Throughout my career in fitness and wellness coaching, I have heard every single excuse in the book. The two most common is excuses are lack of time and not having a gym membership or access to equipment. Fortunately, in this posting I am talking to you about Tabata interval training which requires no equipment and takes, at minimum, 4 minutes to complete a workout.
What is Tabata interval training?
Tabata interval training style was developed by Dr. Tabata in 1996. The individual works at maximum intensity for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds.
Dr. Tabata found that his subjects doing this style of training, 5 days a week for 6 weeks, resulted in a 28% increase in anaerobic and 14% increase in aerobic fitness. These results were quite ground breaking and, since then Tabata (and other High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT) have found a place in mainstream fitness for beginners as well as professional athletes.
Why Tabata interval training? What are the benefits?
This goes back to my opening paragraph—most people have tortured the excuse that time for training is nowhere to be found. Tabata puts an end to all that nonsense.
A study at Auburn University found that it would take 20 minutes of normal cardio (i.e. a brisk walk) to burn the equivalent amount of calories in a 4 minute Tabata. Now you’re listening?
While the benefits and results are best achieved by going “all out” (your hardest and/or fastest) during the work period, Tabata training allows you to work up to that intensity with time being your factor, not repetitions. While you may not receive the full benefits initially, you will definitely see benefits by incorporating Tabata training into your workout routine.
What is “all out” and how to do I know if I am?
In order to fully execute an intensity to reap the full benefits of Tabata interval training, you want to work at 75% of your maximum heart rate or above. If you have a heart rate monitor you can have access to this number instantly.
If you don’t have a heart rate monitor you can use the “talk test.” This means you should be working at an intensity where it is impossible to carry a conversation. If you are able to talk, you aren’t working hard enough.
Working at this high intensity can sometimes mean that proper form is being completely forgotten. Make sure you are choosing and doing exercises that you know how to do properly– without a doubt. Form is more important than anything when it comes to exercise, so make sure you know what you’re doing before you jump into a new type of training.
Total Body Tabata in 15-minutes
This is how it works:
- Exercises per Tabata = 2
- Workout (per exercise) = 20 seconds
- Rest (after each exercise) = 10 seconds
- Sets = 4
Here is an example for a Tabata:
- 20 seconds exercise #1
- 10 seconds pause
- 20 seconds exercise #2
- 10 seconds pause
- Repeat this sequence 4 times to complete one Tabata (4 minutes in total for one Tabata).
This Tabata routine consists of 3 full Tabatas (4 minutes each). To make this workout 15 minutes, the rest in between each Tabata should be 1 minute. If you need more time to rest, recover & catch your breath – go for it!