The Tabata Workout

The Tabata workout is a form of HIT training (High Intensity Training) that aims to provide an intense workout in just 4 minutes that can help to burn fat and build muscle. Want to get a better workout and spend less time on the weights? Then the Tabata workout might just be the solution you’re looking for.

How it Works

The general idea behind any HIT training is to decrease the amount of recovery between sets, thereby ensuring that you maintain a higher heart rate and potentially allowing you to make use of anaerobic training.

With the Tabata workout, the breaks and sets follow a particular rigid time structure in which you spend twenty seconds training, followed by ten seconds resting for a total of four minutes. In this time you should be able to accomplish 8 full sets of exercise, which you could logically split into four separate exercises or just have fun with to create something varied and challenging. This would then give you almost an entire workout in a short duration, while actually increasing the amount of intensity for each exercise.

As you’re going to be pretty busy lifting the weights/your bodyweight and won’t get a chance to stop to look at the clock, setting a timer with an alarm or using one of the many free HIT apps for Android or OS is a better way to monitor your progress and stick to this time frame.

Example

The Tabata workout will work best if you choose one body part that you want to train for it. For instance, you might decide to train your pecs using bodyweight training, a bench and some dumbbells which might look something like this.

Press Ups X Failure

Rest

Press Ups X Failure

Rest

Dumbbell Flies X Failure

Rest

Dumbbell Presses X Failure

Rest

Clapping Press Ups X Failure

Rest

Dumbbell Presses X Failure

Rest

Clapping Press Ups

Rest

Hold Plank X Failure

Now you might think that this couldn’t possibly be enough to give you a full workout, in which case though I invite you to try it yourself and then get back to me on that.

And you don’t have to use the Tabata workout just once – in fact the guy who invented it (Izumi Tabata) recommended that you repeat this process for 8 cycles which should be more than enough for even the most hardened weightlifter. He called this the ‘IE1 Protocol’ and recommended athletes use it four times a week with one day of traditional training.

If you want to try an intense new workout programme that can give your current regime a kick in the crotch, you might decide to give the IE1 Protocol a go. Otherwise, if you’re a little less hardcore and like the idea of being about to get in and out of the gym in four, eight or sixteen minutes, then the Tabata method might work for you too.

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