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What Is Tabata Workout? | All You Need to Know

    what is tabata workout

    There are countless programs for weight loss proposed by different individuals with promises of excellent results. Some are free while you have to subscribe to others.

    It is impossible to get a global workout regime since the body physiology, health and fitness goals differ. The problem is that many of these programs have left a trail of frustrated adherent who gave up so much but did not get the results they expected. Some focused too much on certain areas of the body at the expense of others.

    Tabata workout is a program that combines the benefits of fitness and weight loss. It is a very short and manageable program designed in a circuit manner. It takes very little time to achieve maximum benefits.


    Origin of Tabata

    Tabata was developed by a Japanese health scientist and researcher by the name Dr. Izumi Tabata. The scientist worked with colleagues from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports based in Tokyo.

    They engaged two groups of athletes, one doing high intensity interval training while the other worked out under moderate intensity. While one group registered an improvement in both aerobic and anaerobic, the one that engaged in moderate workout only improved on aerobic system. The researchers concluded that intensity in training was the most beneficial option for a healthy person. (source)

    The Design of Tabata Program

    The Tabata training is divided into exercises. Each exercise is set to last only four minutes. Do not be deceived. These four minutes are likely to be the longest you have ever encountered. Here is a routine to follow.

    • Work out intensely for only 20 seconds
    • Take a ten-second rest
    • Repeat the routine for eight rounds

    The idea is to push yourself as much as possible for twenty seconds too boost your heart rate. There is no limitation to the exercises you can engage. The ten-second break is taken to enable you breath and enable your muscles to regenerate. This is a pattern that has to be repeated eight times.

    Some of the exercises to accomplish within the twenty seconds include sit ups, squats, jumps, burpees, etc. You may also consider engaging in kettlebell exercises. They produce excellent results.

    Do not stick too much within your comfort zone. Push your limits and explore new exercises from time to time. This eliminates monotony and allows you to exercise your body.

    A Sample Tabata Workout Program

    • 4 minutes of push-ups
    • 4 minutes burpees
    • 4 minutes of squats for body weight
    • 4 minutes mountain climbers

    Begin with twenty seconds of intense push-ups and take a ten-second break. Repeat this sequence eight times before moving to burpees.

    The interval between push ups and burpees should be marked by a one minute break. This allows you to change positions as well as collect the tools you may need for your next exercise regime.

    Most Effective Tabata Workout Moves

    The effectiveness of any exercise lies in how well you execute it. Burnout reduces the effectiveness of an exercise. As such, it is recommended that you alternate between two or more exercises instead of repeating one exercise eight times in one go. Some of the exercises you can rotate include.

    • Romanian deadlifts
    • Hang clean
    • Reverse Lunge
    • Shoulder Press or Thruster

    The reverse lunge should be done while alternating legs and with lack positions. The above regimen involves four exercises. Each takes twenty seconds with a ten-second break before you move the next. To complete a series of eight, you have to cover each move twice.

    There is an 8 exercise option. You will not repeat any exercise until you have completed the series. The exercises to be added to the four above are;

    • Push ups
    • Bent over row
    • Front squat
    • Good morning

    Always work with weights that within your limit. The weights should not be too heavy since they will tire you up. They do not require a perfect form to execute. You may add resistant bands to your exercise tools. The bands are inexpensive, simple and versatile. They also are very effective regardless of your fitness goals.

    Sample program with weights


    Tabata exercises ideas | Credit:


    More workouts

    Tabata Benefits

    Tabata is a program that has a lot to do with personal goals and plans as opposed to a military style plan. It has been proven to provide excellent rewards for people chasing most or all of the following goals.

    Fat Burning

    To lose fat from your muscles, it is recommended that you have three Tabata sessions every week. They should follow strength training to preserve your strength and muscles. It boosts your metabolic rate naturally.

    Body Conditioning

    They are used throughout training sessions. They can be initiated at the beginning, in between conditioning or towards the end. The reward is a body that can endure the intensity of any protracted field or track game or event.


    Tabata exercises involve all muscle groups in your body. This leaves you in control, rejuvenates your spirit and boosts your energy. Tabata is, therefore, an excellent reward to the body for the sake of fitness.

    Tabata App On The Go

    tabata apps

    Tabata workout timer


    This is a pioneer app in fitness. It is a world’s first fitness app that is community-based. This means that users have a chance to share training experiences and engage with coaches in real time. Training intervals are also customized to meet the needs of individuals. There are excellent packages or templates that you can manipulate with professional assistance to get the results you desire. You also have the liberty to create other packs that are assessed and shared with the community.

    There are excellent training plans that you can download and use for 5Ks and 10Ks, among others. Once you hit your target, you have a community to celebrate with. The family is very supportive and will lift your spirit whenever you feel like giving up. The app is available on all platforms.

    Check out the best Tabata apps here.

    Final Word On Tabata Workouts

    Tabata program appreciates the individual nature of health and fitness goals. It also recognizes resource limitation and thus supports improvisation. You do not require a lot of resources or a trainer, yet the results are assured. The intensity of exercises should be gradual with necessary precautions to ensure personal safety. There are more tips from Tabata website and the app.

    Did you like this guide to Tabata workouts? Share with your friends!


    James Wright

    James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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