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What are Tabata Workouts?

Tabata workouts are one-of-a-kind; they belong to a group of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts that yield the most benefits in a short amount of time. Unlike other types of exercises, high-intensity workouts usually get your heart rate above 80 percent of your absolute maximum before it recovers back to normal. 

Developed by Dr. Izumi Tabata in 1996, the workouts were intended to gauge the efficiency of the Japanese Olympic team. Each workout is designed to rotate around short bursts of high activity and short periods of rest.

Why is Tabata Gaining Increasing Popularity?

Because they are categorized as high-intensity workouts, Tabata exercises can burn more fat and calories than regular exercises. They also increase endurance, strength, and overall stamina in a shorter period of time compared to other moderate intensity exercises. 

Although Tabata doesn’t follow a specific exercise format, it all boils down to the intensity of your workout; you go all out for 20 seconds and then include 10 minutes of rest. You can repeat the exercises eight times for a total of four minutes and then stop.

Whichever model you choose to follow, you must go fast and then slow. This approach works best and gives your body time to perform at an all-time high and then recover. Tabata exercises can include burpees, push-ups, lunges, jump squats, bodyweight squats, sprints, and more.

Who Should Do Tabata?

Tabata workouts are safe and effective for everyone; however, beginners must be cautious about pushing themselves to the limit. Because they entail a lot of work, it is advisable only to do Tabata two or three times a week; if you push yourself to do more than that, you risk experiencing burnout or injury.

People who are experienced fitness enthusiasts and others who simply want to level up their workout regimen can readily embrace Tabata. However, if you are new to exercising and have no experience in strength training, it is advisable to take your time before you take up Tabata. 

The Benefits of Tabata Exercises

Even though it might be initially demanding and tough, there are several benefits to including Tabata in your exercise routine. What are the key benefits of Tabata workouts? You might wonder; here are a few.

  1. Burns Calories Efficiently

Research by the National Library of Medicine suggests that an individual can burn as many as 240 to 360 calories by doing a total of 20 minutes of Tabata. In the study, the 16 participants who did 20 minutes of Tabata with four rounds and one minute rest experienced an increase in caloric expenditure compared to a regular 4-minute workout.

  1. Improves Endurance

Regularly practicing Tabata has several benefits, one of them is improving your endurance level. Research suggests that performing eight rounds of Tabata for eight weeks can increase VO2, which is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during intense workouts. The higher your VO2, the more energy your body has, and the longer your body will be able to exercise. 

  1. Doesn’t Necessarily Include Equipment

Unlike other strength training exercises, you don’t have to use equipment to do Tabata and increase your cardio rate. Exercises like squats and jumps can get your heart pumping after a few rounds. Challenging your muscles by including a kettlebell or dumbbell can enhance your workout, and so can cardio machines. As a start, you can perform sprints on a treadmill or use a jump rope; the most important thing is to increase the intensity of your exercises by following the Tabata model. 

What’s Next for Tabata?

Although it is gaining popularity, Dr. Izumi Tabata wants to figure out ways in which people who are new to exercise and those with less mobility can reap the benefits of Tabata. Dr. Tabata is also conducting studies to determine how Tabata workouts can improve sugar metabolism for people with diabetes. 

With all they offer, Tabata workouts are an ingenious way to burn more calories and lose weight. Whether you are an avid athlete or strength trainer or simply want to take your fitness routine to the next level, embracing Tabata is an excellent option.

As with any exercise, regularity and repetition are essential; when you add a high-strength training workout like Tabata, it allows you to challenge yourself and move around in a way that is physically intense. Your muscles and body will certainly thank you for it!

David Messiha | Staff Writer

Winter 2023

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