Why Start Tabata Workouts?


Tabata workouts are a type of high-intensity interval training that burns calories, increases strength and improves cardiovascular fitness. Originally designed for the Japanese Olympic Speed Skating team, Tabata intervals are now used for various athletes and fitness participants. You can easily add this workout style into your routine to change your body composition, boost your workout enthusiasm and save time. At the gym, you have numerous exercises to keep your workout fresh.

Tabata intervals alternate 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest and repeat the interval eight times for a total of four minutes. The routine typically includes a 5-minute warm-up, one minute between each interval and a 10-minute cool down. With a total of four intervals, one Tabata workout equals 20 minutes.

Tabata Workouts

tabata workoutsQuick Workout-Quick Results

Yes, the Tabata workout is only 20 minutes, but according to the American Council on Exercise, ACE, you burn approximately 15 calories each minute and maintain a heart rate that improves your aerobic endurance. Plus, when you use Tabata with resistance exercises, you increase your strength. The workout is not to be used on a daily basis and does require 48 to 72 hours of recovery time. Add one or two Tabata workouts into your week to save time and avoid workout boredom.


Select an exercise such as a squat. You can perform these without weights, or add resistance through such things as holding a dumbbell in each hand, or placing a barbell across your upper back. Maintain proper form throughout the 20-second work phase, but perform as many squats as you can in 20 seconds. Then, rest for 10 seconds. Repeat the 20-seconds of work and 10-seconds of rest seven times for a total of eight intervals. Rest for one minute and then proceed to the next exercise.

It is best to have your exercises pre-selected before your workout session begins. Also, set out all necessary equipment for a smooth, quick transition between exercises. For example, after your first interval of squats, move on to a shoulder press. Use the 20-seconds of work 10-seconds of rest timing to perform the shoulder press. Then, move on to your third exercise such as a burpee, or squat thrust.


Select exercises that are multiple-joint exercises to get the most out of your Tabata routine. Multiple-joint movements include such strengthening exercises as squats, lunges, leg presses, bench press, shoulder press, squat thrusts, push-ups, pull-ups, mountain climbers, seated rows, Russian twists, dips and clean and presses. In contrast, single-joint movements include arm curls, arm extensions, leg curls, leg extensions and front shoulder raises. Since your time is limited and you want a full-body workout, select four exercises that use multiple muscle groups when designing your Tabata routine.

Warm Up and Cool Down

The intensity of Tabata workouts requires at least a five-minute warm-up that uses full-body movements such as jumping jacks, walking, using an elliptical trainer or climbing stairs. At the end of your workout, perform an aerobic exercise such as walking, cycling or rowing to increase the blood flow to your muscles. This helps with the removal of wastes such as lactic acid. Then, stretch your large muscle groups to help reduce muscle soreness.

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