Is Tabata Training Right for You?

Is Tabata Training Right for You?

What is Tabata training?

The Tabata training protocol was developed by Dr. Izumi Tabata while he was working with some of his professional athletes. Developed about 25 years ago, the Tabata protocol has exploded in popularity for its ability to provide a quick and effective solution for increasing aerobic power and overall fitness levels. At the time of its development, long, slow, sub maximal effort cardio was hailed as the gold standard for attaining ideal levels of health and fitness. The ability to achieve the same fitness results in a shorter amount of time helped the Tabata protocol become one of the most well-known HIIT workouts. While the minimum workout length for completing the Tabata protocol is 4 minutes, you can extend the workout length if desired. Check out this example Tabata workout.

The Tabata Intervals: (20 seconds MAX effort/ 10 second recovery period x 8 rounds)

Workout Length 11 Minutes

5 MINUTE - WARM UP

4 MINUTE - TABATA INTERVALS

ROUND #1

20 Seconds – Run as fast as you can

10 Seconds – Walk

ROUND #2

20 Seconds – Run as fast as you can

10 Seconds – Walk

ROUND #3

20 Seconds – Run as fast as you can

10 Seconds – Walk

ROUND #4

20 Seconds – Run as fast as you can

10 Seconds – Walk

ROUND #5

20 Seconds – Run as fast as you can

10 Seconds – Walk

ROUND #6

20 Seconds – Run as fast as you can

10 Seconds – Walk

ROUND #7

20 Seconds – Run as fast as you can

10 Seconds – Walk

ROUND #8

20 Seconds – Run as fast as you can

10 Seconds – Walk

2 MINUTES - COOL DOWN

What kind of exercises can I use for Tabata training?

In order to complete a true Tabata training workout, participants must be able to push themselves to extremely uncomfortable effort levels. For most, this type of effort is very difficult to achieve. The effort required is not something most people would willingly put themselves through. Therefore, when selecting an exercise to perform the Tabata workout, you must select something you can push yourself on. Like the example workout above, sprinting is a great choice, but if you cannot sprint or run safely, you won’t be able to push yourself to a maximal effort level. Instead of sprinting, you could do a high incline jog on a treadmill. The burpee movement is also a great choice for the Tabata intervals, bur it requires the ability to perform a pushup and standing jump at a quick pace. Substituting quick body weight squats may be a good choice instead of the high impact burpee movement.

The difficulty of brining your heart rate and cardio performance to maximum effort has made this protocol difficult to perform as originally intend, but that hasn’t kept exercisers from prescribing the Tabata intervals to all sorts of exercises. Body weight exercises, dumbbell exercises, cardio machines, and barbell exercises are all being used to challenge exercisers to push themselves to uncomfortable effort levels.

Is the Tabata protocol safe for everyone?

My answer to this question like many other questions is, it depends. As I previously stated, it’s very difficult to replicate the effort of the Tabata protocol as originally prescribed. That kind of effort would in many cases cause people to never want to do the workout again! The good news is that regardless of your experience or fitness level, the Tabata workout can still provide you with a great workout as long as it is prescribe appropriately. After you get clearance from your physician to perform repeated maximum effort bouts of exercise, make sure to select a low risk exercise you are comfortable pushing yourself with. Finally, during your first few attempts at the workout, try to pace yourself until you are familiar with the interval timing and transitions between work and recovery periods. After you have tried the workout a few times, you should be more comfortable pushing yourself to higher levels of effort. I have referenced a few Tabata workouts below that feature some popular Sunny products.

Tabata Workout Examples

If you want to try tan original version of the Tabata workout, hop on an indoor cycling bike and try to perform the workout at a pace above 85 rpms during the 20 second all out work periods. If you don’t have a bike, you can perform the workout on equipment like the ones below. If you are thinking about using the Tabata workout as part of your regular fitness routine, I would advise giving yourself at least a full 48 hours between Tabata interval workouts. This will allow most exercisers to completely recover between workouts and be ready to push themselves to maximum levels during each scheduled session.

 

“Tabata for Trainers: How to Safely Train Clients Using This High-intensity Approach”. ACE Fitness, n.a., https://www.acefitness.org/certifiednewsarticle/2456/tabata-for-trainers-how-to-safely-train-clients-using-this-high-intensity-approach/. Accessed 16 April, 2020.

“Tabata Protocol: A Review of Its Application, Variations And Outcomes”. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29608238. Accessed 16 April, 2020.

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