Why You Should Try Tabata Training

By October 28, 2016Move

Tabata? Tiabiata? Ciabatta?  

Let's Do This Tabata

For someone who has been using this form of training for months now, you would think I would at least know how to spell it (lawlz). 

But what exactly is this exotic form of training? What are the uses? Are there multiple forms? Well, let’s break this down!!

What tabata is:

Now if anyone recalls from the story of how I got into fitness, I used to hate any forms of cardio.  In fact, for the longest time I thought it was a myth.

However, when preparation for beach bod season came Let's Do This Tabatainto play, I found this amazing program on bodybuilding.com and the basic idea of the program was tabata.

Tabata, simply put, is just a form of high intensity interval training (HIIT).

Now, HIIT really kicks ass already, and tabata is basically the ultimate form of HIIT. Tabata takes only 4 minutes.

FOUR minutes. Let that sink in.

It consists of 8 total rounds, with each round consisting of 20 seconds of intense work, followed by 10 seconds of rest.  The rounds are continuous, so one round is followed immediately after the other. 

Now 4 minutes might not seem like a lot, but if you’re doing it right you will feel like absolute toast. (Side note: avocado toast is absolutely bomb and 10/10 would recommend). 


A photo posted by Fit University (@gofitu) on

Why it works:

There is some science behind tabata.

Researchers and scientists conclude that those who performed tabata saw increases in both aerobic and anaerobic system capacities. The anaerobic system is the one that does the intense, immediate work. Moderate to low intensity training such as walking on the treadmill only saw improvements in aerobic performance.

Going at this high of an intensity in short intervals will bump your metabolism and heart rate immediately.  With such a high level of intensity, your body will need to work extra hard to keep this amount of work going. Your metabolism will jump up both  during the workout and long after it (sometimes even hours later), helping your body burn fat well after the workout session.

However, if only works if you’re actually going at a high intensity! If your tabata workout isn’t leaving you breathless, you’re probably doing it wrong. 

How to do it:

The traditional view of tabata is to perform one or two exercises for the 8 rounds, but by all means try to switch it up if you’re bored!

These exercises are all great opportunities to try tabata-style training:

  • Incline treadmill sprints
  • Sprints on a stationary bike
  • Speed rowing
  • Mountain climbers, jump squats, and other bodyweight cardio moves

I also like to use tabata for my ab workouts – more as a circuit, where I do multiple ab exercises with the classic 20/10 timing.

So give this style of training a try, and let’s do this tabata!

Check out these workouts too: 

Author Pat Sadowski

Pat is a fourth year at Northeastern University. He is a part of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and his biggest hobby is, of course, working out. Although he claims cardio is a myth, he absolutely loves leg day at the gym. He is a finance and accounting major pursuing his CPA. Be sure to follow him on Instagram: @pat_sadowski & @patsadowski_fitness!

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