What is the Tabata Method?

What is the Tabata Method?

The Tabata method, also known as the Tabata Technique, is a variation of HIIT that was developed by Dr. Izumi Tabata in Japan with the intention of developing a workout that grizzles fat in a short period of time. When compared in a test environment, on average, 4 minutes of the Tabata method was equivalent to 45 minutes of regular cardio. It goes without saying that he was successful in his research.  The basic principle of the Tabata Method is you exercise at maximum exertion for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. This is repeated for 8 cycles, making the workout last a mere 4 minutes.

Sounds easy right? Wrong. I love exercising and working out, but I personally can’t get myself to routinely follow the Tabata method. When I try and work it into my routine 3 or 4 times a week, I fear workout time. That being said, it is also my favorite style of HIIT and I love what it does to my body and I try to work it into my routine at least once or twice a week, but I don’t plan it, if I finish up a workout and feel like I still have more energy than I’d like to, I’ll go and punish myself with the tabata technique. It really is a love hate relationship, and if I wanted, I could probably get myself into the practice of doing it regularly now that I’m in much better shape than that I was when I first got into the Tabata method.

Tabata Method

Here is a great visual representation of the Tabata Method

The Tabata method is my favorite because you can take just about any calisthenic or bodyweight workout and turn it into some sick, twisted, hell-spawn hybrid of a cardio and strength training workout, it’s great! A common exercise that people (including me) pair with the tabata technique is the burpee, as seen below.

Tabata Burpee

You basically jump, do a perfect push-up, then repeat. When doing this for a tabata workout, you jump as high as you can, do the push-up as fast as you can, and then quickly jump as high as you can again. The goal here is to do it as fast as possible without compromising form too much. It is a great workout to pair with the tabata method because it works a wide array of muscles. Your legs, your abs, your chest, your back, and your arms. Then by doing it tabata style, you also turn it into a cardio hybrid of sorts and that is where it gets crazy.

I’d like to show you a video of someone doing tabata burpees, but first I want to reiterate that this is a very extreme exercise, if you are very out of shape, it would not be safe for you do this. I’ve seen a guy who was unconditioned but otherwise healthy puke his guts out after trying tabata burpees. When I had first gotten into it, I nearly puked and was extremely dizzy after the workout. If you are interested in trying the tabata method and you aren’t already in good shape, I’ll make a few posts on good beginner tabata exercises that aren’t as demanding.  Know your limits, pushing yourself too hard often leads to injury and then you won’t be able to work out until you recover, which can sometimes take months!

 As you can see, it’s very intense. Last thing before I end this post, when doing the tabata method, you should wear shoes and perform the exercise on some kind of absorbing surface. Grass works well, so do exercise mats, the reason for this is that in order to be able to do full exertion, you’ll need to be hitting down on a surface that won’t shock your joints. You don’t need to take my word for it if you don’t want because if you try it with burpees and you are doing full exertion, your hands and feet should start hurting by the second or third round and you’ll know it’s time to move to a more suitable surface.

Hopefully you enjoyed, if you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, feel free to drop them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Posted in Interval Training / Circuit Training, Introduction to Interval Training

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