High Intensity Interval Training

Tabata Training

Tabata is a ‘high intensity interval training' (HIIT) method that is taking the fitness industry by storm! The main reason why this training method is revolutionizing the way that we workout is quite simple; it takes a lot less time to get amazing results! In fact some of the workouts are 4 minutes from start to finish, and the maximal results that are being achieved after this time period are truly remarkable. This reduction in time will suit the busy lifestyle of people who go to the gym and spend 30 minutes blasting cardio and then 30 minutes pumping weights; with limited success!

As a society many people search for the quick fix or the ‘Holy Grail' in terms of weight loss and fitness; but let us not underestimate the intensity of sprinting or whole body exercises being performed to get these results via the Tabata method. You will still need to put 101% effort into the 4 minutes or longer, to optimize your fitness goals and sweating will undoubtedly be on the agenda.

The following is a basic outline of the Tabata training design:

  • Each round lasts for 4 minutes
  • 20 seconds of high intensity exercises
  • Followed by 10 seconds of rest
  • Total of 8 exercises per Tabata round.

The Benefits of Tabata

The training method was pioneered by the Japanese sport scientist Dr. Tabata (1). It is a very flexible training method and you can adjust the number of 4 minute blocks to suite your fitness levels and training goals. Research has indicated that Tabata training can increase testosterone and human growth hormone levels, improve the muscle's capacity to use energy and boost the size of the muscle tissue.

Testosterone and the human growth hormone are both excellent fat burners and can help with the creation of new muscle tissue. Creating new muscle tissue is a solid platform for improving insulin sensitivity by increasing your muscle's capacity to absorb glucose from the blood stream. This in turns stop the spiking of insulin and more of the blood glucose is stored or used as energy, instead of being stored as unwanted body fat (4).

The After Burn Effect

There is evidence to suggest that after you stop your Tabata work out you will continue to burn fat up to 24 hours post exercise (2). This is called the ‘after burn effect' and in conventional cardio it only exists for around an hour post exercise. Due to the high intensity of a Tabata work out the body needs to recover and repair properly, this occurs by raising your body temperature and subsequently additional calories are burnt.

The Summary of Benefits of Tabata training

In summary the following key benefits that enable the body to strip the fat and build lean muscle mass after a Tabata session (1):

  • There is an increase in the body fat stores being used as energy
  • The skeletal muscles and liver absorb the glucose to be used as energy and it is not stored as fat
  • A better control of insulin levels
  • There is an increase in the testosterone and human growth hormone levels. This aids fat burning, muscle tissue building and muscle preservation.

Tabata Training Design

The Tabata model allows you to better control your fatigue levels and to stack -up the 4 minute workouts together, these definitely raise your heart rate, metabolism and you get fit quicker. Many people are now starting to use this ‘true' Tabata principle to create their own work out programs and stack up sprints and full body exercises using large muscle groups (3). We have taken the leg work out of creating Tabata work outs for you and have designed the following 10 work outs …

These 10 unique work outs have been designed to boost your fat burning, cardiovascular health, functional fitness and strength. They are very easy to use and all of the work outs have bodyweight exercises and ‘no' additional equipment is required. They can be performed in the park, at home or if even in the office! Following the work outs in order from work outs #1-10, and try to fit them into your daily routine.

For the 10 work outs, just complete each of the 8 compound exercises in order, as this is classed as ‘one' round of Tabata. The fitter that you get, the more rounds you will be able to perform and stack together. Use the talk test below to monitor the intensity that you are working at. Plus use the free Tabata timer to display the exercise and rest interval times. The following 10 work outs are a good starting point to get you truly addicted to Tabata training. They are fun and don't take up too much of your day. Train hard and you will get the results that you deserve!

1. A Quick Test to Measure Exercise Intensity

The Talk Test (3):

A simple way to gauge the exercise intensity during the work outs is the ‘Talk Test’, using the following measures:

  • Low intensity – You can talk and sing.
  • Moderate intensity – You can talk but not sing.
  • High intensity – You can’t say more than a couple of words without gasping for breath

This is a basic and effective test; use it to gauge your effort levels (intensity) throughout the 10 work outs.

Timing the Exercises

In terms of the exercise timings, the link below is an excellent interval timer, easy to use and is free. http://www.tabatatimer.com.

 

Work Out 1
Exercise Time (secs) Rest (secs) Intensity
Jumping Jacks 20 10 High
Power Punches 20 10 High
Sumo Squats 20 10 High
Box or Regular Push Ups 20 10 High
Alternating Front Lunges 20 10 High
Super Humans 20 10 High
Sprinting on the Spot 20 10 High
Planks 20 10 High

 

Work Out 2
Exercise Time (secs) Rest (secs) Intensity
High Knees 20 10 High
Bear Crawls 20 10 High
Front Squats 20 10 High
Russian Twists 20 10 High
Alternating Front Lunges 20 10 High
Mountain Climbers 20 10 High
Sprinting on the Spot 20 10 High
Push Ups 20 10 High

 

Work Out 3
Exercise Time (secs) Rest (secs) Intensity
Butt Kicks 20 10 High
Burpees 20 10 High
Alternating Lateral Lunges with Chops 20 10 High
Planks 20 10 High
Sumo Squats 20 10 High
Side Leaps 20 10 High
Jump Lunges 20 10 High
Glute Bridges 20 10 High

 

Work Out 4
Exercise Time (secs) Rest (secs) Intensity
Sprinting on the Spot 20 10 High
Curtsey Lunges 20 10 High
Dip & Kicks Outs 20 10 High
Squat Jumps 20 10 High
Push Ups 20 10 High
Speed Skaters 20 10 High
Log Jumps 20 10 High
Donkey Kicks 20 10 High

 

Work Out 5
Exercise Time (secs) Rest (secs) Intensity
Speed Skaters 20 10 High
Log Jumps 20 10 High
Mountain Climbers 20 10 High
Planks 20 10 High
Sumo Squat Jumps 20 10 High
Dip and Kick Outs 20 10 High
High Knees 20 10 High
Bear Crawls 20 10 High

 

Work Out 6
Exercise Time (secs) Rest (secs) Intensity
Jumping Jacks 20 10 High
Burpees 20 10 High
Jump Lunges 20 10 High
Power Punches 20 10 High
Single Leg Deadlifts 20 10 High
Squat Jumps 20 10 High
Glute Bridges 20 10 High
Bear Crawls 20 10 High

 

Work Out 7
Exercise Time (secs) Rest (secs) Intensity
Side Leaps 20 10 High
Push Ups 20 10 High
Little Pulse Squat Jumps 20 10 High
Mountain Climbers 20 10 High
Glute Bridges 20 10 High
Log Jumps 20 10 High
Burpees 20 10 High
Squat Jumps 20 10 High

 

Work Out 8
Exercise Time (secs) Rest (secs) Intensity
Bear Crawls 20 10 High
Sumo Squat Jumps 20 10 High
Burpees 20 10 High
Alternating Front Lunges 20 10 High
Single Leg Knee Drives 20 10 High
Super Humans 20 10 High
Jump Lunges 20 10 High
Dip and Kicks Outs 20 10 High

 

Work Out 9
Exercise Time (secs) Rest (secs) Intensity
Sprinting on the Spot 20 10 High
Squat Jumps 20 10 High
Mountain Climbers 20 10 High
Weighted Split Squats 20 10 High
Speed Skaters 20 10 High
Push Ups 20 10 High
Jumping Jacks 20 10 High
Jump Lunges 20 10 High

 

Work Out 10
Exercise Time (secs) Rest (secs) Intensity
Sumo Squat Jumps 20 10 High
Alternating Lateral Lunges with Chops 20 10 High
Log Jumps 20 10 High
Burpees 20 10 High
Single Leg Deadlifts 20 10 High
Mountain Climbers 20 10 High
Bear Crawls 20 10 High
Glute Bridges 20 10 High

 

References

  1. Tabata I., Nischimura K., Kouzaki M., Hirai Y., Ogita F., Miyachi M., Yamamoto K. (1996) Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2 max. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 28(10), 1327-133
  2. Olson M. (2013) Tabata interval exercise: Energy expenditure and post-exercise responses. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 45, S420
  3. American College of Sports Medicine (2010) ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
  4. Foster C., Cotter H.M. (2005) Blood lactate, respiratory and heart rate markers on the capacity for sustained exercise. Physiological Assessment of Human Fitness. Maud P.J, Foster C, editors. 2nd Edition. Human Kinetics: Champaign, IL: 63-76