Tabata interval training is based on the Tabata protocol. Basically it is a type of ultra high intensity training, whereby the workout is split into intervals of all out maximum effort exercise.
When I explain this type of training to people I never seem able to get across exactly how intense these sessions are. When I explain the procedure, some even laugh at how easy it sounds!
Let’s see what you think…
The Tabata protocol stipulates 8 ultra high intensity intervals of 20 second duration, interspersed with 10 seconds of complete rest. So that’s a 20 second interval, followed by 10 seconds of rest, and so on for 8 high intensity intervals.
And that’s it!
Do you think Tabata training sounds easy too? If so, then I challenge you to have a go yourself. When you’ve finished reading this article, take a look at the Tabata squats video and then tell me what you think.
Tabata interval workouts are similar to HIIT training, which I am a big fan of and write about often. The benefits of interval training are numerous. Intervals can be used to supplement traditional longer endurance sessions as they help to increase aerobic capacity (VO2 Max) even though these intervals cross into the anaerobic threshold.
Probably the main reason this type of high intensity training has become so popular in recent years is that interval training is a fantastic fat burner! It super charges the metabolism for 24 to 48 hours post workout, so you are continually burning calories at an elevated rate throughout this period. It has unbelievable fat burning potential!
Adding Tabata Intervals and HIIT Training to your fitness plan
The original research for the Tabata protocol was carried out on cyclists, but the method has become widely used for any exercise. Which makes this method of training so versatile.
For example, I mentioned the Tabata squats above, but my personal favourite is the Tabata burpees. This is an absolute killer workout. After 4 minutes of this, you’ll be begging for mercy.
Why not experiment yourself? You could try Tabata sprints, either on foot, in the pool, on the bike, or the rowing machine. Or just choose another bodyweight exercise.
See what I mean about this method of exercise being versatile?
But keep it varied. You don’t want your body getting used to any particular exercise. Switch exercise every time you perform the Tabata protocol. It’ll help keep your motivation high, too.
For other ideas, and to add more variety into your fitness plan, take a look at the list of free workout plans. Use them or modify them as you wish. If you think you can make any workout better, or have your own workouts you think will benefit the home fitness community, then include your workouts here.