Tabata training is a simple style of high intensity interval training (HIIT) which was devised as the result of a 1996 study by Professor Izumi Tabata. It involves extremely short 4 minute workouts which use 20 second periods of high intensity exercise followed by 10 second periods of low intensity exercise or rest. Throughout the workouts you are required to maintain maximum effort and focus in order to attain the optimum results. In this article we’ll be looking at Tabata training in greater details and outlining its pros and cons.
The origins of Tabata date back to 1996 where the Japanese Olympic Speed Skating Team Head Coach Irisawa Koichi fashioned an 8 round HIIT workout which was made up of 20 seconds of intense cycling followed by 10 seconds of rest. This 4 minute workout was created for his skaters but he asked his training coach Professor Izumi Tabata to study the effectiveness of this workout.
During the same year, Professor Tabata and his research team undertook a study at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Japan. The basis of this study was to evaluate how effective the 4 minute workout was. He used 2 groups of men in the study, with one performing regular cardiovascular exercises and the other performing high intensity exercises. The results showed that there were marked improvements in the cardiovascular health of those who underwent the 4 minute HIIT workout compared with the group who performed stead state cardio workouts. The popular findings of this study led to the term ‘Tabata Protocol’ being coined, even though Professor Tabata was not the original creator of this style of fitness training.
Today the Tabata protocol is extremely popular in the health and fitness world, particularly in the CrossFit community. People continue to report that they have achieved exceptional results by incorporating Tabata training into their routine.
The Benefits Of Tabata
Tabata training has countless health benefits and can help you achieve a wide range of fitness goals. The section below outlines some of the main benefits of Tabata training:
1. Dynamic Workouts: Tabata training is exceptionally versatile. The only equipment that’s required is your own body which means you can perform your workouts wherever and whenever you desire.
2. Enhanced Cardiovascular Fitness: Tabata workouts have been proven to increase your cardiovascular fitness by improving your aerobic capacities and strengthening your heart.
3. Fun Workouts: Tabata workouts can be performed with almost any exercise, so you can constantly incorporate diverse and fresh exercises into your training regime. This keeps your workouts enticing, motivating and most importantly – fun.
4. High Calorie Burn: Tabata workouts blast through an extremely large amount of calories. The short but intense sessions burn 67 calories in just 4 minutes and also increase the rate at which your body uses calories for hours after you finish the workouts.
5. Increased HGH Levels: High intensity workouts like Tabata haven been shown to increase the amount of human growth hormone (HGH) in your body. This hormone is known to boost your energy levels, enhance your sleep quality, increase the rate at which your body burns fat and support muscle growth.
6. Short Workouts: Tabata workouts last just 4 minutes so are perfect for individuals with busy schedules. This means you can always fit a workout in, no matter how little time you have to spare.
The Disadvantages Of Tabata
While Tabata has a long list of impressive health benefits, it does also have some drawbacks that you should be aware of before getting started. The list below highlights the drawbacks of Tabata training:
1. High Injury Risk: Tabata workouts place a lot of pressure on your joints and muscles, so if you’re not careful, you can easily injure yourself.
2. Limited Muscle Growth: While Tabata workouts can build up your muscles to some degree, they’re not nearly as effective as longer strength training workouts.
3. Longer Recovery Periods: The grueling nature of Tabata workouts causes extreme muscle fatigue which can leave you completely exhausted. As a result, it often takes much longer to recover from Tabata training workouts than it does to recover from other types of workout.
4. Not For Beginners: Tabata is designed with physically fit individuals in mind and you may find it too intense if you’re unfit or new to fitness.
I hope this article has helped you learn all you wanted to know about Tabata training. If you’re interested in HIIT or simply want to enhance your existing fitness regimen, Tabata training is a fantastic tool that can give you amazing results. So give it a try and see if Tabata training is suitable for you.