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What is Tabata?

Updated: Sep 26, 2021

Here's a quick summary of what you need to know about Tabata!


What is Tabata workout?


Tabata fitness is another form of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) which has a shorter rest period compared to all other exercises.


What is tabata training? It comprises workouts that are only 4 minutes long, with 8 exercises and in a 20 seconds work: 10 seconds rest fashion.


These 8 exercises can be picked according to your fitness goals! But as a whole, tabata can be considered a short cardio exercise – hence some also call it tabata cardio!


Tabata exercises can be done daily. However, the key idea is that since it is only 4 minutes, you need to ensure that 101% effort is given, for you to reap the most benefits from it! This means pushing yourself during the 20 seconds exercise to the maximum and ensure that you give your all.


Benefits of Tabata


We have 24 hours in a day, which equates to 1440 minutes in a day. The benefits of tabata training are clear in this case - it only needs 4 minutes of our time.


Tabata is designed in a way that allows us to burn as much during the 4 minutes of work. According to research, what is tabata good for includes boosting athlete's performance and has a weight losing effect?


We will say Tabata benefits people who have a busy or unpredictable schedule or people with short attention span. 4 minutes a day is really reasonable, and we hope that all of you agree!


Apart from that, as supported by Byrdie, the benefits of tabata workout include strengthening of the heart and lungs, boosting metabolism, and improving one’s endurance.

Is tabata effective? It really depends on how hard you are pushing yourself. According to Orbit Fitness, tabata fat burning effectiveness is 50% higher than regular cardio activities when the workouts are done effectively and at high intensity.

Cons of Tabata


Tabata is recommended more for those of intermediate to advanced fitness levels. This is because it is meant to be super high intensity and those with workout experience are more likely to be able to judge how far to push themselves.


Also, exercises at such high intensities require good form, or they may cause injury. However, if you are a beginner, you may start off with simpler exercises or engage a professional to ensure that the exercises you are doing are suitable for your goals, and are done safely.


Get Started with Tabata


New to Tabata training? How often should you do tabata workouts? Keep these tips in mind to get results safely and steadily:


  1. Less is more. Don’t do Tabata workouts more than twice a week.

  2. Stick with the ratio. As you get stronger, you can make your workouts longer, but keep the 2:1 work-to-rest ratio. It works!

  3. Pick a lane. While almost any exercise can be included in a Tabata workout, a good tabata method is to choose either strength or cardio training to focus on.

  4. Lighter is better. It’s important to choose a lighter weight than you would use for conventional strength training. You’ll be getting very little rest, so don’t be a hero.

For suggestions on whole body tabata workouts, you may head watch the following videos, which suggest activities for beginners, intermediate training, and advanced training.


In summary…


Top three things for you (tldr):

  1. Tabata is a specific form of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), that is ultra-high intensity, and only requires 4 minutes of work

  2. Each tabata session comprises eight exercises, that requires 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest in between

  3. Tabata is recommended for intermediate and advanced practitioners, and beginners are advised to start with easier workouts or seek help from a professional to prevent injury


Looking to improve your lifestyle through proper workout and training? Get in touch with our certified personal trainers for a no-obligation discussion!


Further Reading: Tabata vs HIIT : What is the difference?

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