Welcome to Tabata Training Method!
What is Tabata?
In 1996, Dr. Izumi Tabata took part in a research study to determine whether a method of interval training was as beneficial as static forms of cardio and conditioning, such as long distance running or biking at a slow or moderate pace. The study followed several adult subjects of moderate physical fitness over the course of 6 weeks of cardio training.
Dr. Tabata had one group of subjects exercise for 60 min in length, at a consistent, low intensity of cardio, 5 days a week. The other group was to train ONLY 3 times a week of cardio, for a total of 8 minutes. Each exercise session was comprised of max effort exercise for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of “rest”. This cycle would be repeated for a total of 4 minutes. After 4 minutes was completed, this would be considered 1 full set, and the subject was given a full rest. After the subject’s heart rate returned to normal, they would continue the same process by finishing a second set. After the second set was completed, the workout was finished.
What Dr. Tabata found was absolutely astounding. The results showed that not only was this type of interval training beneficial, but it clearly eclipsed every other form of cardio in almost every possible category!
At the end of the 6 weeks of testing, researchers noted a 28% increase in anaerobic capacity along with a 14% increase in V02Max from those that followed a the 8 minute workout as opposed to those that exercised at a lower intensity for a full hour, only improved V02Max by 7% and showed little to no increase in anaerobic capacity. That is a significant difference.
So what does this mean exactly?
A V02Max is the maximum amount of oxygen an individual’s body can take in at any given time. The higher the V02Max, essentially, the higher the cardiovascular ability that individual will have. Fitness experts and scientists use this measurement as a clear indication of physical fitness.
Measuring anaerobic capacity allows experts to effectively view how an individual can perform movements of extreme intensity for quick bursts. By increasing one’s anaerobic capacity, it is a clear indicator that that individual can perform at a much higher level in short bursts.
Conclusively, the tabata method not only greatly increases an individual’s ability to perform endurance activities because of an increased V02Max, but also dramatically boost an individual’s ability to perform work for short bursts , at a higher intensity.
The Burn Factor
How can only working out for a total of 24 minutes a week (8 min, 3 days a week) possibly burn more fat than working out 300 minutes a week (60 min, 5 days a week)? Interval training has been shown to increase the resting metabolic rate more so than any other form of cardio. What this means is that you won’t burn as many calories within those 8 minutes as you would working out for 60 minutes, but your metabolism (your internal furnace) will be on overdrive for up to a full 72 hours. So while you’re sitting at work or spending time with the kids, your body will be effectively burning more fat than ever before!
How to Apply Tabatas
Tabatas are an efficient way to burn the max amount of fat within a given period of time, vastly improve VO2 Max, and effectively increase anaerobic ability.
This method can be applied to almost any form of physical activity as long as the user is able to raise their heart rate as high as possible. At max effort, an individual should be able to work hard enough to reach 170% of their V02Max. This means that throughout the workout, your body will be burning more oxygen than you can supply. This is the main reason as to why the workouts are only 8 minutes in length.
This is in no way, a walk in the park.
Although Dr. Tabata had his subjects use an ergometer bike, the intervals are just as effective if not more using the following exercise; sprinting, biking, hitting a punching bag, jump rope, and burpees seem to be the most popular exercise to apply the tabata method too.
It should be noted that the Tabata method NEEDS to be done at max effort. Every rep and set should be done at max effort. That being said, this makes the workout incredibly tough, both mentally and physically. For that reason, best results have been shown following this method 2 – 3 times per week max. Anymore, and your body may have difficulty properly recovering between workouts.