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  • Writer's pictureTomas Wurst

Tabata Explained: Why, How and What.

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

A Tabata is a high-intensity workout protocol that has fitness and weight-loss benefits. It is also a very short workout

The name Tabata comes from the man who invented it - Dr. Izumi Tabata, a Japanese physician and researcher. He conducted a study using an interval-based training model. His objective was to see if athletes would benefit from a 20/10 session repeated eight times. 20/10 means 20 seconds of all-out exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. This adds up to four minutes total.

Dr. Tabata took two groups and put them on an exercise program for six weeks. The control group did one hour of moderate-intensity exercise five times a week. The other group did the high-intensity Tabata-style training. That adds up to 1,800 minutes of training for the control group versus 120 minutes of training for the Tabata group over the six-week period. The results speak for themselves. The Tabata group improved both its aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels. The anaerobic fitness level increased 28%.

Interval training is surely not new, but it has gained popularity in recent years. Intervals were originally designed for running. An example of Tabata training for runners is 20-second sprints and 10 seconds of rest. This will improve cardiovascular fitness. The Tabata protocol can be used for core strength as well as weight training.

Whatever exercise you use, Tabata training will raise your metabolism and heart rate immediately. Since you are performing these exercises at a very high intensity, your body will have to work much harder to keep it up. This will cause your heart to pump fast and your metabolism to jump, which you want if you are planning on losing fat. Your metabolism will stay at that high not only during the workout, but after the workout as well. This means that your body will be burning fat for hours after.

Tabata training at Workout Australia

Many exercises, combos and types of equipment can be incorporated into the Tabata protocol. Per instants, you could use push ups, planks, squats, ball exercises, resistance bands, weights, or a bench.

Tabata Workout Example:

1 Push Ups for 20 seconds rest for 10 seconds

2 Squats for 20 seconds rest for 10 seconds

3 Medicine Ball Slams for 20 seconds rest for 10 seconds

4 Skipping for 20seconds rest for 10 seconds

Repeat the sequence once more


Workout Australia loves to perform for Tabata the following exercises while training its clients. If you are not familiar with these exercises we recommend to perform them only while supervised by a fitness trainer as they are rather technical.

Kettlebell Swing

Dumbbell Thrusters

Battle Rope Burpees & Slam

Bench/Box jump

Whichever exercise you choose, your choices should use a large number of muscles to get maximum benefit. It is normal to feel some soreness during the first week of Tabata training. However, your body will adjust and you will only feel slight to moderate soreness after the beginning.


Warm up properly with dynamic exercises as opposed to static stretches

Make sure to add a sound nutritional program into your Tabata routine for the best and fastest results possible if losing weight is your goal. Nutrition is an important component of stay fit and being active. If you have poor nutrition, then your fitness goals will not be achieved. You will also not have the energy needed to workout at this level and intensity.

Be prepared to sweat!

It’s effective, as Dr. Tabata’s study showed, and ultimately improves endurance. It teaches your body to tolerate lactic acid. When you train in a high-intensity zone, your threshold becomes higher. It also keeps your metabolism running on high gear. One of the greatest benefits of anaerobic training is that your body keeps burning fat for 24 hours after your workout. So the amount of fat that can be burned using Tabata training is what draws many people to using it. As a weight loss tactic, Tabata is a great tool.

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