Different workouts are created to gear to different fitness needs. For instance, some cater to weight loss, others to increase strength and yet others to improve flexibility or build lean muscle. Now a relatively recent workout program is making its mark in the fitness world known as Tabata workout. And while the Tabata workout is not entirely new, it is one that is very high in intensity and lasts a shorter span than most other traditional workouts.
The Tabata workout was first developed by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata along with a group of researchers who trained a group of athletes at a fairly moderate level of intensity and another that worked at a higher intensity level. The results showed that the group working at moderate intensity levels improved their aerobic system but the exercise made insignificant impact on their anaerobic system. The second group working at high intensity levels however, showed increase in both their aerobic and anaerobic systems. As a result it proved that high intensity interval training is more effective in gaining long term fitness results when compared to steady rate moderate exercise.
How Does the Tabata Workout Work?
The Tabata workout is a short but high intensity workout that tries an athlete’s endurance and strength to the maximum. The basis of Tabata training is four minutes of intense interval training/circuit training. The program is structured so that the individual has to work out extremely hard for twenty seconds followed by ten seconds of recovery and then repeating the round eight times for a total of about four minutes.
The Tabata workout allows for versatility as the hard workout can be any combination of exercises that gets the whole body involved or at least engages large muscle groups. Examples of Tabata workouts can be sprinting for twenty seconds and then walking for 10 seconds and repeating the sequence seven more times for a total of eight sets that will approximately equal four minutes.
Or the same may be sequenced with squats, push ups, rows or sit ups or any exercise that involves all major muscle groups. The idea is to use an exercise that is going to tax the individual’s aerobic and anaerobic capacity. Tabata workout may also be done with dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, resistance bands or simply bodyweight exercises.
It is recommended to use four different exercises per Tabata workout. For instance a combination of push ups, squats, medicine ball slams and jump rope is one workout example where each exercise is done for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of recovery and repeated eight times over for a total of four minutes each. Roughly, the workout would come to about 16 minutes in all and can be changed up to create two or three Tabata routines.
It is normal to feel fatigued during the first week of Tabata training but the body will adjust and then only slight to moderate soreness may be felt.
What are the Benefits of the Tabata Workout?
Tabata training is a form of cardiovascular exercise that delivers more health benefits than other traditional physical exercises. The Tabata training can be used for core strength as well as weight training. Some of these include the following:
- The Tabata workout is helpful to get a swift workout when time is short or when there is a need to change up a routine. It is attractive because it saves up on time but offers the maximum benefits of weight loss and fitness goals. The short duration of the workout serves to encourage regular workouts creating consistency in the routine.
- Whatever workout version is chosen, Tabata training will help raise heart rate and metabolism instantly. Since the exercises are being done at very high intensity, the body will likewise have to work equally hard to keep up. This will cause the heart to pump faster and the metabolism to surge, both ideal conditions for losing fat fast. Plus, the metabolism does not only stay soared during the workout, but after as well and the result is an after burn much later after the workout has been done.
- With dieting alone, the results involve loss of muscle tissue as well as weight loss. However, since the Tabata workout places short lived but intense stress on the body, the result is that the proportion of lean body mass to fat rises. By selecting exercises that maximise muscle mass, muscle tissue will be increased.
Considerations Regarding the Tabata Workout
Before starting a Tabata workout, it is important to warm up properly. Since the workout itself is super intense, it becomes important that the body is warmed up correctly. Likewise, it is equally important to cool down at the end of the workout to slow the heart rate back down by working at a lower intensity level.
However, the Tabata workout is a highly demanding workout and should not be done too often. A common recommendation is to have one or two Tabata sessions every week. It is important to remember that the Tabata workout is not for beginners, but recommended for advanced athletes who feel have acquired a satisfactory level of physical fitness and are comfortable with high intensity exercise. For other less seasoned athletes, going all out for the four minute cycle may be too intense. It is best to make sure that an individual is fit enough for this type of exercise before proceeding ahead with a Tabata workout.
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