What Is Tabata About?

We'll look into this high-intensity training discipline, dedicated to intensify our performance and get results from the time we've given to physical effort.
What Is Tabata About?

Last update: 20 August, 2018

Methods that allow us to achieve our long-term, permanent goals are the ones we like the most. Although we’ve already talked about HIIT, today we want you to know more about Tabata training. A similar discipline to HIIT, it will help you to achieve your dream body in a short time.

What is Tabata?

Tabata is an intense training method using short intervals of time. At first it may seem the same as HIIT, but both of these have differences, in particular, these are the resting times.

While with HIIT, the rest periods are equal to or greater than the workout periods, in Tabata they’re half the time. For example, in this discipline if you do abdominal exercises for 20 seconds, you’ll rest for 10 seconds; while in HIIT you would have up to 20, or even 30 seconds of rest.

Woman measuring rest time during training

When we think about this, we quickly understand that Tabata is much more intensive than HIIT, since its goal is to drive our body to its maximum performance and raise our heart rate to the limit. It is an effective training method, that is carried out in a short time.

How to practice Tabata 

Although it’s usually already included in programmed activities of many gyms, this type of intensive exercise can also be performed at home. It consists of doing the maximum repetitions of an exercise within 20 seconds, resting for 10 seconds, and repeating this seven times with the same exercise.

Remember that exercises are designed to target a group of muscles, instead of focusing on just one muscle, not doing this could cause injuries. Squats, push-ups, strides and pull-ups are some of the best exercises for Tabata.

Tips and tricks

Here are some tips to practice Tabata effectively:

  • Use extra weight. Remember that the goal of this discipline is to take your body to its maximum performance, so extra weight will help you to achieve this. Although Tabata is an intense and demanding activity, we recommend that the weight you use doesn’t exceed 75 per cent of what you would normally lift. Or it will become a very tedious and exhausting routine.
  • Ask for help. Ask a friend to help you to count the number of repetitions you do in each series and your seconds of training and rest. This way, working out will be much easier and enjoyable, because you’ll feel supported by someone else. This is especially the case if you workout at home. If you decide to exercise at the gym, the coach can do most of this work.
  • Don’t do it every day. You know that not training is as bad as overexercising. Therefore, it’s recommended to not do Tabata every day, because it requires such an intensive effort. Instead, try to practice it just a couple times a week. The rest of the week you can do other activities, such as weight training and cardio or some gym classes. 
    women doing tabata training
  • Don’t release the weight. While you rest, don’t put the weight that you’re using, down. This could relax you and make it harder to pick it back up again. Remember that you should rest for just 10 seconds.
  • Be sure you can do it. If you aren’t sure that you’re ready to perform a high intensity exercise, it’s better to get a medical check-up, and even a body resistance test beforehand. Your body will be taken to its limit and you must be sure that you can withstand it.
  • Don’t force yourself. Doing the eight series of an exercise, will take you about four minutes. The gym classes of this discipline usually last around half an hour, but you don’t have to stay for the whole class at the beginning, if you think you won’t be able to do it. Increase the time gradually and as you begin to feel ready for it.

Do you dare to try this high-intensity discipline that will drive your body to its limit?

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.