It's Tabata Time!

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Cycles

Tabatas


Session Length
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Cycles
Tabatas

Tabata training is a variation of the popular HIIT training (high-intensity interval training) method. Whereas HIIT training times can vary greatly, a classical Tabata training session is usually split in 20 seconds of high-intensity work (you want to achieve about 170% of your VO²max), followed by a 10 seconds break.

You repeat this whole Tabata training for 8 cycles. Once you have completed 8 cycles of Tabata workouts, you have then completed 1 full Tabata with overall 4 Minutes of time.

Tabata Cycles Image, Prepare then repeat work and rest cycles

Now the choice is yours if you want to go for another Tabata workout. Of course, you can also vary the work/rest periods using our workout timer, if you feel that the classical 20 / 10 Tabata training split isn’t enough for you.

The History of Tabata Training

The Tabata workout was originally created by Professor Izumi Tabata (田畑泉) in the year of 1996 in Tokyo, Japan. Professor Tabata used Olympic ice speed racers for his studies. He was able to increase their performance quite a lot:

  • 14% increased oxygen intake

  • 28% anaerobic performance

Health Benefits of Tabata Training

Those short high-intensity sessions are improving your whole cardiovascular system but this is just one of the benefits of using this Tabata timer for your workouts.

Some of the other benefits include:

  • Increased anaerobic performance

  • Increased aerobic performance

  • Increased fat loss

  • Increases your metabolism (afterburn-effect)

  • Activates fast-twitch muscle fibers

How to do a Tabata Workout

Now that you know about all the health benefits and general benefits of a Tabata workout, you are probably curious about how to actually do one.

If you use our Tabata timer for your workout, we do the thinking for you. You don’t need to calculate your times and think of them while you are working out. You just set up the times you like and hit start.

If you have any heart-related problems or general health problems, always consult a medical professional before starting any high-intensity training. A Tabata session can be quite taxing on your body if you are not used to it, so better make sure you are in good health before starting this HIIT workout.

When it comes to your Tabata workout, the choice is yours. You can either choose to do bodyweight exercises or include some weights in your HIIT workout. You can also do a combination of both (our personal favorite!).

Once you have decided which HIIT workout you want to do, you can get started.

You can either choose to do 8 completely different exercises throughout the first Tabata interval or, you repeat a certain set of exercises. In the example below, we use two exercises to simplify the concept: Bodyweight Push-Ups and Bodyweight Squats.

You want to put as much effort in the 20 second work periods as you can!

So for one Tabata cycle, you would do:

  • 15 Seconds preparation (get yourself ready!)

  • 20 Seconds of Push-Ups

  • 10 Seconds break

  • 20 Seconds Squats

  • 10 Seconds break

  • 20 Seconds of Push-Ups

  • 10 Seconds break

  • 20 Seconds Squats

  • 10 Seconds break

  • 20 Seconds of Push-Ups

  • 10 Seconds break

  • 20 Seconds Squats

  • 10 Seconds break

  • 20 Seconds of Push-Ups

  • 10 Seconds break

  • 20 Seconds of Squats

  • Cooldown

There you go. You just finished your first HIIT workout! Overall, you just did 4 rounds of 20 seconds Push-Ups and 4 rounds of 20 seconds Squats.

The beauty of a Tabata workout is, you spend 4 minutes and you get a really good and effective workout in. Because the intensity is so high, you will feel the effects even over the course of the following few hours. Your metabolism will be elevated and you will feel full of energy.

So your excuse of not having enough time to workout is not counting anymore. Do this on a regular basis and you will feel the positive effects of regular high-intensity training.

Two people doing an intense Battle Ropes workout

High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT for short, has quickly become a very popular way of exercising. In today’s fast paced world, everyone has on so much spare time, especially when it comes to doing your daily workout routine. Most people want to spend as little time as possible on their workouts, this is where a HIIT workout comes into play.

HIIT Workout Benefits

Before we talk about how to do a HIIT Workout, let’s first look at some of the benefits.

Time

One of the obvious benefits is time. High-Intensity Interval Training usually consists of shorter periods of very intense exercise with resting periods in between.

That being said, if you put together a good routine, you can complete your workout in as little as 7 minutes and you will be completely exhausted.

Burns lots of calories in a short time

Another benefit of a HIIT Workout is that you can burn a LOT of calories in this short period of time(1, 2)

Some studies compared different forms of exercise like HIIT Training, Weight Lifting and things like Running and Biking. The study shows that the HIIT Workout Group actually burned between 25% and 30% more calories than the other groups.(3)

If that’s not a good reason to do HIIT Workouts, I don’t know what is.

Increased Metabolic Rate for many hours even after exercising

You may have heard about the Afterburn-Effect before. This is exactly what you get from HIIT Training.

Studies have shown that a HIIT workout is able to increase your metabolism quite a bit, lasting for many hours even after your workout is finished.(4)

Building Muscle

A HIIT Workout is definitely able to help you put on some muscle. You can even include weights in your HIIT Training.

If you are an average person, just starting out with exercise in general, you don’t need any weights and you can just use bodyweight exercises and you will put on a ton of muscle.

Once you have built a solid base, you can start adding weights to accelerate muscle gain. We love using Kettlebells for maximum effect.

Reduction in Blood Sugar Levels

People who are at risk for type 2 diabetes may benefit from HIIT workouts as they have proven to reduce blood sugar levels over a period of time.(5)

Several studies have found that HIIT Workouts not only reduce blood sugar levels, but they also improve insulin resistance.

Good for the Heart and your Cardiovascular system

If you are like most people, you are probably not pushing really hard in your gym sessions, because who likes to be out of breath and being completely exhausted? Well, you should change your mind on that matter.

Extreme forms of training, like a High-Intensity Interval Workout, has been proven to increase your Cardiovascular performance.(6)

No equipment needed

The beauty of a HIIT Workout is, you don’t need any equipment. Trust me when I say that your own body is perfectly enough to leave you completely drained even after a short HIIT Training.

The only thing you really need is a good Tabata Timer (which you already have found on our website.). You just set the timer on your mobile phone or laptop, and you are all set.

How to do a HIIT Workout
Two people enjoying a Tabata Workout and high-fiving each other

Alright, now it’s time to talk about how to do a High-Intensity Interval Workout. It’s really simple! I will show you an example HIIT Workout using our own Tabata Timer. Our Tabata Timer is really easy to set up, especially on your smartphone.

For this example High-Intensity Interval Workout, we are keeping things simple and we are just using 3 exercises for it:

  • Bodyweight Push-Ups

  • Bodyweight Squats

  • Bodyweight Sit-Ups

This is enough to work your whole body. You can even use this basic HIIT Training routine exclusively if you just start out with working out, it will keep you busy for quite some time and it works your whole body.

Setting up the Tabata Timer

Open the Tabata Timer and set it up as follows:

  • Session Length: 30 Seconds

  • Rest Length: 10 Seconds

  • Prep Time: 10 Seconds (this just runs at the first round so you can get ready)

  • Cycles: 3

  • Tabatas: 3

Tabata Timer Steps

Let’s give it a quick rundown.

So we have our Session Length set to 30 seconds, our Rest Time is 10 seconds, we have 3 Cycles and 3 Tabatas.

Translated into human language, that means you are going to do the following:

Exercise and Rest Intervals

So the 3 Cycles represent your exercises. If you would like to do 5 different exercises for example, you would set Cycles to 5.

After you are done with all Cycles, your first round is finished. As we have set Tabatas to 3, you are going through those Cycles 3 times overall.

After you have finished this workout, I guarantee you will be exhausted; if you give all you have, that is.

HIIT Workout Conclusion
Woman resting after intese workout.

To wrap things up, personally, we really enjoy HIIT Workouts. We have found that doing short, very intense workouts comes with many benefits, one of it’s greatest being that it is a huge time-saver.

I went through many years of working out for hours every day in the gym, lifting weights and doing all kinds of exercises, taking up a huge amount of my daily schedule.

Once I started to implement HIIT Workouts to my daily routine, I quickly stopped any other exercise. My best workouts took only 15 minutes, and I really like the feeling of being completely drained after one.

That being said, if you haven’t already, we highly recommend trying out a HIIT Workout! You won’t regret it.