What Is Tabata?

Tabata training is an exercise regimen that was based on the study of Prof. Izumi Tabata of the Ritsumeikan University’s Sports, Health and Science Department. He was formerly a researcher of the National Institute for Health and Nutrition in Japan. This training regimen, consists of twenty (20) seconds of ultra intensive exercises, and ten (10) seconds of rest. This is repeated continuously for four (4) minutes and repeated eight (8) times or in eight (8) cycles. This was called the IE1 Protocol and was used originally to study athletes who underwent training regimens.

In the original research, two groups of athletes were observed. One group trained in moderate intensity workouts of about seventy percent (70%)intensity, for five (5) days during a six (6) week period. Each training module lasted for one (1) hour each day. The other group, trained in high intensity workouts for four (4) days per week, for a period of six (6) weeks. Each session lasted for four (4) minutes, at twenty second of high intensity training (170% intensity) and ten (10) seconds of rest.

The result showed the following:

* Group 1 showed remarkable increase in the cardiovascular area (aerobic system); but no result was observed for the anaerobic system or the muscle area.

* Group 2 showed significant increase in both aerobic and anaerobic areas as compared to Group 1.

The Tabata Protocol

Dr. Izumi Tabata is well known for his studies and research on high intensity intermittent training. His past work included, as Training Coach for the Speed Skating Team of Japan. The Head Coach, Mr. Irisawa Kotchi, developed a training program using short bursts of high intensity exercises; followed by short rest periods for the athletes to do. Dr. Tabata was made to analyze the effectiveness of said training regimen, which lead to what is now known as Tabata Protocol.

The regimen includes exercises that can be completed in only four (4) minutes. If the eight (8) cycles are completed, it would be enough to make a fit person exhausted from all the extreme exercises. Before this program came about, there were two (2) types of exercises that were incorporated into the athletes’ exercise program – low intensity exercises for long periods to increase endurance, and; sprinting, that improves the ability to sprint. The latter, had shown to have no effects on endurance and aerobics. Tabata Protocol, meshed the two programs together, for better workout results.

Aerobic and Metabolic Benefits of Tabata

The use of high intensity and high impact exercises, have been shown to improve the performance of athletes. For well trained athletes, increasing the frequency of training, would not yield further improvements. Endurance can be achieve through high intensity training programs. This training regimen had been shown to burn fat more effectively. This may be attributable to the increase in resting metabolic rates. High intensity training also lowers insulin resistance levels, leading to muscle fat oxidation and improvement in glucose tolerance.

Studies have shown that high impact exercises helps improve the insulin level in young healthy men and women as well. It also brings about significant reduction in body fat, as well as leg and trunk fat. This would equate to having these exercises as viable methods for preventing Type 2 diabetes. On cardiovascular diseases, it has been shown that brief intense exercises, can improve the cardio-vascular risk in adolescents and adults alike.

Tabata Interval Workout

The Tabata system may be defined as a method of exercise consisting of intervals that are completed within four (4) minutes. It takes eight (8) rounds of exercises of twenty (20) seconds each, and ten (10) seconds of rest.

This was brought about by the research of Dr. Isuzu Tabata on the effect of exercise protocols in athlete performance. The group discovered a method that produced extra-ordinary results. This method is what is now known as Tabata Protocol/Intervals.

In 1996, Dr. Tabata submitted a research study in the Medical Gazette for Medicine of Science in Sports and Exercise. This was a documentation of the benefits of high intensity intermittent training (HIIT). This research was repeated numerous times. The conclusion was that, four (4) minutes of Tabata Training interval exercises, is better in boosting aerobic and anaerobic capacities, as compared to one hour of endurance exercises.

The Tabata Interval Training workout can be done with all kinds of exercises: boxing, cycling, jumping rope, rowing, running, skiing, and swimming among many others. There is also a variety of equipment that can be used in training: bosu balls, barbells, dumb bells, kettle and swiss balls, own body weight, tubes, and bands and so on.

A Tabata Workout may include the following exercise regimen:

1. Bicycle sprints – good for lower body exercise and for the heart rate

2. Hindu squats – like a traditional squat where you drop your butt until your hands reach the ground

3. Jump lunges – jump using alternate legs to lunge and level up difficulty for cardio factor

4. Jumping rope – can be used with varying feet patterns: high knees, feet together, alternating feet, and others

5. Box jumps – stand and jump in front to the top of the bench then back to the floor

6. Weight bench hop overs – keep both hands at the end of a flat bench; both feet should hop from side to side

7. Mountain climbers – make a triangle with hands and feet; bring one leg to your chest while keeping your hands to the ground. Then switch legs and so on.

Why use the Tabata Exercises?

The Tabata Workout, might be considered as one of the best single fat burning workout, when followed and done appropriately. It does not take long to do it, but it keeps you sweating, breathing, and concentrating just to be able to finish your goal. It is an extreme work-up, with agonizing bouts of muscle pains, soreness and days of uncomfortable movements.

This type of routine is beneficial because it includes a number of exercises per body part. Besides burning tons of fat, this type of training can:

* improve your aerobic endurance

* improve anaerobic functions

* improve muscular endurance, and

* make you look fantastic, by being strong and fit.