Tabata training protocol for fitness and fat loss

An incredible statement?

If someone told you there was a training method that could drastically improve your aerobic fitness, your anaerobic fitness, and help you lose body fat while exercising in less than 5 minutes, you’d probably think they’re a scammer and tell you blatant lies. or just crazy!

Unbelievably, such a method exists and it is called the Tabata Method.

dr. who?

The Tabata Method is named after Dr. Izumi Tabata, a sports scientist at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan, and is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) protocol that has been used successfully by team Japanese Olympic speed skating among others to improve aerobic and anaerobic conditioning through very short workouts.

During his 1997 study, Dr. Tabata compared the effects of longer, lower-intensity exercise with short bouts of very high-intensity exercise. Using a unique method of interval training, the athletes in the study increased their aerobic fitness by 14% and their anaerobic fitness by 28% in just 8 weeks! It’s worth noting that the subjects Dr. Tabata used for testing were already accomplished athletes and not just beginners, which makes this study all the more amazing. Even more incredible is the fact that the total actual training time per week was an incredible 30 minutes.

What is the Tabata Method?

The Tabata method involves performing 8-10 bouts of 20-second, very high-intensity exercise separated by 10-second recovery periods, giving a total workout time of 4-5 minutes. The caveat of the Tabata Method is that all intervals must be performed at 100% intensity, an absolute effort. You have to push yourself to put in as much work in each 20 second interval as possible and try to maintain that rate of work for sets of 8 to 10. The old adage that you can train long and easy, or short and hard has never existed! been truer than when describing the Tabata Method! As with any type of exercise, the Tabata Method should be preceded by a proper warm-up of 5-10 minutes and followed by a cool-down of similar duration. Typically, the session could take as little as 15 minutes…perfect for anyone short on time but still wanting to get great results from their workout.

All this and fat loss too?

Traditionalists may scoff at the idea of ​​”5 minute fat loss” workouts, but the Tabata Method can deliver where many slow and steady workouts fail. This is due to a phenomenon called Excessive Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption or EPOC, which is sometimes referred to as Oxygen Debt… When you perform the Tabata Method or any other HIIT, a large amount of lactic acid is produced. This buildup must be removed upon cessation of exercise and, in very simple terms, the aerobic system is responsible for removing lactic acid from the blood. The aerobic system kicks into overdrive for an extended period after exercise stops in an effort to “wash out” lactic acid. This means that metabolism (the rate at which we burn energy) stays elevated for several hours after we’ve packed up our exercise gear and gone home. It is not uncommon to feel hotter than normal, have an elevated resting heart rate, and increased respiratory rate for several hours after a hard Tabata Method workout, all indicators of elevated metabolism and therefore increased energy expenditure. calories while at rest. The primary fuel for the aerobic system is fat, so we end up burning massive amounts of fat after exercise, essentially doing two workouts for the price of one! As you can see, the Tabata Method is not only time efficient while you’re at it, but it also continues to deliver results for hours after you exercise.

Choice exercises…

In his study, Dr. Tabata used a mechanically braked cycle ergometer regardless of many exercise modalities. technically, he can perform the exercise under stress when he is very fatigued. Multi-joint exercises are best, as they stress several muscle groups simultaneously and put more demands on the cardiorespiratory system, giving you the best performance. In many cases, all he needs is a one-second watch and he’s ready for a Tabata Method workout. If he becomes a true Tabata aficionado, it may be worth purchasing an interval timer that can be programmed specifically for his workouts, leaving his mind free to focus on his training. Visit for an excellent timer that is ideal for Tabata training.

My SIX BEST Tabata Method Exercises

1) Prisoner Squats – A Classic Exercise – Prisoner squats are a great “entry level” Tabata exercise due to their ease of execution, lack of any required equipment, and the fact that you can easily control the clock while pumping the repetitions. . Keep your hands clasped behind your head (without pulling on your neck) and keep your chest up. Make sure your heels stay low and feel free to walk in place between sets to try to keep lactic acid at bay. To increase the demands of this exercise, consider wearing a weighted vest.

2) Burpees – You can’t beat the burpee exercise for total body conditioning! Modify them to suit your individual fitness needs by making the version that works best for you! To perform a burpee a) squat so your hands touch the floor, b) jump your legs back, c) jump back, and then d) stand up. To increase the intensity of this exercise, a push-up can be performed when the legs have been sprung back and a jump from the ground can be added instead of just standing up. Keep your abs tight to protect your back by making sure your spine never sags.

3) Skipping – If you’re a good skipper, this low-tech exercise offers a new twist on traditional rope work. The best jumping styles for the Tabata Method are knee sprints and double unders (two turns of rope per jump). Be sure to wear good shock-absorbing shoes and use a spring-loaded surface to minimize the risk of lower extremity injury.

4) Sprints: This can be done on a running track, a grassy playing field, a beach, or even on a deserted stretch of road. Sprint for 20 seconds, walk for 10 seconds, repeat 8-10 sets. Simple but highly effective! Avoid setting your own pace and expect to find that the last few heats are really tough…your sprints may come down to a wobbly run at the end!

5) Thrusters – A total body exercise that rivals even the mighty burpee! Thrusts can be performed with a barbell, a pair of dumbbells, a medicine ball, or even a sandbag. From a deep “front squat” (deeper than pictured aiming 90 degrees at the knees), rise up and, using momentum from your legs, simultaneously press the load over your head before reversing the movement and returning to the position initial. Try to establish a rhythm and stick to it!

6) Rowing Ergometer – A rowing machine with a programmable timer is a great option for Tabata Method training. Try to maintain the distance covered from one set to the next or take an average of the 8-10 completed sets and try to exceed it each time the workout is repeated. Make sure your rowing technique is solid to avoid potential lower back injuries.

In this video you will see me demonstrating the Tabata protocol with a mallet

When One Tabata is not enough…

In isolation, the Tabata Method offers an efficient and effective workout, but the fun really begins when the exercises are combined in pairs or groups. The options are literally endless for designing your own Tabata hybrid workouts that will keep your fitness improving for years to come…

Tabata Supersets – Select two suitable exercises and alternate between them for a 10 minute workout that will really get the job done. My personal favorite is jumping along with burpees. Perform jumping jacks (knee-up runs) for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, followed by burpees for 20 seconds, and so on. Repeat the pairing for 10 sets for a short and effective workout.

Tabata Bunches – choose 3, 4, 5 or even 6 exercises and perform each one with the Tabata method. Rest 1 minute between exercises and work your way up the list. Try to select exercises that overlap as little as possible to avoid overloading your muscles to the point where you can’t continue. When performing a large group of 4-6 exercises, it is quite acceptable to include a couple of “easier” exercises in the sequence to slightly reduce the intensity, eg Tabata crunches, push-ups or stepping offer a brief respite from the burpees or the thrusters. .

Example of a Tabata Group Perform 8 to 10 sets of each exercise before moving on to the next. Allow 1 minute of recovery between each exercise. Total time = 24 minutes.

1 burpee

2 jumping

3 prisoner squats

4 crunches

5 thrusters

Tabata Circuits – Tabata Circuits are very similar to the Tabata Cluster method except that the exercises are performed vertically instead of horizontally. Work through the list performing each exercise in turns for 20 seconds using the 10 second rest interval to move on to the next station…

Example of a Tabata Circuit Perform 1 set of 20 seconds of each exercise in sequence, using the 10 second rest interval to move to the next station. Complete 8 – 10 laps of the circuit without stopping for a total of 24 – 30 minutes of work.

1 jumping

2 push-ups

3 squat pushes

4 crunches

5 burpees

6 lunges

the recap

The Tabata Method offers any fitness enthusiast an extremely versatile and effective addition to their exercise arsenal that, while challenging to perform, offers a wide range of benefits when used regularly. Don’t be fooled by the short duration of the training: training the Tabata style will do the job in record time.