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by inKin
06 Nov

Tabata Knows How To Make Your Fat Cry!

Exercise fads come and go, but there is one trend that seems to continuously gain popularity for busy Americans - shorter workouts.


We are so busy that we would love the opportunity to cram a 60-minute aerobic workout into a five-minute coffee break. Impossible, you say? Not really! There are some High Intensity Interval Training workouts out there. Topping the intensity list is Tabata training. No, we didn't sneeze, and no, Tabata is not a kind of bread - Tabata training is named after a researcher for the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Japan. Dr. Izumi Tabata originally developed this type of training to help athletes increase anaerobic and aerobic conditioning. 


How Does It Work? 

Tabata workouts are typically 4-minutes long and consist of repetitions of 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. You should always train with a partner because it 's hard to focus on the workout while also keeping count. A partner can keep track of time for you to ensure an optimal workout. Tabata training should not be done more than once a week - if you can do it more frequently, you are probably not doing it right. Most athletes opt to do this type of training a few times a month.

Studies show that Tabata training increases your body's ability to burn fat throughout the day. Tabata causes your body to burn fat even hours after training while traditional aerobic training (low-intensity, longer duration) only burns fat while you are exercising. This training also increases VO2 max in some athletes - a maximum amount of oxygen you use during a workout. The typical 4-minute Tabata workout burns about 53 calories.


Who Can Use Tabata?

Now you might think you understand how Tabata training works, but it is crucial that you understand the physical demand of the workout. When they say Tabata is "high-intensity", they aren't kidding. You may snicker to yourself, and think "how hard can a four-minute workout possibly be?". Let's just keep in mind that this type of workout was originally developed for a speed skating team. Tabata requires strong cardiovascular health and muscular endurance. A tough mental state is also necessary, as it 's hard to continue pushing yourself through such an intense workout.

It is imperative that you are in good physical shape before starting Tabata. You don't need to be a Japanese speed skater, but you shouldn't try this if the extent of your daily exercise consists of a leisurely stroll down to the mailbox. This type of training is meant for athletes or fitness junkies who want to condition their bodies to perform longer periods of intense work with short rest breaks. 

If you are interested in beginning Tabata training, speak with your doctor first to make sure your body can handle it. You can start out with a lower number of rounds until your body gets used to the intensity. 


What Are The Best Exercises To Use In Tabata Training?

Tabata training can be done using a myriad of different exercises. For example, you could apply the concept using a bicycle, treadmill, elliptical, jump rope, or when stair-climbing, sprinting, or rowing. You can also try training with weights by performing squats or dumbbell thrusters. There are some specific exercises that coaches and athletes prefer, however:

  • Front squats. Front squats with light weights are great for Tabata because they use a large number of muscle groups, but are also quick enough to start and finish.
  • Kettlebell swings. Kettlebell swings improve conditioning and coordination, and as with the front squats, they have a quick set up, so you can easily transition between breaks. 
  • Combination upper and lower body. Combining an upper body exercise and a lower body exercise can prevent specific muscles from becoming fatigued. Choose an upper body exercise for four rounds and a lower body exercise for the other four rounds. You could try a push-up and a lunge, for example. 
  • Barbell complexes. Barbell complexes work well in Tabata training because they are similar exercises that use the same amount of weight and can be transitioned between without setting down your weights. 

Tabata is a good choice for athletes looking for High Intensity Interval training. The training is fast and extremely efficient when done correctly, offering benefits like increased fat burning over long periods of time and awesome strength conditioning. However, the workouts are very intense despite their short duration. If you are considering adding Tabata training to your exercise arsenal, please consult your physician first. Feel free to contact us to learn more about this intense workout. 


Additional reading:

Fighting Fit! All You Need To Know About Body Combat

Let's Go! Circuit Training


Photo Credit: Bigstock




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