If you’ve never heard of Tabata intervals before, they’re about to become your new BFF when it comes to burning fat, toning your muscles, and getting an effective workout checked off your list in less time. Sound appealing? Read on to learn the difference between Tabata and HIIT, where Tabata originated from, and why it’s a super effective way to work both your aerobic and anaerobic systems. And then get ready, because we’ve got a beginner Tabata workout you can try for yourself at home!
What Is Tabata? Is It Different From HIIT?
Technically, Tabata is a form of High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT. HIIT is one of the best ways to burn fat, as it utilizes intense periods of all-out effort paired with short periods of rest. These intervals accelerate fat loss and help you achieve more with your workouts in a shorter amount of time. HIIT intervals can be any amount of time, but Tabata intervals specifically use the following time frame:
- Work hard for 20 seconds
- Rest for 10 seconds
Where Did Tabata Come From?
Tabata intervals were developed by Dr. Izumi Tabata and fellow researchers at the National Institute Of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo because of some interesting findings on the intensity levels of different workouts and what they do for the body. Dr. Tabata and his research team found that working out using intense intervals allowed athletes to work both their aerobic (cardio) and anaerobic (muscle) systems at the same time, while working out at a more moderate intensity only worked the athletes aerobic systems.
The Benefits of Tabata Training
Using high intensity interval training in general, and specifically Tabata, you can get your heart pumping while still building muscle. As you probably know by now, you need both cardio and strength training to maintain a healthy weight and keep your metabolism functioning properly. (The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism works.) So checking two things off your to-do list at once is what Tabata training is all about!
- Works your Aerobic and Anaerobic Systems. As stated above, Tabata intervals work both your aerobic and anaerobic systems, meaning they’re a cardiovascular and strength workout all in one!
- Helps You Retain or Build Muscle. When you’re trying to lose weight through diet and exercise, you can sometimes lose muscle along with fat. You want to ideally lose fat while retaining muscle, and Tabata workouts do just that by placing stress on the muscles, which tells your body that more muscle tissue is needed.
- Revs Your Metabolism. Intense interval workouts increase your metabolism, helping you burn calories and fat even after you’re done exercising.
- Saves Time. Steady state cardio is great, but you have to do it for a longer period of time to burn calories and see a difference in fat loss. More effective at targeting fat loss are workouts like Tabata which utilize higher intensity intervals.
Related: The Beginner’s Guide to HIIT
10-Minute Beginner Tabata Workout
Now that you’ve learned about Tabata, let’s get down to the workout! This workout can be done anytime, anywhere—there’s no equipment required.
- Warm up for 1 minute by jogging in place
- Perform each exercise as hard as you can for 20 seconds; then take a quick 10 second rest
- Repeat this cycle 4 times!
- Cool down for 1 minute by walking in place
As you become more fit or more accustomed to the format, you can go through the whole thing twice or try other tabata workouts to mix things up! Watch this quick video below to see the exercises demonstrated, or checking out the pictures and descriptions of each move below, too! Remember to warm up and cool down for a minute before and after the exercises, making this a full 10-minute workout.
1. Plié Squat
A) Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder distance apart and toes turned out. Bend knees while lowering your torso, keeping your back straight and abs tight.
B) Squeeze your glutes and come to standing position.
2. Jumping Jacks
A) Start standing with a slight bend in knees and hands resting on thighs.
B) Keeping the knees bent, open the arms and legs out to the sides. Arms come above the head and legs wider than shoulders, then close returning to you start.
3. Curtsy Lunges
A) Begin standing with your feet hip distance apart.
B) Transfer your body weight onto your left leg and cross your right foot behind your left leg, keeping your hips facing forward as you bend both knees and lower yourself toward the floor in a lunge. Step back to starting position and repeat on the other side.
A) Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder distance apart and bend knees slightly. Tighten the core to keep your center still.
B) Punch out one arm at a time at a fast pace.