pregnancy Wellness Practitioner; Burrell Education Advanced Post Natal Exercise Prescription; Burrell Education 3rd Age Women Optimal Health and Nutrition; Burrell Education Peri Natal Athlete; Burrell Education Pelvic Flow and Freedom; Olympic Weight Lifting; Premier Global Kettlebells; FIE Level Assessment and Mentoring