Tabata 20 second workout

Disadvantages Of Tabata Training

Tabata training is a style of high intensity interval training (HIIT) which aims to improve on the gains achieved by traditional cardiovascular workouts. This workout style lasts for just 4 minutes each session, with a system of 20 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of low intensity exercise or rest. Even though it sounds pretty simple, you should be aware of some of the disadvantages of Tabata training.

While the aerobic, fat burning and cardiovascular fitness benefits of Tabata training are clear, there are also a number of drawbacks which need to be taken into consideration before participating in this style of fitness training. That is why below we will be looking at 4 disadvantages of Tabata training.

Four Disadvantages of Tabata Training

Disadvantage 1 – Increased Injury Risk

Tabata training is performed at an extremely high intensity and this places lots of pressure on your muscles and joints. This means that it has a relatively high injury risk, especially if you fail to warm up or perform the exercises incorrectly. The high powered nature of Tabata also means that individuals suffering from or predisposed to heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, obesity, pulmonary conditions, metabolic conditions and other critical health problems should avoid this style of training unless they are given the go ahead by their physician.

While Tabata training does have a higher than average injury risk, there are a few things you can do to minimize your injury risk. These include properly warming up and cooling down, focusing on proper form and dialing down the intensity if you feel close to your limits.

Disadvantage 2 – Limited Muscle Building Benefits

HIIT workouts such as Tabata has been proven to stimulate the production of human growth hormone (HGH) which has been known to optimize health, increase strength, augment energy, improve sensitivity to insulin, boost fat burning and increase muscle growth. However, if you are looking to drastically increase your muscle mass, Tabata will not benefit you greatly. This is because longer strength training sessions of between 30 minutes and 1 hour are required to significantly enhance your muscle size and strength. So if building up your muscles is 1 of your main fitness goals, use Tabata training in conjunction with focused strength training workouts.

Disadvantage 3 – Longer Recovery periods

A 4 minute workout may not seem like something that requires much recovery. However, the intense reps that are required for each exercise, as well as the 100% commitment and focus needed throughout the workout make it 1 of the most grueling styles of fitness training you can encounter. The truth is you will probably be unable to move after a 4 minute Tabata workout, due to the fact that your muscles will be completely fatigued. This state of exhaustion takes a long time to recover from, especially if you are not used to undertaking Tabata workouts.

Disadvantage 4 – Not For Beginners*

Tabata was designed with Olympic-level athletes in mind. Not only is it an intense workout that demands extreme commitment and dedication but it also pushes your body to its physical limits. Unfortunately, this means that beginners and unfit individuals are unlikely to be able to complete Tabata workouts effectively and only advanced exercisers will be comfortable taking part in and completing this extreme workout.

*Don’t be discouraged, though. I have put together Tabata tips for beginners, and if you want to start Tabata training, you can read the article and adjust the steps to suit you, until you become mere used to the workouts.

As well, I put together a list of the best Tabata exercises for beginners.


While Tabata isn’t perfect and does have its fair share of disadvantages, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Provided that you allow time to build up your fitness levels, warm up and cool down properly and let your body fully recovery, this training can be a highly beneficial addition to your training regime. Just make sure to always bear in mind the disadvantages of Tabata training and take every precaution to be careful.

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