TABATA Workouts: 10 best methods for maximum performance

TABATA Workouts

TABATA Workouts: 10 best methods for maximum performance

Tabata stands for high-intensity interval training. This training method is suitable for all those who wish to burn fat and improve their general endurance. It consists in subjecting one of the large muscle groups (legs, chest, back, stomach, etc.) to an exercise cycle for a short period of 4 minutes.

1. Tabata method – Eureka!

The Tabata method is a real boon for anyone who wants to achieve their sporting goals efficiently, quickly and intensively. Tabata is a particular form of HIIT, it is characterized by a very short and very intensive alternation of effort and recovery phases. For 20 seconds, the body must provide maximum performance followed by a 10-second break. In general, 8 such intervals are performed in 4 minutes.

The rapid alternation of effort and recovery accelerates the burning of fat significantly. However: No arms, no chocolate – it’s the same: no effort on the Tabata, no results! In order for the Tabata method to work, it is necessary to provide an effort up to the absolute limit for 20 seconds. So the body still uses energy for hours after training and even consumes calories in mass in the rest phases.

Special features of the TABATA Workouts method

During the high-intensity intervals, it is a question of soliciting, in particular, the large groups of muscles. Exercises such as push-ups, jumps or sprints quickly guarantee good training results. The main specificities of Tabata are:

  •     4 minutes of high-intensity training
  •     The post-combustion effect that promotes weight loss
  •     Limited time – maximum fat burning
  •     Possible everywhere and at any time
  •     Increases endurance and boosts metabolism
  •     Effective (cardio) endurance training

2. Benefits of the TABATA Method

The Tabata method exceeds the moderate effort

4 minutes of high-intensity Tabata act as much as 60 minutes of endurance training (cardio) on a cross-trainer. Scientific studies show that there are no significant differences in terms of improving oxygen absorption and endurance performance. Training with maximum intensity in a very short time increases the pulse rate faster than moderate endurance (cardio) training would.

Maintenance of muscles and endurance

For 20 seconds, as many squats, pumps or burpees as possible guarantee rapid muscle fatigue and simultaneous strengthening. 8 sets of exercises in 4 minutes quickly increase repetitions from 50 to 75. The effectiveness of the Tabata method increases with the number of muscles used by a movement.

Maximum fat burning with the TABATA Workouts method

To return to normal conditions after a very intensive effort, the body must expend energy again. Thus, after training, the metabolism remains activated for hours, consumes calories and burns fat. This phenomenon called afterburning effect increases the energy requirement in the rest phase.

Diversity requires versatile training

In the Tabata method, almost everything is allowed. Compared to other classics (cardio) endurance sports such as running, swimming or cycling, the Tabata method offers a multitude of exercises that guarantee a constant variation of the training program. Whether it’s sprints, jumps, or bodyweight exercises – they can all trigger a new training stimulus to push their own effort limits.

Significant performance increase in record time

Scientific studies have shown that the Tabata method significantly improves the maximum absorption of oxygen per minute because the body must absorb and process as much oxygen as possible in a limited time – a phenomenon that is not achieved in training moderate. Continuous training of maximum oxygen absorption raises the anaerobic threshold towards the maximum oxygen absorption capacity. This means that the performance capacity in aerobic and anaerobic endurance is trained identically. It’s good for your health: There is evidence that regular endurance (cardio) training strengthens the cardiovascular system, which has a positive effect on overall well-being.

3. TABATA Workouts Method – Procedure

A short Tabata workout is perfectly suited to end a workout of several series or as a supplement to a moderate (cardio) endurance session. Practiced 3 to 4 times a week, it increases the benefit of a weight loss program.

  • Warm-up phase: 5 to 10 minutes
  • Effort phase: 20 seconds of maximum effort
  • Recovery phase: 10-second break
  • Total duration: This rhythm is repeated 8 times, which represents a total duration of almost 15 minutes.

A workout doesn’t require a device or a lot of time. Clearly defined, effort cycles can be quickly and easily implemented. The training begins with a short warm-up phase of the muscles, to prepare the motor system for intensive effort.

If the effort of a Tabata series is too low, training can be supplemented with other series of new exercises. People looking for new stimuli or more intensity can easily increase the intensity of the exercises (resistance, speed, complexity) to enhance their effect.

4. Who is the TABATA Workouts method for?

For ambitious athletes, those who want to lose weight and successful athletes, the Tabata method is worth trying. Aspects to consider: Although good training results appear in record time, this demanding Tabata method will need to be slowly incorporated into your training program. Whether you are a beginner in training, in recovery or athletic-looking for new stimuli, this applies to all: Going too hard with new training methods and starting at a too high level exposes you to risk of injury and overtraining.

For high-performance athletes, the Tabata method is ideal for diversifying training

and for those who want to lose weight, it allows you to melt quickly thanks to its high intensity.

In particular, real novices or people who quit training a long time ago can nevertheless start slowly and then increase the intensity slowly but surely. As the rapid alternation of exercise and recovery phases intensely stresses the cardiovascular system, it is recommended that people suffering from cardiovascular problems consult their doctor to ensure that they can safely practice the Tabata method.

5. Tabata method training session

Training can be done at home or outside without additional weight. A short warm-up program of 2 to 3 minutes warms up the cardiovascular system and prepares it for the Tabata session. Whatever the level of training, it is important that the exercises are correctly performed up to the maximum effort limit. An old-fashioned phone or stopwatch helps you stay on schedule.

Example of a TABATA Workouts bodyweight method

  •     20-sec Squats – 10 sec. Pause
  •     20-sec Pumps – 10 sec. Pause
  •     20-sec Mountain climbers – 10 sec. Pause
  •     20-sec Squats – 10 sec. Pause
  •     20-sec Pumps – 10 sec. Pause
  •     20-sec Burpees – 10 seconds Pause
  •     20-sec Squats – 10 sec. Pause
  •     20-sec Pumps – 10 sec. Pause

We recommend that you end the session by slowly slowing down to slowly lower the pulse.

6. Dietary advice

The Tabata method burns fat better than any other method, which is why a balanced and healthy diet is an essential condition for lasting success. Adequate nutrition provides the body with the necessary nutrients it needs before, during and after training.

The ideal is a combination of long-chain carbohydrates, high-quality protein, and unsaturated fats. It is advisable to take BCAAs to strengthen the optimal supply of nutrients, provide additional energy during training and protect the muscles during intensive sessions.

10 TABATA Workouts to burn fat and build muscle!

In 1996, coach of the Japanese Olympic Speed ​​Skating Team and scientist Izumi Tabata presented a study analyzing the effectiveness of a specific HIIT program that the head coach had developed for his athletes. The team was divided into different groups. The first group trained on moderate-intensity ergonomic cycles for one hour, five days a week, for a total of six weeks. The second group completed four-minute high-intensity workouts on ergonomic cycles, four days a week, for a total of six weeks. The program that the second group followed is called TABATA Workouts training:

Eight rounds. Each round = 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest.

Tabata defines the desired work intensity at approximately 170% of an athlete’s VO2 max, their maximum rate of oxygen consumption. At the end of the six weeks of training, Tabata found that group # 2 had a 28% increase in their anaerobic capacity, as well as a 14% increase in their VO2 max. Summarizing the effect of the HIIT study and program, Tabata writes that “moderate-intensity aerobic training improves maximum aerobic capacity, but has no effect on anaerobic capacity. Adequate HIIT training can significantly improve the anaerobic and aerobic energy systems, possibly by imposing intensive stimuli on both systems. ”

The favorite and most effective application of this concept has been the TABATA squat (20 seconds of exercise, 10 seconds of rest repeated 8 times) whose score is measured by the lowest number of repetitions performed in one of the eight intervals. This unique exercise tests and develops athletic ability. The rankings on this benchmark test accurately predict the performance ranking on a wide variety of basic athletic skills. Remember that high-intensity efforts have considerable aerobic results without the muscle loss seen in endurance training.


  •     Increases lean muscle
  •     Decreases body fat
  •     Increases anaerobic capacity
  •     Increases aerobic capacity
  •     Improves cardiovascular circulation
  •     Improves VO2

But know that:

    The TABATA method is not entirely suitable for beginners. It is made for intermediate and high-level athletes who are comfortable with high-intensity exercises. The intensity can quickly become too hard if you are not used to this type of training.

    When you’re going to “give it your all” during high-intensity intervals, a 4-minute cycle will be the longest and roughest of your life.

    There is always an increased risk of injury when you do high impact, high-intensity exercises. Reduce this risk by making sure you are in good shape for this type of training, as you will have to exercise until you reach the preset intensity and duration. Also, be sure to warm up completely before starting your TABATA session.

    Four minutes of the same exercise, even with rest in between, can become monotonous and quickly leach your muscles. It can affect your fitness and motivation if you are not mentally prepared!

If you’re feeling ready, here are 10 TABATA Workouts you should try:

Each time, you must perform:

  •     Eight rounds
  •     Do as many repetitions as possible for twenty seconds.
  •     Take ten seconds of rest between rounds.

1. Front Squats

Do you find it easy to make them with 113 kg? With TABATA, you will have trouble squatting even with 40 kg.

2. Thruster

This exercise is as popular as burpees. But even if you start with a lightweight, the TABATA mode Thrusters will become the most difficult you have ever done.

3. Handstand Push-ups

The more you strengthen and control your hips, the more enduring you will be.

4. Board

Easy in the first rounds, some aches and other pains will slowly creep into your abs and spread from one round to the next. Change the difficulty level by moving your elbows forward.

5. Wall Balls

In addition to physical stress, the wall balls come with a real mental challenge that requires you to stay constantly focused on the technique to throw and catch the ball.

6. Kettlebell Swing

Do not release your grip.

7. Row

Try to keep the same speed over the eight rounds. It is best not to start too fast, you will be in trouble anyway. It will be brutal.

8. Ski Erg

Very soon, you will want to return to your good old rower.

9. Mix everything like Mat Fraser

Watching Mat Fraser TABATA, you will see that he performs several movements.

Here’s everything Mat does:

  •     Thrusters
  •     GHD situps
  •     Snatch
  •     Muscle-Ups Bar
  •     Kettlebell Swings
  •     Wall balls
  •     Burpee Box Jump Overs
  •     Overhead Squats

10. TABATA Brooke Ence style

  •     Hang Power Snatch
  •     Ring Muscle-Ups
  •     Toe to Bar
  •     Burpee Box Jumps
  •     Hang Power Clean
  •     Handstand Push-ups
  •     Assault Bike
  •     Handstand Walk

We regularly hear about the Tabata method, a high-intensity interval training, supposedly invented by Japanese professor Izumi Tabata. This method would notably allow you to lose weight by performing workouts of only 4 minutes. But what about it really?

The Tabata protocol

The Tabata method is a HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) training technique which consists of repeating 8 times 20 seconds of maximum effort followed by 10 seconds of rest. The interest of this training is to be able to obtain optimal results in just 4 minutes, thanks in particular to the repetition of effort at High Intensity, which promotes both the gain of muscle power, the increase in VO2 max, the improvement of anaerobic capacity, and also optimizes energy expenditure during the session but especially after (afterburn effect), by raising your metabolism.

History of this training method

The origin of the Tabata method dates back to the mid-90s, when Professor Izumi TABATA, a Japanese researcher, was contacted by the Japanese national speed skating team. The trainer at the time, Koichi Irisawa, asked him to analyze the effectiveness of a new training protocol which consists of repeating several maximum efforts of a few seconds followed by brief periods of recovery.

Professor Tabata then carried out a study on cycle ergometers which consisted of comparing the effects of a high-intensity interval training session to moderate-intensity continuous training. In this study, two groups of cyclists are compared:

  •     The cyclists of the first group had to pedal for 1 hour at 70% of their V02 Max.
  •     Cyclists in the second group had to perform 7 to 8 x (20 seconds of effort at 170% of their VO2 Max + 10 seconds of recovery).

Results: at the rate of 5 sessions per week for 6 weeks, the cyclists in the first group saw their VO2 Max go from 53 +/- 5 ml / min / kg to 58 +/- 3 ml / min / kg (average + / – standard deviation), i.e. an average increase of 5 ml / min / kg, while the cyclists of the second group saw their V02 Max rise by 7 ml / min / kg. In parallel, the anaerobic capacity of the first group has not changed, while that of the second group has increased by 28%!

By the way, you will note that Izumi Tabata is only involved in the analysis of a protocol which today has taken its name from the default, while the initiator of this training method is none other than Koichi Irisawa, l former national coach of the Japanese speed skating team. Also, read here

Does the Tabata method make you lose weight?

As you have just seen, and contrary to all that we can read about the Tabata method, nothing has been shown concerning the benefits of this training for weight loss. However, other studies on high-intensity interval training have provided rather interesting answers on this subject.

  • In 1994, Tremblay, Simoneau, and Bouchard demonstrated that HIIT-type training burns 9 times more fat than endurance training.
  • In 2001, JW King demonstrated that High-Intensity Interval Training promotes an increase in our metabolism during the first 24 hours after exercise. In other words, a session based on the Tabata model allows you to burn fat during, but also several hours after exercise.
  • In 2012, a team of Australian researchers demonstrated that interval training consisting in repeating for 20 minutes (8 seconds of effort + 12 seconds of recovery) on a cycle ergometer, at the rate of 3 weekly sessions for 12 weeks, promotes on average 6.7% fat loss and 2.2% muscle gain. Find out more

Based on the HIIT technique, the Tabata method undoubtedly offers an interesting effect as part of a slimming program.

Who is this workout for?

In the Tabata method, the protocol consists of repeating efforts of 20 seconds at 170% of your VO2 Max, with rest times of only 10 seconds. With such a short recovery, this intensity is just impossible for most of us to repeat, even for just 4 minutes. This type of session is intended only for competitors, who already have a lot of training. So if you get back into the sport and want to lose weight, forget about this method, at least in its original version.

More affordable variations also deliver results. Following a good warm-up, start for example with 3 sets of 5 x (10 sec. Of effort + 20 sec. Of recovery), or even 8 x (15 sec. Of effort + 45 sec. Of recovery) … adapting the intensity of the efforts relative to your own capacities. The main thing is to repeat intense efforts that you could not maintain for more than 30 seconds.

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