Tabata is an endurance training method originally used by the Japanese Olympic team and named in honor of scientist Izumi Tabata, who has studied its effects on students in good shape.

Although its potential impact on fat loss has not been studied yet, many trainers believe that the Tabata protocol can be a great tool to lose weight but also to be conditioned, and it is often slightly modified to be more friendly. type of high intensity interval training.

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For a complete digest of knowledge about fitness, check out the Encyclopedia of men's muscle health. The volume is packed with workout routines, helpful training tips, and definitions for almost any sport-related term you've always wanted to know.

How to use Tabata protocol

It seems too simple – and too short – to work. In the initial experiment, university students used a special type of exercise bike and performed seven to eight 20-second sprints, separated by 10 seconds of rest. After following the routine 5 days a week for 6 weeks, college kids improved their aerobic capacity by 14%.

In comparison, another group, which had a steady but moderate pace on motorcycles for 60 minutes, saw its aerobic fitness increase by only 10%. In other words, the high intensity workout lasting just 4 minutes was more effective than one hour of moderate cycling. Better yet, Tabata participants found a 28% improvement in anaerobic capacity – a measure of how long subjects could spend their maximum effort. The group of moderate cyclists did not make any such improvements.

So, why is not everyone doing Tabata workouts? Because most people would throw up if they tried the exact routine used in the study. And, to make it really effective against fat loss, you need to do more than 4 minutes of exercise. (The study participants literally exercised themselves until exhaustion, making any additional work unlikely.)

People in a gym using exercise bikes

Getty ImagesEugenio Marongiu

The good news is that there is a way to solve both problems while making the Tabata method even more beneficial, according to coach B.J. Gaddour. Instead of doing a single exercise mode for each sprint, Gaddour alternates between two different bodyweight exercises that work your muscles in different ways. With this approach, fatigue does not catch you up fast, which was the case for participants in the exercise bike study. So you always work hard for every 20 seconds, but you take on the challenge in a more manageable way.

Will Gaddour's Tabata style sessions improve your fitness as quickly as for Japanese students? We can not be sure. But a recent study from Auburn University revealed that a routine similar to that of Tabata, using only bodyweight squats, burned 13 calories per minute. It's more than a man weighing 15 kilos that can burn a vigorous cyclist (less than 10 calories) a minute, you'll find it very effective.

"Whether you're running out of time and need a quick workout, or just want to add a little more intensity at the end of a long session," says Gaddour, "these 4 minutes will do the trick. "

And more. Because you better manage your fatigue, you can "stack" several 4-minute routines for longer workouts, which burn even more calories and fat. The key is simply to take 1 minute of rest between each 4 minute mini-workout. In this way, you can recover briefly between routines and be able to give everything in each interval.

In addition, by stacking routines, you can choose exercises that work your muscles and joints in multiple directions, challenging your body in new ways.

Tabata Workouts for you to try

Men working in a gym

Getty ImagesThomas Barwick

The following Tabata style routines, which you can also find in the Encyclopedia of men's muscle health, can be done alone or combined with each other. For each routine, do the first exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Then do the second exercise in the same way. Continue alternating the exercises for 4 minutes, eight intervals of 20 seconds in total. Although you do strength exercises in many of these examples, tabatas are not weight training exercises, so do not go overboard. Use light loads that allow you to move quickly and have as many reps as possible. Aim for at least 10 repetitions in each 20-second fight.

If you choose to perform several routines during the same session, let yourself rest for 1 minute. If you want to continue with a single routine, simply run it as many times as you can in the time you have.

Routine 1


Place your hands on the floor at shoulder width and extend your legs behind you. Pull your ribs down and chock your heart so that your body forms a straight line. Gather your shoulder blades while lowering your body to the ground, placing your elbows at 45 degrees to the sides. When your nose is just above the ground, press Save by pulling your shoulder blades up.

Squat body weight

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes slightly turned. Without letting your feet move, try to screw both legs into the ground, as if you were standing on the grass and want to twist it: you will feel your glutes tighten and your arches rise. Take a deep breath in your belly and lower your body. Push your knees down. Go as low as you can while keeping your head, spine and pelvis aligned, then extend your hips and knees to return to standing.

Routine 2

Push-pull barbell piston

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell at shoulder height. Keeping the ribs down and the core braced, press a dumbbell over your head, then lower it by pressing the other. Continue alternating the sides quickly.


Grab a kettlebell by its two-handed grip or hold a dumbbell by one end at arm's length. Stand shoulder-width apart and, keeping your head, spine and pelvis aligned, raise the weight between your legs. Extend your hips explosively, crossing your heels and squeezing your glutes. Use momentum to balance the weight in the eyes. Follow the weight as it falls with your torso and arms, letting it fall back between your legs, while maintaining alignment of your spine and hips.

Routine 3

Board Jack

Put yourself in a push-up position, then bend your elbows to lower your forearms to the ground. Hold your body in a straight line. Jump your feet to each side as if you were doing a hook, landing on tiptoe. Jump your feet in.

Seal jack

Make jumps of obstacles, but open your arms wide when you spread your legs. As you bring your legs, strike your hands in front of you like a seal.

Routine 4


picturePut yourself in a push-up position – your hands on the floor at shoulder width and your body in a straight line from head to heel. Drive the left knee against the chest and then the right knee while extending the left leg back, as if you were running with your hands on the ground. Every time you put a knee lifted account for a representative. Keep your heart engaged and your hips level with the floor.

Hop skater

pictureStand on one leg and jump sideways, land on the opposite leg and go behind it with your leg pulled. Jump immediately to the other side.

Routine 5

Low-Box Hand Taps

Sit in a push-up position behind a box on the floor. Hold the alignment of your body while you touch one hand at a time to hit the box, placing your hands in the upright position after each hit.

Low-box runners

Use the same box as above, placed in front of you on the floor (or imagine one if you are afraid of accidentally knocking it into the room). Mix your feet like a boxer, touching your toes to the box, one foot at a time.

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