Tabata Training 101

What Can Tabata Do For You?

Aside from burning off pounds and pounds of excess body-fat, Tabata Training can help you:

  • Improve your cardio-vascular function (aerobic endurance)
  • Improve your anaerobic endurance
  • Improve your muscular endurance
  • Make you strong and fit and look fantastic

How’s that for a fitness training method?

The Science Behind Tabata

The basis for all of the excitement surrounding Tabata Training comes from the good doctor’s 1996 research study published in the journal – Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise

In that study, Dr. Tabata concluded that high-intensity intermittent training (HIIT) was a much more effective and efficient training method than tradional cardio training.

Not only was Tabata Training more effective at improving anaerobic endurance, it was also more effective at improving aerobic or cardio-vascular endurance.

And Why is Tabata Training so Effective?

Dr. Tabata believed that the reason behind the success of his training protocol was:


The good doctor believed that exercising at a high level of intensity for a short period of time was more effective than  exercising at a low intensity for a long duration.

And he wasn’t alone.

Ever since Dr. Tabata released the scientific genie from the bottle in 1996, other researchers have built upon his work. Here are just a sample of the available research:

And there is lots more where this came from.

I just did a quick PubMed search and came up with 1110 studies related to Tabata’s work.

So, What is Tabata Training Anyway?

Dr. Tabata’s training method is a very specific version of High Intensity Interval (or Intermittent) Training.

In his 1996 study, Dr. Tabata had seven subjects perform:

  • An intermittent training exercise 5 days a week for 6 weeks
  • Each individual training session consisted of seven to eight sets of a single exercise
  • Each set was performed at the high intensityof about 170% of ˙VO2max.
  • Each set was timed to last for 20 seconds
  • Each period of rest between sets was timed to last for 10 seconds
  • This means that each Tabata Workout lasted for only 4 minutes.
  • 4 minutes of Tabata Training x 5 days a week x 6 weeks = 120 minutes or 2 hours of exercise over 6 weeks
  • In comparison, Tabata’s cardio-vascular group performed 30 hours of cardio training over the course of the experiment (60 min workouts x 5 days per week x 6 weeks)

And still, the Tabata workouts were more effective than the cardio-vascular workouts.

How Do I Design My Own Tabata Workout?

I am glad you asked.

In tomorrow’s post, I will give you two Tabata style workouts.

Each workout is to be performed 2x per week for the next 6 weeks.

I guarantee that those of you willing to give this program a serious effort will see some serious improvements in their physique and their overall level of fitness.

And for those of you that can’t wait until tomorrow:

Here are some of my posts about HIIT training


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