What’s Tabata Training, and Where Should You Start?

Group of people participating in Tabata training.

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Working out is one of the most direct ways to get fit and strong. We’re all trying to get in shape for the summer, right? Exercise is crucial in our daily lives for maintaining optimal health physically and mentally. The fun part is there are numerous ways you can get active. One exercise trend called Tabata training is becoming more popular. What is it? How can you start? Read this Modded guide on this exercise trend. 

What is Tabata Training?

Tabata training is a relatively new form of exercise with roots in Japan. Professor Izumi Tabata from Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. In 1996, Tabata studied speed skaters in the Olympics. In the trial, the subjects did 20 seconds of high-intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. They repeated the 30-second sessions eight times for a total of four minutes. 

The skaters did the Tabata training method four times per week for six weeks, and the results were remarkable. Another group in the study did steady-state training five times per week. The Tabata group reached comparable results in their aerobics despite only exercising four minutes per day compared to the 60-minute aerobics group. Since then, Tabata training has become more popular for those who want to exercise with little time.

Tabata Training vs. HIIT

Tabata training may sound familiar because it’s a branch of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT calls for short periods of high-intensity exercise followed by recovery periods, utilizing low-effort movements or resting completely. The Tabata method is similar, but there are differences. 

Tabata training takes HIIT to the next level. You’ll see a higher intensity in the workouts that are typically shorter than you’d experience in HIIT. Tabata workouts usually have a more rigid definition in the exercises you do. Think about it this way. Tabata is a square, and HIIT is a rectangle. Squares count as rectangles, but rectangles don’t qualify as squares.  

How Can You Start Tabata Training?

If you’re interested, Tabata training is something you can start anytime. Like HIIT, equipment is unnecessary because there are numerous exercises you can incorporate into your training. 

One way you can start the Tabata method is by mimicking what the speed skaters did in the study. Get on an exercise bike and pedal as fast as you can for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat the regimen for eight cycles to complete your Tabata workout for the day. 

There are other workout strategies to incorporate the Tabata method. However, it’s easy for the workouts to slip and fall into HIIT territory. Ensure you’re working out as intensely as possible so you’re out of breath. Tabata training aims to use your oxygen consumption as efficiently as possible. 

If you don’t have access to an exercise bike, there are other ways to get your Tabata tastes for the day. Try doing it with burpees. This workout is one of the toughest because it requires effort from your whole body. Do eight rounds of 20-second burpees, going as hard as you can. See if you can improve your burpee total for each segment and set new personal records. 

Is Tabata Training Safe?

Tabata training is an effective form of exercise, but some people have questioned its safety. For the most part, the Tabata method is a safe exercise method as long as you take care of yourself before, during and after the workout as you would for other regimens.

HIIT workouts are already intense, and Tabata takes them to the next level. Thus, the risk of injury increases. You’ll put more pressure on your joints and muscles, so warm up beforehand with dynamic stretches to get your body ready. Also, you should be careful if you’re starting to exercise. Tabata created his workouts for Olympic speed skaters, so the method might not translate to everyone.  

Tabata Training for Quick Exercises

Nowadays, finding time to work out can be difficult. Work, school, family obligations and other situations may get in the way of your fitness goals. Many have turned to HIIT workouts to get the burn they desire. But you can take it to the next level with the Tabata training method. Use this Modded guide to get started.  

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