If interval training is part of your regular workout routine, odds are you’ll be familiar with the terms HIIT and Tabata. From gyms to boutique studios and online workouts, HIIT and Tabata have taken over the fitness scene.

This type of training is designed to get your heart rate up into an anaerobic zone for short periods of time. By doing this, you train all of your energy systems – something that regular cardio workouts won’t get you doing.

Not only will this improve your fitness levels, it helps you burn more calories both during and after your workout.

Where Did Tabata Come From?

Tabata training was discovered by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. Tabata and his team conducted research on two groups of athletes – the first group trained for an hour at moderate intensity five days a week for a total of six weeks, while the second group trained for just four minutes five days a week.

After the six weeks, Group 1 had increased their aerobic system, but showed little or no results for their anaerobic system. Group 2 showed a much greater increase in their aerobic system than Group 1, and increased their anaerobic system by 28 percent.

Put simply, this showed that doing HIIT workouts like Tabata doesn’t just improve strength and burn fat, but betters the cardiovascular system as well.

The Tabata Format:

Tabata training is a timed interval method that alternates between 20-second periods of maximum effort followed by 10-seconds of rest, repeated eight times for the ultimate four-minute workout. The work-to-rest ratio is what makes this type of training so effective, working both your anaerobic and aerobic energy systems to build cardiovascular fitness.

Another great thing about the Tabata format is that you can choose exercises that require little or no equipment, making it a very versatile way to workout anywhere, anytime.

An ideal Tabata workout is about 20–25 minutes, but can be adjusted depending on fitness levels.

Benefits of Tabata Training:

Burn Bulk Calories –

  • Tabata training will elevate your heart rate in no time and increase your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This will not only stay high during the workout, but after you’re finished as well, meaning your body will continue burning fat throughout the day.

Increase Aerobic & Anaerobic Endurance –

  • Tabata forces your body to use both systems at once, meaning you’ll improve your fitness across both your explosive energy system (anaerobic) and endurance system (aerobic).

Maximise Efficiency –

  • The intense, fast paced nature of Tabata workouts means you can get an extremely effective workout in, even if you’re short on time or can’t get to a gym.

Variety –

  • Mixing up the way you train means your body is always trying to adapt to a new training stimulus, and helps you avoid the comfort zone. Squats, mountain climbers, burpees, tuck jumps, high knees, sit ups – the combination of exercises are endless!

Tabata Workout Ideas

Workout 1:

20 secs on, 10 secs off x8

Rest for 1 minute between exercises

  • Push Ups
  • Squats
  • Burpees
  • Sit Ups

Workout 2:

20 secs on, 10 secs off x 8

Rest for 1 minute between exercises

  • Shoulder Press
  • Upright Row
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  • Dumbbell Front Raise
  • Burpees
  • Kettlebell Swing

Workout 3:

20 secs on, 10 secs off x4 per set

Rest for 1 minute between sets

Set 1:

  • Skaters
  • Burpees

Set 2:

  • Russian Twists
  • Plank Jacks

Set 3:

  • Squat Jumps
  • Mountain Climbers

Set 4:

  • Push Ups
  • Reverse Lunges

Workout 4:

20 secs on, 10 secs off

Repeat each x4. Rest for 1 minute between sets.

Set 1:

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Tricep Dips
  • Push Ups
  • Burpees

Set 2:

  • Squat Jumps
  • Heel Touches
  • Ski Hops
  • Mountain Climbers