5 Tabata Workouts for Maximum High Intensity Interval Training

By guardian-elite
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Serious athletes, fitness enthusiasts, all the way to casual gym-goers all want the same thing: Results. Burning fat, building muscle and improving overall fitness and health. There are plenty of ways to achieve this goal, and there is no one “right way” to do this. But we can all agree that the quicker the workout the better. Quicker and super-efficient at burning fat? Sign me up. Quicker, super-efficient at burning fat andalso stimulating new muscle growth? Hell yes, now you’ve got my attention. A Tabata workout, when done right, can give you all these things. We’ll take a look at what makes a Tabata workout so effective and give you the 5 different Tabata workouts to bust out of that weight loss plateau today.

What’s a Tabata Workout?
Why a Tabata Workout Is Effective
How are Tabata Workouts Different From HIIT?
Tabata Workout Benefits
Rules for a Tabata Workout
5 Tabata Workouts At Home
1. Tabata Workouts with Bodyweight

BURPEE

30

PLYO PUSH-UP

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Reverse Lunge with Knee-Up

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Squat Jumps

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2. Kettlebell Tabata Workout

Kettlebell Swing

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Walking Kettlebell Swing

Skiers

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One-Handed Swing

3. Medicine Ball Tabata Workout

Overhead Medicine Ball Slam

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Woodchopper With Medicine Ball

24
Medicine Ball Crunch Throw

23
Side Wall Medicine Ball Throw

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4. Plyometric Tabata Workout

Box Jump

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Bounding

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Single Leg Bounding

27
Lateral Bounds

28

5. Tabata Workouts Using Cardio

Mountain Climbers

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High Knees

25
Jumping Jacks

Jump Rope

 

What’s a Tabata Workout?
You might be wondering, what is the meaning of a Tabata Workout? The name doesn’t exactly give away what the workout is about.Tabata comes from the man who pioneered this protocol. His name was Dr. Izumi Tabata. Dr. Tabata was a Japanese physician who in 1996 conducted a study that took two groups of young men in their mid-twenties. The first test group performed moderate aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise for 60 minutes at a time, 5 days a week for 6 weeks.The second, high intensity group, performed exercise sets lasting a total of 4 minutes and 20 seconds. There was 10 seconds of rest in between each set. This was done for four days a week for 6 weeks.What was the result of this study?Not surprisingly, the first group who only performed a moderate aerobic exercise for a total of 1,800 minutes, increased their aerobic system fitness level, but not much else.The second group after only training for a total of 120 minutes, increased their aerobic system more than the first group, AND increased their anaerobic (muscular) system by a full 28 percent!For any Tabata workout, you will be following the same protocol: 20 seconds of very high intense exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat this cycle 8 times for a total of 4 minutes total.

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The main thing to remember, the 20 seconds of exercise has to be at near or at max effort level. This is the key to making a Tabata workout effective.

Why a Tabata Workout Is Effective

When you are performing a steady state cardio exercise for fat loss, like running on the treadmill, you are only working the cardiovascular system and a few specific muscles in the legs. This will burn fat, but it will take more time, and you run the risk of a plateau since you are doing the same routine over and over.

A high intensity Tabata workout is so much more effective because you are not only using the cardiovascular system to burn fat, but you are also able to target many different muscles and muscle groups in the body. This will accelerate fat loss and muscle growth.

The key is the very high intensity that is required for a Tabata workout to truly be effective. Rapidly alternating back and forth between rest and all out exercise will send your metabolism and heart rate into over-drive.

Basically, you are distilling the best effects of a workout session into a very short period of time, while reaping the same benefits. The key though, is to go hard.

How are Tabata Workouts Different From HIIT?
You might be asking yourself how Tabata is any different than a HIIT workout that you might already be doing. They really aren’t different. Tabata is a form of high intensity interval training.You can think of it this way. There are a ton of cars out on the road, but they are all different. There are everyday type cars and then there are sports cars. Tabata is like the high powered version of HIIT. Someone took that Toyota and put a super charger on it. This is a Tabata workout.The main difference between HIIT and Tabata will be the duration of the high intensity workout itself. Anything over the 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest can be considered a HIIT workout.HIIT workouts have many different varying exercise to rest ratios. The rest period is less important than the effort level of the workout, which is usually 80-100% of VO2 Max. Tabata workouts will aim for this level of max effort, but sticking to the 20/10 split.

HIIT Workouts: The Absolute Best Way to Burn Fat and Improve Fitness

Tabata Workout Benefits

Saves Time

The time savings of Tabata is the main differentiator of the workout. It’s hard to argue that a person doesn’t have 4 minutes for Tabata workouts. 4 minutes is a small amount of time to spend burning fat and increasing fitness. It’s hard work, but it doesn’t last long, and it is very effective. This is why Tabata workouts are so appealing.

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The Afterburn Effect

If you’ve never heard of the afterburn effect, it is a bonus to any workout when it comes to burning fat. Even after you are done with a very difficult workout, your body can’t just go straight to a rested state. The body takes time to cool down. The heart takes time to get to this rested state, and your muscles are clearing lactic acid.All of this takes energy. The body will pull this energy from fat. This all means that you are going to burn fat even after you’re done working out. If you want to learn more about the science behind the afterburn affect, check out this post.

Related: Why You Should Stop Doing Fasted Cardio For Fat Loss

Anaerobic Plus Aerobic Training In One

Aerobic training is typically going to include some sort of cardio work. Your body will create the energy with the use of oxygen. Anaerobic is when energy is created without the use of oxygen. Anaerobic training is typically high intensity, or explosive movements. Think running on a treadmill or lifting weights.Tabata training is going to force your body to use both of these forms of energy creation to supply the body with the energy to complete the workout. You get the best of both worlds. This is why with Tabata, you can experience some muscle growth, along side fat loss and increased endurance.
Rules for a Tabata Workout

Don’t Dog It

We’ve discussed all the great benefits of Tabata workouts. The time savings, the muscle gain, the fat burning. All of this will be for not if you don’t give it your all. The Tabata workout will not have the effects we’ve talked about if for each of the 20 second intervals, you are not at near max effort.

Make A Plan

When starting your workout, you won’t have time to look over your workout plan to see how to do a movement, or stop to watch a video. You won’t have time to run to the water fountain, or talk to so and so about a football game.

20 seconds on and 10 seconds rest. That’s the rule.

Making sure you are ready and focused for the task at hand will be key to getting the desired effect from the Tabata workout.

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Stick to the Timing Routine

You’re going to need a way to stick to the time limits during the workout. You can use a stop watch, or your phone, but there are even better ways to do this that are tailored for the Tabata workout.

Tabata Workout Timer

A Tabata timer can be downloaded as an app on your phone to help keep track of the workout. You can enter cycles, preparation time, rest and work time to help. Here is a handy app I found here.

Properly Warm Up

As we have thoroughly discussed, Tabata is a very high intensity workout. One thing you do not want to do is go straight into this type of workout without some sort of warm-up first. You will be preventing possible injuries and also preparing your body to do hard work. Check out this post I wrote that goes into depth about dynamic warm-ups.

5 Tabata Workouts At Home

There are five main Tabata workouts that you can use to work different areas of the body. Each Tabata workout will work the same area, but different muscles within that area. All of these Tabata workouts can be done at home or a gym. You also don’t need to be a seasoned Tabata veteran to perform any of these Tabata workout exercises. The five Tabata workouts below are also perfect as Tabata workouts for beginners.

The five Tabata workouts to use are the following:

Bodyweight
Kettlebell
Medicine Ball
Plyometric
Cardio

Each workout will use 4 different exercises to complete the set. Remember, each exercise will last only 20 seconds, with a 10 second rest in between each. If you wanted you could incorporate multiple Tabata workouts in a single session.

1. Tabata Workouts with Bodyweight

Burpee

Plyo Push-up

Reverse Lunge with Knee-Up

Squat Jumps

2. Kettlebell Tabata Workout

Kettlebell Swing

 

Walking Kettlebell Swing

 

 

 

Skiers

One-Handed Swing

 

 

3. Medicine Ball Tabata Workout

Overhead Medicine Ball Slam

Woodchopper With Medicine Ball

Medicine Ball Crunch Throw

Side Wall Medicine Ball Throw

4. Plyometric Tabata Workout

Box Jump

Bounding

Single Leg Bounding

 

Lateral Bounds

5. Tabata Workouts Using Cardio

Mountain Climbers

High Knees

Jumping Jacks

 

Jump Rope

 

Summary

If you are short on time and want an effective workout to help lose some weight or just improve overall fitness, trying a Tabata workout might be the solution you need. Try these 5 different Tabata workouts today and see for yourself if they are right for you!

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