One of the most common reasons people say they don’t exercise is that they can’t find the time. Although they’ll also admit this is probably an excuse, the reality is that if you’re not that keen on exercise, ‘lack of time’ is a good argument…
Welcome to tabata training. Tabata training was developed by a Dr Izumi Tabata in the 1960’s. It’s a form of high intensity interval training – which means you work really, really hard for a really short space of time.
Tabata training only lasts for four minutes. But that four minutes it’s darn hard! This intense training gives you an amazing workout – in fact, it gives one of the highest increases in VO2 max over reported. In layman’s terms, that means it’s extremely beneficial for cardio endurance and aerobic fitness.
Tabata Training – how it works
Watch the 2 minute video to see tabata training in action.
Each tabata training interval lasts for 20 seconds, followed by a 10 second recovery. You do this 8 times through, and then rest.
So, you work as hard as you can for 20 seconds, then catch your breath for 10 seconds. Repeat 8 times in total.
It may sound easy…until you give it a try. You’ll be amazed at what a workout you can get in just 4 minutes.
Tabata Training – what exercises should you do?
The beauty of tabata training is that you can do any number of different exercises. In the video demonstration, I am doing a squat push press. This is quite an advanced movement, but you can still get a massive benefit from something as simple as:
[click to see an example of the exercise]
The ideal exercise is something that recruits a lot of muscles all at the same time, for maximum impact. That means it’s best not to do something like bicep curls for four minutes because it only recruits your bicep muscles – the small muscles at the top of your arm.
Tabata Training – all the benefits
To summarise the benefits of tabata training, here they are:
- very, very time efficient
- increase in aerobic conditioning
- increase in anaerobic conditioning
- improves mental focus
- improves metabolism
Tabata Training – a sample workout
If you’re new to interval training, this is for you:
Warm up: at least 5 minutes to increase heart rate and overall body temperature
- stationery bike or elliptical trainer or rower.
- do 4 mins tabata training – 8 x 20 seconds, with 10 seconds between each set
Warm down: at least 3 minutes
If you’re fit and know your way around interval training:
Warm up: at least 5 minutes
1. Stationery bike or elliptical trainer or rower.
4-6 mins rest.
2. Bodyweight squats
4-6 mins rest.
Warm down: at least 5 minutes
Tabata training – useful tools
It’s almost impossible to keep track of the time for tabata training if you’re on your own. There are a number of tabata training smartphone apps – here’s the one I use:
I hope you enjoy giving this fast, furious, time efficient and very effective way to exercise. Tabata training – how to get fit in 4 minutes a day!
Medical disclaimer: see your physician before starting any kind of exercise routine. Tabata training is a very intensive training. Please take care and start slowly, then adjust the intensity according to your body’s limits. If you are not sure, consult a physician.