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Do you want to incorporate more exercise into your routine, but feel like you don’t have the time to get in a good workout?

If you’re crunched on time but want to keep your workouts high intensity, then we suggest trying a Tabata style workout. Tabata is a great way to burn calories, build muscles, and boost your endorphins. 

But, what exactly is Tabata?

Check out this guide to learn everything you need to know about the Tabata workout. 

What is a Tabata Workout? 

Tabata training is a type of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that features exercises that last for four minutes. While four minutes may not sound like a lot, it’ll likely be one of the hardest four minutes you’ve ever endured. 

A typical Tabata routine looks like this:

  • Workout as hard as possible for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Complete eight rounds of this

This is considered one “set”. A typical Tabata workout consists of 4 to 5 sets, meaning your total workout time will be 16 to 20 minutes. For example, you may choose to do a workout with pushups, squats, burpees, and lunge jumps. 

For your first set, you’ll do 20 seconds of push-ups, 10 seconds of rest, then repeat this 8 times. After completing this set, you’ll rest for one minute. Then, you’ll move onto your second set, doing 20 seconds of squats followed by ten seconds of rest. Again, you’ll repeat this 8 times before moving onto burpees and then finally, lunge jumps. 

The key to an effective workout is to go as hard as you can for those 20 seconds. This will result in increased endurance as well as a host of other benefits (more on that later). 

Now, your workout doesn’t need to consist of pushups, squats, burpees, and lunge jumps. There’s a wide variety of effective Tabata moves, including:

  • Jumping jacks
  • High knees
  • Mountain climbers
  • Jump roping
  • Crunches
  • Rowing 
  • Sprints
  • Kettlebell swings

The great thing about Tabata is that you can mix and match these exercises in any way you choose so you’ll never get bored. 

What is the History of Tabata? 

So, how did Tabata workouts come into being?

Tabata was actually invented by a Japanese scientist by the name of Izumi Tabata. Dr. Izumi Tabata, along with a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, conducted research on two groups of athletes. 

One group trained at a moderate-intensity while the other group trained at a high-intensity. The moderate-intensity participants worked out five times a week for six weeks straight, with each exercise session lasting one hour. 

The high-intensity participants, on the other hand, worked out four days per week for six weeks, with exercise sessions only lasting 4 minutes and 20 seconds. 

The results of the study were shocking. While the moderate-intensity group saw improvements in their cardiovascular health (aka, aerobic system), they didn’t see any improvements in terms of muscle gain (ake, their anaerobic system). 

The high-intensity group not only showed more improvement in their aerobic system, but they also saw an overall 28 percent improvement in their anaerobic system. 

This study was conducted in the 90s, and since then, Tabata has evolved and is becoming more and more popular. 

Benefits of Tabata Workouts

So, why should you try Tabata? Here are some of the main benefits of Tabata workouts:

1. Burn Fat 

One of the biggest benefits of Tabata is that it can help you burn fat like crazy. When performing a Tabata workout, your heartbeat skyrockets, and with it, your metabolism. 

When you’re performing an exercise at such high intensity, your body needs to work much harder to keep up. For this reason, your metabolism and heart rate won’t just stay high during your workout, but also for a while after. 

This means that your body will keep burning fat throughout the day. 

2. Increase Your Endurance 

As we touched on earlier, Tabata can also help improve your endurance. It does so by improving your anaerobic capacity and VO2 Max. 

Your anaerobic capacity measures the amount of energy your body produces while burning carbs, while your VO2 max refers to how much energy you consume while exercising. 

Whether you’re training for a 5k or an ultramarathon, Tabata workouts can help you build the endurance you need to perform your best. 

3. Protect Your Muscle Tissue 

When you’re exercising a lot and dieting, you’re not just going to lose fat, you also may lose some muscle. 

Luckily, Tabata workouts help keep your muscles in top shape so you don’t lose all of the muscle weight you’ve worked hard to gain. Because of how short Tabata workouts are, you don’t have to worry about your muscle tissue being eaten away like you would during a long cardio session. 

With Tabata, you get the benefit of boosting your cardio without having to worry about muscle loss. 

4. Flexible and Convenient 

There’s also a very practical reason you should incorporate Tabata workouts into your routine: they’re flexible and convenient. 

Depending on the types of exercises you choose, most Tabata routines can be performed anytime and anywhere, whether at home or on vacation. You don’t need a gym or expensive workout equipment to reap the benefits of Tabata. All you need is your bodyweight. 

Plus, as we mentioned earlier, Tabata workouts are generally 15 to 20 minutes long. You can even do 4-minute Tabata workouts and still reap the benefits. No matter how busy you are, you have 5-20 minutes to spare in your day for a Tabata workout. 

Are You Ready to Try Tabata? 

As you can see, there are a lot of benefits to Tabata workouts. Now, it’s time for you to try a Tabata workout of your own. Pretty soon, you’ll be seeing all of the benefits that Tabata has to offer. 

Of course, in order to perform your Tabata workouts to the best of your ability, you’ll need to stay injury-free. Check out this guide to discover how to stay injury-free when working out.