How Does Tabata Workout Work?
If you have done any type of research on high-intensity interval training (HIIT), you’d have heard of the Tabata Protocol. It is considered one of the most effective forms of HIIT… and it’s also one of the most difficult.
Tabata is another form of HIIT workout except it is done is shorter reps and rest times. It is not based on how many reps you do, or how much weight you are lifting. The famous Tabata workout is based on timing, usually being 20 seconds on and 10 seconds rest for at least 8 sets. This workout will not get you bored since you are always switching exercises or resting. And the rest is an active rest so that you are not just standing there.
Created by Professor Izumi Tabata, the method has been around for a few decades and is now a trademarked name because a few big companies decided to market it. It is so popular all over the world that some gyms only offer Tabata workout, just like some gyms only offer high-intensity interval training. Don’t panic just yet! You can still do Tabata by yourself or with your friends. But, only if you know the principles behind it.
But first, let’s look at the interesting story of Tabata and how it came about
It all started in the Ritsumeikan University Graduate School of Sport and Health Sciences, located in Japan. Professor Tabata used the students in his classes as his subjects.
He broke them up into 2 groups. One group cycled at a steady pace of 70rpm for an hour. They functioned at about 70 percent of their VO2 max.
The second group cycled at a high intensity for 20 seconds followed by a 10-second rest period. They did this 8 times for a total of 4 minutes at 170 percent of their VO2 max.
This experiment was conducted over 6 weeks with the participants training 5 times a week. At the end of 6 weeks, the results showed that while the first group had improved their stamina, their anaerobic systems had remained the same.
The higher intensity group, however, had increased both their aerobic fitness and anaerobic systems. That proved that the Tabata protocol was far more effective than conventional cardio.
What is VO2 max?
VO2 max refers to the maximum rate of oxygen consumption during a high-intensity workout. You may have noticed that the Tabata experiment participants were at 170 percent.
That is known as an ‘oxygen deficit’ and it’s the basic principle of all HIIT workouts. Your workouts must be so fast that they become anaerobic in nature. This places extreme demands on your body and it will burn calories for hours after your workout is over.
Therefore, people lose weight much faster with HIIT workouts like the Tabata Protocol. They’ve become fat burning machines. Steady state cardio, such as running or biking for long distances does not have this effect.
The Tabata method itself is simple. You exercise for 20 seconds at maximum intensity and rest for 10 seconds. You’ll do this 8 times which will be 4 minutes and that’s it. Your workout is done!
Now, reading it may make it sound easy. After all, 20 seconds will fly. That’s true, but guess what?
When you’re gasping for air and exhausted by the 5th round, the 10 seconds rest will fly even faster. It’ll feel so fast that you may think your workout is non-stop. The 4 minutes will seem like an hour.
Einstein must have been thinking of HIIT when he said that “Time is relative” … or maybe not. But you get the point.
How can you use it?
Adopting the Tabata style of working out is simple. You just need a timer and an exercise to do. Sprinting, Pushups, rowing, burpees, squats, crunches, jumping jacks, cycling, etc. are great exercises that go well with this protocol.
The exercise you choose should allow you to stop and start immediately. Using a jump rope would not be a good idea because, by the time you build up speed, you’d have wasted about 5 seconds or so.
With exercises such as sprinting and cycling, the moment the timer beeps, you’re off like the wind… and when it beeps again, you can stop immediately and rest. So, choose your exercise wisely.
The Tabata style of training is highly effective but is best kept till you are relatively fit before attempting it. This is not a training method for people who are overweight or obese.
Stick to 10 or 15-minute HIIT sessions until you can really handle a challenge… and then you’ll be ready to take on the Tabata Protocol.
Making it harder
If you think it is too easy and you are not working out even muscles in your body, then you need to change things up a little. To work out different muscles in your body, instead of doing one exercise eight times. Pick 3 different exercises and do them eight times each.
Yes, it will be a longer workout. You will be exhausted. And Yes, you will not want to do it again. But at the end, it will all be worth it because you exercised 3 different muscles and now you do not have to do anything else but surf.
Here is a little Tabata workout that you can do for surfing
With 20 seconds on and 10 seconds rest in between exercises, for a total of 8 sets.
- Squats rotation
- Leg Raises
- Jumping Jacks
After you are done with this, you can go surf for a couple of hours.
Where can you do Tabata workouts
Honestly, this system is so simple, that you can literally do it anywhere in the world. If you are at work and only have a 30-minute break, you can do the workout in 10 minutes and still have 20 minutes break left.
This workout strategy is so effective; you will lose weight and fat super fast if you are doing the Tabata workout the right way.
Tabata workout does not require to have any equipment except for a timer which we all have on our smartphones.
To make it even easier on you, there is plenty of apps out there in the market that you can download and will provide you a Tabata timer and even music. The apps will say how many more seconds you have left and will carefully guide you throughout your Tabata workout.
If you have not yet tried a Tabata workout, I challenge you right now to do the one above! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you think of this workout system. Honestly, it is so fast and easy that it is our favorite workout system, especially when we are on vacation. Now let’s get it and lose all of that excess fat! Now if you are looking for another form of high-intensity workout system specific to surfing, check out our Surf Ranks program! It is so much fun and will be making you a better surfer after all.